In my June column, I wrote about Council’s continued work in rail advocacy following the welcome news of funding within the Victorian State Budget for four weekend passenger train services to Maryborough and returning to Ballarat and Melbourne and the benefits that will offer.
Since then came added welcome news of funding for a feasibility study to develop a rail trail on the former Maryborough Castlemaine line. Some have questioned if this could be restored as a passenger service and possibly extended to Dunolly.
The restoration of the Maryborough Castlemaine rail passenger service is not supported by either side of politics as it is simply cost prohibitive.
Some years ago the Rail Futures Institute (RFI) developed their “Golden Triangle” proposal connecting the three rapidly growing regional cities of Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo through Maryborough but using the Dunolly, Inglewood, Eaglehawk sector which is in much better condition than Maryborough Castlemaine.
The benefit of connecting the three regional major growth cities is immense. Importantly it puts our Shire in the centre of this opportunity and enables added potential to advocate for a passenger train service to Dunolly.
Although this is still a massive undertaking, the Commonwealth Games and Goldfields World Heritage Listing with the Marong Eaglehawk growth, provide fresh advocacy opportunities. Council has been briefed by the RFI on this proposal and is seeking to ascertain regional support. Our local friends in the Rail Revival Alliance have also been very supportive.
It is an exciting proposal with many benefits to Dunolly.