Rail tour to showcase Wimmera tourism potential

A heritage passenger train conveying more than a hundred tourists from Melbourne to the Wimmera this weekend will provide a glimpse of Horsham’s potential as an emerging short getaway destination, Mayor Robyn Gulline says.

Seymour Railway Heritage Centre (SRHC) will operate shuttle services between Horsham and Murtoa this Friday and Saturday as part of its Wimmera Weekender tour.

The train, made up of restored former Victorian Railways diesel locomotives and 1937 Spirit of Progress carriages, will start its journey from Seymour on Friday and pick up passengers in Melbourne and Geelong before continuing its journey to Horsham.

Day trips to Halls Gap and Pomonal (by road) and Hopetoun and Murtoa (train) are also part of the tour which runs from Friday to Monday.

Cr Gulline said Horsham Rural City Council welcomed innovative tourism offerings in the Wimmera.

“Our region has so much hidden potential when it comes to eco-tourism. As well as being a regional city, Horsham is the gateway to the silo art trail and the perfect base for exploring the surrounding natural attractions,” she said.

“We look forward to welcoming SRHC and their patrons and hope they enjoy their stay,” Cr Gulline said.

The Wimmera has a rich railway history.

But with the vast majority of the state’s restored trains operating on broad gauge, vintage rail tours have been rarely sighted in Horsham since the Melbourne-Adelaide line was converted to standard gauge in the mid 1990s.

President John Croft said SRHC had recently been able to grow its fleet of historic Victorian locomotives that are able to run on standard gauge.

“This weekend’s train will be pulled by S and C Class locomotives, two heritage Victorian Railways diesels that will offer plenty of nostalgia for Wimmera people,” he said.

“On Friday night, a shuttle service will run to Murtoa and back, giving Horsham people a chance to attend the sound and light show as part of Murtoa’s Big Weekend. On Saturday there will be four return trips between Horsham and Murtoa.

“The shuttle trips will give locals an opportunity to come for a ride and experience iconic rail history, so it will be a great outing,” Mr Croft said.

As well as the shuttles between Horsham and Murtoa, the Wimmera Weekender will also visit Minyip, Warracknabeal and Hopetoun on Sunday before the tour heads back to Melbourne Monday morning.

Bookings are essential and tickets can be bought online at srhc.org.au.

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