Full steam ahead on west­ern rail push

Dalby Herald - - LIFE -

A BID to lobby Queens­land Rail for the rein­tro­duc­tion of sleeper and din­ing car­riages is full steam ahead in Charleville as res­i­dents start a pe­ti­tion to bring back the ser­vices and boost flag­ging pas­sen­ger num­bers – of­ten as low as 20 peo­ple per ser­vice – on the iconic In­lan­der and West­lander routes.

Charleville res­i­dent Ellen Scott said she started the pe­ti­tion in an ef­fort to spur the restora­tion of the car­riages, which were re­moved in 2015.

Ms Scott – whose fa­ther and brother worked on the rail­way – said the 18-hour trip from Charleville to Bris­bane “is a long sit for old peo­ple and it’s nearly al­ways old peo­ple who are us­ing it”.

“I want the sleeper so I can use it when I go to the city,” she said.

“Last time I had to go to the city was to see the eye spe­cial­ist.”

She said the trains had de­cent toi­let fa­cil­i­ties and she found them easy to use.

The 777km West­lander ser­vice runs twice-weekly be­tween Bris­bane and Charleville and in north Queens­land the twice-weekly In­lan­der ser­vice be­tween Mt Isa and Townsville is a 21-hour jour­ney cov­er­ing 977km.

Charleville fish­ing and camp­ing shop Judey’s Browse-Inn owner Judey Aiken said the down­turn of rail in the state’s south-west was “not good” for the re­gion and she be­lieved that los­ing sleeper and din­ing car­riages had con­trib­uted to fall­ing pas­sen­ger num­bers.

“We need that rail­way and we need the fam­i­lies here,” she said.

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