Trains a hot topic for com­mu­nity

Wangaratta Chronicle - - Front Page -

THE North East rail up­grade was the dom­i­nant topic of con­ver­sa­tion for lo­cals at the Aus­tralian Rail Track Cor­po­ra­tion (ARTC) in­for­ma­tion ses­sions held at the Wan­garatta Rail­way Sta­tion last week.

ARTC held six com­mu­nity ses­sions at Wan­garatta, Be­nalla, Wodonga and Euroa, speak­ing to more than 200 peo­ple in to­tal, in­clud­ing 40 at Wan­garatta.

The In­land Rail pro­posal, to dou­ble-stack freight trains, was the other hot topic for dis­cus­sion.

An ARTC spokesper­son said there was in­ter­est in both projects at all ses­sions but pri­mar­ily in the $235 mil­lion North East Up­grade project, which will start next year - and within two years see a more re­li­able, faster ser­vice.

“Ques­tions in­cluded what the work will in­volve, the ben­e­fits and what it will mean for com­mu­ni­ties in terms of bet­ter ser­vices,” the spokesper­son said.

“There was some in­ter­est in terms of pre­vi­ous ser­vice is­sues, but the main in­ter­est was re­ally around see­ing the pas­sen­ger rail up­grades de­liver im­proved re­li­a­bil­ity.”

More com­mu­nity feed­back will be sought on both projects in the fu­ture.

“In re­la­tion to In­land Rail, we have had early con­ver­sa­tions with Wan­garatta Coun­cil and other com­mu­nity mem­bers about the coun­cil’s pro­posal,” the spokesper­son said.

“We have ad­vised coun­cil that we be­lieve there will be engi­neer­ing, safety and her­itage chal­lenges around de­liv­er­ing an ex­tended track low­er­ing in­side the her­itage precinct, and it is also likely

the Cu­sack Street foot­bridge would need strength­en­ing to be com­pli­ant with to­day’s stan­dards, and that it does not meet cur­rent stan­dards for dis­abil­ity ac­cess.

“We will con­tinue to work with coun­cil and con­sider the range of com­mu­nity feed­back we have re­ceived re­gard­ing the en­tire Wan­garatta rail­way precinct.”

Wan­garatta res­i­dent Pat Hef­fer­nan said the In­land Rail was a great idea for freight.

“It’s im­por­tant to get the

freight off the road, and the in­creas­ing num­ber of trucks,” he said.

“It’s progress and any­one who stands in the way of it is silly.”

Jim Lewis said there was an un­der­stand­ing we can talk now about the rail and we’ll be lis­tened to and it will be in­cor­po­rated in the work,” he said.

“They should also un­der­stand the train out of Wan­garatta is al­ways full.

“One thing they could do is they should open the

sta­tion for all train ar­rivals and de­par­tures.” Pat agreed. “It’s more pop­u­lar now than it was a few years ago,” he said.

There is more in­for­ma­tion on­line about both projects.

For the North East Line Up­grade you can find in­for­ma­tion at https://www.artc.­east/.

Fur­ther in­for­ma­tion about In­land Rail in Vic­to­ria can be found at https:// in­ T2A.

PHOTO: Mel Guy

RAIL CHAT: Olivia Whitaker from ARTC chats with lo­cal res­i­dents Pat Hef­fer­nan (cen­tre) and Jim Lewis at the Wan­garatta Rail­way Sta­tion on Fri­day about the pro­posed In­land Rail and the $235 mil­lion North East rail up­grade.

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