Rail­way unity ap­pre­ci­ated

Southern Riverina news - - News -

Dear Editor, Congratulations to the Nar­ran­dera, Urana, Jer­ilderie and Ber­ri­gan Shires and the City Coun­cil of Shep­par­ton for their ef­forts to re­open the TocumwalNar­ran­dera rail link.

Their ef­forts have a close re­la­tion­ship with the work of the former Tocumwal-man­ga­lore Rail­way League which aimed to stan­dard­ise the broad gauge link be­tween Man­ga­lore and Tocumwal, thus giv­ing Aus­tralia a sec­ond stan­dard gauge rail link be­tween Mel­bourne and Syd­ney that would have been of great ben­e­fit to the peo­ple and in­dus­tries of the Goul­burn, Murray and Mur­rumbidgee Val­leys.

This rail pro­posal has an in­ter­est­ing his­tory.

About 20 or more years ago mem­bers of the Tocumwal Man­ga­lore Rail­way League in­vited the then Vic­to­rian Min­is­ter of Trans­port to visit Tocumwal dur­ing a Vic­to­rian State elec­tion cam­paign and hear the views of the League mem­bers on the rail bridge at Tocumwal.

The Min­is­ter lis­tened to the com­ments of the League mem­bers and then put his foot on the broad gauge line and said words to the ef­fect, “If we are elected the new Govern­ment will shift this line from here to there” and he shifted his foot about 51⁄ inches to­wards the other rail, in­di­cat­ing that he would stan­dard­ise the Man­ga­lore-tocumwal rail link.

Un­for­tu­nately

the Lib­eral Govern­ment was not re-elected and La­bor had no in­ter­est in the line.

It is no­table that some time later the NSW Govern­ment put sev­eral miles of long length welded rail be­tween Nar­ran­dera and Morun­dah, not long be­fore the link was closed.

There is strong ev­i­dence that both State Gov­ern­ments – NSW and Vic­to­ria had plans for im­prove­ment of this rail link to serve the peo­ple and in­dus­tries of the Goul­burn, Murray and Mur­rumbidgee Val­leys and I be­lieve that ca­pa­ble Shire Coun­cil­lors and peo­ple of those river val­leys have what it take to give Aus­tralia the rail link that is needed.

Yours etc Kevin O’neill OAM

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