Train dream from Deni to Echuca
A PASSENGER rail service between Echuca and Deniliquin must be put on the NSW Government’s priority list.
It comes with a new push to have funding provided for an active rail line between the two towns, and follows a further $2 million being pledged by the Victorian Government to increase the speed capability of the Echuca to Bendigo line from 80km/h to 140km/h.
The number of passenger services between Echuca and Bendigo will also be increased.
Murray River councillor and potential One Nation candidate for the upcoming state election, Tom Weyrich, is leading the rail push.
‘‘Victoria won’t extend its investment into New South Wales, so we need to go to the NSW Government before the (March) election,’’ Cr Weyrich said.
‘‘The New South Wales Government is cashed up, particularly after selling the poles and wires, and is busy spending our money all over the place.
‘‘I can’t see why it would be such a big deal to invest in a passenger service between Echuca and Deniliquin.
‘‘A $2 million investment would certainly make the Deni line more viable. It would increase patronage and viability of the line, and also the towns accessible on it.
‘‘There is just something about train travel — it’s safer, it’s often quicker, and often more comfortable; it is a far better way to travel.’’
Cr Weyrich said one perceived set-back to the plan is the lack of station facilities at Mathoura and Deniliquin, but this could be easily overcome.
‘‘I don’t see it as a major hurdle,’’ he said.
‘‘We could look at portable platforms.
‘‘There would need to be some protocols completed, but I don’t see it as costing a whole lot of money to reinstate the line for a passenger service.
‘‘In the long term this could ensure the line remains open, and it has got to have a positive benefit for the communities.
‘‘Mathoura has suffered enormously with the forests being closed down (and converted to a National Park) and as a result of council amalgamations, and this could be one way of getting something back.
‘‘If this line can be reinstated, it could open up the opportunity for someone to start small tours of the National Park and surrounds at Mathoura.
‘‘The Echuca to Bendigo line started as a trial and look at it now — on a regular basis the trains are full and the new investment will also help increase the number of services.’’
Cr Weyrich has vowed to actively pursue the rail connection to Deniliquin through his role with Murray River Council, and intends to put a notice of motion to the next meeting to start negotiations with Edward River Council.
He said if his application to become the One Nation candidate for the NSW Murray is successful, the rail link will become one of his key election platforms.
Cr Weyrich said he’s been invited to meet with party members for a formal interview regarding his application.
While a date had not been set at the time of going to print yesterday, he expects it will be early this month.
He said his invitation to interview as a potential candidate does not guarantee his preselection, but said it’s a positive step.