The Weekly Advertiser Horsham
Government backs Overland
T“We are always working towards providing better services for regional Victorians and the permanent timetable change will connect bus and passenger train services for Horsham residents” – Jaala Pulford
he State Government has continued to keep faith in The Overland train providing domestic passengerrail services through the Wimmera by confirming a bus connection to the service.
The government confirmed a ‘route five’ bus service that connects with The Overland in Horsham would move from a temporary to permanent timetable.
The temporary timetable connection has been in operation since January and the change to a permanent service started on Sunday.
Labor upper-house Member for Western Victoria and state minister Jaala Pulford said buses would continue to co-ordinate with the new timetable of the Adelaide to Melbourne The Overland train.
She said the change would provide Horsham people with a bus service that connected with The Overland.
For more than 130 years, people travelling between Adelaide and Melbourne and regional centres in between have used the interstate The Overland service.
After facing a precarious future in July 2020, The Overland recommenced operations this year after a State Government funding boost ensuring service would continue for the next three years.
Ms Pulford said The Overland, from January 3 to July, had made 92 journeys, including 46 return trips between Adelaide and Melbourne, stopping at regional centres.
In that time, the train carried a total of 3448 passengers. While COVID-19 restrictions temporarily disrupted the service and border crossings, The Overland’s operator – Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions – provided a substitute bus service to cater for the reduced number of travellers.
“We are always working towards providing better services for regional Victorians and the permanent timetable change will connect bus and passenger train services for Horsham residents,” Ms Pulford said
“The iconic The Overland train service provides not only an important rail link with South Australia but also a boost to regional jobs, tourism and transport.”
A need for day-to-day domestic Wimmera passenger-rail services remains a heavily debated issue in the region.
Community leaders in the region consider The Overland, which travels to and from Melbourne twice a week, as ‘better than nothing’ but also a ‘second-class’ and often inappropriate and development-stifling service for regional Victorians.