Trains a hot topic for community
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. com.au/projects/northeast/.
Further information about Inland Rail in Victoria can be found at https:// inlandrail.artc.com.au/ T2A.
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.