For the first time in over 20 years, passenger trains will return all the way to Donald if the Liberal Nationals are elected in November.
A Liberal Nationals government will invest $32 million to extend V/Line passenger services on the Maryborough line with stops at Dunolly, St Arnaud and terminating at Donald in Victoria’s north-west.
This is yet another part of the Liberal Nationals plan to grow all of Victoria, enabling population and economic decentralisation and greater connectivity between country Victoria and Melbourne and follows recent rail announcements to improve the Shepparton line and purchase new long haul VLocity style rolling stock.
As part of the announcement, railway stations will be upgraded at St Arnaud, Dunolly and Donald, as well as the upgrading of a number of level crossings on the Mildura line enabling continuous running of higher speed passenger trains.
The passenger train extension will take advantage of improved track conditions along the Mildura line through the Murray Basin rail project and with gauge conversion currently in progress on the Mildura line, will eventually see passengers change trains at Ballarat for their trip to Donald, once dual gauging has been extended in the final stages of the Murray Basin rail project.
Four services will operate each way, each weekday, with two services each way operating on weekends with existing VLocity trains gauge converted to operate the standard gauge service.
The initiative is part of the Liberal Nationals plan to grow all of Victoria, unlike the Andrews Labor Government’s vision of only growing Melbourne.
Comments attributable to Leader of the Opposition Matthew Guy:
“It’s about time we extended rail passenger services to Donald to bring more towns within our country rail network.
“A Liberal Nationals government will not leave country Victoria behind, we will grow the whole state and build the infrastructure required to do so.
“Daniel Andrews governs as a Premier just for Melbourne, I will be a Premier for all of Victoria.”
Comments attributable to Member for Ripon Louise Staley:
“The community has wanted this for a long time, a lot of residents in Donald, St Arnaud and Dunolly thought this day would never come, today’s announcement will make a lot of people very happy.
“Travelling by train is far more comfortable than travelling on a bus, passengers will gain access to extra leg room, it will make for a more enjoyable and efficient journey.
“Upgrading the rail stations at Dunolly and St Arnaud, will modernise these important community facilities and will provide important economic activity in the short term and connect our region with the rest of the state.”