Ballarat-Maryborough day trip a no go

IF YOU think the opening of the Ballarat-Maryborough railway line means you can visit Maryborough for the day, then think again.With the line opening on July 25, 558 passengers have made use of the train in the first week.Those 80 passengers per day were on the morning train departing from Maryborough or the evening train from Ballarat.But there is no equivalent service travelling in the other direction, as one retired Ballarat resident — who wished to remain anonymous - found out when he called V/Line."I was under the impression you could take a train up and back,'' he said.An overnight stay was an option, "but what's the use of it if you have to come back at 7am".The $50 million project, which is part of the government's $38 billion Transport Plan, will see the Clunes station reopened next year.As for more services, Stephen Moynihan, a spokesman for Public Transport Minister Martin Pakula, said it was too early to make a call."Patronage on the newly reopened line will be monitored to asses passenger demand," Mr Moynihan said."$50 million has been allocated to the project over 12 years with the first amount of funding allocated in the 2009-10 state budget. "This funding includes several level crossing upgrades, track works, improvements to Maryborough Station and a new station at Creswick." A Department of Transport spokesman added that V/Line services were structured to support the growth of daily commuting opportunities from regional locations to major regional cities."The reopening of Clunes by the end of next year will provide a further boost to public transport in the region and along that rail corridor," the spokesman said.And increased demand will increase the opportunity for at least one Ballarat resident to make his day trip to Maryborough.