Timetables, tourism opportunities and ticketing systems are just some of the issues that a new new group dedicated to the ongoing support of the Maryborough train line hope to raise with authorities in the lead up to the 10 year anniversary of the reopening of the line.
The Friends of Maryborough Rail Line group has been formed with an aim to lobby the state government for better services to towns including Creswick, Clunes and Talbot.
TELL US YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT HOW BEST TO USE THE MARYBOROUGH TRAIN LINE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS STORY.
The line this year celebrates its 10th year since reopening, with group convenor and former Central Goldfields mayor Chris Meddows-Taylor encouraging new debate on the future of what is mostly an under utilised line.
"We know there are limited services and we know those services that are there are not well patronised," Mr Meddows-Taylor said.
"One of the big problems is they are such limited services, they are too inflexible, the service returns at 4.15pm, it's just too early if you're working in Melbourne.
"Even if the was a mid-evening service, say an 8pm return, it would give people an opportunity to complete a day's work, go out for dinner or have meetings.
"Right now, in the morning we have a 7.10am service, which is fine if you're getting to Ballarat, but it does not work for the elderly or younger people who may be studying."
Mr Meddows-Taylor said the group understood that what was given, could easily be taken away, so he said the idea would be to promote what was good about the line such as historic stations in order to see better usage.
"We also understand we have to be careful," he said.
"The community recongises its cant be simply a case of 'give me more', but we feel we need to promote better what we have, show that we value the service but also get an understanding of what are our priorities are going forward.
Mr Meddows-Taylor said when the line was reopened it was hoped it would offer similar services of the Ararat line. "That is not the case," he said.
"There are some other issues as well, such as the Myki system wich does not work past Ballarat. Could we perhaps promote our heritage stations as tourism attractions? Can we extend the line to Dunolly? That would be a huge boost to tourism in the area.
"Perhaps if we can start to lobby our concerns now, we might get some announcements that coincide with the 10-year anniversary later in the year."
The first meeting of the Friends of Maryborough Railway Line will be held at Maryborough Railway Station on Saturday February 22 from 11am.
Those wishing to attend are asked to email email@example.com by February 16.
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