VLINE trains have made a grand return to Talbot after a 20 year absence.
Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder opened the new $2.5 million Talbot Station earlier this week.
Mr Mulder welcomed the first train from Maryborough at 8.18am last Sunday.
Talbot was the only disused stop on the Maryborough line with the Coalition promising to reopen it at the last state election.
Mr Mulder said the new Talbot station would provide an important public transport connection for locals and visitors.
“I’m excited to be here today to officially open the new Talbot station, returning trains to the town for the first time in more than 20 years,” Mr Mulder said on Sunday.
“Locals and visitors now have an additional mode of transport, with a daily train to Ballarat, Southern Cross or Maryborough.”
Mr Mulder said the new station would support tourism in the Central Goldfields Shire.
Mr Mulder said there was new directional signage at Talbot station, thanks to a $15,000 grant from the Transport Investing in Regions initiative.
Member for Western Victoria Simon Ramsay said a free trial mini bus route would run between Lexton and Talbot for six months, connecting with trains.
“The morning train is timetabled so that students and employees travelling to Ballarat during the week arrive before 9am.
Passengers made 13,340 trips on the Maryborough trains in 2012-13, so there are normally plenty of seats to accommodate extra travelers,” Mr Ramsay said.
Mr Ramsay said as part of the project the Scandinavian Crescent level crossing was upgraded to boom barriers.
Meanwhile, Premier Denis Napthine announced on Friday three weeks of around-the-clock works will take place between December 28 and January 19 as part of the Regional Rail Link project.
To enable these works to take place, coaches will replace trains from first service this Saturday to last service January 19 on the Bendigo and Ballarat lines.
Mr Napthine said buses would also replace the Sunbury line while the works took place.