Sun shines as old rail line revived

IT wasn't just the weather which took a shine to a special train ride between Castlemaine and Maldon this weekend.

Rail Revival Alliance's Scott Ramsay said about 160 passengers were aboard the Y-series train for the return journey on Saturday, which was to celebrate the 140-year anniversary of the Castlemaine to Maryborough rail line.

"The compliments came in thick and fast, people said it was relaxing, and a real 'no brainer'," he said.

"We filled the train, there weren't many compartments empty."

Mr Ramsay said some travelled from as far as Pascoe Vale, Geelong and Ballarat for the event.

"Everyone enjoyed sitting there at that speed – 40/50km/h – and the kids really enjoyed looking out the window."

Among the event's guests were politicians Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards, Bendigo East Greens candidate Jennifer Alden and Bendigo West Greens candidate John Brownstein. 

Mr Ramsay said the day enjoyed similar success to the alliance's last event in July, when it ran a train from Maryborough to Melbourne via Ballarat and Geelong.

The lines are no longer in use, but Mr Ramsay said they were once the life blood of their communities.

"When you take away a rail line from a community, you take away local economy," he said.

He said the fact the area between Bendigo and Ballarat in particular was going "gangbusters" in terms of population, re-establishing abandoned lines to freight and passenger trains could open up new opportunities for regional communities.

"All around, there is enormous commercial and economic value in this," Mr Ramsay said.

Mr Ramsay thanked members of the alliance for their help with the day as well as the Victorian Goldfields Railway, who put on a lunch at Maldon railway station's platform.

"Victorian Goldfields Railway did a fantastic job, it has brought us closer together as organisations," he said.


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