It has been almost two decades since the township of Clunes has played host to passenger trains, but from Sunday 4 December that is all set to change.
Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said that Clunes residents would have access to a daily return train to Melbourne via Ballarat from the first Sunday in December.
V/Line CEO Rob Barnett said that V/Line welcomed the improvement.
“V/Line is continuing to carry more passengers by train each month. V/Line is delighted with the support it is receiving from travellers. It is pleasing that the number of stations served by V/Line trains is continuing to increase,” Mr Barnett said.
Mr Mulder said that this was a long overdue Christmas gift for the people of Clunes who had been without trains since 1993.
“The train arrives at Ballarat before 9am and departs after 5pm. It is the ideal way to get to work, study, medical appointments or to Ballarat’s shops.
“Passenger trains returned to Creswick and Maryborough in July 2010. The Coalition Government has been committed to adding Clunes and Talbot to V/Line’s passenger train network,” Mr Mulder said.
“Trains will also be faster on the Maryborough line, saving travellers up to nine minutes between Ballarat and Maryborough. Motorists and pedestrians should continue to take care.”
The $7 million Clunes project includes:
- A new platform and shelter car park works – new asphalt and 22 parking spaces (with 2 disability compliant car parks)
- concrete footpaths and landscaping
- bus stop, taxi bay and two kiss & ride bays
- an upgrade of the Boundary St level crossing from stop signs to boom barriers.
Mr Mulder said that repairs were being carried out on the original Clunes station to ensure it was preserved.
- underpinning the building through a grout injection to stabilise the structure
- a new platform verandah to provide passenger shelter
- guttering and downpipes repaired or replaced.
The Coalition Government had also allocated $2.5 million to upgrade Talbot station.
“Concept designs for Talbot station will be completed by the end of the year, paving the way for the return of passenger trains to the town in 2012,” Mr Mulder said.
“Local communities have thrown their support behind the trains as we continue to deliver affordable and convenient public transport along the Maryborough line. Hopping on at Clunes means just a 30 minute trip to Ballarat and around a two hour trip to Melbourne.
“It also means that Melburnians can make a weekend of it by catching the train to this historic town for a relaxing getaway or for special events such as Back to Booktown in May each year.”
Mr Mulder reminded motorists and pedestrians that the train’s new stopping pattern meant people should be vigilant around level crossings.
“All level crossings have now been upgraded but road users still need to slow down, obey warning signs and be prepared to stop when approaching level crossings,” Mr Mulder said.