Passenger on board

Ballan resident Michael Vale, who has commuted to Mildura by public transport regularly for years to visit his father, joined the voices calling for a return of passenger rail services to north-west Victoria’s major centre by urging residents to attend a Public Transport Victoria forum on Monday night.

A regular public transport user said a passenger rail link to Mildura would be very popular. Picture: Michael DiFabrizio

Mr Vale is no stranger to Victoria’s regional rail network – he uses the Ballarat line to commute from his home 80km north-west of Melbourne to the city for work and back again each day.

When he visits his family, who moved north to Mildura in the 1970s, he catches a train from Melbourne to Swan Hill, and then a bus from there to the top of Langtree Avenue.

Mr Vale said a return of passenger rail services was a must for north-west Victoria but he acknowledged it also required a significant infrastructure spend.

The Ballan resident said people in Sunraysia needed to vote with their feet if they wanted the State Government to take notice and return a rail service, which was axed in 1993.

“My view is, if you want to increase the frequency of services, use the bus,” Mr Vale said.

Services between Swan Hill and Mildura were regularly full, Mr Vale said, with seasonal workers, younger people and retirees all using public transport to commute.

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