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THE OVERLAND HANDED LIFELINE

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A passenger boards the Overland at Dimboola heading to Melbourne after it has been announced the service will end.
A passenger boards the Overland at Dimboola heading to Melbourne after it has been announced the service will end.

THE Overland has been handed a lifeline to help residents across western
Victoria travel between Melbourne and Adelaide after the State Government announced earlier this week that it will save the iconic service.

The Overland connects passengers from South Australia, Western Victoria and Geelong on the historical route.

Following an announcement by Great Southern Rail stating that The Overland will cease operation at the end of this year, Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy, called on the Government to make this project a priority and to provide a firm commitment for the return of passenger rail services to Horsham and Hamilton.

Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne, announced on Tuesday night the Government has stepped in to keep a key part of Australia’s transport history alive by providing $3.78 million to help fund the route for 2019.

The 131-year-old route was put in jeopardy when the South Australian Government announced it would not be funding the service after December 31.

The 828 kilometre service is operated by Great Southern Rail, which has been supported by both the Victorian and South Australian Governments since 2000.

The Government has since pledged to ensure the twice-weekly service, which also stops at Murray Bridge, Bordertown, Nhill, Dimboola,  Horsham, Stawell, Ararat and North Shore in Geelong, will continue in 2019.

“We’ve stepped in because the Overland provides an important connection to South Australia and for people in Western Victoria, and because it’s an Australian rail treasure,” Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne, said.

“Communities from across Western Victoria have told us how important this route is for their travel and to the history of their town, that’s why we’re continuing our support for this historic service,” Ms Horne
said.

Member for Western Victoria, Jaala Pulford, said, “I am delighted our Government has recognised the importance of the Overland to many communities.”

“This service is used by local people and visitors to our region and I am pleased the Victorian Government understands its importance, unlike the South Australian Government who were going to cut their annual contribution,” Ms Pulford said.

“These funds will ensure this important link between Melbourne and Adelaide, via the Wimmera, can continue for the immediate future,” she
said.

Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy, said, “Unfortunately Labor’s decision to extend The Overland Rail service for just 12 months took far too long and doesn’t provide enough security for local people, particularly when there are a number of local jobs which rely on our only rail service continuing in the long term.”

“While it’s better than nothing, this announcement by Labor doesn’t go far enough, with no commitment to return passenger rail to Horsham and Hamilton and further expand public transport services across the region,” Ms Kealy said.

“What we need is a firm commitment to return regular passenger rail services to Horsham and Hamilton,” she said.

“I have been working hard for the return of passenger rail services and the significant benefits it will provide for western Victoria.”

“The return of passenger rail services to Horsham and Hamilton was a major commitment made by The Nationals during the election campaign and was emphatically supported by Lowan voters.”

“It is now more important than ever that Daniel Andrews makes good on his commitment to ‘deliver for all Victorians’ by bringing back passenger rail services to western Victoria,” she said.

The service first ran as the Adelaide Express in 1887, before becoming the Overland in 1926. It has been operated by GSR since 1997.

THE Overland has been handed a lifeline to help residents across western Victoria travel between Melbourne and Adelaide after the State Government announced earlier this week that it will save the iconic service.

The Overland connects passengers from South Australia, Western Victoria
and Geelong on the historical route.

Following an announcement by Great Southern Rail stating that The Overland will cease operation at the end of this year, Member for Lowan, Emma Kealy, called on the Government to make this project a priority and to provide a firm commitment for the return of passenger rail services to Horsham and Hamilton.

Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne, announced on Tuesday night the Government has stepped in to keep a key part of Australia’s transport history alive by providing $3.78 million to help fund the route for 2019.

The 131-year-old route was put in jeopardy when the South Australian Government announced it would not be funding the service after December 31.

The 828 kilometre service is operated by Great Southern Rail, which has been supported by both the Victorian and South Australian Governments since 2000.

The Government has since pledged to ensure the twice-weekly service, which also stops at Murray Bridge, Bordertown, Nhill, Dimboola, Horsham, Stawell, Ararat and North Shore in Geelong, will continue in 2019.

“We’ve stepped in because the Overland provides an important connection to South Australia and for people in Western Victoria, and because it’s an Australian rail treasure,”

Minister for Public Transport, Melissa Horne, said. “Communities from across Western Victoria have told us