As Patron of the Junee Rhythm n Rail Festival, The Hon. Tim Fischer AC was invited to open the 2018 Festival — the Festival’s Tenth Anniversary, at a special Launch Event held at the Junee Roundhouse.
Below is the Media Release Mr Fischer issued in conjunction with the Festival Launch.
MEDIA RELEASE: TIM FISCHER AC
Junee Roundhouse 1pm Friday 9 March 2018
RAIL IS BACK IN THE 21st Century: Riverina Tourist potential.
Speaking when opening the 2018 Junee Ryth’m and Rail Festival today at the Junee Roundhouse, Tim Fischer observed rail is back in business in many ways in the second decade of the 21st century.
Firstly every State Capital city except Darwin have light rail/heavy rail projects on the go, even Hobart is examining CBD to Glenorchie and MONA, along a vacant rail corridor.
Secondly new rail freight hubs and expanded hubs are happening eg Bomen, Parkes, Ettamogah, Wodonga Logic and more – reflecting increased intermodal rail freight nationwide.
Thirdly in the Riverina, grain train movements continue albeit on a reduced basis following a smaller harvest but these rail movements remain vital and ensure infrastructure is ready for the next bumper harvest.
Finally the XPT rolling stock is to be replaced with an upgraded fleet, XPT NSW Country Link trains Albury to Melbourne are currently packed as customers vote with their feet and choose a more reliable service than the ‘track alignment smashing’ very old V Line locos and ancient rolling stock.
More use can and should be made of the Riverina rail network for special tourist trains and there are projects in the pipeline, including a steam train to Lockhart and Boree Creek later in the year.
NSW should adjust time tables to using the existing Explorer that overnights in Griffith to create a Sunday and Monday Griffith Albury Griffith ‘Gourmet Express’, leaving Griffith at 0700 for Junee and Wagga Wagga and Albury, returning leaving Albury at 3pm.
Special running of the refurbished Southern Aurora rolling stock are also planned for Riverina stops, when this train arrived in Yarrawonga a couple of Anzac days ago, 2000 people turned up to welcome it before proceeding to Oaklands.
Lachlan Valley Railway LVR are on the cusp of expansion, including a possible Cowra Woodstock Cowra Chardonay Express plus further north Lithgow Rylestone services.
Mr Fischer saluted Nicholas Pyers and all involved with the Junee Rhythm n Rail Festival, adding that ‘Rail Trails’ also have a place in the sun EG Tarcutta to Tumbarumba from a trackhead at Tarcutta on the Hume, with a pancake parlour at Humula or Rosewood for bike riders but it is recognised that there will never be a ‘Rail Trail’ Wagga / Ladysmith to Tarcutta as the various Martins and McCoys have vetoed it – sadly given boom times in N E Vic with ‘Rail Trails’.
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Nicholas Pyers, President of Junee Rhythm and Rail Festival Inc, commenced the 2018 Launch Event with a Welcome Speech and the Junee Southern Cross recorded a live stream of both Mr Fischer’s and Mr Pyers’ speeches.