The Overland train service between Melbourne and Adelaide will run for three more years, with the Victorian government committing funding to the service.
The interstate rail service, operated by Journey Beyond Rail, was thought to have run its last service earlier in 2020 as South Australia withdrew funding and the Victorian government was yet to renew funding beyond June 30, 2020. The service has not been running since March due to coronavirus (COVID-19) border closures.
“We’re proud to be preserving the iconic Overland train – giving certainty to regional jobs, regional tourism and regional Victorians who rely on this important connection,” said Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll.
Regional communities along the route had been lobbying for funding to be committed to the route to be able to access services in Melbourne and Adelaide. The service stops at Murray Bridge, Bordertown, Nhill, Dimboola, Horsham, Stawell, Ararat and Geelong’s North Shore.
Member for Lowan Emma Kealy said that the decision was a testament to the community’s support of the service.
“This news is testament to the amazing community support for the campaign to get this crucial service funded. It has been a long, hard road to get to this point, and I am so thrilled that the people of our region will continue to have access to this much-needed rail service, as they deserve to,” Kealy said.
“I am proud to stand with the communities who have campaigned so hard to ensure this railway icon, and western Victoria’s only passenger rail service, continues for years to come.”
Journey Beyond Rail COO Luke Walker said that the service would continue to have a future.
“The Overland has been bringing people between Adelaide and Melbourne and the regional towns inbetween for more than 130 years and is a significant part of Australia’s rail history. It brings me great joy to know that it will also play a part in the future of Australian rail.”
A summit was held by supporters of the route on June 19, with support from local government and convened by the National Railway Museum, Port Adelaide.
The Victorian government has provided funding of $3.8 million, per year, for the next three years, for the current service to continue, however is in discussions with Journey Beyond Rail to see whether the service may be expanded.