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Scenic steam railway to boost Yarra Valley tourism 

September 26, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Toot-toot! Victoria’s state election is on the way, bringing steam trains back to the Yarra Valley for the first time in 40 years under a pledge by the state’s current Labor Government to invest in a scenic railway, creating jobs and boosting tourism in the region.

The election is scheduled for Saturday 24 November 2018. In another railway-related initiative with tourism implications, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews promised recently to build a multi-billion-dollar underground rail loop connecting Melbourne’s western and eastern suburbs via the airport, and link all major train lines.

On the tourist trail, the 14-kilometre Yarra Valley Railway will run between Yarra Glen and Healesville, connecting the two largest tourist towns in the region.

Visitors will be able to ride an historic steam train between the towns, stopping at restored railway stations and historic work sheds, as well as wineries and a local museum. The Railway will also connect to the Yarra Valley Rail Trail so cyclists can board the train at various points along the route.

Local residents, community groups and businesses have raised AUD 2.74 million towards the project, which is the largest volunteer infrastructure project in Australia.

More than 500 individual volunteers, 10 community groups and more than 100 local businesses have given their time, expertise and materials to make this project happen.

This includes the donation of more than 5,000 tonnes of stony ballast and 17.5 kilometres of steel track from the Andrews Labor Government’s level crossing removal projects.

The first stage of the railway project is almost finished, including the restoration of station platforms, buildings and railway yards at Yarra Glen and Tarrawarra Railway Stations, 16 railway bridges and nine kilometres of track – an amazing community project. If re-elected, Labor has pledged to fund the AUD 3.75 million the Yarra Valley Railway organisation is seeking to finish the job.

“Locals have put their blood, sweat and tears into building the Yarra Valley Railway,” Victoria’s Deputy Premier James Merlino said.

“It’s an amazing community effort and only Labor will make sure it gets finished and steam trains return to the Yarra Valley once more.”

A re-elected Labor Government will provide this grant for the second and final stage of works, which includes redeveloping the historic Healesville Railway Station precinct and upgrading the remaining four kilometres of railway track and bridges from Healesville to Tarrawarra Estate.

This will allow steam trains carrying up to 600 passengers to run between Yarra Glen and Healesville, with more than 250,000 visitors expected to ride the tourist train each year.

The Yarra Valley Railway organisation expects the project to generate AUD 30 million for the local economy and create around 120 jobs.

Written by Peter Needham

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