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Summit at Serviceton proposed to help save the Overland
Supporters of the passenger railway hope Victorian and South Australian leaders will meet before its funding runs out.
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A border summit at Serviceton is emerging as a possible next step forward in the fight to save the Overland.
Supporters of the passenger train hope to organise a get-together of South Australian and Victorian leaders at the border town, ideally before a Victorian government subsidy for the service runs out on June 30.
The train has not run since South Australia’s borders closed on March 24, but the likes of author John Wilson hope it will be seen again yet.
On the airwaves with ABC Adelaide last night, Mr Wilson urged Premier Steven Marshall start a dialogue with his Victorian counterpart.
Mr Wilson also met Murray Bridge Councillor Mat O’Brien – long a supporter of the passenger service – on Tuesday to talk about the summit idea.
Cr O’Brien said the idea had merit, if a meeting could be arranged.
“Obviously we’ve got a few hurdles to get over in terms of crossing the border, but if it can be done, I’ll happily be one of the South Australian delegates,” he said.
He remained doubtful that Mr Marshall would ever again be willing to subsidise the service, but said “you never know”.
“There’s every possibility we’ve seen the last one, but that doesn’t mean you give up,” he said.
“I’m not saying it's a perfect service ... but it's a link by rail to Melbourne.
“Why would we ever want to see that go?”
On the far side of the border, Horsham – a city similar in size to Murray Bridge – is another centre which will lose its only passenger rail service if the Overland goes.
Its Mayor, Mark Radford, said he, too would support a Serviceton summit.
“It might be a nice symbolic gesture for some of our Victorian mayors to talk with some South Australians ... and it would be a positive image to send to the people who make the decisions,” he said.
He believed the Overland could remain viable if only it were marketed more effectively: to tourists wanting to visit the Grampians, for example, or Crows and Power fans looking to go to a Friday night football game in Melbourne.
“It’s more than just A to B,” he said.
Photo: Mat O’Brien.