Steam trains will return to the Yarra Valley for the first time in 40 years with a re-elected Andrews Labor Government to invest in a scenic railway that will create jobs and boost tourism in the region.
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 $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.
This is an amazing community project and only Labor will fund the $3.75 million the Yarra Valley Railway organisation is seeking to finish the job.
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 $30 million for the local economy and create around 120 jobs.
As noted by Deputy Premier James Merlino
“Locals have put their blood, sweat and tears into building the Yarra Valley Railway. 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.”
As noted by Minister for Tourism John Eren
“This community-driven project will attract more visitors to experience the best of the Yarra Valley, boosting jobs and the region’s economy.”