Location: Lilydale, Vic
I'm playing devils advocate here and am saying upfront it's not because of my 30 year involvement with the place, just that I find sometimes it helps to look at things without the emotional ties that we often have.
I posted a while ago when this topic was being discussed that what we need to keep in mind is that the government doesn't look at PB as a tourist railway (like we all do) but as a tourist attraction. Subtle difference but basically considers it part of a package with the likes of Sovereign Hill, Penguins, Scienceworks, etc. Any of the groups that get funding would have data showing the tourist income generated by their activities and handouts are only going to go to places where a dollar is seen as well spent. As mush as I'm also a loyal member of YVR, the reality is that when a huge cruise ship comes to Melbourne, it's Puffing Billy they want to ride on and not trolleys through the vineyards.
The issue then is all of us on Railpage look at PBR as a Tourist Railway (instead of tourist attraction) and berate the injustice of why the cash gets splashed there and not other railways. Not much solace but people need to realise this doesn't mean other TR's miss out because they're seen to have inferior volunteer skills, underdone rollingstock or poor customer experiences. It's just purely around bang for the buck.
Then the "BUTÃ¢â‚¬Â¦"
Having taken my devils advocate hat off, I'm not naive enough to believe that the odd bit of pork barrelling would never creep into the picture. Although at the same time I would have thought that a new school or hospital might have swung the odd voter rather than a train belching smoke getting a few more dollars. In fact, a lot of the locals probably think we run too much!
The other thing which sours the deal I personally believe is the railway press release issued yesterday that other PB members / volunteers would have received. Without going into detail it was along the lines of "Ã¢â‚¬Â¦ a good startÃ¢â‚¬Â¦" & "Ã¢â‚¬Â¦whilst no capital funding has been providedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦". It really came across as rather ungrateful - sort of "we really wanted 25 million but will have to scrape by with 4.4" which in context of other TR's getting nothing, I feel was a little insensitive.