Puffing Billy on track for funding boost

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xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong

The Budget has been tabled, and there is at least 1 tourist railway that should be happy with it:

The Victorian Coalition Government today announced new funding of $4.4 million for Puffing Billy to upgrade priority railway infrastructure and enhance rail safety over the next four years.

- Victorian State Government


Link: http://budget.eyemedia.com.au/CA2579B200132B63/pages/puffing-billy-on-track-for-funding-boost

 
Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned

:headslap: Because I'm sure that DSCR, or YVR or any other group doesn't need that much money...

 
xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong

Sir Thomas, I am in complete agreement.

There's only 2 things that concern me....
1. The Government are hell bent on keeping our state in surplus, so they obviously had to 'rob Peter to pay Paul'.

2. How many working tourist railways are there in the state?
So why does 1 get $4.4 million, and the rest, zip?
The railway I volunteer with would be doing cartwheels if it received even just $100,000 of the $4.4 mill given to PBR.

 
Iain Chief Commissioner

Location: Concord, NSW

Probably because they are in the top 10 tourist destinations in Victoria and because they put in a winning submission.

Iain

 
Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned

Probably because they are in the top 10 tourist destinations in Victoria and because they put in a winning submission.

Iain

- Iain

And you can prove the latter?  Or are you just pulling bulls**t out of thin air?

If they are getting all this tourist cash, why do they need so much government cash?  Surely I'd be expecting something that everyone and their dog wants to see would be able to turn a profit...

The fact that there's some relatively closeish Liberal seats would, of course, be unrelated...


 
duttonbay Minister for Railways

Probably because they are in the top 10 tourist destinations in Victoria and because they put in a winning submission.

Iain

- Iain

And you can prove the latter? 

- Sir Thomas Bent


What other TRs put in submissions for funding?

 
Valvegear Minister for Railways

Location: Norda Fittazroy

Puffing Billy, Grand Prix, MCG et al; meanwhile we have Australia's lowest paid teachers and ambos.

What on earth is PBR going to do with $4.4 million in terms of upgrading infrastructure and enhancing safety?

 
Henry Chief Commissioner

Location: Victoria

What the... Shocked

 
chriss Train Controller

Probably because they are in the top 10 tourist destinations in Victoria and because they put in a winning submission.

Iain

- Iain



According to the RACV survey conducted a number of years ago they did not make the top ten.

The list can be found at this link http://www.101victoria.com.au/must-do/

Chriss

 
J516 Locomotive Driver

Location: Victoria

Awesome news for Australia's favorite steam engine. I'm really looking forward to a trip on a proper ballast formation, concrete sleepers and 60kg CWR! Alas no more clickety clack sounds but on the plus side will get improved safety and less maintenance issues......

Does Belgrave really need a new hands-on rail museum or perhaps a new penguin exhibit in the water tank?!

Money better spent helping homeless people or families less fortunate in my opinion.

 
T411 - Moderator Moderator

Location: Somewhere

PBR has received god knows how many millions over the past several years.

The $4.5m could have made a hell of a difference being spread around all the other tourist railways. Spread other 3 to 5 of the other TR's, it would make a massive improvement all round. It would probably also help puff indirectly as they would possibly pick up the contracts for the work involved.

 
Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned

Without knowing the inner machinations, I'm guessing Yarra Valley did, as did DSCR and I'm pretty sure they got bugger-all:

PE talking about the onerous conditions for funding

This isn't helped by the loss of $40,000 p.a. by not running to Bullarto and DSCR having to commit $50,000 as matching funding to the current grant applications to get trains back to Bullarto

- PE, in that thread



Imagine what even 1/10th of that money would do for them?

 
x42 Locomotive Driver

Location: NSW

Restore throught to Carlsruhe ?

 
warzy7 Chief Train Controller

lets remember this is over 4 years...


enhance railway saftey .... hmm could this include belgrave & lakeside improvements

 
VRfan - Moderator Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p

Does anybody know exactly what the $4.4 million is being spent on?

 
msilsby Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Does anybody know exactly what the $4.4 million is being spent on?

- VRfan



Consultants reports on what to do with $4.4 million?

 
xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong

Does anybody know exactly what the $4.4 million is being spent on?

- VRfan


As a PBR member, I received an email this morning at 0934hrs regarding this issue. The email states:


Following yesterday's Victorian Government budget announcement, we released the following media statement:

PUFFING BILLY $4.4 MILLION OVER FOUR YEARS

The Victorian Government today announced funding of $4.4 million for Puffing Billy Railway to upgrade priority railway infrastructure and enhance rail safety over the next four years.

Eamonn Seddon, CEO of Puffing Billy Railway said, "It's a good start for the Railway. We recognise the challenges faced by the Victorian Government during the budget process and this funding will allow the Railway to make a start on its infrastructure upgrade.

Whilst no capital funding has been provided for the long term sustainability of the Railway, we look forward to working with both the Tourism Minister and Tourism Victoria in shaping the future capital works program for the Railway".
- PBR
 
Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

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 "BUT…"

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 "… a good start…" & "…whilst no capital funding has been provided…". 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.

 
VRfan - Moderator Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p

Puffing Billy is a major tourist attraction, they bring in plenty of money to the state and I think most people here are generally supportive of funding for the railway. However, in my personal opinion (not linked to any groups I'm involved with), this needs to be balanced with fair funding of other railways.

There are many essential tourist railway projects out there which would cost a fraction of what Puffing Billy have recieved, yet remain unfunded. Why not a pot of $4.4 million in the budget for tourist railways with $3 million to puff and the rest ($1.4 million) to be spread around the other railways? I would see this as fair given that Puff are a major attraction for the state while the others are attractions for local regions. I'm sure most groups could do a lot with ~$200 grand each

As for the CEO's quote, that just rubs salt into the wound to all the other volunteers around the state who put in the hard yards preserving our important railway heritage. $4.4 million would be much more than "a good start" for any other group, so as I said before, I would be interested to know the breakdown of what the funding will be used for, not just some vague statement.

 
Valvegear Minister for Railways

Location: Norda Fittazroy

Is it a pre-requisite for a CEO that he/she should be sadly deficient in Public Relations skills? 

My immediate reaction when I read that 4.4 million is "a good start" was to be dumbfounded at the insensitivity of it.  I'm afraid if I were the State Treasurer, that would be the last that PBR would get out of me.

 
J516 Locomotive Driver

Location: Victoria

Finally worked it out. I think the PBR CEO forgot to mention that the money was going towards a whopping big wooden roller coaster!! My only problem with this is where in hell is the circus going to fit??

I'm confused is PBR a volunteer organisation in need of assisting funds or a private company through incompetence needing gov. charity? Gov organisations/reports I can understand ie penguins/zoos etc. Is PBR under Gov guise using volunteer/paid labour forces? Then again can one volunteer for penguins? Arr so many 1st world problems in the gunzel fraternity!

 
Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic

Don't forget that the PBR fabric changed in a major fashion in 1977 when the ETRB was formed as the instrument for the railway to operate. A semi government body and certainly not a private company. The PBPS and it's volunteer workforce still exists to support the function of the ETRB but it's a subtle point that can't be ignored. In essence, alll the other TR's in the state are in the position that PBR was prior to 1977.

 
sthyer Deputy Commissioner

I have no issue with PBR getting a bit pot of money. If they've done the hard yards, put in the submissions, demonstrated the real need for the dollars and talked to the right people, then they deserve the money. Building submissions isn't easy work and is something that is often underestimated. It is possible that if the money is split between all organisations, then no organisation will have the money to properly complete their nominated task and you'll end up with a bunch of unfinished projects which makes the whole sector look bad and incompetent.

I know that a many other heritage groups have done some very hard yards to get funding and will be feeling quite put out that PBR has received a big chunk of cash. But hopefully their work will pay off in the not too distant future and they'll get their funding as well. The other side of the coin is some groups have received funding for projects and never completed them. Governments don't like handing out money if they can't brag about it later, these unfinished projects aren't forgotten about by the politicians and can disadvantage groups and the whole industry later on.

Given the tight budget, any funding in the sector has got to be seen as a good thing. Hopefully PBR can demonstrate that the money is well spent and the flow on will assist everyone.

 
Valvegear Minister for Railways

Location: Norda Fittazroy

Well, sthyer, I suppose there's no harm in living in hope.

 

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