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Exciting plans to return Junee to its former glory as a hub for all things rail are now in the works.
Junee Shire Council was recently approached by a Rail Futures, an independent group formed to advocate sustainable rail solutions for public transport and freight problems.
Now, in conjunction with the local council, Rail Futures wants to help raise Junee’s profile as a railway town by starting a conversation with communities and businesses all over the region about the mutually beneficial nature of rail.
Mayor Neil Smith said he was very enthusiastic about working with Rail Futures.
“It’s marvellous, these little opportunities that come up, and I guess you can either let them slide or you can make the most of them,” Cr Smith said.
“Rail Futures want to produce a high-quality discussion paper at no cost, which is a great way to kick off discussions up and and down the southern line between any communities and business chambers who might benefit from improved rail.”
You couldn't play cricket anywhere the day the announcement was made - the town was absolutely flabbergasted.
With Junee’s critical position at the halfway point on the line between Sydney and Melbourne, there certainly is a lot of scope to expand the town’s role in both freight and passenger services.
Former mayor Lola Cummins recalled the devastation the entire community felt when the Railway Workshop closed down in 1993.
“Council fought tooth and nail to keep the facilities that we had, but unfortunately, with the downsizing of the railway, the final blow came when they closed the Railway Workshop,” Ms Cummins said.
“In a town of 4000 people, that was over 400 jobs lost overall with the railway – it's a greater impact per head for the population than BHP closing in Newcastle.
“You couldn't play cricket anywhere the day the announcement was made – the town was absolutely flabbergasted.”
With the council resolving to support Rail Futures in Tuesday’s meeting, more discussion should follow soon.
This article first appeared on www.juneesoutherncross.com.au
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