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A MARYBOROUGH group wants action on a vital community service which it fears is under-resourced and underused.
The town's rail services are on the radar of newly formed Maryborough Rail Alliance.
The alliance is advocating for both government and community support for core train services on the line.
It comes 10 years after the restoration of passenger services to the town.
The group wants to encourage the community to use the existing services, to promote the opportunities.
Convenor Chris Meddows-Taylor said rail services were important to get people into Melbourne, with driving costly, sometimes "hair-raising" and often not suitable for older community members.
Mr Meddows-Taylor said parts of Maryborough's train system were working well, but there were not enough core services.
He said services were underused, partly because the times were a bit too inflexible.
Two trains leave Maryborough for Melbourne via Ballarat each day, one at 7.08am, the other at 2.44pm. One train runs on weekends.
From Melbourne to Maryborough two train services run each day.
A number of buses also service the community.
It might mean a mid-morning service to Melbourne, or a mid-evening returning service, Mr Meddows-Taylor said.
He said weekend services were also among the emerging priorities, to encourage tourism in the region.
Mr Meddows-Taylor said the group wanted to encourage people in the community to value what they have, and use the rail services.
"People appreciate the services but they are being underutilised. And we know that and the community knows that," he said.
"Let's say to the government, we really value what we have, we know we want to preserve it, we know we've got to try and boost patronage, because it falls short."
President of the Rail Revival Alliance Victoria Noel Laidlaw said the Maryborough group had formed to advocate for rail services, to represent views of users on the line.
Mr Laidlaw said the group wanted to work with V/Line to promote the whole service.
He said train transport was important for students, young people, retirees, in what is one of Australia's most disadvantaged communities.
"It gives that connectivity for the community. That's what it's all about," Mr Laidlaw said.
"We want to see more people locally using the trains and the best day to do it is get them working exactly as the community wants them."
A spokesperson said the Department of Transport continually monitored all rail services across the network.
The spokesperson said 10 new weekday off-peak services were introduced in January 2017.
This article first appeared on www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au
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