Overland train service to continue until March 31

The Overland will continue operating until the end of March 2020, thanks to the Victorian government. Photo: Journey Beyond Rail.
The Overland will continue operating until the end of March 2020, thanks to the Victorian government. Photo: Journey Beyond Rail.

The Overland train service from Adelaide to Melbourne, which stops in Murray Bridge, will continue for at least three more months.

The Victorian government agreed to continue its subsidy to the service on December 27, only days before the 135-year-old train was to have left the station for the last time.

Journey Beyond Rail is now taking bookings for trips between now and the end of March, and is even offering special fares to those who book before January 10 in an effort to increase passenger numbers.

The train's operator would continue talks with the Victorian government about the Overland's future operations, it said in a Facebook post.

A spokesman told Australian Community Media (ACM) the Victorian government had offered to extend the Overland train until the end of March "to give holidaymakers certainty".

"Given the South Australian Liberal government's cut to the service, Victoria will use the next three months to continue discussions with Journey Beyond about the future of the Overland," he said.

"This gives the South Australian Liberal Government three months to reassess its cut in funding for the service, which is primarily used by South Australians."

South Australian Opposition Leader Peter Malinauskas urged Premier Steven Marshall to sit down with his Victorian counterpart and agree on a long-term deal.

"We shouldn't have to rely on the Victorian state government to fund a train service which operates in South Australia," he said.

"The thousands of South Australians who use the Overland deserve certainty."

But a spokesman said the South Australian government remained disinterested in subsidising a train whose patronage had plummeted as passengers chose cheaper, faster and more convenient services.

"The Overland is a privately owned and operated tourism service and therefore its continuity is a matter for Journey Beyond," he said.

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