Support for a proposed Wagga to Albury commuter train is gathering steam, with a Daily Advertiser poll drawing hundreds of votes in less than 24 hours.
Wagga councillor Vanessa Keenan’s concept would see a rail link between the cities, allowing workers, students and patients to easily move between them.
“It’s safe to say there’s an appetite in the community for this plan,” Cr Keenan said.
“I’ve already heard from several businesses that would use it to expand from Wagga to Albury and vice versa, using the strengths we have in the region rather than continually looking to capital cities.”
Almost a quarter of poll respondents said they would use the service daily, while about 30 per cent said they would use it once or twice a month.
Among those who would benefit was dance student Hayden Perkins, who lived in Wodonga but frequently travelled home to Wagga for work. He said the train would make his life much easier.
“I think people would benefit from the weekday service, as it would create opportunities for people to get jobs in other places that may not be available where they live,” Mr Perkins said.
“It would also make it easier for people who already travel and save them money and time.”
Greater Hume Shire mayor Heather Wilton said the proposal was an excellent idea that deserved a feasibility study.
“There’s quite a bit of traffic (on the Olympic Highway) heading both north and south in the mornings and evenings,” Cr Wilton said.
“I’m sure people would use a commuter train but it would need to be considered in light of cost and convenience.
“We’re also seeing residential growth in towns like Culcairn and Henty where people don’t want to live in the middle of a city but want the affordability and livability of our shire.”
Albury mayor Kevin Mack said any additional public transport would be welcomed, but it needed a strong business case to get off the ground.
“I think it would work, there’s a large percentage of people who travel between Albury and Wagga,” he said.
“It would be interesting to see the actual numbers to give an idea of what passenger usage would look like – perhaps a bus would be a better start. But Cr Keenan’s intentions are certainly honourable and as the chair of RAMROC any public transport is a bonus.”