This year's News April Fools' gag featured a story to fix Shepparton's public transport woes by returning to tried and tested methods.April 1, 2014 1:20pm
To ease Shepparton’s rail transport problems, V/Line and the Victorian Government have endorsed a plan to run a paddle-steamer service to Lake Nagambie, linking with an air balloon ‘‘blimp’’ flight to Melbourne.
Department of Transport rail project co-ordinator Casey Jones said the plan would involve leasing the PS Melbourne that operates as a tourism boat on the Murray River at Mildura.
Mr Jones said the five-hour river boat journey to Nagambie would provide a relaxing start to the journey.
‘‘A scenic river journey would be the perfect start to any business trip to Melbourne,’’ Mr Jones said.
The PS Melbourne was originally built for the Victorian Government as a work vessel and launched at Koondrook on the Murray in 1912.
It was rebuilt in 1965 for use as a tourism boat.
Mr Jones said fuel for the steamer’s wood-fired boiler could provide much-needed employment for out-of-work timber cutters.
‘‘Shepparton is a dynamic regional business centre which needs fast, reliable connections to the centre of Melbourne. We believe this bold plan will help alleviate the city’s transport problems and place it firmly at the heart of the 19th century economy,’’ Mr Jones said.
A ‘‘blimp’’ leased from California-based airship builder Zeppline would then fly passengers to central Melbourne, possibly using Albert Park Lake as a landing destination.
Zeppline pilot James Bigglesworth said airship flight safety had improved immeasurably since the disastrous 1937 flight of the Hindenburg.
‘‘Business class passengers can relax with a German continental breakfast and full wi-fi connections during their two-hour flight to Melbourne,’’ Mr Bigglesworth said.
City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Jenny Houlihan welcomed the plan.
‘‘It’s good to hear at last they are taking notice of points we’ve been making for years about our poor train service,’’ Cr Houlihan said.
‘‘It could actually be a better service than the one we have now.’’
Mr Jones said funding and lease agreements were planned to be in place by April 1 next year.
* The following gag article was included as part of The News' April Fools' Day coverage.
The Bureau of Meteorology has released a severe weather warning for regions that include Shepparton. It includes damaging winds and the potential for flash flooding.
Pete O’Neill and Abby Hicks are national champions at the completion of the 2015 Australian Barefoot Championships held last week.
GVAC women Rachel Pratt and Jacquie Fitzpatrick showed the men, and the large crowd at Rushworth Speedway on Saturday, March 28, they have what it takes when competing in the men’s classes.
Two international backpackers have taken aim at contractors who hired them to pick fruit in the region without payment.
Rochester boxing coach Chris Trewin and his team of dedicated trainers have been hitting the bag for more than six months and the results are beginning to show.
Local MP calls for community applications
A special event will take place at Pioneer Park on Sunday.
Jerilderie's born and bred Madeleine Harris has been recognised for her banking and finance career
Concerned Costerfield residents had the chance to voice their antimony health concerns last week after an independent facilitator was appointed.
Strathmerton clinched a win in the high-scoring game against Mathoura on the weekend in the PDFL North West competition.
Deniliquin swimming dynamo Stephen Dalzell has finished 13th overall in his preferred event at the Australian Age Championships.
Murray Goulburn Co-operative has set a date for a special meeting to vote on a new capital structure.
Emergency services are on scene of a two-car crash on the Midland Hwy, near Benalla. Two people have died. Traffic is being diverted.
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