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.
A fire truck has lost two of its back wheels on the Goulburn Valley Highway
The Ovens & Murray qualifying final between Yarrawonga and Lavington on Saturday left spectators talking more about the standard of umpiring than the two competing teams.
Greater Shepparton City Council was successful in securing the National Cutting Horse Association Victorian Futurity Cutting Horse Championships for 2014 and 2015, with this year’s event scheduled from September 10-14 at Tatura Park.
Police Association slams secret roster trial.
District hotels and businesses may change rosters with penalty rates for casual employees on Sundays set to be cut.
Students visit local businesses for reading lessons
Bottle thrown at Jason Cole in bitter aftermath to Seymour-Benalla game on Saturday.
A truck driver is lucky to be alive after crashing into a Jerilderie home yesterday morning.
Chef and co-owner of Heathcote’s Willow Room Brent Loam is thrilled with the listing in the 2015 Age Good Food Guide
Cobram kids learn about health with hospital as state-wide obesity campaign is launched.
TRUCKtalk magazine all the rage with local truck drivers.
A few anxious customers were outside the closed gates of the failed Bee-Jay Machinery business on Goulburn Valley Hwy in Shepparton on Tuesday morning, wondering what would become of deposits they had paid for tractors and other machinery.
An unknown sum of money was stolen from Benalla Golf Club this morning after thieves broke into its gaming room.
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