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.
Shepparton police are calling for information after a thief walked off in broad daylight with an outboard motor from a boat store.
Mulwala’s own motor racing sensation Steve ‘Harro’ Harrison has won the 2014 Victorian Super Tin Tops Championship.
St Augustines College, Kyabram, has won the inaugural School’s Sustainability Cup for 2014, beating several Melbourne schools.
Campaspe Shire’s council is on the verge of imploding unless it takes ‘‘quick action’’ according to an independent investigation.
Four people, including a father and his two children, were fined more than $18,000 for their role in an alcohol-fuelled brawl at a Lockington party earlier this year which ended in a teenager beaten up and forced into a dog cage.
New faces for Girgarre FNC
A time to include late loved ones in the spirit of the season.
Firefighters were able to save a Finley property's buildings after a large stack of hay bales went up in flames on Monday.
Eppalock Primary School has gone global.
Scout Group hopes to raise funds for World Scout Jamboree through novel 24-hour endurance test.
Deniliquin beat Finley by nine wickets to retain the O'Donnell Shield on Friday last week.
Bungeet farmer, Doug James, lost about 1000 head of sheep in a fire that rapidly burnt through his farm on Tuesday afternoon.
The rail tracks are in such disrepear V/Line is having to close the buffet car between Euroa and Seymour due to health and safety concerns to hospitality staff.
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