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.
Nathalia Football Club players saved a 60-year-old man after his car went into a creek.
After building his form in a consistent effort during the past 12 months, Mulwala double trap shooter James Willett has staked his claim on possible Olympic gold after taking out the ISSF World Cup last week.
The Aboriginal and wider community is mourning the death of revered Bangerang Aboriginal elder, Uncle John ‘‘Sandy’’ Atkinson.
PALLIATIVE care patients are being comforted by the soft and tranquil sounds of a harp, thanks to a dying woman’s legacy.
ROCHESTER V/Line travellers can now buy tickets in their home town again.
Lions Club charity money was stolen from a Kyabram barbershop Tuesday morning.
Seymour suffers disappointing loss to Euroa
Barooga transport owner-operator Glen Kearney says he is relieved the Federal Government has abolished the Road Safety Remuneration Tribunal.
DESPITE criticism from within the community over a perceived lack of use, the O’Keefe Rail Trail has enjoyed good traffic over the past couple of weeks, with more to come.
he success of the 2015 Barooga Sports Classic Pairs event has made the organisers the worthy recipient of the Berrigan Shire’s Event Management award at the Berrigan Shire Business and Environment Awards.
School fundraises for student with leukaemia.
Australian Dairy Farmers Limited has expressed disappointment at the announcement made by Murray Goulburn Co-operative about their revised opening milk price.
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