Barongarook’s Donald Walker says a steam train’s trip through Colac has showcased a potential tourist attraction which would bring people to the region.
Mr Walker commended Warrnambool’s Eddie White’s initiative to charter a steam train from Melbourne to Warrnambool.
He said that an “amazing” number of people visited the station to view the R711 Steam Locomotive, which was 67 years old, with vintage carriages as it made its way to Warrnambool.
Mr Walker, who is an architect, said that Colac’s station was equipped with the resources to accommodate steam locomotives with a turntable close to the station.
“It should be remembered that Colac is one of the very few cities in Victoria that has a turntable for steam locomotives nearby to the station when returning to Melbourne.
“As well, passengers can spend more time in Colac, rather than just stay for five minutes on the platform and head off to Warrnambool.
“The tourism potential is replete; buses taking passengers to wineries, nearby smaller towns, the Otway Ranges and coastline, Johanna, Aire River and Cape Otway Lighthouse.
“It can be done in a day, leaving Melbourne at 8am arrive at 10am at Colac, leave Colac at 4pm or 5pm returning to Melbourne in two hours.
“There are many mid-19th century homesteads in the Colac region that are of interest to people; Australians and the international tourists.
“Most importantly Colac is located in the heart of Western Victoria and holds an amazing coastline, only 40 minutes away.”
Mr Walker said that the Colac station needed upgrades and had the potential to be restored to its former glory and a new tourist attraction.
“The updating of the station’s toilets and waiting room a few years ago was a good start given that the building had been left to slowly fall into a near shamble, while the original Station Café was forgotten, closed in the early ’70s.
“However, restoring the east end of the main station building or the nearby shed could work as a café, opposite COPACC, a link with the station.”
Mr Walker said he believed the station needed better opening hours to accommodate for commuters as trains stopped at the station.
For the full story see today’s Colac Herald.