All Aboard Shepparton is a community led campaign borne out of a long-standing frustration at the inadequate train service provided to the region.
Driven by Suzanna Sheed, Greater Shepparton City Council SheppRails, the Committee for Greater Shepparton and several community representatives, it formed in 2015 to campaign for increased state government funding to achieve faster and more frequent train services.
Through sustained advocacy, $356.5m has since been secured to overhaul the Shepparton Train Line to make it ready for nine return VLocity type services by 2021 and an expected reduced travel time.
But none of this could have been achieved without the enthusiasm and support of the community.
In May 2015, dozens of community members boarded the 6.31am train to Melbourne where they protested on the steps of Parliament House. Many were clad in pyjamas to highlight the inconvenience of such a limited train timetable.
At this time only four services were leaving Shepparton, and three returning to town a day – each with a slated two-and-a-half-hour travel time that would often blow out because of faulty 60-year-old trains and track problems.
It is incredible to see how successful this campaign has been but there’s always more to be done, and All Aboard Shepparton will continue to play a role in advocating for Shepparton District’s transport needs.