Mayors Kevin Mack and Heather Wilton support Wagga to Albury commuter train concept

ON THE RIGHT TRACK: Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton says a feasibility study should be conducted for an Albury to Wagga commuter train project.

ON THE RIGHT TRACK: Greater Hume mayor Heather Wilton says a feasibility study should be conducted for an Albury to Wagga commuter train project.

ALBURY mayor Kevin Mack and Greater Hume counterpart Heather Wilton have thrown their support behind a proposed commuter train service between the Border and Wagga.

Wagga councillor Vanessa Keenan’s concept would see a rail link between the cities, allowing workers, students and patients to easily move between them.

Cr Mack said any additional public transport would be welcomed, but it needed a strong business case to get off the ground.

“I think it would work, there’s a large percentage of people who travel between Albury and Wagga,” he said.

“It would be interesting to see the actual numbers to give an idea of what passenger usage would look like – perhaps a bus would be a better start.

“But Cr Keenan’s intentions are certainly honourable and as the chair of RAMROC any public transport that allows people to travel between locations is a bonus.”

Cr Wilton said the proposal deserved a feasibility study.

“There’s quite a bit of traffic (on the Olympic Highway) heading both north and south in the mornings and evenings,” Cr Wilton said.

“I’m sure people would use a commuter train but it would need to be considered in light of cost and convenience.

“We’re also seeing growth in towns like Culcairn and Henty where people don’t want to live in the middle of a city but want the affordability and livability of our shire.”

Under the proposal, a priority shuttle would allow commuters to live in one city and work normal hours in the other.

“It’s safe to say there’s an appetite in the community for this plan,” Cr Keenan said.

“I’ve already heard from several businesses that would use it to expand from Wagga to Albury and vice versa, using the strengths we have in the region rather than continually looking to capital cities.”

Almost a quarter of poll respondents on The Border Mail and Daily Advertiser websites said they would use the service daily, while about 30 per cent said they would use it once or twice a month.

Among those who would benefit was dance student Hayden Perkins, who lived in Wodonga but frequently travelled home to Wagga for work.

“It would create opportunities for people to get jobs in other places that may not be available where they live,” he said.