CATHY McGowan has used a launch for a book on steam trains to urge action on a bill to reserve land for high speed trains.
The member for Indi was speaking at the Albury unveiling of Steam Australia, a collaboration between former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer and the National Library of Australia.
“(We need to) take the vision of the steam train into what so much of Europe and Japan and China has, with those very, very, very fast trains, the 400 km/h,” Ms McGowan said.
“So if you would join with me in contacting your federal members of parliament and your senators to preserve the corridor.
“It’s setting up an authority is one and the authority then preserves the corridor, so that when we’re ready to go we can actually build that high speed rail – Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Western Australia and all the spaces inbetween.”
Ms McGowan lauded Mr Fischer’s contribution to trains at the launch which occurred in the Link Cafe at Albury’s railway station on Wednesday.
“What you’ve given us...in North East Victoria and southern NSW is a real commitment to public transport that’s trains and it’s thanks to you that indirectly we’ve got the government to agree to $235 million to fix up the very slow train line between Melbourne and here,” Ms McGowan said.
Former Victorian National Party MP Bill Baxter officially launched the 255-page book.
“In usual Fischer style it’s a pretty readable document,” Mr Baxter said.
“It’s got some particularly interesting photographs in it, some really old scenes that I had certainly not seen.”
Many of the pictures are part of the collection of the late John Buckland, a railway fanatic who bequeathed 25,000 photographs of trains from 1930 to 1980, 6200 nitrate negatives, maps and correspondence to the National Library.
Mr Fischer, who was joined by wife Judy Brewer at the launch, said his mother-in-law had made an important contribution to the publication.
“Mary Brewer did the initial editing and she does not miss a missing apostrophe and don’t get her started on conjunctive whatever because she even pulled up Judy just the other day for using ‘was’ when she should have used ‘were’,” he said.
Other guests at the launch included former North East MP David Evans, who travelled by train, fellow history book author Howard Jones and Anglican priest Father Peter MacLeod-Miller.