There’s an unspoken assumption that country trains have become less frequent and fewer over the years.
In one sense they have with the closure of branch lines, but actually, they seem to be no less frequent than they once were.
When I was writing about my ride out to Baarmutha earlier this week I happened across a 1905 Bradshaw’s, and the first thing that strikes you is how few trains there were
By 1905 the gold was running out and Beechworth had begun to fade from being one of the most important towns in north east Victoria to a sleepy country town,
But things were not much better twenty five years earlier in 1880, five years after the railway came to Beechworth when it was a place of some importance
Basically, two trains a day was your lot.
Nowadays, despite having to catch a V/Line coach for the leg to Wangaratta we have three services to Melbourne.
(Actually we have more – there’s a mid morning coach that goes all the way to Seymour to connect with a train from Shepparton to the city, and while no one admits to this, if you can get someone to drive you to Wangaratta – there’s no convenient V/Line bus – you can catch the late afternoon New South Wales Trainlink Sydney Melbourne train. V/Line used to list the NSW train on their timetables but now ignore its existence.)
So, we actually have more (and faster) trains than we did at the start of the twentieth century.
It is actually possible to go to the city and back in a day (we’ve done it) even though it makes for a very long day…