Did you know, Australia’s first steam trains ran from Flinders Street to Port Melbourne in 1854. Since that day, railways have played a key role in Victorian transport. Furthermore, they have carried City commuters, farmers’ produce, parcels and tourists. Importantly, they have provided jobs for thousands of Victorians over the centuries. That is pretty impressive. You could say they are a blessing.
Here at Gold Age Australia, we know that some of our elderly gentlemen have a keen interest in trains. That is why we have created a Package set around the subject. What’s more, we know how important it is for them to have hobbies. Otherwise they might become bored and sedentary. If you are caring for an elderly train aficionado, here are some interesting facts about trains.
Firstly, constructing Victoria’s railway system was an expensive investment. Furthermore it is an ever ongoing project. As the population grows and expands more and more networks are necessary. The development of new suburbs means carrying people in ever-growing numbers.
Between 1854 and 1864, the government invested £9 million to build 409 km of railway. This money mainly came from the wealth generated by the goldfields. Meanwhile private railway companies invested another £1.8 million. Further, by 1891 the railway system had expanded to 4,670 km. Following on, in 1931 it had grown to 7,565 km and cost almost £50 million.
As a result, in 1931 every Town in Victoria with a population of over 500 people had its own railway station. The railways linked rural communities and enabled the expansion of metropolitan Melbourne. However, since the Second World War poorly patronised and nonpaying branch lines have closed down.
However, on the positive side, new investments have taken place. Namely the standard gauge links to Sydney and Adelaide and the Melbourne underground loops. Today, they continue to provide a reasonably priced form of transport for everyone. Especially for people who cannot afford cars or who live in remote locations.
Train travel presents many benefits. For instance, they allow people to connect with each other socially. Without trains, elderly people would be much less likely to go between the city and the countryside or interstate. This might mean that some families would not see each other so frequently.
In particular, where the elderly are concerned, train travel is economical and easy. They do not have to drive cars and suffer the stress. No matter what their age they can travel by train comfortably. Furthermore, if they are disabled train travel is ideal for them. The costs are reasonable and they are given every assistance. They need never miss out on anything.
Also, because trains can carry large numbers of people they are good for the environment. That means less air pollution and less traffic congestion on the roads. Furthermore, trains allow people to choose their employment opportunities more extendibly. Many people would have to work closer to home without trains. Also, they do not break down often like buses can. And they are not hindered by competing with traffic.
In the beginning, trains offered first and economy class fares. But this was changed in 1958. Single class travel was introduced on suburban trains. However, country and interstate trains continued with the old system. For instance the Spirit of Progress and the Overland started to offer a variety of services. These included sleeper cars, air conditioning, dining services and bathrooms.
However, as you know, we cannot stop progress. From the 1970s onwards motorcars began to encroach on train travel. Unfortunately this resulted in a decline in passenger numbers. However, the good news is that trains will never go out of fashion. As the population continues to increase, workers, the elderly and students alike need train services. With their ease of use and rapidity of delivery they will always be necessary. And that is a happy conclusion for all the people of Victoria.
We hope you enjoyed part one of our series on trains. Keep a watchful eye out for our next blog. In part two, we will discuss the many different types of trains, and the beauty of each one. Until then, dear reader, from our extended family here at Gold Age Australia, we send you our warmest best wishes. We wish you ‘Bon voyage’, and many, happy family holidays with your elderly loved ones. Goodbye for now.
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