VICTORIAN Transport Minister Peter Batchelor announced a A$2·4m refurbishment of the Adelaide - Melbourne Overland on February 28. New seating will be installed and the cafe and lounge cars modernised by early 2007.

Joint funding has been agreed with Great Southern Railway and the South Australian government for the work, which the minister said will ’really bring the train into the 21st century and help ensure a new generation of passengers are attracted to the train for its comfort and aesthetics.’ Great Southern Railway CEO Tony Braxton-Smith said the refurbishment plans were inspired by GNER’s refurbishment of trains on Britain’s East Coast Main Line (RG 11.03 p698).

Following market research, times for the Overland have been altered. Trains now leave Adelaide at 07.25on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and Melbourne at 07.35 the following day. This replaces an overnight schedule for the westbound train, which required passengers in western Victoria to board and alight in the middle of the night.

Once the work is completed, GSR plans to market a range of holiday packages based around the revamped service.