THE BELLARINE Railway is preparing to welcome a tasty new venture on to its tracks in a predicted multi-million dollar boost to the local economy.
The six-carriage Q Train has been designed to offer cas¬ual gourmet dining and drinks on the existing 16km line from Drysdale to Queenscliff, with refurbishments in the final stages ahead of a proposed August start date.
Q Train director Andrew Bridger said the concept was a family affair and had been years in the making, noting that the volunteer railway needed to have “hero showcase products” to survive.
“The Blues Train is certainly (one of those) and ours will equal it in its success,” Mr Bridger said.
“We’ve got lots of nice views along the Bellarine Railway, so we’ll just move the train from one place to another, park it there and take in the serenity.”
Operated by Total Quality Solutions, the project has been moving full steam ahead since November last year following the opportunity to buy six of the large carriages from Queensland.
The moving restaurant will offer customers a multi-course degustation menu, which will be cooked on board the train, along with fully stocked bars and the freedom to walk between carriages.
When the service is fully operational at 4-5 days per week, Mr Bridger estimated that the six-figure sum investment could create 25 direct jobs and generate in excess of $20 million per annum.
Bellarine Railway president David Price said the Drysdale-based Q Train would be “complementary” to existing services such as the Blues Train, which it would cross on evenings when both were running.
“Contractual details are in the final stages as the carriages for this service approach certification and readiness for traffic,” Mr Price said.
“The Bellarine Railway looks forward to the success of this venture which will add to the visitor experiences available in the Greater Geelong and Bellarine region.”
Looking at the idea’s wider potential, Tourism Geelong and The Bellarine chief Roger Grant said any opportunity that gave people a reason to visit the peninsula was a positive.
“Let’s face it — we are a food and wine destination and this would very much complement that,” Mr Grant said.
This article was originally published in the Bellarine and Surf Coast Echo June 15 2017