Next time you are travelling by rail in Victoria, keep a look out for the new Rainbow Pride train. V/Line unveiled possibly Australia’s first regional Rainbow Pride train, when the train set off on its journey from Melbourne’s Southern Cross station on March 9, 2021.

The rake, that sports rainbow colours with  ‘PRIDE’ emblazoned on it, will run like a regular train and will carry passengers on various regional routes in the state, including Geelong, Ballarat, Ararat, Maryborough, Bendigo, Echuca and Traralgon. 

 V/Line, which launched the train coinciding with wrapping up of ChillOut Festival. In a tweet, Minister for Public Transport Ben Carroll said that the launch of the train marks its “our commitment to connecting, supporting and growing diverse communities, reminding communities that all Victorians should feel safe or welcome whether they travel or work with V/Line”. In November 2020, V/Line had launched an indigenous train. 

“We will always work hard to support communities to be a place where everyone is welcome – no matter who you are. This latest diversity initiative from V/Line is just one of many activities underway and will be a visual reminder to people that everyone deserves to live their life safely and with pride,” Minister Carroll said in a statement. 

The Equality Train

Minister for Equality Martin Foley said that the train was a “a wonderful reminder that Victoria celebrates diversity, and that LGBTIQ+ Victorians have a right to express pride in who they are.” 

 Commissioner for LGBTIQ+ Communities Ro Allen welcomed the colour that the train will bring to communities. “For years the Victorian government has had the LGBTI rural and regional Equality Roadshow. Soon to be followed by the Rainbow Ready Roadmap. I think it’s fabulous that rail has joined in as well with this rainbow train,” said Ro Allen. 

The Daniel Andrews government has positioned the launch of the train train as part of its support for Victoria’s LGBTQI communities. Last year, the Victorian budget had earmarked  $1 million in funding for the LGBTIQ+ Community Grants program and a further $2 million for LGBTIQ+ organisations that had been hard hit by the pandemic. In February, the government fulfilled its promise to the community by bringing in a law to ban gay conversion practices in the state. 

The train’s announcement sparked some hate messages on social media, with one person claiming it was “offensive to every normal Australian”, perhaps underscoring the importance of the train.

The Rainbow Pride train received enthusiastic response from others. Jay Morrison from the Ballarat Frolic Festival asked V/Line on Twitter if the Rainbow Pride train could make a special trip to Ballarat for the festival scheduled from June 11 to June 13, 2021.

Earlier this month, KiwiRail had run a special train from Auckland to coincide with the Wellington Pride Festival. Victoria’s regional Rainbow Pride train will, however, undertake operate like a regular train on its network, ensuring that  the message of equality and inclusion and visibility for the community, travels across the state.

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