News

Train punctuality off track

By Benalla Ensign

The issues that have plagued the north-east line for years are still causing commuter chaos, with almost half of all trains arriving late last month.

A massive 46.6 per cent of services were found to be running 11 or more minutes behind schedule in April.

Last month’s shocking punctuality data comes after the line recorded its worst performance in more than five years during March.

Shadow Minister for Regional Public Transport and Member for Euroa Steph Ryan said the results were a damning indictment of the Victorian Government’s ‘‘refusal to buy new trains for the line’’.

‘‘The results coincide with the two-year anniversary of Daniel Andrews telling our communities that ‘the moment the Federal Government makes a commitment to fix the track, I’ll be more than happy to be on the phone to the Prime Minister giving him my word and our government’s commitment that we’ll be good for the rolling stock investment that will be needed’,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘While the federal Nationals are investing $235million into improving the track, the Andrews Government still hasn’t purchased new trains.

‘‘For three years Labor has been designing new long-haul trains while our service gets worse and the trains on our line continue to break down.’’

In 2016 Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan stated that the government would ‘‘seek feedback in the coming months on what features local passengers would like to see in these new trains, such as buffet cars and luggage and bike facilities’’.

‘‘However last week, in response to questions asked by (me) in parliament, Ms Allan was unable to answer questions about the design of the trains,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘When pressed on the design of these new trains, Jacinta Allan could only say that design works are ongoing.

‘‘Labor’s promise for new trains is about as real as the emperor’s new clothes. After spending more than three years designing them, they can’t even answer basic questions about what that design looks like.’’

Ms Ryan said the Victorian Government had an opportunity to come good on its promise to buy new trains by allocating money in this year’s state budget.

Commuters are eligible to a free day-return V/Line ticket as compensation for the line failing to meet performance targets.

Forms for compensation are online at www.vline.com.au/About-V-Line/Additional-pages/Compensation or can be obtained by phoning Steph Ryan’s office on 57621600.