MPs’ train runs be­hind sched­ule

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page - By Monique Freer

Fed­eral Mem­ber for Indi Cathy McGowan put her­self in the seat of her con­stituents last week when she trav­elled from Wodonga to Mel­bourne on the V/Line train.

Joined by Fed­eral Mem­ber for Mur­ray Sharman Stone, Ms McGowan’s key fo­cus was the train ser­vices for Wodonga-toMel­bourne and Shep­par­ton-toSey­mour.

Ms McGowan and Dr Stone boarded the V/Line train on Thurs­day morn­ing and spoke to pas­sen­gers and staff along the jour­ney. Feed­back from the pas­sen­gers sug­gested more work had to be done to lift the ser­vice to an ac­cept­able stan­dard.

‘‘There is strong sup­port for the train ser­vice; how­ever, timeli- ness, com­fort and sched­ul­ing are is­sues peo­ple want ad­dressed,’’ Ms McGowan said.

Ar­riv­ing in Mel­bourne 20 min­utes be­hind sched­ule, Ms McGowan met with Pre­mier Daniel An­drews, V/Line chief ex­ec­u­tive Theo Taifa­los, Public Trans­port Min­is­ter Jac­inta Allen’s chief of staff Matt Phelan and Public Trans­port Vic­to­ria chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Wild.

Ms

McGowan

said Pre­mier An­drews was un­der­stand­ing of the is­sues and im­por­tance of a more ef­fi­cient and bet­ter sched­uled set of ser­vices for both lines.

He de­scribed the ser­vices as ‘‘crit­i­cally im­por­tant’’ and was aware of how the ser­vice was re­strict­ing travel for res­i­dents to and from Mel­bourne.

Mr An­drews told Ms McGowan and Dr Stone he was com­mit­ted to com­plet­ing a state rail­way strat­egy, in­clud­ing ru­ral and re­gional in­fra­struc­ture and ser­vices.

Public Trans­port Vic­to­ria chief ex­ec­u­tive Mark Wild told the MPs a draft Re­gional Net­work Devel­op­ment Plan would be with Trans­port Min­siter Jac­inta Al­lan for con­sid­er­a­tion within six months.

Mr Wild also com­mit­ted to for­mu­late a com­mu­nity con­sul­ta­tion process to pro­vide cru­cial in­for­ma­tion with a re­gional per­spec­tive for the draft plan.

In the meet­ing with V/Line chief ex­ec­u­tive Theo Taifa­los, the MPs told him bet­ter com­mu­ni­ca­tion was es­sen­tial for in­form­ing pas­sen­gers what is hap­pen­ing with the daily ser­vice.

Ms McGowan re­turned back to Wan­garatta on Fri­day morn­ing on the train.

There is strong sup­port for the train ser­vice; how­ever, time­li­ness, com­fort and sched­ul­ing are is­sues peo­ple

want ad­dressed.

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