Wangaratta Chronicle

V/line rail punctualit­y goes from bad to worse

▋ Train pain falls mainly on North East: 48.3% services on time

- BY STEVE KELLY skelly@ nemedia.com.au

THE protection of passenger safety and comfort, along with vandalism, have been cited as two of the reasons why V/line trains services were well below scratch on the Albury line last month.

A five-month slide of unpunctual trains continued with services only arriving on time 48.3 per cent of the time in July, while reliabilit­y fell slightly short of the benchmark due to copper wire theft and train and track faults forcing the cancellati­on of services.

The poor track condition at several points of the Albury line journey continues, under V/line speed restrictio­n policy, to force trains to travel at low speeds.

But V/line reemphasis­ed the $235 million track upgrade by the Australian Rail Track Corporatio­n to fix current issues is due for completion in 2021.

A V/line spokespers­on said its priority is supporting the North East Line Upgrade, which will improve the condition of the Albury line and enable V/line trains to run up to 130kmh.

“We understand that delays are very frustratin­g and we would like to thank passengers for their patience while we continue to work closely with the ARTC to try and improve performanc­e on the Albury line,” he said.

The upgrade of the line is scheduled to be completed by 2021, providing a minimum Class 2 Victorian track standard.

V/line - which is not responsibl­e for the line’s management - reports that it is continuing to look for any changes it can make operationa­lly to improve the experience for its passengers.

V/line services statewide were delivered 89.8 per cent of services on time during July, with improvemen­ts headed up by results on the Geelong and Ballarat lines.

Department Head of Transport Services, Jeroen Weimar, said Geelong and Ballarat recorded large improvemen­ts, increasing line punctualit­y from 90.9 to 91.6 per cent and 88.3 to 93 per cent respective­ly.

The regional operator also exceeded its 96 per cent reliabilit­y target by delivering 97.5 per cent of scheduled services overall.

“This fantastic result is a testament to V/line’s focus on maintenanc­e and changes in how they manage platform passenger movements on platforms and respond to incidents,” Mr Weimar said.

“Ultimately this means less delays and a more reliable service for passengers across regional Victoria.

“V/line is committed to delivering better services while also carrying more passengers across regional Victoria every day.”

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