Tuesday, 8 March 2016

All but two daily Gippsland train services will be back on the tracks in the next two weeks.

Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, announced today that work to reduce wheel wear, accelerate maintenance and fix boom-gate detection issues had been more effective and efficient than anticipated.

As a result, 43 of the current 64 coach replacement services across the entire V/Line network will become trains again on 21 March 2016, returning more than 5,000 regional passengers to rail services.

A total of 24 daily train services will be returned to the Gippsland line in the next fortnight, leaving just two of the 36 daily services will continue to run as coaches – the 11:20am Southern Cross to Traralgon service and 4:15pm Traralgon to Southern Cross service.

These coach replacement services will remain free for passengers, while V/Line and PTV continue to work round the clock to restore all rail services to the line.

Services will also be restored on the Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo corridors, meaning that in two weeks’ time, 93 per cent of all V/Line train services will be back up and running around the state.

The faster than anticipated restoration of these services is part of Stage 1 of the Andrews Labor Government’s Service Restoration Plan. Stage 2 will see even more trains returning to service, with full restoration of the timetable expected by the middle of the year.

The final Institute of Railway Technology report into the cause of the faster than normal wheel wear, along with the review of the operational capacity of V/Line, are due for completion later this month.

In addition, from 21 March, there will be minor changes to Gippsland Night Network coach arrival times, to better reflect lighter traffic conditions overnight.

This means Night Coach “express” will arrive in Traralgon 30 minutes earlier at 4:20am, while the “stopping” Night Coach arrives in Traralgon 25 minutes earlier at 4:50am.

For updated timetables and to plan your journey visit, download the PTV app or call 1800 800 007.

Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing:

“In the next two weeks, 95 per cent of Gippsland services will operate as trains, returning nearly 2,500 passengers to rail services.

“Gippsland line passengers have been more than patient during what has clearly been a difficult time for local commuters, and even with the extra peak services that have operated during this time, the progress to return services will make a real difference.  While this is a big improvement, we will keep working day and night until every train is back up and running on the line.

“Currently 26 services are running as coaches on the Gippsland line – but in two weeks there’ll be just two, and by the middle of the year we expect all services to be back on the tracks.

“These problems are not completely fixed, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, which is welcome news for Gippslanders.”