North-east rail stories
28 March 2018
Ms Ryan - My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Public Transport, which I am sure will be no surprise to her. The action I seek is that she ride the Albury V/Line train with me and also Madeline Roff. I have made a commitment that I will raise the problems on the north-east line every single week in this house until the minister comes good on her promise to buy new trains for the north-east line. I note today that she stood up in this house and tried to take credit for the $235 million invested by Darren Chester and Michael McCormack into that line, but the reality is that she has delivered zero dollars for the north-east line. She has backtracked on her commitment to buy new trains, and tonight I wish to tell the story of Maddy. Maddy wrote to me and said:
For the last 10 years I have had to travel down regularly on the train for medical appointments. Regular for me can range anywhere from twice a week to once a month or even three months. Over the years, more so the last three years, I have noticed the Albury to Melbourne train going from bad to worse.
I have definitely experienced my fair share of bad experiences, some including trains not running on time, trains being replaced by buses, no buffet service et cetera. On one occasion I had to catch the Shepparton train to Seymour and then the bus to Benalla.
There was also another occasion when I was catching the train from Benalla to Melbourne and someone jumped out of the train, and the train came to an immediate stop somewhere near Sunshine. I guess the biggest problem I had with this is that we were stuck stranded for a minimum of 2 hours waiting for emergency services to allow us to get off the train with the use of ladders as we were nowhere near a train station with a platform, but also due to waiting for buses in a train carriage that was extremely stuffy. This incident made me only an hour and 45 minutes late for my medical appointment.
But by far the worst experience I have is when the air conditioning isn't working on the train. On one occasion I had to move from the carriage I was sitting in to another carriage due to the air conditioning not working at all … this occurred during summer on a day when the temperature was in the high 30s … for some people it may be tolerable. But in my case I have a condition that affects my autonomic nervous system in which one of the problems causes blood pressure problems that are made severely worse by heat. There was an actual occasion this year that due to the temperature in the carriage I became quite ill, and had to actually have Mum get me some Powerade … and lay down on my back on a section of the train that contained three seats with my feet up against the window to regulate my blood pressure… As well as taking medication to control my nausea, I also had to take one of my blood pressure meds to help control my heart rate due to the tachycardia problems my condition also causes.
Minister, this is not good enough, and you need to provide answers to people like Maddy.