North east train line
06 February 2018
My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Public Transport, and the action I seek is that she meet with train travellers in my electorate who are sick to death of being treated as second-class citizens by the minister and the city-centric Andrews government.
In April last year the Premier visited Wangaratta and said that he would buy new trains for the north-east line if the federal government fixed the track. The federal government did that — they invested $140 million — but we are still waiting for any outcome from the Andrews government.
I have some firsthand accounts this evening for the minister. The first is from David Watson from Seymour. The minister might be familiar with him since this correspondence was addressed and sent directly to her. David writes:
I wrote to you on 7 January (copy attached) about the Albury line train service, or lack of it, to which you are yet to reply.
More cancellations today, apparently due to locomotive failure.
Two standard gauge locomotives are required to operate the daily timetable and V/Line has four.
V/Line's pathetic response to a colleague says that three are under repair.
I rather impatiently await your response to my letter and reiterate these three points made in it:
1) I questioned, 'What is going on and what is being done about it?'.
2) I said, 'All pretence must now cease'.
3) I want to hear only from you, not V/Line or PTV.
Susan Edwards from Euroa said:
Visitors from Perth had pre-booked and paid and train was cancelled over Christmas period. We had to drive them to Benalla for connecting train.
Julie Allen, who lives between Violet Town and Bendigo, raised her concerns about the filthy state of the trains, the confusion between Myki and paper tickets and the lack of punctuality. She said:
Santa could not use this train line because it's not reliable. He would miss the date.
The old steam train was more reliable and efficient, and it ran on time.
Laura Ranger from Tallarook uses the Seymour service five days a week to travel to university in Melbourne. On 11 January this year, after a long day of placement, she caught the 4.32 p.m. Shepparton service. She said:
There were no seats available, common for this service in my experience, and the air conditioning had broken down in 34 degree heat. I had to stand, along with 12 other passengers in my carriage alone who stood or sat on the floor. The carriage was crowded and hot, which resulted in sweat literally rolling down my back and legs. I stood from 4.38 p.m. until it arrived at Wallan at 5.29 p.m. This means that I was standing sweating for close to an hour. This is unacceptable and I am saying this as I am a healthy, fit, 21-year-old woman and I found the amount of standing in the heat difficult after a long day. What about some of the other commuters forced to stand, who are older and less able?
The air conditioning fault on that train still has not been fixed because just 2 hours ago I received an email from Leeanne Moran, who caught the same service. She said:
Hello, can you please note and pass on to the engineer that the first carriage of the 4.32 Shepparton train is very hot and —