Where is the train?
21 December 2021
There is still no sign of the long-awaited VLocity trains on the north east line, despite multiple assurances that they would be on the tracks and taking passengers before Christmas.
With less than two weeks to go, local Nationals MP and Shadow Minister for Public Transport Steph Ryan said north east passengers were losing confidence that the government would deliver the first train set as promised for the holiday period.
“North east commuters are still waiting to catch a glimpse of the long-awaited first VLocity train set, eight months after Labor ministers first promised they would be on track and taking passengers,” Ms Ryan said.
“When I was elected, I made it my mission to get the track issues fixed and the old N-class trains replaced, some of which are more than 35 years old.
“Passenger rails services in our region have been overlooked for years, but we took an enormous leap forward when the Federal Nationals agreed to invest $235 million to fix the track and remove speed restrictions.
“Concerns have also been raised that the first train set will not be able to accommodate adequate storage for cyclists, and there will be no buffet service available until 2022.
“It has taken Labor four years to get these trains from the design board to on the tracks for testing. It’s farcical.
“The government keeps rewriting the narrative. In April, the Department of Transport told north east passengers that ‘the first of the six trains will start taking passengers in the second half of 2021 following completion of the North East Line upgrade and signalling and commissioning works.’
“Three years ago, Jaclyn Symes promised the trains would be on the track when federal track works were complete, boasting ‘you’ve got the minister on the record, the Premier on the record and me on the record saying that.’
“Just last month, Deputy Secretary of Network and Design Integration William Tieppo told Parliament’s Public Accounts and Estimates Committee, that ‘the first train set will go out before Christmas.’
“The Andrews Labor Government have completely dropped the ball on these trains.”