Due to last week’s extreme wet weather, coaches will continue to replace all V/Line trains on the Gippsland line for the entire journey until mid-January while works are underway.
Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said that free travel would also be extended to cover this period recognising the additional disruption Gippsland passengers now face over the Christmas and New Year periods.
Passengers will receive free travel on all Gippsland line replacement coaches until Sunday 13 January, due to a second occupation set to begin on 2 January. Passengers will also receive free onward travel on metropolitan services and town buses.
Power, signalling and communications upgrades to Melbourne’s train network are currently taking place on the Cranbourne/Pakenham lines in preparation for the arrival of bigger better new trains in mid-2019.
Last week’s extreme weather has caused delays to the project. In addition to the heavy rainfall creating difficult conditions, electrical storms meant postponing electrical work for safety reasons.
As a result, V/Line was unable to complete essential driver training to enable trains to safely operate on the newly upgraded sections of track.
V/Line train services had been scheduled to return to the Gippsland line on Monday 24 December following the completion of initial signalling works.
Replacement coaches will now continue to operate on the Gippsland line across the Christmas and New Year periods and through to the next planned period of works between 2 and 13 January when further power, signalling and communications upgrades are being undertaken.
A mix of express and semi-express coaches will again be made available to passengers travelling on the Gippsland line over the extended period, with a temporary timetable to be made available shortly.
Coaches on Christmas Day will operate to a Sunday timetable, while coaches on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day will operate to the Saturday times. In recognition of trains not returning on Christmas day, all passengers who travel on 25 December will receive a free return travel voucher that can be used in the new year.
Passengers with existing paid bookings over the Christmas and New Year period will be eligible to apply for reimbursement.
More information and temporary timetables are available at ptv.vic.gov.au
Quotes attributable to Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan
“We’re undertaking a once-in-a-generation upgrade to Melbourne’s train network and we thank our passengers for their ongoing patience during this important upgrade work.”
“I want to apologise to Gippsland passengers for the additional disruption over Christmas and New Year – once completed these upgrades will improve reliability on the sections of line shared with the metropolitan trains.”
Quote attributable to Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne
“I want to thank passengers for their patience and we’ll continue to support the Gippsland community as we get on with these vital upgrades.”