RAILWAY STRIFE CONTINUES FOR COMMUTERS

Posted: September 27, 2012 by dgrixti in Geelong, Werribee

By Dayle Grixti 
@DRobertGrixti

GEELONG commuters are frustrated in light of train delays and recently announced changes to the Werribee line as part of the Victorian government’s Regional Rail Link project.

Train delays and cancellations on V/Line’s Marshall-Geelong-Melbourne line have seen a significant increase since early August, with a train on the Werribee line being delayed for at least 90 minutes last month.

V/Line customers’ outrage on Twitter.

While frustrated commuters continue to call for additional services and funding to increase performance, the Department of Transport has announced that V/Line services on the Geelong line will no longer stop in Werribee upon completion of the Regional Rail Link project.

In response to this announcement, the Geelong branch of the Public Transport User’s Association expressed concerns that travellers commuting between Geelong and Werribee will be inconvenienced by the planned changes.

PTUA committee member Paul Westcott labelled the changes an example of “how not to plan public transport services”.

“Vital connections at Werribee and North Melbourne, which have existed for over a century, will be broken,” Mr Westcott said during an interview with Go2News.

He argued that the Regional Rail Link is consuming funding that might have been used for long-awaited upgrades to the existing Geelong-Melbourne line, such as increasing rail capacity between Geelong and Werribee, which would have gone some way towards resolving reliability and overcrowding issues.

“V/Line itself wants to run 20-minute off-peak services to and from Melbourne,” Mr Westcott explained. “Such a service would [have been] very welcome and would mean that rail travel to and from Melbourne would become competitive with car travel.”

When contacted by Go2News, Regional Rail Link representative Sarah Chapman confirmed that Werribee would be removed from the Geelong line, with Geelong trains instead running through the new Wyndham Vale station before arriving in Southern Cross.

Geelong trains will no longer stop at Werribee Station as of 2016.

“To improve the capacity and reliability of passenger services on both the Geelong and Werribee lines, the Regional Rail Link will provide Geelong trains with their own dedicated line that starts before Werribee and travels through the Wyndham area,” Ms Chapman said.

However, Ms Chapman said that the Department of Transport was aware of the needs of people commuting between Geelong and Werribee, and that a work-around would be offered.

“The Department of Transport is currently investigating bus services, co-ordinated with train arrival times, from Werribee to connect to services at the new station in Wyndham Vale,” she stated.

Despite this, it is unclear how the connecting service will work and it has not been mentioned in Regional Rail Link documents.

The Department of Transport promises to release new information as more plans are made.

Find out more by visiting the Regional Rail Link website and keep track of further delays by following V/Line on Twitter.

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