I caught the train from Melbourne to Wangaratta yesterday, leaving on the 12 pm train, and it left at 12 pm! It wasn’t until 30 minutes out of Melbourne that we had a delay. We sat quietly in the one spot for 45 minutes and no-one bothered to look up from their books. After 30 minutes I had a little cough to catch the attention of the woman passenger across from me: “Excuse me, but do you know why we’ve stopped here?” She replied that it was something to do with the tracks and signals and that at least we were on a train and not a bus. Yes, I couldn’t help but agree, and at least we were on the right rail way track. A recent article in the Border Mail states that a VLine train with 300 passengers aboard was recently switched onto a closed track. In fact, a google news search with ‘V/line and Late Trains’ turns out six newspaper articles since January 31st, all from regional papers, including an online article today on the complete cancellation of rail services after a freight train derailed (!) near Locksley. Articles in the Geelong Advertiser, the Ballarat Courier, and the Bendigo Advertiser lamented a steadily worsening rail service and the loss of 10% of passenger capacity due to the removal of unsafe passenger carriages. Meanwhile, we are all waiting with interest to see the result of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation into the Sydney-Melbourne line, which has been 18 months in the making. V/line, as it currently operates, is failing regional Victoria and anecdotal evidence says that the problem is worsening. But what's new ...
Is fast rail an option?
Wouldn’t that be great! Imagine getting into Melbourne in under an hour and a half. The verdict is still out on economic viability, some economic reports being quite favourable if the hi-speed rail replaces a plan for a new Western Sydney airport, but the rewards for our region would likely be enormous. It is this line of thinking that prompted a recent (8/2/13) meeting in Wodonga to promote the possibility of a high-speed Brisbane to Melbourne train. With the current rail system in disarray it may be time to try something new.
Check out the recent report on the possibility of a fast train and make your own mind up.