TRAINS will be off the track for three months in a fortnight’s time, but when they return they should be pretty fast.
V/Line is replacing the remaining two daily Melbourne to Albury trains with buses from April 2 to allow the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) to accelerate its $134 million track repair program.
The two trains, the midday Southern Cross to Albury, and the 12.45pm Albury to Southern Cross, will run as coaches the entire trip to reduce inconvenience for passengers.
Trains will return on Sunday, June 30.
V/Line acting chief executive officer, Ross Pedley, said the decision to replace the two trains with coaches followed discussion with the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) and Public Transport Victoria.
“During this three month track closure the ARTC will be able get a lot of necessary work done resulting in fewer speed restrictions and more reliable trains,” Mr Pedley said.
“V/Line has been assured that these works will mean a better train service for North East Victorians.”
A spokesperson for the ARTC said the corporation understood customers wanted speed restrictions gone.
“We’ve nearly completed all of our work on the single track between Somerton and Seymour our most recent focus, and customers may have noticed the reducing delays to trains as a result of the improvements,” he said.
“On average passengers are experiencing 15 to 20 minute delays on the journey between Southern Cross and Albury, which is a big improvement on where we were 12 months ago.
“While this improvement is positive, our aim remains to reduce the temporary speed restrictions even further over the next three months, minimising delays, and allowing passenger trains to run at normal speeds by mid this year.