TRAIN travellers are set to go back to the buses after Easter and V/Line says it will mean a better service on the Albury-Melbourne route in the long run.
Coaches will replace the two midday trains, to and from Melbourne, for almost three months after Easter Tuesday.
At this stage, trains are expected to resume on June 30.
The Australian Rail Track Corporation says it is part of plans accelerating repair programs on the east and west tracks, which have been subject to mudholes and speed restrictions previously forcing trains to be cancelled and run late.
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The ballast rehabilitation work will be predominantly between Seymour and Wodonga.
The works include improving drainage, removing dust from the rock ballast supporting the line and installing fresh ballast in badly-damaged sections.
A corporation spokesman said steady progress had led to fewer speed restrictions.
“Customers should be noticing delays to services have been reduced as a result,” he said.
Most jobs should be finished by mid-year.
The latest development comes after V/Line has admitted its fleet of three train sets has been reduced to two during a major service of one set used on the North East line.
V/Line acting chief executive Ross Pedley said the decision to replace the two trains with coaches followed discussion with the 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,” he said.
“V/Line has been assured that these works will mean a better train service for North East Victorians.”