V/LINE is seriously considering a move for its Albury line trains to stop at Broadmeadows during future track works.
The railway operator confirmed yesterday its options for track closures over the new year period included running trains between Albury, Seymour and Broadmeadows where passengers could choose to catch Metro suburban trains to complete their trips.
Passengers at Wodonga station yesterday welcomed the prospect of fewer coaches, among them Ellie Hudson.
The Wodonga schoolgirl said she took the train to Melbourne about four times a year, but “50 per cent of the time it ends up being a coach”.
“I definitely don’t want more buses — the Metro lines seem to be a lot faster,” she said.
Ellie said she was used to navigating Melbourne’s public transport system and had no qualms about the proposal.
But others felt it could be just as frustrating as coaches.
Glenn Sandford, also of Wodonga, was sceptical of the city’s myki ticket system.
“To me the system seems like too much for country people,” he said.
“I can’t see the point of buying a myki card for the few times you use it.
“I’d rather go right into the city by coach or CountryLink.”
The idea of re-routing the trains was first mooted publicly a fortnight ago by Transport Minister Terry Mulder after he put the proposal to V/Line.
At the time, Mr Mulder said it would mean fewer coaches being used in the North East, especially when further line works start closer to Melbourne and on the $5.8 million regional rail link project, causing track disruptions in the state’s west.
Yesterday, a V/Line spokesman said there would be two proposed closures over the Christmas-new year and January holiday periods.
V/Line would either run trains from Albury to Broadmeadows — where buses would also be provided as an alternative to boarding a Metro train — or run coaches from Albury to Melbourne.
V/Line was working through issues with stakeholders, including the impact on timetables, how to manage maintenance and restocking, and transfer of customers.
“It is always our preference to keep customers on the train for as long as possible and we will look at options to terminate trains at Broadmeadows where possible,” he said.
The new arrangements will be announced as soon as possible.”