A MORE reliable and quicker train service are the priorities for a Border rail supporter selected as a member of a V/Line consumer committee.
Bill Traill, who formed the Wodonga Trains Group to protest against potential cuts to the North East service in the 1990s, has been chosen as Albury’s representative on the committee.
Disability advocate Di King has been selected as the Wodonga delegate on the panel, which will feature members from communities along the North East line which has been troubled by delays linked to rail repairs and upgrades.
The group’s first meeting is slated for next Tuesday at Benalla.
Mr Traill said yesterday he could not understand why V/Line services to Melbourne could not equal the XPT’s 3 hour, 20 minute journey time.
“If one transport company can do it, so ought the other,” he said.
V/Line’s timetable allows at least four hours for the trip to Melbourne with the time altering based on whether it is a train or bus service.
The rail authority has previously stated speed restrictions linked to rail repairs have forced it to run slowly.
“The public want a reliable service and that’s not been given to them on the V/Line service and they want a speedy service,” Mr Traill said.
However, he holds little hope of the line improving soon, despite the Australian Rail Track Corporation setting a deadline of 2016 for the completion of its ballast program, which includes replacement of sleepers.
Mr Traill questioned the interest of the federal government and queried whether V/Line needed to be more “politically active” in seeking progress on the track.
“The reality is we have a line which is less effective than the old broad gauge,” Mr Traill said.
“I’m not a rail romantic, a lot of people refer to me as a rail buff but, I leave that to the Tim Fischers of the railway world.
“I’m a railway pragmatist and have a very strong belief that passenger travel has an important role to play and has been neglected by the government for 50 years.”
Mr Traill encouraged those with concerns to phone him on (02) 6021 1437 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mrs King spoke to The Border Mail yesterday but later retracted her comments after being told by a V/Line bureaucrat she could not speak to the media until it officially unveiled the committee members.
A V/Line media spokesman said an announcement was expected soon, but he could not say when it would be made.