PASSENGERS faced graffiti-stained windows on their way to Melbourne early yesterday after a V/Line carriage was vandalised in Albury.
The 6.35am Albury to Melbourne service ran to schedule as the graffitied train was returned to a Melbourne workshop to be cleaned.
Later in the day, the withdrawal of the train forced V/Line to replace the noon service from Melbourne and the 5.20pm service from Albury with buses between Albury and Seymour.
Staff discovered a graffiti mural covering the entire length of a 25-metre train carriage early yesterday morning.
A V/Line spokeswoman said the “massive” mural, featuring large red and blue lettering, covered the carriage like a sheet.
“There’s not an inch of the carriage that’s not covered,” she said.
V/Line chief executive Theo Taifalos said he was “disgusted by the stupid and senseless attack”.
“The victims of this crime are the V/Line customers who rely on the train service for work, medical appointments, study and social events,” he said.
“The actions of some bored and witless people last night will see people on coaches, cleaners working around the clock and thousands of dollars spent on repairs.”
Mr Taifalos said the decision was made to remove the train as soon as possible.
“I will not give the perpetrators of this shoddy so-called ‘art work’ the pleasure of seeing this train on the tracks,” he said.
“To stop copycat attacks, the train will be in the workshop until all the paint is removed.”
The spokeswoman confirmed the train service would be reinstated today.
She said buses had to be used yesterday because there were only three train sets on the line and one had already been in for maintenance.
She said the whole train had to be removed from service as separating the carriage from the set required two locomotives with drivers and would have taken a considerable amount of time.
Albury’s V/line customer representative Bill Traill said he regretted passengers had been inconvenienced.
“I’m terribly disappointed that the disruption has been by Albury citizens,” he said.
“V/Line are doing the best they can under the circumstances.”
Mr Traill said if the graffiti was to continue it would be expensive to maintain the trains.
Mr Taifalos said security would be increased and offenders would be prosecuted if they were caught.
Transit police in Melbourne will liaise with Albury police on the issue.