A TRIP to Melbourne to pick up a new pair of prescription glasses turned into a 16-hour marathon for Edwin Hooke.
The draining experience for the Wodonga retiree earlier this week was all because of slow progress on both legs of his return V/Line journey.
Mr Hooke’s main concern, though, rests with the people who have no choice but to use the train so they can attend appointments in Melbourne.
His late trip on Monday follows two other return journeys that failed to run to the timetable in the past four weeks.
On Monday his train left at 6.45am, running at full speed to Benalla, before going “very slow” from Euroa to Seymour.
The train ambled along between Seymour and Broadmeadows, which was followed by several stops as the train made its way to Southern Cross station where it arrived about 11.15am — or 45 minutes late.
The return trip left Southern Cross at 6pm, again making several stops on its way to Broadmeadows.
Mr Hooke said the train failed to get anywhere near full speed on the journey to Seymour “and then it just trundles along from Seymour to Wodonga because the western track is very poor”.
The train pulled into the Wodonga station at 10.55pm — or an hour and five minutes late.
“I was going down for appointments, but I made them allowing for the train track,” he said.
“But Tuesday of last week there was a lady and her daughter coming back from Melbourne.”
Mr Hooke said the woman was late for the daughter’s dentist appointment.
“This week there was a guy on the phone ringing up his appointment telling them he was going to be late because the train was delayed — well, it wasn’t delayed it was just slow,” he said.
Mr Hooke said V/Line trains were returned too soon and should be replaced again by coaches, but not in the same format as when major track works were being carried out.
“We should take advantage of the flexibility of coaches,” he said.
“For instance, the coaches that leave Albury should only be responsible for Albury, Wodonga and Chiltern.”
Mr Hooke said it would not be necessary to go into Seymour unless there were passengers being dropped off, and going to Broadmeadows was unnecessary.
“The coaches shouldn’t go into any towns en route unless they’ve got passengers to drop off.”