Drop in trains running on time to the Border

MISSING THE MARK: The punctuality of the Albury V/Line service dropped 15 per cent to 76.7 in 2016, with just over half of trains running on time in November and December.

MISSING THE MARK: The punctuality of the Albury V/Line service dropped 15 per cent to 76.7 in 2016, with just over half of trains running on time in November and December.

The punctuality of the Albury V/Line service dropped 15 per cent in 2016 with just over half of trains arriving on time in December.

The average of trains arriving on time for 2016 was 79.7 per cent, the second worst of all country services.

The worst month by far was November, with only 55.2 per cent hitting the mark, improving slightly in December.

Border Rail Action Group chairman Bill Traill said the numbers were “disappointing but unsurprising”.

“In terms of the factors that relate to service performance, be it good, bad or indifferent, we have the condition of the track and the rolling stock,” he said.

“The deteriorated condition of the track is associated with the pothole problem getting out of control in the very wet winter and spring. That has a flow-on effect in terms of the maintenance problems for the aged rolling stock.

“If you look at something as objective as the train speed restrictions, you can very much judge the performance of the track.”

The statistics are disappointing but unsurprising - BRAG chairman Bill Traill

There were 78 reported delays on the Albury line in December, with the majority attributed to restrictions.

Trains forced to run at slower speeds due to the track’s condition was the main reason for added journey time to Albury in 2016.

V/Line spokeswoman Catalina Filip said running at slower speeds were at times unavoidable.

“While the ultimate goal is to ensure customers get to their destination on time, safety will not be compromised and this must come first,” she said.

“The V/Line team will continue to work with ARTC to identify ways to improve the on-time running of trains, to make sure regional customers get where they need to.”

Mr Trail said the track’s condition was unacceptable. 

“(The wet weather) doesn’t absolve the government from providing the money for improvement and give us some sort of priority over the inner zone lines getting the largest expenses,” he said.

“Compared with 10 years ago, we are scheduled to take half an hour longer to get form Southern Cross to Albury.

“Nothing will succeed like a set of new generation trains that are sorely needed.

“Where else in public or private transport do you have rolling stock that’s expected to provide service after 30 or 40 years?”

The Border Rail Action Group is being taken up a notch this year with the involvement of Albury, Wodonga, Benalla and Wangaratta councils.

“I feel we still have support in the community – there’s a lot of angst that we’re not really getting anywhere,” he said. “The hope is this very important and influential third layer in the political structure will help us become even more influential.”

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