Victorian Auditor-General tells V/Line to address ‘high failure rate’ of trains

The Victorian Auditor-General has slammed V/Line for a decade of falling short of performance targets and passenger expectations.

A report released on Wednesday revealed there was a significant maintenance backlog of about $534.8 million across the entire V/Line network.

Passengers using the Albury line would not be surprised at the report’s findings.

Issues identified such as heat delaying trains and rolling stock beyond its 30-year life expectancy being replaced by coaches were common for those travelling between Melbourne and the Border.

“Consequently they have a high failure rate and require significant investment in replacement and refurbishment,” the report stated.

“We recommend that V/Line strengthen its monitoring processes for measuring on-time running of trains and coaches.”

The Auditor-General’s good news was that V/Line had started to turn the situation around.

“V/Line has now identified its maintenance backlog and is able to prioritise investment according to criticality and risk,” the report stated.

“However, V/Line must continue to build on these improvements by increasing its capacity to actively identify and manage assets and maintain infrastructure.”

The Victorian government and opposition responded by blaming each other for the shortfalls.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said Labor “inherited an operator in crisis”.

“This report shows V/Line is back on track, after years of cuts and neglect,” she said.

But Shadow Minister David Hodgett said regional Victoria was being left out of government investment.

“We need to plan for our growing population and how we can provide jobs and infrastructure,” he said.