No toilets, late services and being left in the dark – it seems many people have a tale to tell about the shortcomings of V/Line's North-East line service. And it’s only going to get worse with this weekend’s heatwave.
Border Mail readers were quick to respond when asked about some of their experiences on the much maligned service.
The common theme for most was simply not knowing what was happening.
Your V/Line Horror Stories
We asked you to share your V/Line stories. Here’s what you told us:
“It was Sunday 17th Dec ‘17, I was travelling to Melbourne from Benalla Station. All was going well until about 9.45, we were stuck just near beverage with no access for buses to pick passengers up. After a 3hr wait, which the toilets were not working, so there was urine and feces overflowing in the bathroom! No water was offered while it was an over 30 degree day! The train finally got moving and we got to Broadmeadows station and had to transfer onto coach buses. Finally arriving at 1.30pm to southern cross station. Sometime needs to change, the trains need upgrading and more reliable service!” Kristy Fry
“The 6-02pm service departed Southern Cross on time, 23/12/17. At 6-15pm the train stopped in the Sunshine area. There it sat for almost 90 minutes. The staff on the train were brilliant apologising many times. The buffet worked flat out. Eventually we were informed of a signal fault on the line between here and Sydney, yes Sydney. A vehicle finally drove past the train, Australian Track written on it, and not long after we moved. Arrived at Springhurst 90 minutes late, 11pm. This line is continually plagued with delays and paying customers are hand balled all over the place. No one accepts responsibility, it is just not good enough.” Neil Michael, Rutherglen
“I had a ticket for the 6.02pm train on Boxing Day. We were informed due to a technical fault with the train there would be a 15 min delay. Once that time had passed we were informed that the fault couldn't be rectified so we would be transfered to coaches. We waited an hour for the coaches to arrive in stuffy conditions. Yarrawonga and then Albury travellers got their coach, about 10 mins later Wangaratta travellers were informed they had to board the train to Seymour and transfer to coaches once there. So, in the end it took from waiting at 6pm for the train till 11.40pm when i finally got off the coach at Wangaratta. This Albury line needs a lot of funding and decent upgrades from tracks to quality of carriages. Can't help but feel a bit like the unimportant "country folk".” Bec Rowe, Wangaratta
“I was incredibly dissatisfied with the service on the V/Line train due to arrive in Melbourne at 6:02pm to deliver us back to Wangaratta en route to Albury/Wodonga on December 26th, 2017. As myself and other patrons converged on the platform, and 6:02 came, and passed, it became apparent that the train was not going to arrive on time. However, no staff member proceeded to notify everyone that there was a delay. We heard, about half an hour later (6:30), that there was an issue on the carriages and the train would not be arriving. Instead, we were to catch a bus back to Wangaratta, and other traveller's would catch a bus to their intended destination. So, into the bus shelters we went, and lined up ready to board our bus. We lined up, waited, and waited, and waited, for a bus to arrive for the Wangaratta, to no avail. The many staff continually announced that they apologise for the delay and assured us that they were in contact with drivers and buses. Time passed and all customers were getting very unsettled and frustrated, many of which had resorted to getting a spot comfortable on the ground as it seemed we were going to be there for a while. Then, after 50 minutes of waiting in the bus shelter, we were told that an "express" train was going to be picking us up at 7:50 to take us to Seymour which we would then be transferred to Wangaratta by bus (this "express" train actually stopped for another train to overtake, as well as stopping at every single station on the way). The train finally got going almost 2 hours later than the original one was due to leave, although many travellers struggled to find a seat. I myself decided it would be more comfortable to be stand in between the carriages than to be squashed onto the seats, as did many other passengers. By this time, we had organised someone to pick us up at Seymour to take us back to Wangaratta, since it would be significantly quicker than the service. When he asked a staff member what was going on, he was told, "It's Boxing Day and not enough people booked tickets." He proceeded to tell the staff member we had pre-booked tickets on the certain train for a week in advance, she told him, "Oh well, if everyone travelled by car we wouldn't have these problems. I guess you could have an accident though." Highly inappropriate thing to say and incredibly unprofessional. P.S. To the ignorant staff member who said this, neither myself or anyone I was traveling with is even old enough to legally drive a car alone. After this experience, I question why I or anyone would consider using the train again....” Josh O'Donohue, Wangaratta
“Trip from Wodonga to Melbourne was more than an hour late, arriving at Southern Cross after 11pm. Waited at Wodonga station for 45mins because the service from Melbourne was delayed. Announcements from staff gave very unrealistic estimate of 15 to 20 mins, although the train had unload passengers at Wodonga, proceed to Albury to unload and reset and then return to Wodonga. This delay was compounded by the need to wait for passing freight trains and signal faults. Announcements on the service explained why the train was stopped or slowed but never gave an estimated time for final arrival in Melbourne.” Claire Coulson, Albury
“I have been traveling up to Albury once and awhile by V/line or the Countrylink but when is this train line going to be updated and the v/line trains need to be updated when will this happen we need transport to get us from place to place.” Bradley O, Keilor Downs
“Cancelled service from Melbourne to Albury on Boxing Day. Waiting on platform for information in full late afternoon sun, 30 degrees, no timeline for departure, very limited seating and no bins on platform. Moved to bus terminal once service was cancelled, waited for buses that never came due to driver shortage and asked to return to train platform for service to Seymour and then coach service. At this stage the delay had been 1.5hrs, standing or sitting on the ground in the sun. I stopped in at the NSW Trainlink desk and secured the last seat on the XPT Sydney service. This service departed on time and arrived in Albury in just over 3 hours, before the ‘earlier’ Vline service. This was the third signifcant delay in 3 recent trips. Vline responded very promptly to my complaint and offered a refund and a travel voucher. However a reliable service is what I really need.” Claire Coulson, Albury
“Sunday night service from Melbourne stopped in south Albury. Very brief announcement said it was due to signal fault. Train was stopped for more than 30mins. No further announcements apologies or explanations were made.” Claire Coulson, Albury
“On the 20th of December my wife, three kids and I caught the 17.20 V/Line service to Broadmeadows in order to connect with our 00.40 flight to KL. We truly believed that 7 or so hours would be plenty of time to ensure it all went smoothly. We didn’t factor V/Line and ARTC’s incompetency in maintaining a reliable service however, and after sitting idle for over an hour somewhere north of Melbourne and then crawling along at a snail’s pace, we arrive at Broadmeadows station about 23.15, and we still had to get to Tullamarine yet! In the end we did make our flight - just - but the anxiety and tears (from the children) we endured makes us realise that we just cannot rely on V/Line for anything important ever again.” Ben Wilson, Wodonga
“My daughter & I were supposed to be on the 6:02pm train from Melbourne to Albury on 31/12/17. We stood on the platform for over 1/2 hour only being told we could not board the train. Finally advised we had to change platforms to get the Shepparton train to Seymour & then bus to Albury. (No toilet in the bus) Information was not very well passed on to passengers while waiting on the platform. Arrived in Albury an hour later than we should have. Our ‘train’ to Melbourne 6:35am on the 30/12/17 was a bus also but this was more organised. Very disappointing in this day & age to have such a substandard train service between Albury & Melbourne.” Louise Endres, Albury
“On a very hot day, booked on 1st class, the air conditioning wasn't working, the carriage was filled mostly with elderly people, we were then placed into the economy class which was quite full.only then to be told that one of the toilets wasn't working, we classify the rail system 3rd world, we have just arrived from overseas where the rail system worked well on time, clean & fast, respective governments have sunk millions into fixing problems,to no avail.” Rai Cousins, Wodonga
“It’s disappointing and embarrassing when your international friends have to take a last minute coach from Melbourne instead of the expected train. I moved to the area in 2010 and regularly used the rail line. The track was supposed to be fixed the following year but it’s been at least 7 years now. I rate this issue the number one problem that needs to be addressed. It affects our region’s economy and livability. As a nation we are very behind on public transport and the governments need to get their act together and cooperate and get the job done!”Chris Oberon
Had a horror V/Line experience? Share your story below: