XPT passengers forced onto buses

COUNTRYLINK has pulled the plug on the XPT to Melbourne because of the state of the track.

Yesterday disgruntled train travellers, already almost 40 minutes late, were transferred to buses at Albury railway station to complete their journey.

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Some had been advised the night before but others were caught unawares.

CountryLink said yesterday the inter-capital service from Sydney would terminate in Albury “indefinitely”, with buses carrying passengers on to Melbourne.

Worsening mudholes have now resulted in speed restrictions on more than 200 kilometres, about 66 per cent, of the track between the Border and Melbourne, adding an extra 1½ hours to the travelling time.

The Border Mail understands the uncertainty and delays caused by the restrictions makes the buses a more reliable option for passengers.

Train drivers say the Australian Rail Track Corporation’s $285 million project that saw almost 300,000 wooden sleepers replaced by concrete sleepers is to blame for the mudholes.

They say the trains dip, sway and bounce over affected areas with repeated reports of freight trains breaking the couplings on their wagons.

Australian Rail Track Corporation spokesman Brian Dale admitted the problem with the track was the mudholes.

“We hope to have all the problems fixed by the end of the year,” he said.

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