Brake breaks, back to buses

V/LINE is down to one train on the North East line after a freak accident last weekend, forcing passengers back onto buses.

The Border Mail understands a brake piston on a train’s power van broke during the journey to the Border on Saturday, resulting in a ruptured fuel line.

But V/Line says it was an isolated incident and all other power vans have been cleared of any systemic fault.

Buses will again replace four of the services between Melbourne and the Border for the rest of the week.

The 12.55pm and 5.30pm train to the capital city and the Albury-bound 7.30am and noon trains will all be coaches.

The damaged train is expected to be repaired by the end of the week, while another remains out of action as part of a planned maintenance program.

A V/Line spokeswoman said the empty train was on its way to Albury on Saturday to take passengers back to Melbourne that afternoon.

“One train is out of service for repairs after a brake component on the power van came loose causing ballast to damage a fuel line,” she said.

“The fuel tank was not damaged.

“At the moment, we expect this train to return to service at the end of this week.

“In the meantime, coach services are replacing this train and one which is out for planned maintenance.

“V/Line fleet maintenance has inspected the other power vans that operate on the north-east line and they have been cleared for service.”

Power vans supply electricity to the carriages for lighting, airconditioning and some buffet appliances.

They also include the storage area for luggage and bicycles.

In a seven-day period earlier this month, faults with carriages and vandalism saw 25 of the 42 Melbourne-Albury trips replaced with buses.

Only two sets of trains, engines and carriages, are needed for the three daily V/Line services, a third set held in reserve for emergencies.

But the standard maintenance program means the third train is available for just one week each month and now, with one train in for major maintenance, there is no spare set until at least May.