Trains inch their way to timetable

V/LINE’S punctuality on the Albury-Wodonga line is gradually improving, new figures show.

The number of trains running on time last month reached a 12-month high of 88 per cent.

The punctuality rating is based on the number of trains being less than 11 minutes late to Albury or Melbourne’s Southern Cross station.

That compares with the March figure of 85.6 per cent and about 75 per cent in February.

The punctuality rate has risen considerably since a low of 46.7 per cent in April last year.

The figures were released exclusively yesterday to The Border Mail.

A spokesman for Victorian Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the figures had to be seen within the context of V/Line adding 15 minutes to the time for each trip last October.

V/Line took that decision because of the speed restrictions imposed on the east and west lines by the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

Mr Mulder told The Border Mail the results — still to be published by V/Line — were “terrific”.

“V/Line and the Australian Rail Track Corporation are working to gradually improve the punctuality and reliability of Albury line trains,” he said.

A sharp drop in train cancellations also contributed to a reliability rating of 95.6 per cent in April, well above the March figure of 79.3 per cent.

The spokesman said eight trains on the Albury-Wodonga service were cancelled last month, “which is far better than April 2013 when there were 24”.

“V/Line still hasn’t lifted (the extra 15 minutes for journeys), but nonetheless it’s a much better performance than it was a year ago,” he said.

“Punctuality is somewhat better than it has been.”

The Albury-Wodonga service was plagued by a series of cancellations last August and September, one caused by a train hitting a tree that had fallen on the line.

Last July, 11 trains were cancelled because of a control-room fire and four because of a V/Line radio fault.