Cathy McGowan demands a better commitment to trains

INDI MP Cathy McGowan has called on the state government to make a firmer commitment to the Albury-Melbourne V/Line train service.

The independent MP has questioned why the North East was excluded from a $100 million program, funded in last month’s Victorian budget, to rollout free Wi-Fi and improved mobile phone coverage on regional trains.

Benambra MP Bill Tilley said these train lines — including Bendigo and Ballarat — were part of a trial for the Wi-Fi service which, if successful, would be rolled out on other lines.

“There is a rollout, we are committed to it, we aren’t dragging our heels — we just want to get it right,” he said.

Ms McGowan made the comments during her grievance debate in Parliament on Monday night.


She said though performance and reliability figures had improved — last month reaching 94.5 per cent, compared with 73 per cent in February — passengers still lacked faith in the service.

“It will be a long time before the people of North East Victoria trust the train line,” she said.

“I commend the investment made by the state and federal governments in their respective 2014-15 budgets to build infrastructure across Australia and Victoria ... but I will call out loudly in this place that rural and regional communities and our trains not be forgotten.”

Ms McGowan said the Australian Rail Track Corporation needed to give people a definite completion date for repairs.

Mr Tilley encouraged Ms McGowan to continue lobbying the federal government and ARTC, and that the state government and V/Line was committed to providing “the best passengers service it could”.