More mudholes on V/Line Albury track ‘unacceptable’: McGowan

Indi MP Cathy McGowan.
Indi MP Cathy McGowan.

MEMBER for Indi Cathy McGowan will hold further talks with Australian Rail Track Corporation officials after the emergence of more mudholes on the railway line between Albury and Melbourne.

Ms McGowan has described the development as “totally unsatisfactory” after the problem was last week highlighted by V/Line consumer committee member Bill Traill.

Mr Traill said his committee expected the rail service would become less reliable due to application of further speed restrictions in response to the discovery of the new mudholes.

Ms McGowan has been told by ARTC officials the mudholes were a result of seasonal changes.

“We are having a dry winter and things aren’t going as they should,” she said.

“It’s totally unsatisfactory that these mudholes are appearing; (the ARTC) needs to come up with a better justification.

“I am in constant communication with the ARTC and will be talking to my colleagues and (Victorian Transport Minister) Terry Mulder.”

Two years ago the ARTC started a five-year ballast rehabilitation program with work focused on improving various sections of the track between Melbourne and Sydney.

An ARTC spokesman said further drainage works and some targeted track undercutting was planned for the North East line towards the end of the year, which would assist in the continued improvement of the track condition.

“The program has provided widespread improvement to the condition of the track in the North East and ARTC is pleased our freight and passenger customers have reliable track infrastructure to deliver their services on this corridor,” he said.

“In many instances on-time running is the best we have seen in three, and for some operators, four years.”

Ms McGowan said the ARTC was delivering on the ballast rehabilitation program but it was not good enough.

“They have massive machinery working on cleaning the ballast, so they are disappointed these mudholes are coming up and they need to investigate,” she said.

“I will be asking what their action is on this and telling them to get back to Indi with what their plans are.

“I have not got an answer from them yet, but I am in constant contact.”