Government blames Labor for V/Line rail woes

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON
Victorian Premier Denis Napthine. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON

VICTORIAN Premier Denis Napthine has acknowledged the frustration of North East rail users but placed the blame for service problems squarely at the feet of the former Labor federal government and the Australian Rail Track Corporation.

Dr Napthine was responding to a survey highlighting North East V/Line passengers as the state’s most dissatisfied.

“We will not rest until we get a much better service for the people of Wodonga and the North East,” he said.

“Under this government there have been significant steps forward, but more needs to done.”

The Premier said his government had returned a full rail service to the line and pointed out increases in punctuality and reliability measures.

“There is a fundamental ongoing problem with the ARTC’s track,” he said.

“It was a failing of the Labor federal government.

“It didn’t fix it properly.

“We continue to work with the new federal government to fix the problems we inherited.

“(We are) continuing to pressure the ARTC.

“They didn’t do the proper engineering, the proper fix of the track and that has caused ongoing problems.”

Passengers have also been critical of a recent interruption to the V/Line buffet service and speed restrictions on the line.

Dr Napthine said his government was updating the rolling stock.

“We are investing in new trams and trains in Melbourne and 43 new V/Line carriages,” he said.

“Occasionally there are situations where a train is in maintenance and there is a breakdown.

“It makes it difficult.”