Locomotive breakdown blamed for latest troubles on North-East V/Line service

A LOCOMOTIVE breakdown has been a key reason for the latest round of frustration experienced by North-East rail line passengers.

V/Line has been forced to issue an apology to travellers who have been herded onto buses for most of May when an average two services per day on the Albury to Melbourne line have been cancelled.

At one stage V/Line was left with only one train on the North-East line due to a combination of locomotives with faults, another locomotive in for scheduled maintenance and another train being refurbished.

“Our engineers and technicians worked as quickly as possible to repair the faulty locomotive and return all services as trains,” a V/Line spokesperson said.

“We’d like to apologise to customers, who have been inconvenienced by the service changes on the Albury line.”

V/Line confirmed the faulty N-class locomotive had returned to service on Friday.

“Trains in our standard gauge fleet have experienced an unusually high number of faults this month, which means services have been replaced by coaches,” the spokesperson said.

“When services are cancelled, we always provide alternative transport for customers and coaches are organised to replace the trains.”

V/Line declined to confirm the number of services cancelled this month. But sources said the figure could be more than 20.

The latest dramas could result in the North-East line recording one of its worst months for reliability for more than a year.

The service bounced back in April to 96.7 per cent of trains making it to their scheduled destination after plunging to 81.8 per cent in March, according to Public Transport Victoria data.