THE trouble-plagued North-East railway line has had a spike in service disruptions in the Christmas-New Year period with instances of multiple trains being cancelled and passengers forced onto buses on certain days.
On New Year’s Eve, passengers on the 6.35am train from Albury were advised by V/Line staff to leave the service at Broadmeadows and join another train because track faults meant at least an hour's delay.
About 12 hours later, the 6.02pm service from Melbourne's Southern Cross station was cancelled with passengers told of an engineering fault and directed to the Shepparton line.
This train took them to Seymour, where they transferred to coaches and arrived in Albury nearly an hour late.
One traveller said the situation was "hardly ideal" with V/Line confirming 30 train services have been replaced by buses since Boxing Day.
“V/Line would like to apologise to Albury line passengers for the disruption to services over the past week,” a V/Line spokesperson said.
“All four locomotives that run on the Albury line have experienced unforeseen faults.
“Engineers are working as quickly as possible to repair the trains and we thank passengers for their patience while we work to return train services to normal.”
Two train services on Tuesday have already been cancelled and replaced by buses due to “maintenance requirements”.
Pre-Christmas the majority of delays were caused by speed restrictions imposed by track owners, Australian Rail Track Corporation.
Border Rail Action Group convenor Bill Traill said commuters had sadly become conditioned to accepting a sub-standard service.
“Sadly we’re so used to them. This regularity is quite disturbing and rather sadly the public response has lessened completely,” he said.
His biggest concern was progress on the $100 million track upgrade stalling due to the demotion of transport and infrastructure minister, Darren Chester.
“The sad thing is it represents a diminution of the importance of the infrastructure and transport portfolio,” Mr Traill said.
“Chester had done an excellent job where other ministers had failed.”