Premier Daniel Andrews has asked train commuters to "just stick with us" as trains on the North East line continue to struggle to run on time.
Speaking during a visit to Wodonga on Friday, Mr Andrews said new rolling stock on the upgraded tracks was the key to solving the problems with punctuality.
V/Line figures showed only 43.6 per cent of trains on the North East line ran on time in September.
"While it's frustrating to have bad numbers, and not be running as many trains as we'd like and having so many buses replacing those trains, I would ask the community to just stick with us," Mr Andrews said.
He said the Australian Rail Track Corporation was "very close" to signing a contract so work could start.
IN OTHER NEWS:
The premier was in Wodonga with Northern Victoria MP Jaclyn Symes to visit Melrose Primary School and see the "smile squad" dental van, which is seeing students at schools across the city, run by Albury Wodonga Health.
Wodonga is one of the first four regions in the state to receive government funding for the initiative.
"This saves each family $400 per child, per year, as well as the convenience of being able to get the dental care they need at school," Mr Andrews said.
He then visited Tolpuddle Goat Cheese and Farm Foods in Tarrawingee to see how the business had used a $5000 grant to purchase a humidifier for its cheese maturation room.
Asked about the Victorian government's decision to phase out the state's native timber industry, Mr Andrews said it was the right decision.
"I respect that not everybody agrees with the decision we've made, but we're not elected to duck the tough issues," he said.
"We've got to make difficult decisions and this is a tough decision.
"It will be tough on lots of families, but we'll be there every step of the way."
He did not visit CFA staff and volunteers while in the region, after Thursday's high fire danger day, but praised the efforts of firefighters.
"It was a genuinely difficult day, it could have been so much worse," Mr Andrews said.
"We are facing unparalleled conditions in terms of drought, the dryness and amount of fuel that's out there at the moment."
But he said he refused to "play politics" on the creation of a volunteer-only fire service because the message was for people to have a plan for dangerous fire days and leave when a "code red" is declared.
"Having grown up in regional Victoria, not very far from where we're standing now, I understand that one of the greatest things you'll ever see, in Australian culture and particularly here in Victoria, is someone prepared to leave their property and go and defend a stranger's property," he said.