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V/Line network in “chaos” after latest shutdown: Opposition

V/Line decline: The State Opposition claims recent shutdowns of Victoria’s regional rail network show it is in decline. Photo: Ray Sizer Photo by Ray Sizer

The Victorian Opposition says the V/Line network is in “chaos” after what it described as the third network-wide shutdown in five weeks.

V/Line announced the shutdown with a tweet at 5.59am on Wednesday, June 22, simply stating: “No train services are operating across all lines due to a communications fault”.

“This is the third time in five weeks that we have had a complete network outage,” Shadow Public Transport Minister Steph Ryan said.

“It’s complete chaos and all we get from the government are these lame excuses that they’ve had a communications fault.”

The State Member for Euroa said the shutdowns had meant people living in regional areas had been unable to get to work or missed critical medical appointments.

Questions: State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan wants a full explanation from the Victorian Government on why the V/Line network keeps getting shut down. Photo by Contributed

“Quite frankly, all regional commuters want to know is that a train is going to turn up and it’s going to get them where they need to go, and at the moment they can’t be guaranteed of that,” she said.

“The government needs to front up and explain what’s happened here, why for the third time in five weeks we have had a complete outage of the network.”

Ms Ryan claimed the V/Line network was ageing and the government had cut funding for it, with the impacts of those cuts showing in the shutdowns.

The office of Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll did not comment when approached, redirecting the inquiry to V/Line chief executive Matt Carrick.

Mr Carrick said the shutdown meant five early morning Seymour and Shepparton services were unable to run for all or part of the journey due to a communications fault, which affected the way train controllers communicated with train drivers.

He said trains were initially held in their position across all regional lines because it was unsafe for them to continue without drivers and controllers being able to communicate.

V/Line said a temporary communications solution was initially put in place, which allowed trains to resume running at normal speed about 6.30am.

By 9.30am, VicTrack crews were able to repair the fault, enabling V/Line to resume using the normal communications system.

“We sincerely thank passengers for their patience yesterday while we worked to get train services moving again as quickly and safely as possible following a communications fault,” Mr Carrick said.

Later the same day, delays were experienced by Seymour evening services due to a car being abandoned near a rail section shared by V/Line and metropolitan train services.

Two evening services to Shepparton were replaced by coaches due to an incident on a Shepparton line upgrade work site at Bunganail Rd, Wahring.