GREG'S LEGACY

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Light at end of tunnel for train travellers

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Member for Benalla, Bill Sykes met with Minister for Public Transport, Lynne Kosky yesterday to discuss significant local concerns regarding train services in North East Victoria.

The meeting was arranged by the Nationals Member for Shepparton, Jeanette Powell. Also in attendance were Nationals MP’s Paul Weller (Rodney), Ken Jasper (Murray Valley) and Labor MP Ben Hardman (Seymour).

Local MP’s advised the Minister that North East Victorian and Goulburn Valley users of the V/Line service deserve and expect a safe, reliable, comfortable and responsive train service. The Minister said she had asked V/Line and the Department of Infrastructure to develop options to improve services to the region.

The Minister advised that an afternoon train/coach service to Shepparton could begin on 18 June 2007, leaving Southern Cross Station at 4.32pm and arriving in Seymour at 6.05pm, then a 6.10pm coach from Seymour arriving in Nagambie at 6.35pm and Murchison at 7.00pm.

“This service was removed in 2006 and I look forward to it being reinstated, however the Minister did state that it would not be an off-peak service. I welcome feedback from the community about the proposed re-introduction of this train because I am concerned that if the service is not well patronised we may lose it again”, Dr Sykes said.

The Minister has also agreed to look at a similar arrangement for travellers on the Wodonga line highlighting the level of patronage would be a key determinant in the future of any such service.

“It was also explained to the Minister the problems with the current 6.33pm train service, that by stopping at all stations the train journey is much slower and the train rarely leaves Melbourne on time and arrives in Nagambie, Murchison and Shepparton up to an hour later than the previous good Shepparton service”, Dr Sykes said.

The Minister also advised that further opportunities would be examined upon the completion of the Craigieburn Electrification Project, which should be completed by September 2007 reducing the amount of stops on the Shepparton line.

Other issues raised with the Minister included the poor state of repair of carriages, the lack of seating and shelter on platforms at Southern Cross Station and the confusion travellers encounter when trying to determine which platform trains leave from.

Dr Sykes concluded, “The Minister has given an undertaking that she will look into the matters raised and look at improving the platform information display screens advising of platform changes.”

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Written by Greg Naylor

25 May 2007 at 10:12 pm

Posted in media release

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