THERE is a light at the end of the tunnel for frustrated V/Line commuters with confirmation a further 43 rail services will be restored later this month.
V/Line had a terrible start to 2016. In January much of its rail fleet was pulled from tracks over unexpected wheel wear and for failing to trigger some level crossing boom gates in Melbourne. The cause of the wear is yet to be determined, but the level crossing failure may have been due to private operator Metro failing to maintain the network.
Today V/Line announced most rail services will be restored on 21 March. State-wide, 80 per cent of services have been running as normal since early February. The Traralgon line however was especially badly affected with only 10 of 45 weekday services running as trains due to level crossing issues.
All Traralgon line services except two on weekdays will run as trains from 21 March. The busy Geelong line will remain 10 services short, while six Bendigo and three Ballarat services will continue to be operated with replacement buses. A full list of service changes can be found on the V/Line website.
Replacement bus services will continue to be free while wheels are replaced on the remaining unserviced locomotives.
The state government will be relieved by the new timetable announcement. The opposition has been hammering Labor over the failures, despite fault lying with both Labor and Liberal government underinvestment and the privatisation of the metropolitan network. But never fear Liberal voters, with the desalination plant becoming a live topic again the opposition has something else to complain about.