Regional Rail Timetable

Letter to Editor.

I have been very disappointed to find that our rail services have not run well since the introduction of the new timetable to align with the completion of the Regional Rail Link project.

Clearly, a smoother transition was expected. In directing my feedback back to V/Line and the Minister for Public Transport, I have been assured that much is being done to address the causes of delays and to alleviate the overcrowding which has occurred on some services.

Having travelled from Ballarat to Melbourne on a morning peak service this week I was able to gain further direct feedback from regular commuters.

I note that the CEO of the Committee for Ballarat, John Kilgour correctly observed that many of these problems are the result of a lack of earlier investment in carriages and additional passing loops.

I further note that while the former Liberal Government did eventually continue on with Labor’s Regional Rail Link project, they did not order any new carriages in their first two years of government and although they promised a passing loop at Ballan ahead of the 2010 election, this was never constructed.

An alternative passing loop at Rowsley was proposed and it has been left to the Andrews Government to get this project happening, with works to get underway in coming months. Our government has also ordered 21 new VLocity carriages in its first budget to help meet future demands.

I’m pleased that The Andrews Labor Government is very committed to investing in our public transport services.

Clearly there is much to do and while Regional Rail Link has delivered extra peak services for Ballarat, Ballan and Bacchus Marsh, more needs to be done in terms of capacity and punctuality. I will continue to seek feedback from rail travellers and will stay in close contact with the Minister and V/Line to ensure that Ballarat line passengers get to appreciate the reliable rail service that Regional Rail Link can offer.

Geoff Howard MP

State Member for Buninyong