All V/Line trains will officially return to the tracks on the 26th of June following months of disruptions and canceled services along the Gippsland line.
Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, welcomes the restoration of V-Line services, following the ongoing V-Line crisis that began in January after a boom gate failed to be triggered.
Across Victoria, there are currently 11 V-Line train services that have been replaced by coaches including the two Gippsland line services.
“It’s been a really tough few months for Gippsland travellers but by the end of next month all services on the Gippsland line and right across the regional network will be back on the tracks”, Ms Shing said.
Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood, describes the return of V-Line services as a relief for frustrated Gippsland commuters.
Mr Blackwood thanked the Shadow Minister for Public Transport, David Hodgett, for his support for Gippsland commuters and is pleased that public pressure has led to the Andrews Government returning rail services to the Gippsland line sooner than anticipated.
“Pressure from commuters, in particular the Gippsland Rail Users Group, and the Victorian Opposition have kept this issue at the front of the political agenda and without the push by regional Coalition Members of Parliament to get this issue dealt with, this crisis may have dragged on for many more months without resolution”, Mr Blackwood said.
Mr Blackwood believes the Andrews Government has left Gippsland commuters in the dark for over a month about the extent of the V/Line crisis.
“The Andrew’s Government’s communication with local commuters has been nothing short of disgraceful.”
‘It has been very disappointing during this crisis that Gippsland based Andrews Labor Government members have remained silent on the issue failing to advocate publicly for regional commuters to get their service back as quickly as possible.”
Member for Narracan, Gary Blackwood, has spoken openly in parliament on several occasions, voicing concerns about the extended delays and cancelled services Gippsland commuters have endured.
Mr Blackwood directly addressed the Minister of Transport, asking her to be ‘honest and transparent with Gippsland regional commuters.’
Despite the V-line crisis creating chaos for Gippsland commuters, Labor believes the lack of funding the Liberal and Nationals party provided to V-Line is also to blame.
According to Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, the former Liberal and National Government ripped $120 million out of V/Line and didn’t order a single regional carriage for two years.
In last month’s Victorian budget (2016/17), Labor has allocated $198 million towards the rebuild of V/Line, $280 million for 27 new carriages and funds 170 extra services across regional Victoria.
“Funding has also be restored to V/Line to deliver the services regional passengers deserve and we’re also investing more than $1 billion in better public transport across the board.”
“This means more regional trains, new services and better connectivity, so Gippslanders and visitors to the region can spend less time in transit and more time where they need to be.”
Full train timetables for Gippsland commuters will be available in early June at vline.com.au and ptv.vic.gov.au.