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(Aus)Major works on western suburbs and country trains to hurt commuters

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From the Herald Sun:

Major works on western suburbs and country trains to hurt commuters


Ashley Gardiner, Stephen McMahon

From: Herald Sun

May 17, 2011 12:00AM


UPDATE 1.54pm: WESTERN suburbs and country train commuters face massive disruptions due to major works in July.


The Sydenham, Ballarat and Bendigo lines will be shut from July 1 to July 18 to coincide with school holidays.


Buses will replace trains on the Sydenham line between Albion and Footscray.


Those buses will run from Albion and Sunshine to the Flemington Racecourse platform.


Buses will also replace V/Line services on the Ballarat and Bendigo lines.


The works are part of the Regional Rail Link project to separate V/Line and Metro trains in Melbourne's western suburbs.


Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said there would be inconvenience.


"This temporary shutdown will allow construction and maintenance work on rail lines that can't be done while the trains are running," Mr Mulder said.


"Be patient, because in the end we will have a far better rail system."


The news comes as new data from the Department of Transport shows almost one-in-three morning peak-hour trains are overcrowded, with more than 1000 passengers on some journeys along the busier lines.


And the problem is only going to get worse, with the Victorian Government forecasting massive growth in public-transport patronage over the next 12 months.


The latest Metro Trains survey obtained under Freedom of Information and seen by the Herald Sun shows passenger numbers are up on all lines except Werribee.


The survey shows more than 25 per cent of trains in morning peak hour now carry more than 800 people.


And the sharp rise in delays and cancellations means that 5 per cent of morning rush-hour trains - often those in the key 8.30-9am period - end up carrying more than 1000 passengers.


Passenger numbers in the morning peak rose 4.5 per cent to 135,458 but the evening rush hour remains the busiest time with 141,629 commuters taking trains.


And the 2011-12 Budget papers show the squeeze on passengers will worsen as there are no new trains but patronage will jump with an expected 18.8 million trips to be taken.


Transport Minister Terry Mulder blames years of neglect under Labor for the overcrowding. "We have inherited a public-transport system with significant and long-standing problems, which will not be easily fixed," he said.


After a lengthy review, the Coalition Government is pressing ahead with the $4.3 billion Regional Rail Link project to separate country and suburban trains in the west aimed at improving travel times.


The new Public Transport Development Authority is also establishing an audit of the state of Victoria's rail assets.


Metro claims recent timetable changes and the rollout of new X'Trapolis trains will help ease the overcrowding.


But Greens MP Greg Barber said the Government and Metro needed to start coming up with solutions and investing for the long term.


"They may think the problem's gone away but these numbers show different," he said. "Eight lines showed an increase in overcrowding from already high levels."


Opposition transport spokeswoman Fiona Richardson said patronage was going up but the Coalition had done nothing to tackle the overcrowding problem.


"Every commuter who travels on a train, tram or bus would agree that the Liberal minister's decision not to invest in any additional train services, trams or bus services will become an astronomical disaster," she said.







I see the in the comments people complaining. They can't win can they. Do nothing....complain. Do somthing...complain.

It's good to see somthing finally happening. Intrestingly enough the Flemington Racecourse line will be used during the work to carry people from the express buses. Usually the line is only used during special events.

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They should be very thankful. By the end of it V/Line trains won't spend the first/last part of the trip behind a spark and sparks don't have to wait for the V/Line trains.


To be honest 2 weeks shutdown is nothing. The Middleborough Road Grade Separation took 27 days and Springvale road took 10 days. If the people on the Belgrave/Lilydale lines can go without a train for that ammount of time Sydenham can!

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