The Shepparton rail line’s on-time performance lifted one per cent last month, but services still fell well short of V/Line’s punctuality target.
As many as 84.4 per cent of trains on the line ran on time last month — the line’s best result since October — but more than sevenpercentage points off the 92 per cent target.
A particularly warm January is being cited as the main cause of the result, with V/Line chief executive James Pinder saying the hot weather was a major contributor to performance not being higher on the Shepparton line.
‘‘As a safety precaution, trains slow down to 90km/h when the temperature reaches 36°C and some services are replaced by coaches for either part or the entire journey,’’ he said.
‘‘Safety is our number one priority, so we enforce heat-speed restrictions on really hot days because the steel tracks expand in the heat.
‘‘We’re working to do everything we can to minimise disruptions to passengers during the summer months and continue to remind passengers to plan ahead and allow extra travel time,’’ he said.
The Shepparton line’s reliability fared better, with 97.7 per cent of services being delivered.
While 97.4 per cent reliability was celebrated on the Seymour line, punctuality declined, with fewer than 80 per cent of services arriving at their destination on time.
V/Line services being held up in the shared section of the metropolitan network, as well as the additional time trains were required to stop at stations to allow passengers to board and depart, were cited as other reasons for delays.
But V/Line has hopes for a better future.
‘‘With the Victorian Government’s new contract with Metro Trains Melbourne, we expect that going forward, this will give our Seymour and Shepparton line trains a more reliable pathway when travelling through the metropolitan network,’’ Mr Pinder said.