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Stats ‘predictable’

by
March 13, 2018

Only 70 per cent of Shepparton V/Line services were on time in February.

Three in every 10 Shepparton train services were late last month.

And stakeholders say the ‘‘predictable’’ situation was a by-product of the long-term under-investment in the line.

While all Shepparton V/Line services were delivered last month, only 70 per cent were on time.

The Seymour rail line, which has more daily services than Shepparton, delivered about 80 per cent of trains on time last month.

The regional rail authority blamed delays on parts of the network being shared with metropolitan rail lines and heat-related speed restrictions.

V/Line chief executive James Pinder acknowledged there was room for improvement on punctuality.

‘‘We see a drop in performance over the summer months when trains slow down as a safety precaution,’’ he said.

‘‘Some services were delayed on the Seymour and Shepparton lines again last month due to heat speed restrictions on really hot days,’’ he said.

Committee for Greater Shepparton chief executive Sam Birrell said the Shepparton community expected an acceptable level of service each day.

‘‘Four return services does not cut it for a region of our size,’’ he said.

‘‘They expect...those services are going to start and finish when they say they will.

‘‘The whole situation we find ourselves in is an entirely predictable symptom of the under-investment in all facets of the Shepparton line...punctuality, a lack of services and quality of rolling stock.’’

Additional time required to stop at stations to allow passengers to board and depart services and delays in the shared section of the metropolitan network were other reasons given for Shepparton and Seymour line delays.

Mr Pinder said a more reliable pathway through the metropolitan network would be on the horizon as a result of a new contract.

City of Greater Shepparton Mayor Kim O’Keeffe said the punctuality figure was ‘‘concerning’’ and echoed views voiced about the local train service being ‘‘unreliable’’.

She stressed the importance of a dependable rail service and it needed to improve if Shepparton was going to grow as a city.

This month, State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed welcomed an extra 29 weekly coach services from mid-year between Shepparton and Seymour as a positive interim measure.

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