The restoration of rail services between Bairnsdale and Traralgon has suffered a further delay, with trains not predicted to be online until late October, following the procurement of rail-grinder machinery from Europe.
V/Line had previously predicted services to be restored by September, however after a failure to secure machinery from Western Australia and New South Wales work was forced to be halted.
Services from Traralgon to Bairnsdale were suspended in March following faults on the line which resulted in a failure to detect trains and trigger alarms and lights, placing motorists, pedestrians and rail passengers at risk.
The grinder expected to take about four weeks to re-profile about 60 kilometres of rail.
Following the rail closure, V/Line introduced coach services between Bairnsdale and Traralgon, with twice-daily express services to Melbourne.
“It’s obviously been a very frustrating period for passengers on the Bairnsdale line,” Public Transport Users Association regional spokesperson Paul Wescott said.
“This isn’t a permanent solution – that won’t be up in action for at least another 12 months… even the temporary solution has taken (too) long.
“It’s extraordinary they’ve have to search so far and wide to get the equipment they need.
“Things have taken so long to get back into action, to organise and get alternatives in place.”
In a press release issued by V/Line, chief executive Theo Taifalos affirmed his commitment to ensuring the return of trains to Bairnsdale.
“However, we will not compromise on safety and we must ensure that the level crossings are operating correctly before the trains return to service,” Mr Taifalos said.