Worst performing

THE Gippsland rail line was the worst performing V/Line service for June, with only 76.7 per cent of services delivered to Traralgon on time, according to government data.

The most recent performance figures are a slight improvement on May’s record of 76.3 per cent of trains arriving to destinations within a timeframe of one minute fast to five minutes late, which is considered punctual.

The target is 92 per cent of trains to run on time, which only the Bendigo line reached this month.

Occasional commuter Shuk Yin Liew said while the morning train from her home in Traralgon to her workplace in Morwell had always been on time, her commute home was a different story.

“It’s always on time because it starts from Traralgon – it’s the first stop. I haven’t actually had delays so far,” Ms Yin Liew said.

“When I’m going home it’s on average five to 10 minutes late… it’s rarely on time.”

Ms Yin Liew said she was, however, satisfied with the service.

“It’s a good service line that gets in to Morwell and back – it’s convenient,” Ms Yin Liew said.

“It’s faster than driving because you don’t have any stops. It’s 10 minutes and it takes me 20 minutes to drive.

“I think V/Line (provides) a good service because it gets us from a regional city into Melbourne and I think if they were on time more people would use the train.”

Public Transport Users Association regional spokesman Paul Wescott said although the figures vary slightly from month to month, there could be no true improvement in performance results until two fundamental problems are addressed.

“V/Line can slip up of course, but even when they are doing everything they can, they can only play with the hand they’re given,” Mr Wescott said.

“These problems are well known – the length of track (V/Line trains) have to share with Metro lines from Pakenham in means if timing is in anyway out there will be delays.

“And the other – the Gippsland line has single track sections.

“From Bunyip to Longwarry and Moe, Morwell up to Traralgon is all single track, which inevitably leads to cascading problems if the trains don’t keep to time.”

Mr Wescott said while the State Government’s promised signalling improvements to the Pakenham and Cranbourne Metro line announced in March would have a positive effect if installed, these were still a long way off.

“But the single track sections beyond Pakenham, they could be fixed relatively easily, which could partly overcome the problems, not completely,” he said.

A spokesperson for Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said this month’s results were an improvement upon results when Labor was in government in June 2010.

“In June 2010 under Labor, 70.3 per cent of Gippsland line trains were on time,” the spokesperson said.

“However, Metro is operating more suburban trains on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines than was the case in 2010.”