Senior Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) staff will be joining V/Line train services over the next two days to talk to customers about work underway to fix the line and lift speed restrictions as well as answer their questions, an ARTC spokesperson said today.
The on-board train consultations support a number of public information activities that are launched tomorrow (Monday), including a dedicated webpage on the works, posters and flyers at stations and an upcoming station BBQ, the spokesperson said.
“This isn’t about providing excuses, but about talking to the customers directly impacted by train delays and explaining what ARTC is doing to improve the situation.
“It’s also a chance to thank and acknowledge V/Line customers for their patience so far.
“We recognise that customers have been experiencing delays for some time as a result of the speed restrictions in place.
“This gives V/Line’s customers an opportunity to find out what we’re doing to remove the speed restrictions and when they can start to expect improvements.”
Due to the presence of mud-holes on sections of the track between Melbourne and Albury, ARTC has applied temporary speed restrictions in different areas along the track to ensure the safe operation of trains.
“We know that V/Line customers will have a lot of questions for us about the work, why it’s taking place and how it is going,” the spokesperson said.
“Our expectation is to have normal train journey times returned by the middle of 2013.”
Some of the works taking place includes replacing fouled ballast with new ballast, drainage improvements, mud-hole removal, track reconditioning and shoulder ballast cleaning.
“It’s not an overnight fix and ARTC is taking a targeted approach, investing $134 million into fixing the problem at its source, the poor ballast condition and drainage.
“We have seen significant improvements in train performance with the works completed so far, mainly on the NSW side of the border where a number of speed restrictions have been lifted, and we expect to translate those results to the Victorian section of track.”
ARTC staff will be on-board the 6.01pm Southern Cross to Albury V/Line service on Monday evening and the 6.35am Albury to Southern Cross V/Line service on Tuesday morning.
A customer BBQ is also planned for 15 November at Albury and Wodonga. Further details will be provided closer to the date.