Good news for regional commuters: New carriages for V/Line services

The company currently has 134 VLocity carriages. Photo: Craig Abraham

SUFFERING V/Line commuters may be able to travel in a little more comfort after a leaked state report revealed dozens of new train carriages are to be ordered for the fast-growing regional train service.

It was reported yesterday that Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder had written to Treasurer Kim Wells stating the department would spend $174 million to purchase 34 Melbourne-made VLocity carriages.

Mr Mulder’s spokeswoman, Larissa Garvin, said no contract had been signed and that negotiations were still continuing. She said the government would make an announcement once the negotiations are completed.

The news comes as V/Line continues to struggle with record patronage growth, which last financial grew by 6.9 per cent.

Patrons have been complaining for years about squashed conditions as more and more people travel between Melbourne and the state’s major regional centres.

In May, then-Public Transport Users Association president Daniel Bowen said extra carriages were desperately needed.

“Passengers unable to find a seat, forced to sit in the aisles or stand for long periods of time, have become a regular occurrence on V/Line services,” he said.

It is not known whether the carriages will be used for new services or to relieve packed existing services…

According to V/Line’s 2011-12 annual report, patronage has grown at an increasing pace since 2004-04, when 7.25 million trips were taken; last financial year, a staggering 15.55 million trips were taken.

Alana Schetzer, The Age, November 3, 2012

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