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Offline ozbob

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Article: New train to cope with surge
« on: August 13, 2008, 05:54:02 AM »
From the Latrobe Valley Express click here!

New train to cope with surge
11/08/2008 9:01:00 AM

A NEW VLocity carriage is bound for the Traralgon rail line to help V/Line cope with a 56 per cent surge in patronage across the entire Gippsland network.

Premier John Brumby has announced 50 new carriages for the five regional networks will be rolled out from now until 2012.

The Traralgon and Bendigo lines will receive the first of the 76 seater VLocity carriages.

In the last financial year V/Line recorded 135,645 trips between Traralgon and Melbourne compared to 87,121 the previous year.

V/Line's review of the service was based on figures recorded between July 2007 and June 2008.

According to V/Line, some rail users travelling from Melbourne to Traralgon were made to stand for an hour due to overcrowding on the service. The extra carriage is expected to ease some of the overcrowding issues.

V/Line spokesman Daniel Moloney said while the Gippsland line was not the busiest, it had recorded the largest growth of all five regional networks.

"That makes it difficult to plan rail services when you have those dramatic increases almost over night,'' he said. ``Even growth of around 20 per cent is tough but going back a few years ago before fast rail growth was only two to three per cent.

"It's important to note that petrol price increases have played a major role in rail usage and we saw a spike in growth in 2006 when the fast rail was introduced and another last year when we reduced fares by 20 per cent.

"But fuel is the biggest motivator, especially this year with petrol going up by about 40 per cent, we've seen a new level of growth.''

Mr Moloney said the growth surge was one of the main reasons Gippsland had been chosen as a priority region.

"It was absolutely vital that this line received the carriage and when we told customers at Southern Cross Station (on Thursday) about the additional carriages they were very relieved and a few cheered,'' he said.

"There have been quite a few orders for VLocity trains over the last couple of years and we were lucky production started in 2003 as it now helps out with the current growth.''

Mr Brumby and Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky travelled to Drouin on the VLocity carriage destined for the Traralgon line on Thursday.

The carriage will complete a morning and afternoon service, providing an extra 300 seats per day.

In the coming months V/Line will transform 23 two-carriage trains into three-carriage services by adding the extra 76 seats to each train in the peak periods.

Each carriage will cater for four wheelchair passengers and an additional luggage and bicycle storage area.

The carriages have also been fitted with 32 set trays and slight adjustments have been made to the seat-back angles.

Ms Kosky said the government was planning for future demand.

"It's great to see people voting with their feet on our rail service but it has created crowding on the popular fast rail corridors and that's why we are taking action,'' Ms Kosky said.

"It marks the biggest investment in new rolling stock since the Regional Fast Rail project and ... people on busy trains will start to notice a major difference in their train travel experience.''

The announcement is part of the Brumby Government's $236 package to boost capacity on Victoria's regional rail network.
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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