Nationals Member for Euroa Annabelle Cleeland has called for more train services following the Andrews Labor Government’s acknowledgment of overcrowded V/Line trains on the Albury Line.
In a recent announcement, the government announced a plan to initiate a trial of reserved-only services on weekends, commencing from September 2.
Ms Cleeland said while the move was a positive recognition of the under-serviced railway line, it fell short of fully addressing the concerns faced by regional passengers.
“The North East is one of the most under serviced railway lines in the state, and despite our best efforts raising these concerns with the Minister for Public Transport, the recent claims of regional travellers’ satisfaction have left a gap between perception and reality,” Ms Cleeland said.
Ms Cleeland said the trial was a distraction of the real problem, which was the need for more frequent and reliable services.
“While the introduction of reserved seating on weekends might alleviate weekend crowding, it raises several unanswered questions,” Ms Cleeland said.
“This trial, without additional services, could potentially restrict even more passengers from utilising the train system.
“There is uncertainty about the availability of these reserved seats, as I’ve already heard reports of advanced bookings becoming a challenge for community members.”
Ms Cleeland launched a petition last month calling on the government to increase train services on the Albury line, which had received more than 200 signatures of support.
“We have just three trains a day from Albury to Melbourne – this is completely unacceptable with our region’s population,” she said.
“I have countless stories of people missing medical appointments due to unreliable trains, and elderly having to stand for hours on the train because of the overcrowding and poor frequency of trains.
“The fundamental problem is the lack of services.”
Since the recent fare reduction earlier this year, the Albury Line has had more than 150,000 passengers, encompassing destinations across the Euroa electorate such as Benalla, Violet Town, Euroa, Avenel, and Seymour.