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THE state's new public transport regulatory body has given V/Line a rap over the knuckles for its handling of Tuesday's power failure which left thousands of Geelong train commuters stranded for up to five hours.
The debacle, caused by a failure of a high voltage underground power line which left the entire line from Werribee to Geelong paralysed, was the first crisis for the not-yet week-old Public Transport Victoria (PTV).
Chief executive Ian Dobbs told the Geelong Advertiser he was extremely disappointed with the delays experienced by 4250 V/Line passengers.
"Although the cause of the disruption was outside of V/Line's direct control, the concerning thing was the response to the situation was very poor and they know that," Mr Dobbs said.
"From our perspective, we are very keen in the future to make sure that when things do inevitably happen, they get dealt with efficiently, and we keep people up to date and that clearly didn't happen on Tuesday night."
While some trains made it into stations along the Geelong line following the power failure, three trains were left stranded between stations, with hundreds of passengers trapped on board for nearly five hours.
As late as Thursday afternoon, V/Line crews were still trying to locate the exact point along the line where the 25-year-old power cable failed, narrowing the area down to a 1km stretch near Little River.
It is not known whether the cable failed because of its age or whether it had been cut.
Mr Dobbs said the cable, which runs alongside the track, wasn't thought to be a critical piece of infrastructure.
"Twenty-five years is not a long time in the context of the industry we operate, we constantly have to update infrastructure but sometimes it's difficult to predict which parts of infrastructure are more vulnerable than others," he said.
"There are lessons to be learned from this, about how V/Line handles this situation in the future and provides timely and accurate information to people on site."
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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