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TRAVELLERS on the Glen Waverley line will have to catch buses instead of trains for the next three nights while Metro finishes maintenance work that was supposed to have been completed yesterday.
A 10-kilometre stretch of the eastern suburban railway line has been shut for the past week, with buses replacing trains between Darling and Glen Waverley stations while rail operator Metro conducts a nine-day maintenance ''blitz''. An estimated 25,000 passengers have been affected.
But the nine-day schedule has proved beyond the rail operator. After reopening this morning, the line will be shut down again tonight and the next two nights, at 8.30.
Buses will run between Burnley station and Glen Waverley. The line will also be closed again next weekend, as planned originally.
''We've pushed as hard as we can to get it done as quickly as possible,'' he said.
The Glen Waverley line closure is the second railway line ''blitz'' this year.
Last month Premier Ted Baillieu said closing railway lines for short periods was the most effective way to improve the network, and assured commuters the work would be finished on time.
''There is, of course, some disruption involved in a step like this but it is evident that a blitz over a set period is actually cheaper, more effective and gets better results,'' Mr Baillieu said. ''That disruption will be over in nine days and we look forward to the Glen Waverley line resuming on time with a better, more comfortable service.''
But the delay has sparked accusations that the maintenance blitz was poorly planned.
''You would think with all-day access to the track they would know how long it would take to do the work,'' said Daniel Bowen, the Public Transport Users Association president.
Regular users of the line had also reported journeys of up to 45 minutes on replacement buses last week, rather than the advertised 12 minutes, he said.
The work involves replacing 45,000 worn wooden sleepers with concrete ones. But some wooden sleepers will not be changed, particularly alongside station platforms.
Mr Hoare said renewing those sections was more complex and those sleepers were not worn out yet.
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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