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COUNTRY train travellers have emerged as the losers of a metropolitan rail revamp, with some trips set to take up to 10 minutes longer.
An extra 90 rail services will hit Melbourne's train network from November 18, many along the newly electrified line to Sunbury.
But the changes have put the brakes on V/Line passengers travelling through the area via Bendigo, with no hope of a reprieve for years.
Public Transport Victoria chief executive Ian Dobbs said travel times wouldn't return to normal until the regional rail link project - aimed at easing congestion between country and city trains - was finished in early 2016.
"There's a slight slowdown of services on that particular corridor," Mr Dobbs said.
"That's led to a short-term increase in journey time of between five and 10 minutes roughly.
"The reason for that is that we have a lot more trains actually on that line."
Eleven Bendigo trains will take more than five minutes longer to complete their journey. The quickest trip, which takes in four stops, will take an hour and 42 minutes instead of 1:31.
The timetable overhaul is the third for Melbourne's rail network in 18 months.
2During the peak, trains will run from Sunbury every 12 minutes and from Watergardens every six. Off-peak services will run in 40-minute and 20-minute intervals respectively.
Among other changes, trains on the Upfield line will run every 18 minutes instead of 20 minutes during the day on weekdays and Craigieburn peak services will run on a six to eight-minute frequency.
2Journey times on the Craigieburn and Upfield lines will increase by one to two minutes to better reflect how long it takes for passengers to get on and off.
Connection times at Newport for the Altona Loop and Laverton shuttle will drop from seven minutes to four, Frankston line journeys have been revised down as much as two minutes and 46 bus timetables in the northwest suburbs will change.
Public Transport Users Association president Tony Morton said the timetable changes were welcome but only incremental.
"There is certainly nothing revolutionary for public transport users," Mr Morton said. "In some cases it's kind of a back-handed benefit really."
Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said seven new X'Trapolis trains would be ready for the new timetable and the Government was committed to buying 33 more trains and 30 regional rail cars.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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