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MELBOURNE to Bendigo trains were interrupted for several hours yesterday because of a bomb scare at Sunshine Station.
LATE: Passengers from the 8.40 am train arrive in Bendigo at 1 pm.
A police bomb squad was called in after a suspicious package was found on a train at the station early yesterday morning, bringing trains on the line to a halt.
The 8.40 am train from Spencer Street was stopped just before Sunshine, with passengers waiting on board for more than an hour before they were redirected to coaches.
They reached Bendigo two-and-a-half hours late, shortly before 1 pm, and 20 minutes after the passengers from the 10.16 am service to Bendigo, who were also diverted on to buses from Spencer Street.
Yesterday's was the latest in a saga of incidents involving the state's rail system, including passenger train crashes at Elphinstone and Mitiamo and a freight train derailment at Tarnagulla in the past two weeks.
Meanwhile, on Saturday night, passengers on a late football train to Bendigo were left waiting at Spencer Street for 70 minutes because a crew had been delayed on another train which had broken down.
Yesterday's incident tested some passengers' patience, but most agreed there was little they could do.
"I wish they had told us what was happening - they just told us to get on buses, but didn't say why," 10.16 am passenger Jill Dalrymple said.
Birthday celebrations were put on hold for Bendigo's Charlie Bell, who was left waiting at Bendigo Station for two-and-a-half hours before his family members from Melbourne arrived for his 70th birthday.
"We were booked in for lunch for the occasion, but better late than never," he said.
Despite the delays, Bendigo passenger Don Romey said he appreciated the actions of rail staff.
"I am glad they acted promptly," he said. "It is a bit of a sad state when these things happen, but (V/Line staff) were very professional." V/Line spokesman Trevor Rowe said the series of incidents affecting V/Line passengers was unfortunate but unavoidable. "When you look at the two train crashes, neither of them were as a result of anything V/Line had done wrong," he said.
However, he apologised for the inconvenience caused to passengers who were delayed on Saturday night.
Rural Press Ltd
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