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As improvements were announced for the Border’s train stations and levels crossings this week, passengers continued to experience frustration at the biggest issue: a service that runs reliably from Melbourne to Albury.
V/Line replaced trains with coaches for the entire journey both ways from Saturday to Monday in order to complete Australian Rail Track Corporation bridge improvement works.
But even as early as Friday night, passengers like Albury’s Marianne Myers had to experience the big drop in service that comes with taking the V/Line replacement coaches.
She and her sister pushed their luggage back and forth around Southern Cross Station as they were firstly told they needed to get on a bus, then that the first leg to Seymour would actually be a train.
“We travel to Springhurst, which was our first stop to Albury,” Ms Myers said.
“By this stage a lady sitting in front of me asks me to not let the bus go without her as she desperately needs to go to the toilet – she had to go behind the bus shelter as there was nowhere else to go – and no toilet on the bus obviously.
“I felt like I was in a third world country.
“There was no mention about stopping for food or water, we were just herded along like cattle.”
The delays were set to continue on Sunday when Albury-bound trains were replaced by coaches between Southern Cross and Broadmeadows for track improvement works, then again for some evening trains between Monday and Wednesday due to the CityLink Tulla widening project.
The frustrations with a lack of trains come as the Victorian government announced a series of improvements to rail stations.
Wodonga, Wangaratta and Benalla will have bike cages installed, and Springhurst and Chiltern new bike hoops as part of the road and rail minor works program, expected to be completed by the end of 2018.
Bells, lights and boom gates have also been announced for more North East level crossings, also to be completed by next year.
They included crossings at Old Barnawartha Road in Wodonga, Old Hume Highway in Barnawartha and Gravel Pit Road in Wangaratta.
Northern Victoria MLA Jaclyn Symes said the works would make crossings safer for passenger and freight services.
“These are the most high-risk crossings on the North East line, and we’re going to make them safer, sooner,” she said.
“We’re not wasting a moment upgrading dangerous crossings that put passengers and drivers at risk.”
This article first appeared on www.bordermail.com.au
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