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DELAYS and disruptions across Melbourne’s rail network have only just begun, with a massive pipeline of maintenance projects set to roll out over summer.
Track repair works have caused lengthy delays for the 113,700 passengers estimated to travel on the Belgrave, Lilydale, Alamein and Glen Waverley lines every weekday.
On Friday, as wild weather lashed parts of Victoria, commuters were left waiting in the rain for more than an hour as replacement buses made their way to Camberwell station.
A government spokeswoman thanked passengers for their patience during the construction, which updated some infrastructure dating back to the 1920s.
Melbourne commuters are in for a long summer on public transport, with more disruptions to come. Picture: Nicole Garmston“These works are delivering $42 million in urgent power and signalling upgrades to get people home safer and sooner,” she said.
But the disruptions, due to be completed today, were just the first of many travel warnings expected for commuters.
The signalling project was brought ahead because a major blitz on Melbourne’s road and rail network has been planned for the summer holidays and will be announced before Christmas.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said holiday shutdowns were a regular occurrence as fewer commuters flooded roads and public transport systems in peak hour.
“The broader question is in how they handle these big shutdowns,” he said.
The signalling project for Melbourne's train network was brought forward. Picture: Eugene Hyland“It is about how they provide staff and whether they can buses get through the traffic which seemed to be an issue at Camberwell.
“In the past they have provided priority to buses to help get them moving faster.
“As I understand they’ve got other projects planned for early January but whenever it happens they need to resource it properly.”
Mr Bowen said a shortage of buses appeared to behind delays for travellers during track work.
“They really need to keep adjusting their plans for the number of people and the different situations that will arise,” he said.
Buses are replacing trains between Coburg and Upfield until December 17 and passengers have been warned to add half an hour their journey times.
This article first appeared on www.heraldsun.com.au
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