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The federal transport minister says Canberra is prepared to work with Victoria to help improve the state's struggling regional rail services.
Riding the trouble-plagued Albury line this morning, Darren Chester said he wanted to see the issues first hand.
"There's challenges around the reliability of the service, and the frequency of the service, and obviously there's been some environmental issues in terms of the rail track itself," he said.
Passengers on the North East Line have faced regular delays and cancellations since it was converted to standard gauge in 2011.
Critics claim the $500 million upgrade was bungled, with poor track conditions resulting in regular speed restrictions.
Passenger Trevor Crawford says replacement buses are often quicker than the train.
"We travelled on the train 50 years ago, and it went from Wodonga to Melbourne quicker then," he said.
The line is managed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation, while rolling stock is supplied and maintained by the Victorian Government.
Last year the Andrews Government committed $15 million as a stop-gap measure to upgrade carriages and convert an extra locomotive to standard gauge.
The first refurbished train is due to start taking passengers in the coming weeks, which officials hope will improve reliability.
But with the Geelong line struggling to keep pace with demand, and regional cities such as Shepparton crying out for better service, Mr Chester is leaving the door open to funding future projects.
"The prime minister's made it clear that we're interested in working with state governments on passenger rail services," he said.
"I think there's an opportunity for the Federal Government to work with the State Government on regional rail in Victoria."
This article first appeared on www.9news.com.au
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