One in five fast trains late. Rail ‘disgrace’

Alex de Vos
One in five of Geelong’s fast rail trains arrives late, according to V/Line’s first monthly performance figures for the new service.
V/Line communication advisor Chris White said the fast trains between Geelong and Melbourne had arrived on time “80 per cent of the time” since beginning on September 3.
V/Line’s new high-speed Vlocity trains depart Marshall via Geelong station at 6.50am are scheduled to arrive in Melbourne an hour later and return from Southern Cross Station at 5.29pm on weekdays.
The timetable said the express service was about 15 minutes quicker than other peak-hour services.
Mr White attributed the 80 per cent punctuality rate to teething problems with introduction of the new fast rail service, which he labelled the “biggest operational change” in V/Line’s history.
“We expected there to be a period of bedding down and the September performance results have reflected that,” Mr White said.
Opposition transport spokes-man Terry Mulder called the result an “absolute disgrace”.
“With just under a billion dollars spent in construction, to have only 80 per cent of the trains running on time is a disgrace,” he said.
“The money has gone down the drain and means that anyone who relies on the service has the opportunity to say to their boss that they’ll be late for work 20 per cent of the time.”
Public Transport Users Association’s Tim Petersen said users were “generally happy” with the fast trains.
“But we would like to see more frequent trains,” Mr Petersen said.