By Natalee Kerr
No Geelong-Melbourne trains will run next Thursday due to workers striking for more pay, V/Line has announced.
Geelong commuters will face the 24-hour interruption just six days before Christmas with train workers walking off the job.
The day-long strike will impact the Geelong line on 19 December, as V/Line employees “step up” their fight for better working conditions, Victoria’s Rail, Tram and Bus Union announced.
The call comes after V/Line employees voted 98 per cent in favour of industrial action against the operator last week.
Staff are seeking a six per cent annual pay rise over three years, but have been ignored, according to the union.
Buses will replace trains on the day, with V/Line urging commuters to plan for up to 60 minutes extra for their journey.
V/Line said it would communicate information on the strike via its website, app, social media and at stations.
“We will communicate this as soon as possible to ensure passengers can plan their journey.”
Meanwhile at several Geelong-Melbourne trains faced cancellation or early termination in “extreme” heat conditions on Monday afternoon, according to V/Line.
Some trains originated or terminated at Geelong or South Geelong instead of Waurn Ponds, with V/Line providing connecting buses for those services.
The city’s temperature reached 38.9C after 2pm, causing other delays as trains slowed down to 90km/h or less due to steel tracks expanding in the heat.
V/Line terminated and originated a number of Warrnambool-Melbourne services at Camperdown instead of Warrnambool due to a fire at Terang.
More delays followed for V/Line commuters on Tuesday after a “significant communications fault” on the Geelong line.
The “major disruption” caused a number of residual delays up to 60 minutes, reduced capacity and cancellations, according to V/Line.