Commuter chaos on Geelong line

By Luke Voogt

A power outage and a communications fault left Geelong commuters stranded twice in three days with V/Line cancelling and postponing trains on Monday and Wednesday.

A fault in train drivers’ emergency radio network disrupted services across V/Line’s network, including Geelong, from 6pm on Monday night.

Crews switched their radios to a secondary system but mid-evening trains had to hold their position as this took place, causing lengthy delays.

On Wednesday morning a Powercor outage across large parts of Melbourne affected train control facilities limiting emergency communications systems.

The outage also affected parts of Southern Cross Station impacting the arrival and departure of trains.

This led to V/Line cancelling or postponing several services and dispatching buses to Geelong, with delays of up to 90 minutes for commuters.

Train controllers shifted to a backup facility and access returned to parts of Southern Cross Station, allowing services to resume later that day.

Shadow regional public transport minister Steph Ryan took aim at state government over the disruptions.

“These massive disruptions make it harder for people who have to be back in the workplace,” she said.

Ms Ryan accused state government of under-investing in regional transport.

“The cost overruns on metropolitan projects like the West Gate Tunnel, the Suburban Rail Loop and Metro Tunnel could pay to replace all of our regional train services, but Labor won’t even front up to keep the current network running,” she said.

But neither disruption related to the condition or maintenance of the regional rail network, according to state government.

“We know how important reliable regional public transport is to Victorian communities,” a government spokesperson said.

“That is why we’ve continued our investment in regional rail with more than $610 million in vital maintenance of V/Line’s passenger and freight lines in this year’s budget.

“We are continuing to invest to ensure the tracks, signalling, stations and structures remain in top condition for services to operate.”

According to government, V/Line has completed more than $150 million in major infrastructure improvement projects across the network and more than $100 million in regular maintenance works.