V/Line services won’t cope with forecast growth: report

MORE V/Line services to Eaglehawk and Epsom, and trains every 15 minutes during peak hours, are needed to help cope with an expected influx of commuters, according to a V/Line report.

The call for more frequent use of the outer stations comes as the report warns the Bendigo train line will be running at capacity within three years.

According to the Strategic Operations Plan – given to the government to advise where upgrades are needed – the allocated amount of train carriages would not be able to meet forecasted growth on the Bendigo line.

“At present, peak services on the corridor are reaching capacity and will require larger trains to meet demand,” it stated.

“The Bendigo line will evolve over time from the present hourly service, to a half-hour service as additional rolling stock is procured and track upgrades are undertaken.

“Ultimately during the peaks, provision of a 15-minute frequency is proposed to cover the growing commuter market.”

Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said there was a clear need for upgrades and it was a “no-brainer” to allocate funds for more train carriages and track upgrades.

“There are problems with delays and timetable changes that have caused great anger for commuters,” she said.

“Over two years this government hasn’t invested appropriately in the transport system.”

Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the $4 billion Regional Rail Link project was on track to meet demand for the future.

“The previous government failed to properly plan or fund the rail link project,” he said.

“Construction work on the project is now under way and the government is investing record amounts in maintaining and renewing our rail network.”

The V/Line report suggests that upgrades should be given to the Epsom station before 2025.

“Assuming services to Epsom are introduced, V/Line’s preference would be to construct a new facility on the Epsom side of Bendigo, beyond any additional development that occurs in the area,” it said.

“The precise location would be dependent on land availability and suitability.”