Rolling stock concerns raised

By Benalla Ensign

The Border Rail Action Group (BRAG) claim the north-east line will receive no rolling stock upgrades for at least four years, the state government, however, rejects this assessment.

BRAG says the current position of the state government on replacement rolling stock for the line means that even when it is upgraded, it will still be used by older trains.

BRAG said they rejected this prospect as totally unacceptable.

The state government recently announced the construction of an enhanced track upgrade funded by $235 million from the Commonwealth.

With the time from order to delivery for new VLocity carriages being at least 18 months, BRAG is concerned as to how long it might take for upgraded trains to be available.

VLocity trains are presently running on a number of broad-gauge tracks in Victoria with lower ride standards than the north-east line.

As such BRAG has called on the state government to abandon its position on the suitability of VLocitys for the north-east line.

However, Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allen rejects the claim that the track will be finished before suitable trains are available.

‘‘We stand by our commitment to have the trains ready when the track is up to scratch — getting those trains ready will take two years, the track will take at least three years,’’ Ms Allen said.

‘‘During this time we will also keep the pressure on the ARTC to release and keep to timelines — making sure when the track work is done, we will have trains ready to run.

‘‘I am proud that the Andrews Labor Government won the fight with the Commonwealth to get the extra money to upgrade the track — we did the work, put in the bid, went to Canberra and delivered for the north east.’’