THE state of the region’s train network has been thrust into the election spotlight after Member for Euroa Steph Ryan announced The Nationals would replace old trains if they were elected to government later this year.
Ms Ryan has promised the N and Z class trains on the Shepparton and Albury lines would be upgraded, affecting up to three services from Seymour to Melbourne each week.
While it was not an overhaul of the entire network for residents, The Nationals’ Deputy Leader said some peak hour services would benefit from the replacements.
“There are old trains on the lines which service Kilmore, Wandong, Broadford and Wallan and those would be replaced with new trains,” Ms Ryan said.
“The really key service to fix is the 4.31pm train which leaves Melbourne during peak hour.
“If we want more people to move to our region and feel like they can commute to and from Melbourne, we need a train service which is reliable and runs on time.”
However, Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said the track needs to come before the trains.
“I’ve asked for new trains every budget since I got elected. .. I’ve not been successful because the reality is you can’t run new trains on the dodgy track we have,” she said.
“The fix for the fault plagued line is two-fold – track then trains.
“The track can only be fixed by the federal government; the trains are the state’s responsibility.”
In May last year, Ms Symes announced $43.5 million for new train stabling and a new crossing loop near Murchison East to allow for more services on the Shepparton line.