All Aboard….

All Aboard….

Victoria Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder

Ararat And Maryborough Passengers May Now Stay On Board Trains At Ballarat

Victor P Taffa

Minister for Public Transport Terry Mulder said today that he had resolved a longstanding annoyance for rail passengers using Ararat and Maryborough line trains with V/Line now agreeing to allow travellers to remain on board at Ballarat while train sets were coupled together or divided.

Mr. Mulder said that previously, long distance train passengers arriving at Ballarat were routinely asked to leave the comfort of an airconditioned or heated VLocity railcar and stand on what could be either a freezing cold or baking hot platform while trains from Ararat and Maryborough were amalgamated or those in the other direction divided at Ballarat.

“Some passengers did not want to leave the train to visit the Ballarat railway station’s refreshment rooms. Leaving their seat for up to 15 minutes was a major inconvenience for some Senior Citizens and others with limited mobility, mothers with prams and passengers with heavy backpacks.”

Mr. Mulder said that he was pleased that commonsense had finally prevailed.

“It is normal practice for rail systems around the world to allow passengers to remain on board while carriages are attached or detached. If this was not the case, pyjama-clad passengers on many European overnight sleeper trains would be woken in the middle of the night at junction stations. V/Line has now conformed to this sensible, safe railway practice employed overseas.”

Mr. Mulder said that V/Line’s trains were more punctual on the Ararat, Maryborough and Ballarat lines in July 2011 when compared with 2010.

“In July 2011, only 7.8 % of Ballarat line trains were six minutes or more late in arriving at their destination of either Ballarat or Southern Cross, compared with 18.2 % in July 2010.

“On the Ararat and Maryborough lines in August 2010, the first month combined punctuality figures were available, 14.2 % of trains were at least 11 minutes late. In the month just gone, July 2011, only 2.7 % of Ararat and Maryborough trains were officially late.”

Mr. Mulder said that V/Line’s ‘Discover Victoria’ website feature that heavily promoted the cities and towns of Ararat, Ballarat, Beaufort, Creswick, Maryborough and the Grampians among many others was an excellent way to encourage more Melburnians along with international and interstate tourists to visit country Victoria using V/Line trains or coaches.

“The vast majority of V/Line’s travellers are country Victorian residents. V/Line is endeavouring to tap more heavily into Melbourne’s 4.1 Million residents and growing number of interstate and international tourists. The iconic Goldfields area is extensively served by V/Line’s trains and coaches. It is great that V/Line is promoting historic local cities and towns.” Mr. Mulder said.