Safety concerns over train 'overcrowding'

INCREASED demand for the south-west’s train service has led to carriage over-crowding, according to the state opposition.

Freedom of information documents obtained by the opposition revealed a number of services on the Warrnambool line breached seating capacity.

Opposition spokesman Richard Wynne said the data showed that nearly all V/Line connections had exceeded total passenger load-permitted limits during the surveyed period between January and June this year. 

“The sheer number of safety breaches is a serious concern and puts passengers at risk of injury should an incident take place,” Mr Wynne said. 

“We have saturation overcrowding on the V/Line network where passengers are forced to stand in aisles, sit on floors and block doorways and the Napthine government’s poor management of regional services is to blame. 

“The government’s order of 15 new trains won’t be in full service before 2015  — four years late and with population and patronage growth it means any improvement is short-lived.”

The Standard contacted Transport Minister Terry Mulder’s office but no response was issued by deadline last night.

Meanwhile, the latest performance data from V/Line revealed the Warrnambool line received a near-perfect score for reliability in November, but punctuality tapered off.

The rail operator defines “on time” for long-distance routes as within 10 minutes 49 seconds of the scheduled arrival and has a target of meeting that performance for 92 per cent of services. 

Nearly 88 per cent of Warrnambool-Melbourne services were considered punctual, with Regional Rail Link works on the Geelong line contributing to the performance data drop.

A Warrnambool-Melbourne full-fare return ticket costs $62 for economy passengers and $78 for first class. Concession tickets for the same return journey costs $31 for economy and $47 for first class.

alex.sinnott@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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