Delays of up to 40 minutes and outdated rolling stock are all part of the experience on a Warrnambool train trip.
But data released by V/Line reveals not one customer received compensation for its failure to meet punctuality targets on the line in 2016.
More than 140,000 passengers boarded Warrnambool trains each year between 2014 and 2016 and the number is growing.
When The Standard caught up with passengers on the 12.03pm train to Melbourne on Thursday, it was clear the service is loved and plays a crucial role in people’s lives.
Passenger Mohamed Lilani, who catches the Warrnambool train about once a week or fortnight to visit his children, was on the train during the crash at Pirron Yallock last July.
“I was sleeping then, ‘woah, crash’ and the dust came up from another carriage,” he said.
Mr Lilani said he was alright but experienced shock and had bad dreams after the accident. The Melbourne resident was born in Algeria and has lived in Europe, where he used public transport, including high speed rail, extensively. He said he wished the trip between Melbourne and Warrnambool was faster.
Glenda Boutcher, who was visiting Warrnambool from Shepparton to see her daughter and grandson, had a long journey ahead of her back home, but she said she didn’t mind.
“I love the trains, I love the beautiful green scenery around here,” she said.
Ms Boutcher catches V/Line trains at least a couple of times a year.
“It takes us seven hours by car, so to us this is less stress and we beat traffic flow, and in terms of car accidents, you’re a lot safer on the train,” she said.
Sisters Tzigane and Elektra Scholz, from Hawkesdale, regularly catch the train to Melbourne, and both said they wished a better service existed but they had no alternative.
“It’s the only thing we can use, and it’s better than a bus,” Elektra said.
Tzigane lives and studies in Melbourne at the moment. They said they avoided using the train toilets when they travelled because they were never in a good state.
Customers are eligible for compensation if V/Line fails to meet performance targets or if trains run more than 60 minutes late in a single journey.
In 2016, despite the line failing to reach its punctuality performance target of 92 per cent for the entire year –including dropping to just 15.4 per cent in December – no refunds of this kind were issued to customers on the line.
Eight refunds were issued to customers for singe journey delays, at a total cost of $330.
V/Line data showed 32 Warrnambool services were replaced by coaches for all or part of the journey in 2016.