MORE than 4000 people were stranded on the Melbourne-Warrnambool line when V/Line trains suffered delays last night.
About 800 passengers were stuck onboard stationary trains between North Shore and Werribee after an underground cable broke in half and cut power along the line from about 5.45pm.
V/Line chief executive officer Rob Barnett told The Age the company was sorry for the “terrible situation” which resulted in masses of commuters waiting for up to five hours.
“We were just too slow in responding to that situation,” he said.
“We are sincerely sorry to our customers, it is just unacceptable. We know at the end of the day everybody just wants to get home.”
Timboon’s Nicki Bettess was one of the thousands of people affected by the disruption.
Miss Bettess was heading home via Camperdown on the 6.39pm Melbourne to Warrnambool service.
The problems caused her train, scheduled to arrive in Camperdown at 9.17pm, to be changed to a coach that did not arrive until after 11pm.
About 250 people were affected by the delay in the service.
“We arrived at the station about 6.30pm to catch the train home and were told there was going to be a couple of delays,” Miss Bettess said.
“We were waiting for about an hour and were told not to board. They said there were signal outages between Melbourne and Geelong and none of the trains were going.
“Everyone was getting a little bit frustrated.”
Miss Bettess said she noticed people waiting for other trains on nearby platforms were told to find different means of transport.
“I thought ours was going to be cancelled too but then we were told to go to the bus terminal instead,” Miss Bettess said.
“We were waiting there for about half an hour.
“It was a bit of pain because I had to work in the morning and I was expecting to catch the train at 6.30pm.”
Miss Bettess said she considered staying in Melbourne overnight but decided it wasn’t a practical option.
She said she had found the delays “annoying” but had never been in the situation before so was not going to hold a grudge against V/Line.
“These things happen,” she said.
“I don’t catch the train all that often but when I have it’s always been fine.” Most services involved are back to normal but crews have been working around the site of the cable breakage to try to establish why it happened.
V/Line is offering compensation to passengers affected by last night’s delays.
Visit vline.com.au for more information.