Public transport chaos as fire silences radios

Hundreds of passengers at Warrnambool station were made to catch buses because operators feared the train would be inaccessible in the event of an emergency.

V/Line spokeswoman Clare Steele said coaches were called in to replace all six services between Warrnambool and Geelong.

"We couldn't use the base for radio communications because we were affected by the Telstra towers," Ms Steele said.

She said track signals were unaffected but train drivers were unable to communicate with the control room.

All train services are expected to run as normal today after replacement communications were found.

Mepunga dairy farmers Graeme and Sally Croft waited for 20 minutes before an express bus pulled into the terminal, bound for Geelong.

"We walked out onto the platform and there was nobody on the train," Ms Croft said.

"We had to get here a little earlier and pay with cash but that's life we'll get there."

Bus services in Warrnambool ran to schedule.

"We're just going to be here for every arrival and departure to make sure there is enough capacity to take people, so they're not interrupted in their journey," Warrnambool Bus Lines director Sam Lucas said.

Bus driver Doreen Moore told The Standard it had been a busy day for coaches called in to back up V/Line.

"There's been no communication we still had the two-way system but the coaches haven't got them," she said.

"There's no communications on the train.

"If anything happens out on the line they've got no way of communicating with their operators to let them know.

"At least with a bus you can pull over to the side."

Taxis were busy across town but were unable to take calls, leaving some in the lurch.

"We can only do cash and it means the taxi cards have to be done manually," driver Shane Gillert said.

An 86-year-old pensioner was left stranded waiting for a taxi at Warrnambool station for 25 minutes.

Dawn Webb arrived from Hamilton shortly before midday for an eye appointment at St John of God Hospital but was unable to call for a taxi.

"I could have walked up there but since I'm 86 I thought I'd call a taxi," Ms Webb said.

"There's usually a taxi here. I normally only come to Warrnambool once a year. It looks like I picked the wrong day for it."

A Telstra customer shows the network outage on her iPhone.

A Telstra customer shows the network outage on her iPhone.


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