V/LINE says the St Patrick’s Day fires contributed to a drop in performance on the Warrnambool line in March.
V/Line CEO James Pinder said there were few options the regional train operator could have taken to avoid the disruptions.
“Safety is our number one priority and we worked closely with the CFA to help manage the impact of the fires on our network,” he said.
“As part of the recovery, our crews completed repairs on a three km section of the line between Terang and Garvoc, replacing more than 1400 sleepers.
“It was a huge effort from everyone involved and we thank passengers for their patience, while our people worked as quickly and safely as possible to get services back up and running.”
The latest performance figures show 74.9 per cent of services arrived at their destination on time in March and 89.8 per cent of services were delivered.
The transport operator said trains stopping at stations longer than scheduled and train faults, also contributed to delays on the Warrnambool line last month.
Mr Pinder said detailed planning work was continuing on the $114 million upgrades and improvements package for the Warrnambool line.
“The funding has now been secured for the $1.7 billion Regional Revival program, which is a significant investment in our network,” Mr Pinder said.
“The Warrnambool Line Upgrade will see an additional crossing loop on the line, signalling upgrades from Waurn Ponds to Warrnambool and level crossing upgrades.”
Mr Pinder said the works would lead to more services and better reliability of the line and so “passengers have a lot to look forward to.”
In February, 84.2 per cent of V/Line services arrived on time on the Warrnambool line and in January 94.7 per cent of services arrived on time.
Across the V/Line network, reliability improved about one percentage point to 97 per cent in March and 81.1 per cent of services arrived on time.