Warrnambool line train passengers experienced another month of poor punctuality, with just 79.4 per cent of services arriving on time in December.
The latest monthly performance figures show the service still falls short of V/Line’s punctuality target of 92 per cent – a number that has been exceeded just 11 times in the past decade.
V/Line said last month’s result was due to temporary speed restrictions being enforced between Colac and Warrnambool, where concrete sleepers are being installed along the line.
Trains stopping at stations longer than scheduled in the timetable was also a contributing factor to delays.
For reliability, 92 per cent of services were delivered for the month.
A broken rail between Geelong and Melbourne, a damaged level crossing, and extreme heat were among the reasons for the cancellations.
A V/Line spokesman said there was good progress being made on the “huge program of works to replace 45,000 sleepers on the Warrnambool line”.
“Trains need to slow down in the areas where new sleepers have been laid, and we apologise to our passengers for the longer journey times,” he said.
“We look forward to seeing performance improve this year once the temporary speed restrictions are lifted.”
In 2018, there was only one occasion where V/Line hit its target of 92 per cent.
That was in April, with 92.9 percent of trains arriving in a timely fashion. It was the best performance recorded on the line since October 2011.
March saw the most amount of disruptions on the line, with 74.9 per cent of trains delivered on time and 23 cancelled services.
V/Line said the drop in performance was a result of the St Patrick’s Day fires recovery, which saw crews replace more than 1400 sleepers between Terang and Garvoc.
In May and June, the punctuality target was missed by about 20 per cent, which V/Line attributed to temporary speed restrictions as a result of engineering works.
But on-time performance figures appeared to be on the mend in the months that followed, with July reaching 81 per cent and August 90.7 per cent – the highest rate since April.
Unfortunately that was short-lived, with punctuality plummeting again two months later when the line recorded its worst result in nearly two years.
In November, only 62.7 per cent of services arrived on time.
That came after changes to stopping patterns on August 26, which resulted in a decrease of up to ten minutes on some journeys.
V/Line said those services were impacted by the sleeper replacement works, which are expected to be complete by “early 2019”.
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