Rolling stock on the Warrnambool train line is an embarrassment and should be in a museum, says a passenger of 20 years.
Justin Passlow, who lived in Warrnambool for two decades while operating the Passlow Ford dealership, said the city's train service had hardly changed in the last 20 years, with passengers forced to travel in ageing carriages for hours.
"The current trains are aged, noisy and uncomfortable. Maybe that was acceptable back in the 1970s or 80s but the current state of the train service is unacceptable in 2020," Mr Passlow said.
"People in Warrnambool deserve better. I'm not going to comment on scheduling, staff or timetabling but I will say with a lot of passion that the government needs to step up. The rolling stock is an embarrassment and should be in a museum."
It comes after the city's train service failed to reach its punctuality target of 92 per cent for the fifth consecutive month.
V/Line's December performance figures show 87.6 per cent of trains ran on-time last month - the worst result since May last year.
Rail operators said train and track faults, and strikes had impacted punctuality in the south-west.
Throughout December V/Line staff took industrial action including work stoppages on all lines and bans on overtime shifts which led to cancellations and delays across the network.
A V/Line spokesman said performance on the line had improved on the same period last year.
The new data was released just four days after the state's Minister for Public Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan confirmed high-speed VLocity trains would not run on the Warrnambool train line anytime soon.
She said the track was in worse shape than originally thought and significant work was needed to increase speeds from their current maximum of 115km/h.
The Standard asked Ms Allan when the high speed VLocity carriages would run on the line but no date was given. She said the $114 million Warrnambool line upgrade would deliver an extra daily return service by the end of 2021 and pave the way for the high-speed trains.
"These upgrades take us a step closer, with all our level crossing upgrades to date now suitable for the faster, lighter trains to run safely along road crossings," she said.
Mr Passlow said the government needed to help promote bringing tourists to Warrnambool by train rather than car.
"There's been conversations about the Great Ocean Road being smashed by tourists, so why not bring them down the middle so they can free up that road, potentially stop off at Terang and Camperdown, and go on to visit places like the Cobden and the Timboon and Allansford cheese factories," he said.
"Because of the struggles being faced in the dairy industry, tourism is so much more important to support those businesses. We need to get the trains down here much quicker and in more comfort. At the moment tourists are just going to see our trains and laugh."
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