Anger at proposal to cut train services at Pakenham

LOCAL politicians have expressed anger at a Metro trains proposal to terminate Gippsland V/Line services at Pakenham in order to free up the rail line for metropolitan services.

Gippsland East MLA Tim Bull said the State Government has no such plans.

“I strongly support the Transport Minister’s comments that Gippslanders have as much right to expect their trains to operate to and from Melbourne’s CBD and busy junctions such as Caulfield and Dandenong, as do Victorians living on the Ballarat, Bendigo Geelong and Seymour lines,” he said.

“The government has no plans to terminate V/Line trains travelling to or from Bairnsdale or Traralgon at Pakenham,” he said.

“The Coalition Government is acting to further increase the capacity of Melbourne and country Victoria’s rail networks and in line with this, the Government has already placed an order for seven new metropolitan trains and provided more than $200 million in the 2012/13 Budget for at least 30 new V/Line railcars for the country rail network.

“From time to time agencies and departments present proposals to government for consideration. All Gippsland line V/Line trains continue to either originate or terminate in the city and there are no plans to change this,” Mr Bull said.

Morwell MLA Russell Northe said people living on the Gippsland line had as much right to expect their trains to operate to and from Melbourne’s CBD and busy junctions such as Caulfield and Dandenong as do Victorians who live on the Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong and Seymour lines with their respective junctions and direct trains to and from Southern Cross.

Mr Northe said Gippsland residents deserved the right to maintain the service they currently have.

“Commitments have been made under the State Coalition Government’s 2012/13 State Budget for additional services to benefit both regional and metropolitan networks,” he said.

“This includes the commitment of at least 30 new V/Line rail cars to expand the capacity of regional networks to meet the growing demand for regional commuters who travel to and from Melbourne on a regular basis,’ Mr Northe said.

“Whilst I support the need to improve and upgrade the Gippsland rail network the proposition of a Pakenham interchange is not something local commuters would deem as acceptable.”

For more on this, read Tuesday’s Gippsland Times.