Trains services suspended

SAFETY concerns with level crossings between Sale and Traralgon has led to V/Line suspending Gippsland train services east of Traralgon.

Coaches have replaced Bairnsdale trains, while train services will operate as normal between Traralgon and Melbourne.

V/Line acting chief executive Graham Perry said V/Line was concerned warning bells at a number of level crossings between Traralgon and Sale were ringing for inconsistent lengths of time.

“A total of 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Sale are not consistently detecting approaching trains early enough for warning bells and boom gates to activate for a full 25 seconds before the train reaches the level crossing. This has resulted in some instances where bells have provided a shorter than required warning to road users approaching the level crossing, which is a potential safety issue,” Mr Perry said.

“The majority of trains are activating the level crossing warnings correctly,” he said.

Mr Perry stressed that the suspension of services was precautionary while the engineering investigation is undertaken.

“Our priority is to run a safe network, so we are replacing train services beyond Traralgon with coaches, until a solution is found.

“Initial investigations indicate that the short warning times are related to poor electrical conductivity between the rail and the train wheels. Our engineers will investigate appropriate measures to rectify the inconsistent detection of trains.

“Once the investigation has been completed in coming weeks, V/Line will be in a better position to determine the next steps and decide when to resume train services beyond Traralgon.”

Mr Perry said V/Line would provide replacement coach services to ensure customers reached their destinations.

“With safety as our number one priority, it is vital that we are confident that every safety measure is working as it should,” he said.

“V/Line regrets any inconvenience caused to our customers, but I am sure that everyone shares our view that safety is paramount.”

Customers who need special assistance are asked to phone 1800 800 007 at least 24 hours before travel.