LOCALS will continue to rely on road coach services to Melbourne as works continue to repair a section of sunken railway track near Moe.
With the Gippsland line between Traralgon and Moe to be closed for up to four weeks, V/Line has issued travel advice on its website. Commuters have been advised to arrive at Traralgon and Morwell stations 20 minutes earlier to catch connecting buses as crews work to fix sunken railway track near Moe.
The track work has also provided a boost to local public transport industry, with local bus drivers being asked to step up to meet the increased demand for road coach services.
While commuters from Traralgon will be able to catch a connecting train service from Moe, those east of Traralgon have been advised to add up to an additional 60 minutes to travel time, with all trains previously running from Bairnsdale to be run as road coaches for the entire journey.
Despite a temporary repair on Sunday, August 19, the section of track was identified as hazardous by a train driver on Tuesday, August 21 with the afternoon Bairnsdale service to Southern Cross forced to disembark at Morwell and complete the rest of the journey by road coach.
Former Eastwood resident and Melbourne university student Rachel Dear said the mishap added an extra 90 minutes to her trip.
“I had a reserved seat and asked if the train would be going the whole way (to Melbourne) and was told yes,” she said.
“We got to Morwell, sat in the train for 20 minutes and had to get off to wait for a bus; we had to wait half an hour for a bus but it was school time so you can understand that.
“I was talking to other people who had been bused from Sale to Morwell, so they must have been prepared for something.
“But we got to Moe, sat on the train for an hour before they said they didn’t have a driver and we would have to get on another bus.”
The track work will require construction of a temporary dam to pump about 2.4 million litres of water from the area – enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool. The culverts will then be removed and replaced with reinforced concrete.
To minimise delays, Traralgon and Morwell commuters have been advised to arrive at the station 20 minutes earlier to catch a connecting train at Moe.
Trains from Melbourne will terminate at Moe with the rest of the journey to be completed by road coach.
Reservations, checked luggage and buffet on Gippsland line trains will not be in operation during this period. For temporary timetables or more information visit http://www.vline.com.au/home/news/gippslandservicechanges/2135818823/article.aspx, or follow V/Line on Twitter under the handle @vline_gippsland. For the latest travel updates or for customers with special needs, phone 1800 800 007.