Angst over rail

I am becoming increasingly concerned about the cessation of train services on the Bairnsdale line, east of Traralgon.

Trains have ostensibly been stopped due to safety concerns at level crossings.

This is apparently due to rusty tracks. This seems perfectly reasonable, rains and road vehicles simply do not mix, we all agree on that.

One wonders how long this problem existed before it was detected.

Trains are replaced by buses, allowing people in Wellington and East Gippsland shires to continue to travel to Melbourne by public transport.

I am worried that each week this continues the State Government and V/Line bureaucracy will see this as a satisfactory arrangement. Be assured it is not satisfactory.

We all know that buses are cheaper to run than trains, they should be as they are completely inferior to trains in every way.

Any politician who suggests buses are an adequate replacement for trains has not travelled on public transport much.

I really fear that at some point soon the government will tell us it is just too expensive to fix the line and it will have to close.

I wonder what makes our line different from, say, the Warrnambool line?

There must be hundreds of level crossings in Victoria that operate correctly, surely this matter can be sorted out.

My concern is that closure of Victorian rail lines beyond the major centres may well be secret government policy and our line is just the first.

While we never voted for a government with this policy, please tell us openly and honestly what is going on, we’re big people we can take honesty.

Loss of our train will have a dramatic impact on many in the community, it will put more people, often elderly, onto our road system as they choose to drive rather than bump along in a bus they have difficulty getting into.

For the same reason buses are completely unsuited to people with disabilities.

If the buses are put onto the Myki system, all of the wonderful V/Line staff east of Traralgon could lose their jobs.

The silence on this issue by the Minister for Regional, Rural and State Development Peter Ryan, and, more importantly, leader of the National Party, a party dedicated to supporting country values, makes this even more worrying.

However, this is an MP who, in government, stood idly by when Bairnsdale lost its rail service in the 1990s.

People of Gippsland, beyond Traralgon, prepare for a fight, perhaps against a government you voted for, if you value your train services over a second-rate bus service.

I sincerely hope I’m wrong about all this. Meanwhile, those tracks are just getting rustier.