More delays on Metro trains

More delays on Metro trains.


A person has been hit by a train on the Glen Waverley line, adding more delays to a turmoil- filled day for Melbourne’s train commuters.

An ambulance spokeswoman has confirmed that a pedestrian was hit by a train at East Malvern station, about 7:45pm Monday. As a result, Metro is replacing trains with buses between Darling and Glen Waverley stations.

The incident follows an earlier accident on the Frankston line, where a person was hit by a train at Cheltenham station, causing disruptions and the use of buses between Mordialloc and Moorabin. Train services have since resumed running between the two stations.

Peak-hour commuters travelling on most of the major Melbourne train lines on Monday have faced a combination of long delays, over-crowded trains and substitute bus services as Metro attempts to complete its already delayed rail works.

The works, part of the Regional Rail Link project, were meant to have been completed overnight on Sunday, in time for the Monday morning peak but are taking longer than the four-day schedule.

Williamstown and Altona trains will operate as shuttles from Newport station and that Werribee trains will run direct from Flinders Street Station with no express trains.

Frankston trains will bypass the City Loop, while the Craigieburn and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines will have some cancelled services.

Twenty minute delays are also expected to affect the Sunbury and Upfield lines.

Metro chief executive Andrew Lezala said commuters could expect delays of up to 20 minutes on Monday evening on affected lines.

V/Line Traralgon services have also been heavily affected, with replacement buses to run from Southern Cross and Pakenham stations.

Mr Lezala said there was always a risk that the signalling work would not be completed in time for Tuesday morning’s peak.

“I desperately want it to be complete tonight, I know the guys are doing everything they can but there is a risk to tomorrow morning. So we are planning for that and if we get the railway back we will run more services,” Mr Lezala said.

The scale of the work involved was always going to make it difficult to finish in the four days that were set aside, Mr Lezala said.

“It was a huge amount of work to fit in to the Anzac weekend, it was the only opportunity to do so and it was a high risk piece of work relative to other pieces of work that have been done by the Regional Rail Link program.”

Monday morning’s delays affected commuters on several urban lines and have severely disrupted some V/Line services, particularly on the Gippsland line.

“We know the disruptions were significant and frustrating for many of our customers this morning and apologise sincerely for these works extending further,” Metro said in an earlier statement.

Lisa, a pregnant passenger travelling to Williamstown, said that Melbourne train services are “hopeless”, and that after living in London for eight years, she never expected to miss the tube.

“It took one and a half hours to get from Williamstown to the city this morning, and I was standing the whole while pregnant. It seems that too many people’s travels are dependent on rail work here,” she said.

Jim Zarakis, travelling to Laverton, said safety was his main concern.

“Being on such overcrowded trains is just not safe,” he said.

“People are sitting on top of each other already, and when there is a 2 to 3 minute delay, it has a cascade effect.”

Yet passenger Steven Lindsay from Oakleigh said it was not worth “becoming irate” over something that cannot be helped.

“My train was 20 minutes late this morning, but I wasn’t too worried about it. I’m not going to get annoyed and yell at someone who has nothing to with this,” Mr Lindsay said.

“It’s a bit hard to deliver a world class transport system on tracks which were built in the 40s,” he said.

A four-day job to install new signalling for the Regional Rail Link project blew out by a full day on Monday, causing major delays and overcrowding for train passengers.

Tony Morton, president of the Public Transport Users Association, said there was a pattern of recent major works running over time and creating peak-hour disruption, and that Metro needed to improve its time management.

“Just about every piece of major infrastructure work that’s been done over a weekend, almost without exception, they’ve all run late and gone into Monday,” Mr Morton said.

“If you’re given a four-day window to do things then you plan things so that you reduce your chance that you won’t complete it in time.”

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