Axle counters will be installed on 12 level crossings on the Echuca line in Victoria, after a late boom gate closure last week.
V/Line replaced trains with buses on the Echuca line (a.k.a. the Deniliquin line) on March 20, after boom gates closed 15 seconds, rather than the regulated 25 seconds, before a train passed through a level crossing near Bendigo.
While V/Line stressed nobody was put in danger by the fault, it will not run passenger trains on the line until axle counters have been installed.
Victorian transport minister Jacinta Allan assured the public the axle counters “will ensure boom gates come down in time, every time”.
“We’re upgrading every active level crossing on the Echuca line to restore services as soon as possible.”
Buses will continue to replace trains until the work is complete, operating between Echuca and Bendigo, where passengers will be transferred to trains to Melbourne.
The outage will last at least five weeks, and could take up to seven weeks, Allan said.
But V/Line spokesperson Rob Curtain was quoted by local paper The Riverine Herald saying V/Line didn’t have a timeline for the works.
“This will be determined by the outcome of the investigation by our engineering experts,” he reportedly said on March 29.
State Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, is not happy.
Walsh, also quoted by The Riverine Herald, reportedly said: “I consider it totally unsatisfactory that it takes more than a week to fix a technical fault on a boom gate.
“Those sorts of things should be able to be fixed a lot quicker than that.
“Although [local residents] are unhappy about the speed of the [train], the overwhelming majority of people prefer to travel on the train than they do on a bus,” he added.