Victoria will convert an extra V/Line locomotive to standard gauge to improve the reliability of train services on the Albury line.
The move is being made to boost the fleet of just three standard gauge locomotives currently available to haul trains on the Albury line.
Routine maintenance means one of these locomotives is almost always off-line, leaving only two available to operate the six daily services, the state government explained late last week.
If a second locomotive has to be withdrawn from service due to a fault or damage from an animal strike, there is only one available, meaning services need to be replaced by coaches.
The addition of a fourth locomotive converted to standard gauge will give V/Line the buffer they need to provide more reliable services to Albury line passengers, the government said.
“Right now the Albury line is running on the bare minimum of trains,” transport minister Jacinta Allan explained. “Adding a fourth locomotive will provide the capacity V/Line needs to improve services and make them more reliable.”
The government says the transfer of an additional locomotive from the broad gauge fleet has been made possible by the introduction of a new overnight maintenance regime, which means more trains are available for passenger services.
The Andrews Government is preparing to launch its Regional Network Development Plan – a long-term strategy aimed to boost capacity, reliability and coverage of the regional public transport network.
“Our Regional Network Development Plan offers an opportunity to further improve services to Albury, and I encourage people to put forward their views during consultation over the coming months,” Allan said.
Communities in Northern Victoria will be consulted as part of the development of the plan, starting in June.
The additional locomotive is expected to be ready for service on the Albury line by the end of July this year.