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Safety scare, wheel wear pulls VLocity trains off Gippsland line

V/Line train going through level crossing. Photo: RailGallery.com.au

Public Transport Victoria has confirmed VLocity trains have been removed from certain parts of the Melbourne network, after one train reportedly failed to trigger equipment at a level crossing in the Dandenong corridor last week.

The Age reported on Saturday that a VLocity train had failed to trigger boom gates at Progress Street in Dandenong on Friday, January 16.

PTV confirmed the network operators – Metro Trains Melbourne and state-owned regional operator V/Line – had chosen to ban the trains from certain parts of the network until the issue is resolved.

VLocity trains are the latest generation of rollingstock on the V/Line network.

“Metro and V/Line have jointly advised PTV that VLocity trains will not operate on parts of the metropolitan network while technical investigations are carried out,” PTV said on Saturday.

“VLocity trains continue to operate safely on the regional network. This decision is about ensuring the safety of rail services for passengers and the community.”

It is not yet known whether the reported level crossing error is linked to a wheel wear issue, which has seen some VLocity carriages removed from the network for maintenance.

“V/Line has identified higher than normal wheel wear on some VLocity carriages, over the past 30 days, which requires additional maintenance,” V/Line said on Monday, January 18.

“This means fewer carriages are available to operate the timetable and in some cases, train services will need to be replaced with coaches.”

V/Line said it is working closely with the trains’ manufacturer, Bombardier, to schedule the required maintenance and return the affected carriages to service as soon as possible.

“V/Line, Bombardier and an independent expert from the Institute of Rail Technology are investigating the cause of the issue.”

The ongoing issues have impacted services throughout the network, with some cancelled services replaced with coaches for the entire journey.

Most trains going through the Gippsland line, where the level crossing incident reportedly took place, are being replaced with coaches, while the operator’s older Sprinter and locomotive fleets, which have not been banned, have also been put to use on the line.

“Sprinter and locomotive-hauled trains … will operate through the metropolitan network to and from the city,” V/Line stated.

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