Seymour’s diesel trains will be replaced with a ‘‘new generation of faster, long-haul trains’’ if the Coalition wins the November election according to the Member for Euroa Steph Ryan.
She said a Coalition Government would replace the N and Z class trains on the Albury and Shepparton lines with a modified variant of the V/Locity rail cars that would include a buffet service.
‘‘Our commitment to purchase new long-haul trains will mean fewer breakdowns and cleaner, more modern trains running at faster speeds,’’ Ms Ryan said.
Ms Ryan said the long-haul services travelling beyond Seymour to Shepparton and Albury are ‘‘plagued with problems’’, making the commute to and from Melbourne a ‘‘nightmare’’ for local residents.
‘‘I have been inundated with stories of overcrowding, breakdowns and problems with basic functionality such as airconditioning,’’ she said.
‘‘The biggest factor affecting our service is the age of the trains and the carriages, some of which date back to the 1950s and ’60s.’’
Ms Ryan also said she hoped this announcement would force the Victorian Government to buy new trains for the Albury and Shepparton lines.
‘‘I have lobbied for three years to get new trains on our line and the message from commuters is clear — we want a service we can rely on,’’ she said.
‘‘We are well on the way to achieving that with the $140million invested by the Federal Coalition to improve the track and our commitment to replace the rolling stock. I will continue with my campaign until Daniel Andrews matches our pledge so people in our region can have confidence our train services will be fixed.’’
However, Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the Victorian Government has already begun the design work needed to run V/Locity trains on long-haul lines.
‘‘The Liberals and Nationals have no credibility when it comes to regional rail ... all they’ve done is cut and shut,’’ Ms Allan said.
‘‘When last in government they didn’t order a single new carriage for two years, didn’t start a rail project anywhere and ripped $120million out of V/Line — and it was a Liberal Government that shut regional rail lines,’’ she said.
‘‘If the Coalition wants to do something useful for V/Line users they should pick up the phone to Malcolm Turnbull and tell him to release the money he has promised for Regional Rail Revival so we can get on with upgrading every regional line in the state.’’
Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes said she thought Ms Ryan’s announcement had been rushed.
‘‘I think it might have been brought forward to coincide with the Minister’s [Jacinta Allan] visit to Benalla, because if you look at the Shadow Minister David Davis, he was quoted in the Border Mail on Friday saying they would announce their policy ‘in due course’ and the day before you had Bill Tilley saying they wouldn’t put V/Locitys on the North East line,’’ she said.
‘‘So I really think this has been brought forward as a catch-up mechanism to try and get ahead of the good work that we’re already doing.’’
The Albury line runs to Melbourne via Wangaratta, Benalla and Seymour while the Shepparton line runs to Melbourne via Murchison, Nagambie and Seymour.