The Age has exposed the decrepit state of Melbourne’s rail tracks, amid ongoing negligence by both Connex and the State Government in maintaining Melbourne’s physical rail infrastructure:
DANGEROUS tracks and poor maintenance on some of Melbourne’s busiest suburban rail lines are forcing trains to run at speeds as slow as 30 km/h, increasing journey times for frustrated commuters.
While Connex is responsible for track maintenance under its franchise agreements, the State Government has failed to hold Connex accountable for the deteriorating state of the rail network.
Speed restrictions are in place because of the condition of tracks on the busy Sydenham, Cranbourne and Pakenham lines. Under its franchise agreement with the State Government, Connex is responsible for maintaining them.
The poor state of maintainence as well as a failure to reflect the capabilities of Melbourne’s train fleet result in slow rail speeds.
Public Transport Users Association vice-president Alex Makin said Melbourne had the slowest rail system in Australia.
“Melbourne’s rail speeds have not altered since the Tait trains (the “Red Rattlers”) were introduced in 1919. This is despite the fact that the modern train fleets have superior acceleration and braking,” he said.
Melbourne’s slow speeds are caused by the fact that rail timetables have not been adjusted to reflect the capability of the modern train fleet and this compounded by a lack of adequate track maintenance. This latest revelation further demonstrates the need for an accountable public transport authority that maintains and coordinates Melbourne’s public transport system.
Melbourne’s public transport network can no longer afford the State Government hiding behind Connex to avoid taking responsibility.