According the MX, the State Government has been forced to repurchase the old Hitachi trains due to dire shortage of train rollingstock.
Buying back second-hand “sweatbox” carriages at more than seven times their sale price was good value for Victorian taxpayers, Transport Minister Lynne Kosky said today.
Defending the State Government’s purchase of two Hitachi trains from rail enthusiasts last year, Kosky said it was a fast and cheap answer to a commuter deluge.
The Minister for Public Transport Lynne Kosky has been forced into this situation due to the incompetent handling of the transport portfolio by Ms. Kosky’s predecessor, Peter Batchelor.
In 2003 the PTUA cautioned the State Government against scrapping the Hitachi fleet and this was reinforced by Government documents that also confirmed a dire shortage of trains. Unfortunately the then Minister unwisely chose to disregard this advice.
Public Transport Users’ Association vice-president Alex Makin said Kosky had reaped what former minister Peter Batchelor had sowed through neglect.
“The State Government needs to bring forward the purchase of new trains,” he said.
Given that the State Government is now in a situation of purchasing old rollingstock it is imperative that the upcoming State Budget includes the purchase of new trains to complement the existing rail fleet.
The timeframe planned by the former Transport Minister, with new trains not expected until 2012, must be brought forward so that the new rollingstock is available as quickly as possible to ensure a reliable rail system.