Train pressure

By Benalla Ensign

In spite of the recent announcement that the Melbourne-to-Albury line is finally getting an upgrade State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan continues to put pressure on the Victorian Government to ensure the line and train upgrades actually take place.

Ms Ryan said until the issues on the north-east line, which goes through Benalla, are addressed she would continue to tell the personal stories of rail travellers in Parliament.

Last week she told the story of Benalla local Maddie Roff, who also spoke to The Ensign about her ordeal on the north-east line.

‘‘I use the service every two weeks. It was the summer and I was catching the train to Benalla from Southern Cross,’’ Ms Roff said.

‘‘I have a blood pressure condition and it is not good in the heat, especially if I have no access to fluids.

‘‘On that day there was no air-conditioning on the train and the buffet wasn’t open.

‘‘I was not pre-warned about this prior to boarding.

‘‘If the buffet was open I’d more than likely have been okay. Just having access to a drink and a packet of chips would have helped as I need fluids and salt when I’m in that condition.

‘‘If I’d have known before boarding I could have grabbed something on the station. But there was no warning.’’

Maddie said her only option was to try to lay down and endure the journey.

‘‘Getting off the train was not really a possibility as I could not guarantee that the station I stopped at would have air-conditioning or drinks available,’’ she said.

‘‘Plus I’d have had to wait hours for the next train on a really hot day.

‘‘When I eventually got into Benalla I was feeling really sick and it took me several hours to start feeling normal.’’

Maddie said she was pleased to hear the government’s announcement regarding the line upgrade, but said she had heard this type of promise in the past.

‘‘I’m not holding my breath,’’ she said.

‘‘Most of the time I drive to Seymour as you can’t trust the trains going through Benalla, and I’ll continue to do that until I see that upgrades in Benalla have taken place.’’