Call to show new designs

By David Rak

Euroa and Seymour passengers will soon benefit from more comfortable and modern trains, with the delivery of a new VLocity train design in its final stages.

But Shadow Regional Public Transport Minister Steph Ryan said the Victorian Government was hiding the design of north-east Victoria’s promised new V/Line VLocity trains.

‘‘We were told the design of these trains started in October 2017, more than two years ago,’’ she said.

‘‘If the city of Wuhan can build a 1000-bed hospital in 10 days, then surely the Andrews Government can design a new train in two years.’’

The new VLocity trains are part of the Victorian Government’s $340 million 2019-20 budget investment in new trains to meet increased demand across the regional network.

Upgrades and infrastructure works are required to enable VLocity trains to run on the north-east line.

The north-east line runs from Melbourne’s Southern Cross Station and passes through Seymour and Euroa on the way to Albury.

New trains will start taking passengers after Australian Rail Track Corporation committed $235 million to the line upgrade and a testing process.

Local passenger groups, accessibility advocates, local government and tourism representatives, who have provided feedback to the Victorian Government on their needs for long-haul journeys, have contributed input to the design.

Ms Ryan, who is also State Member for Euroa, said before any order was placed, the public needed to know the design and capacity of the trains.

‘‘The amount of seating available will be reduced if the government replaces the existing trains with three-car VLocity sets,’’ she said.

‘‘It has been more than two years since Labor told us in October 2017 that they had started designing new trains for the line.

‘‘The stalling shows breathtaking arrogance from Labor ministers who continue to lie to us.’’

Victorian Public Transport Minister Melissa Horne said Ms Ryan should be ashamed for making cheap political points.

‘‘We want to deliver a new and improved long-haul train fleet for north-east Victoria, which is why we funded the design of new VLocity trains specifically for the north-east,’’ Ms Horne said.

‘‘We have listened and continue to work with passengers along the north-east line and know they want more comfortable, modern and accessible trains — and that’s what we’re working to deliver.’’