Opinions wanted on trains, Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC

Wangaratta invited to have its say on public transports future A NEW train set for the North East line is on the Regional Transport Advisory Group chairs wish list and she wants it to happen sooner rather than later. Group chair Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) is leading the group when it comes to Wangaratta tomorrow to seek views from the public on how to make transport better for the regions commuters. A stakeholder meeting will take place in the morning, followed by a public consultation session at the Wangaratta Turf Club from 5pm-7pm. The community sessions will inform the Regional Network Development Plan that will be finalised in time for the 2016-17 State Budget. More rolling stock has been desperately needed for some time on the North East line to replace the three N class train sets built in the 1980s. The lack of stock has put pressure on the public transport system with reliability and frequency issues. I know the problems that the line has had intimately because my mother travels from Benalla to Broad Meadows every fortnight and tells me all about it, Ms Symes said. Theres no doubt we need a new train we just dont want to wait too long for it. The issue is that it takes three years to build a train and this development plan will put up a case for the different elements of transport. At consultation meetings so far Ms Symes said north-south travel hasnt been the only type of query. Ms Symes said east-west rail linkages for North East commuters have also been a popular topic, particularly for students wanting to access tertiary education in Shepparton and Bendigo. She said timetable issues and frequency of trains has been prominent. People want to be able to rely on current services to make doctor appointments and they dont want to have to sit at Southern Cross Station Tim McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) to meet with councils TIM McCurdy (MLA, Ovens Valley) and Steph Ryan (MLA, Euroa) will meet with Wangaratta and Benalla rural cities and Strathbogie Shire on Friday to discuss train issues. They want to get information from the councils to inform a way forward and make sure any approach is done in a careful and well thought out way. waiting for a train to arrive, Ms Symes said. It might be that we make trains go faster and this could come down to work at level crossings so trains dont have to slow down. What we want to come of this is a plan that is useful for the minister to put in place short, medium and long term actions for the future. To make a written submission email [email protected] or post to Public Transport Victoria, PO Box 4724, Melbourne 3001 by September 11. Were not trying to run against what Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) is trying to achieve, we just see it as important to meet with the councils to get their views, he said. Most of the concern has been about the reliability of the trains and we want to capture the vision of these councils for the long term future of the pubic transport network.