Ararat outcry over cancelled V/Line passenger train to Ballarat and difficulties with replacement coach service to Melbourne

The first of Ararat's new passenger services arrives in August. The Ararat-Ballarat-Melbourne line has been hit by 37 cancellations this year.
The first of Ararat's new passenger services arrives in August. The Ararat-Ballarat-Melbourne line has been hit by 37 cancellations this year.

THE cancellation of an Ararat to Ballarat train service on Wednesday morning has cost passengers time and valuable appointments and business meetings.

V/Line’s railway line information system published at 6.47am on Wednesday that the 7.15am Ararat to Ballarat train had been replaced by road coaches due to a train fault. 

V/Line has sincerely apologised to the passengers involved “for any inconvenience caused by service changes”.

The day before, V/Line had announced, with less than 40 minutes’ notice, that the 12:26pm Ararat - Southern Cross service would “terminate at Bacchus Marsh and be replaced by coaches...due to staff sickness”.

One passenger told the ABC that they had driven to Ararat to catch the train and ended up with a six-hour journey and missed the first two hours of the Melbourne conference she was due to address. 

Another was visibly upset about missing a specialist appointment she had booked months in advance.

A V/Line spokesperson said it could not hold trains at Ballarat as that would affect even more passengers.

V/Line has announced that coaches will replace train services along the Ballarat line on 37 occasions since January 1.

Six of those were for train services originating in Ararat, with the reasons being train faults or staff sickness.

V/Line has said Ararat’s cancellation rate is low at 3.5 per cent.

V/Line added extra weekday train services to Ararat’s schedule in August. 

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