By Kyra Gillespie
The latest public transport performance results reveal the impact that construction has had on commuters across the Pakenham line.
Public Transport Victoria’s July performance results show train cancellations on the Pakenham line skyrocketed over three times the amount on the previous month.
72 trains were cancelled in July compared with only 20 in June.
19-year-old university student Taz said he would have to set his alarm at 4.20am in order to make it in time for his 8am lecture in Fitzroy.
The ACU student lives 15 minutes from Pakenham, but opts to park at Officer Railway Station due to the lack of parking in Pakenham.
“It was not fun being up that early,” he said.
Train punctuality only improved slightly (0.1 per cent) while the amount of trains delivered dropped marginally from 99.1 to 97.9 per cent.
V/Line’s timeliness took a sharp blow, with services travelling through Pakenham plummeting to just 49.3 per cent on the Bairnsdale line and 74.4 per cent on the Gippsland line.
A spokesperson for Metro Trains said project works and disruptions caused by vandalism, cable theft, an external power supply fault, and severe weather attributed to the figures.
“The Cranbourne-Pakenham line is seeing more construction than ever with level crossing removals, upgrades and preparations to run high capacity trains through the Metro Tunnel,” the Metro Trains spokesperson said.
“Whilst we understand that these works can have a significant impact on our passengers – we thank them for their patience.
“Punctuality on the Pakenham line improved in July, despite project works and disruptions caused by vandalism, cable theft, an external power supply fault, and severe weather.”
During the month of July, buses replaced trains for project works on the Pakenham line on Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 July between Westall and Dandenong, and Friday 20 to Sunday 22 July between Flinders Street and Caulfield.
Works continued to remove the level crossing at Abbotts Road, Dandenong South, on the Cranbourne line.
There was also further works on the Caulfield to Dandenong project, and preparations for high capacity signalling, high capacity trains and the Metro Tunnel.
Commuters took to social media to voice their experiences on the notorious local line.
“The Pakenham line is the worst in the world,” Scott Fredrickson said.
“Pakenham and Cranbourne line passengers are being dumped at Dandenong to catch trains that Metro Trains are cancelling, there are thousands stranded,” Tony West tweeted earlier in the month.
“But guess what? Metro Trains authorised officers are here checking tickets. Get the priorities right!”
“Let’s fix our daily commuting chaos on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines, then talk about Melbourne to Sydney,” another wrote.