Runaway trains leave Altona Loop commuters puffin without a muffin

Altona Loop commuters appear to be already running out of steam, after train services returned to ‘normal’ following five weeks of bus replacements during level crossing removal works, however the normality has been a little too much reality for some commuters.

On Monday the State Government announced the return of the Altona Loop almost one week early, with Member for Altona Jill Hennessy speaking on prior issues with bypassing the Altona Loop.

“In the past, train drivers have been forced to bypass the Altona Loop as a result of delays elsewhere on the network, but the new section of duplicated track will get locals where they need to go safer and sooner,” Ms Hennessy said.

Willy and Hobby can reveal that at least four Altona Loop services have already been either delayed, bypassed or cancelled this week, prompting a sense of disappointment from commuters suggesting the ‘old ways’ of bypassing the Altona Loop are far from gone.

“While the loop was closed, the service was extremely reliable. There was no bypassing, because it was impossible, and on a couple of occasions when there were problems, the buses were right there waiting,” one commuter said.

“I loved the bus service and straight onto a train. Hopefully with the new timetable late next month, we will have more trains via the loop in peak,” another commuter said.

Metro Trains spokesperson Marcus Williams said while more than 95 per cent of scheduled services have run through the Altona Loop since it reopened, Metro understands that every altered service impacts passengers.

“We apologise to our passengers who were impacted by disruptions this week. We understand how important a reliable network is to our Altona Loop passengers, and our teams are working around the clock to keep improving our service,” Mr Williams said.

Public Transport Victoria Chief Executive Officer Jeroen Weimar echoed similar sentiments and said the State Government is working with the public transport operator to ensure services are delivered.

“I apologise to passengers for the issues this week on the Altona Loop. We’re working with Metro Trains to ensure they deliver trains services on time and at all stations as per the timetable,” Mr Weimar said.

It is understood Metro Trains spends more than $6 million in maintenance every week and they have had decreases in infrastructure faults since November. The new metropolitan train timetable will add 35 new Werribee line services each week from August 26.

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