The Labor Upper House Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes is the latest politician to take a ride on the north-east train line.
Ms Symes travelled with her two children, Phillipa and Archie, on the first service of the newly refurbished trains on the daily return service between Melbourne and Albury last Thursday.
Previously, three trains operated on the north-east line, which meant that if a train had to be taken out of service for maintenance or repairs, there was no option but to put passengers on coaches.
The fourth train, which entered service last week, will provide an extra train set for the north-east line meaning there will be one in reserve if anything unexpected happens.
However, in order to do so the government has cut the number of carriages on each trip from five carriages to four, which commuters are concerned will mean having to stand for long periods with fewer seats available per trip.
Ms Symes said the Labor Government had also refurbished the exterior and interior of the train, refurbished the bogies, installed a new buffet section, replaced the cushions and reupholstered the seats, put in new carpet, curtains, lighting and a given it a fresh lick of paint.
‘‘The train also has new toilets and better accessibility for people with disabilities and parents with prams, there is also greater storage capacity for bikes and is the first in V/Lines long-distance fleet to be covered in the purple, white and yellow Public Transport Victoria livery,’’ Ms Symes said.
‘‘The upgrades are part of the Labor Government’s $15 million investment in better trains for the north-east line, which will see the refurbishment of the remaining three trains, while we get on with finalising the next generation of rolling stock for northern Victoria.
‘‘I think passengers will be pleased with the refurbishments that Labor has delivered, my children gave the improvements the thumbs up.
‘‘The refurbishment of the fleet will make our trains more comfortable and reliable and if the Federal Government provides funding to fix the track we will have a much better service and avoid the need for coach replacements.’’
Two weeks ago, Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester took a ride on the Melbourne-to-Albury train on Monday at the invitation of other Victorian Nationals MPs, so that he could then lobby the Andrews Government for more funding for rail in next month’s state budget.
Mr Chester would not, however, make any commitment to federal funding for upgrading the tracks, which have long been considered a major impediment to the trains running on time.