Labor Upper House Member for Northern Victoria, Jaclyn Symes, today joined Local Government representatives to inspect refurbished and reconfigured trains for the north east line that will make services more comfortable and reliable for local passengers.

Ms Symes extended an invitation to the Mayors and CEOs for councils with an interest in the line, to join her today at Downer Rail in Newport, to inspect works on the Labor Government’s $15 million upgrade of the north east line carriages.

Ms Symes said she was impressed with the refurbishment works and looked forward to the trains being online in the coming months.

“It’s exciting to see these cleaner, more comfortable trains up close,” Ms Symes said.

“They look better, feel better, and will provide a better service while we plan for the next generation of rolling-stock on the north east line.

“The former Liberal and National State Government sat on their hands and didn’t fix the trains.

“Now the Federal Liberal and National Government are doing the same with the track yet it’s their responsibility to properly fund the maintenance of the track.

“Local passengers are sick of excuses – they just want us to make the service better, and that’s what this work is all about.

“Now we just need the Turnbull Government to pull their weight.”

The north east line is the only standard gauge passenger line in Victoria, with a dedicated fleet of standard gauge rolling stock.

Currently there are three train sets operating on the line – the bare minimum required to run the three return services to Albury each day.

This means that if there is a fault, animal strike or other incident which causes a train to be taken out of service, there is no option but to put passengers on coaches.

The upgrade being carried out right now will add a new carriage and reconfigure the three existing five-carriage trains into four four-carriage trains.

Creating a fourth train set will mean there is one in reserve, so regular repairs can be carried out and there is a backup if something goes wrong, meaning less services replaced by coaches.

The multi-million upgrade will also refurbish the north east line trains – deep-cleaning the carpets, replacing upholstery and giving the old carriages a fresh paint job.