‘Disgraceful’: Chaos on peak hour trains
Melbourne's train network ground to a halt last night amid sweltering temperatures, forcing passengers to endure agonising waits on jam-packed platforms or find alternative means of getting home.
Unfortunately for Public Transport Victoria, the problem wasn't solved in time to avoid more frustration this morning.
Passengers on the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines to Melbourne's southeast were told their services were either cancelled or suspended after a faulty train damaged overhead wires. Those who did manage to get on one of the overcrowded services were delayed as long as 90 minutes.
One passenger said it took him three hours to get from Flinders Street Station to Clayton, a journey that should take less than 30 minutes.
"Absolutely disgraceful by Metro Trains," passenger Kon Lapsas wrote on Twitter.
"You need to apologise to all customers and offer refunds. You suspended the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines for a number of weeks and at peak hour returning home, you say there's signal faults and replacements are needed. Terrible."
Commuter Clare Hodgson wrote that the situation was "a joke".
"Day one of the Pakenham line being back in service and we are stranded waiting for buses and in this heat. What a joke. People is the southeast deserve better than this!"
The delays impacted other lines, too. Passengers travelling on the Frankston and Sandringham lines were forced to wait because of "knock on effects" from the Pakenham and Cranbourne delays, a spokesperson said.
Repair teams worked overnight to fix the problem but come peak hour this morning the delays were still in place.
Metro Trains advised that the final safety checks had been completed shortly after 5am but trains were not where they needed to be.
"Hi, first sorry for any delays, unfortunately with the major damage needing to be repaired, we did not have all trains in the proper position to start services today," Metro Trains wrote on Twitter.
"Our Train Controllers have worked to minimise delays and alterations, again sorry."
Pictures from across the network on Monday night showed passengers piling into trains that were already full. Others who could not board were forced to wait for the next service.
PTV chief executive Jeroen Weimar told the Herald Sun the delays were "very disappointing ... especially following several weeks of disruptions to passengers on the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Gippsland lines.
"I want to apologise to the passengers who were delayed, particularly in the hot weather," he said.