An extra three carriages – 222 seats – were added to the busiest morning and afternoon peak service on the Gippsland rail line last week.
The additional carriages will double seating capacity on weekday services that depart Warragul at 7.11am and Drouin at 7.17am and the Melbourne to Traralgon service that leaves Southern Cross station at 4.58pm.
Monthly surveys by Public Transport Victoria show that both services had run at full capacity, that is, all seats were taken and some passengers had to stand for at least part of the trips, when operating with only three carriages.
On the morning service it was often standing room only by the time the train left Drouin.
News of the upgrades was announced by Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan and Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing only hours before the first of the higher capacity services was introduced.
Both services are limited express.
The morning six-carriage train does not stop at Trafalgar, Yarragon, Longwarry or Bunyip.
The service from Melbourne in the afternoon stops at all Gippsland stations between Pakenham and Traralgon except for Yarragon and Trafalgar.
Gippsland V/Line Rail Users’ Natalie Thorne said it was “fabulous” the extra carriages had been added to two of the busiest services but was only “clawing back” some of the capacity taken away several years ago.
It is still not enough to serve a growing region, she said.