More than 40,000 people caught the train to see two major exhibitions at the Bendigo Art Gallery last financial year, according to V/Line's annual report released today.
Over 15,000 people caught the train to see the White Wedding Dress Exhibition late last year, while over 25,000 patrons made the trip to see Grace Kelly: Style Icon in the first half of 2012.
As a whole, the report stated over 3.4 million trips were made on the Bendigo Line in 2011/12.
The line experienced patronage growth of 2.7% or an increase of 90,000 passengers last financial year, from 3.36 million trips per year up to 3.45 million.
The increase cements its status as the second busiest line on the V/Line network, only behind Geelong which handled 3.9 million passengers in 2011/12.
Two major reasons for the increase in patronage were the Grace Kelly: Style Icon and White Wedding Dress exhibitions held at the Bendigo Art Gallery, with over 40,000 passengers catching the train to see the exhibitions.
Punctuality on short-distance trips – including those to Bendigo – was up 3.6% to 87.3%, while 97.6% of trains encountered no faults on short-distance journeys, down from 98.7 the year prior.
In August of this year, punctuality on the Bendigo line was below average at 84.8%, while reliability of services was 97.6%.
As a whole, V/Line recorded an 85.7% drop in net income in 2011/12, recording profit of $1.819 million, down from $12.733 million in the previous financial year, much of which was due to expected fleet maintenance costs and increases in project expenses.
The report also stated that up to $2.5 million has been budgeted to upgrade Talbot station on the Ballarat-Maryborough line, in order to return trains to the town in 2013.