Bendigo V/Line travellers will face longer journey times to Melbourne as of November 18, when Metro train services start running to Sunbury.
The Sunbury Electrification Project is almost complete, and the line will be handed over to Metro in November, but it will come at a price for regional passengers.
A new timetable will come into effect on the day of the handover for the V/Line Bendigo corridor.
As a consequence, 24 of the current 46 weekday services to Melbourne will take longer to reach their destination.
Included in the 24 services are 11 that will face increases of at least five minutes to their travel time, with seven of those trains falling in peak periods.
Trains on the Bendigo line will no longer stop at Diggers Rest due to it being serviced by Metro trains.
Only three weekday trains will stop at the suburban Watergardens station, the current terminus of the Sydenham Metro line.
A spokesperson for Public Transport Victoria said the journey times will again increase when the Regional Rail Link project is completed in 2016.
“Prior to the introduction of Regional Rail Link in 2016, the new timetable will result in increased journey times on some V/Line services, particularly the Bendigo corridor,” the spokesperson said.
“These changes were necessary to deliver these improvements for the Sunbury corridor now, rather than wait until RRL is delivered.
“Many of the services with extended running times are during peak periods when there is a greater number of Metro services on the network.”
Due to the Metro trains servicing Sunbury, dedicated V/Line services that formerly terminated at Sunbury will be scrapped, allowing V/Line to bump up capacity of other services with the extra carriages.
“To ease overcrowding on the Bendigo line, Sunbury passengers will be encouraged to board Metro trains, which provide a far more frequent service,” PTV’s spokesperson said.
“Consistent with V/Line services around the network, Bendigo services will be designated as ‘pick-up only’ at Sunbury in the Bendigo direction and ‘drop-off only’ at Sunbury in the Melbourne direction.““With the vast majority of Sunbury passengers expected to catch Metro services, additional capacity will be created on V/Line services.”