Pressure is mounting on the state government to reveal the full costing of V/Line’s recent rail replacements.
Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent over the past few months on service replacements for trains that were afflicted by a wheel wear fault identified in January
A tightly curled section of track on the North Melbourne flyover led to a quarter of the VLocity fleet commissioned for urgent maintenance works to repair damaged wheels, resulting in hundreds of regional train services either cancelled or replaced with buses.
Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said in May that the full costing of bus replacement services would be revealed when all services are returned to the line.
Full timetables will return from Sunday, June 26, with the exact cost still unknown.
Up to $300,000 a day was spent on replacement buses when the crisis was at its peak.
Ms Allan said in May that the total cost is expected to be between $50 and $60 million, and remains confident that the figure hasn’t changed from earlier predictions.
Ballarat MP Joshua Morris said the government owes Victorian taxpayers an explanation of how much was spent during the debacle.
“The Andrews government has failed to reveal the total cost of their V/Line debacle to Victorian taxpayers,” he said.
“Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan in May said that total costs would be revealed when all services are restored. This is now happened and they owe taxpayers an explanation.”
A statement from Ms Allan’s office said total costs won’t now be known until the reimbursement period closes in late August.
The cost of coach replacements will account for more than $30 million, while the cost of of revenue loss/fare reimbursements, and wheel repair and replacement will make up the remainder of the overall total and are subject to commercial negotiations with operators and wheel suppliers.
"As announced months ago, the full cost of the V/Line disruptions will be around $50-$60 million, less than half the $120 million the former Liberal government ripped out of the regional operator,” Ms Allan said.
Mr Morris, who chairs the Economy and Infrastructure Committee in Parliament’s upper house, called on Treasurer Tim Pallas to appear before the committee to explain a breakdown of the costs on Wednesday, however, the call was dismissed.
V/Line was unable to provide a cost breakdown for service replacements along the Ballarat line, which was one of the hardest hit.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.