Passengers stranded after train runs out of fuel

Started by smitho, November 24, 2011, 12:12:45 AM

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Bendigo-bound passengers stranded after V/Line train runs out of fuel

    by: Greg Thom
    From: Herald Sun
    November 21, 2011 12:00AM

PASSENGERS were left stranded for more than three hours when their Bendigo-bound train ran out of fuel.

The embarrassing blunder occurred as red-faced V/Line officials admitted most of its trains didn't have fuel gauges.

This meant drivers were forced to estimate how much juice they had left.

The 11.45pm VLocity train from Southern Cross limped into Kyneton on the smell of an oily rag early yesterday.

An estimated 50 or more passengers were left waiting for hours after authorities were unable to organise buses in the middle of the night. A second train had to be brought in for passengers to continue their journey.

V/Line spokesman Daniel Moloney, admitted the train barely had enough fuel to coast into Kyneton.

"It's very frustrating and embarrassing and we apologise to people that something like this could happen," he said.

"A big part of the delay was caused by the fact we couldn't get any buses at that time of night."

Mr Moloney said the lack of fuel gauges meant train drivers relied on calculations based on train rosters and how much fuel a particular journey typically consumed.

"People think trains are like a car and have a fuel gauge, but it's not the case," he said.

Mr Moloney said the incident, the third this year, was a very rare event that could have been due to fuel used while the train was idling. It was to have been refueled in Bendigo.

"We run 72,000 trains a year and this would probably happen two or three times," Mr Moloney said.

V/Line confirmed the State Government had approved a $600,000 request to fix the VLocity class trains - with a low-fuel warning light rather than a fully operational fuel gauge.

Parts have been ordered by the trains manufacturer from Germany, but will not be fitted until next year.