Friday, September 5, 2008

Overcrowding, but trains taken out of system

Clay Lucas

THE city's oldest running trains - some of which were bought back from a rural rail collector last year to relieve Melbourne's chronic commuter overcrowding - have been pulled out of service because they are riddled with rust.

The Government's silver Hitachi trains were withdrawn from the network on Sunday, after fears that serious corrosion in their floors was a potential danger to passengers.

Connex has been told to stop running the trains, which first hit the network in 1972, because of rusting around the doors and on the floors, which are part-plywood.

Some of the Government's Hitachi trains - disliked by many commuters because they lack air-conditioning - were bought back last year from rural train collector John Horne. Mr Horne bought them from the Government in 2002 for $2600 per carriage.

The Government last year bought three carriages back from him at a cost of $60,000.

Public Transport Safety Victoria director Alan Osborne confirmed yesterday that concerns over corrosion in the Hitachi trains meant they would not run until Connex satisfied him the problems had been fixed...

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