Commuters warned to brace for more peak hour chaos

Repair staff working to get the train network back on track for Wednesday’s evening commute. Photo: Robert GibsonMelbourne commuters are warned to brace for more peak hour trouble on Wednesday evening with major delays forecast on four train lines.
Nanjing Night Net

The Cranbourne, Frankston, Pakenham and Sandringham train lines have all been severely affected by a fire in an electrical substation near Richmond station on Tuesday evening, causing commuter chaos and delays for commuters on their way home of more than an hour.

Metro trains most current advisory states that “damaged signalling cables has meant that we have to run a reduced service” on all four lines.

Metro spokeswoman Larisa Tait said delays were expected to extend into the evening on the Sandringham, Cranbourne, Frankston and Pakenham lines as Metro crews assess and attempt to repair the damage caused by the fire.

“Similar to this morning, all services on the Pakenham, Cranbourne, Frankston and Sandringham services will run direct from Flinders St to Richmond and will not run through the City Loop,” she said.

“We are advising our customers who normally travel from a City Loop station (Parliament, Melbourne Central, Flagstaff) to travel to Flinders St instead to catch their service.

“We’ve been installing new cabling throughout the day and into the evening, and once this is completed we need to carry out extensive testing.

“We are working towards having this all completed for the first service tomorrow, however we won’t be able to confirm this until we conclude testing tonight.

“We have fewer cancellations planned with delays of up to 20 minutes on the four affected lines during this afternoon’s peak and we expect services will be busy.”

About 50 replacement buses have also been operating across the network during the day and will continue into the evening peak.

A Yarra Trams spokesperson confirmed extra trams were running on routes 3, 6, 8, 70 and 72 to supplement the trains at Caulfield, Armadale, Hawksburn South Yarra, Glenhuntly, Richmond, Flinders Street and Toorak stations.

But there are signs Melbourne’s tram system is also being affected by the train chaos, with Yarra Trams suggesting passengers on St Kilda Road should walk to the Junction to increase their chances of catching a tram.

An MFB spokeswoman said that between 50 and 100 people were evacuated from a train at Richmond station about 8pm on Tuesday.

A police spokeswoman said the fire was not being treated as suspicious and no injuries were reported.

Ms Tait said commuters should check Metro’s Twitter feed, and the Metro and PTV websites for further updates.

“We are very sorry and ask customers on the affected lines to allow extra time and be patient while we do our best to run as many trains and supplementary buses and work to resume services as quickly and safely as we can,” she said.

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