A snap action drew more than 30 people to Gowrie Station on September 19 to push for the duplication of the Upfield Line which becomes a single track north of Fawkner.
The Upfield Transport Alliance, Sustainable Fawkner and Climate Action Merri-Bek called the protest as part of transport equity week.
The narrowing of the track along the Upfield line has caused up to 40 minutes of wait times between services, frequent cancellations and overcrowding. When the trains are cancelled north of the tramline, which terminates in North Coburg, there is no direct line to the city.
Peter Murry, a retired train driver and member of the Rail Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) retired members association, said “it is not an engineering obstacle … there is sufficient room to duplicate the track. It is a lack of political will”.
Sue Bolton, Socialist Alliance Councillor for Merri-Bek, said the Daniel Andrews Government had “no definite plans to duplicate the track”. She noted the disparity in services on the Upfield line along class lines, adding that “we need to unite everyone up and down the line” because politicians are “not interested in the people in the north”.
Bolton described how the poor service impacts the lives of affected users. “We’ve met people who have lost jobs because of train cancellations, as well as people who have missed specialist medical appointments and exams.”
John Englart of Climate Action Merri-Bek called for the extension of the Upfield line to Craigieburn and Wallan.
The Upfield Transport Alliance is calling for the duplication of track from Gowrie to Upfield; the extension of the Upfield line to Craigieburn and Wallan; the rebuilding of Campbellfield station at Camp Road, all buses to run from the first train to the last train and the extension of the Upfield bike path to Upfield.