Chris Hooper, Castlemaine
Rupert Dalley was reported as finding the Bendigo line trains from Swan Hill a disgrace in the Midland Express on June 26. I actually enjoy catching the Swan Hill trains from Castlemaine as I find the seats are more comfortable than on the new fast trains and there are curtains so if you’re travelling early morning or late afternoon you don’t have to have eye-piercing sunlight shining right at you.
This train has come a long distance (further than Echuca) with many passengers starting their trip very early, some being picked up along the way and some of these passengers may drop the odd coffee cup etc.. Some sleep across the three-seat sections. It’s not like countries where you have people bringing animals and all sorts of things onto the train. Trains are cleaned inside when they arrive at their destination so you just have to wait.
The article explains that the outside of the trains were dirty because the train cleaning plant was undergoing repairs. It may have been better if Mr Dalley had been informed of this in response to his letters. The bumpiness of the trip doesn’t disturb my reading, it’s momentary. Sometimes these train are a bit slower but you can try to allow for this or catch the one before.
Yes, these trains have unreliable heating and cooling but it’s not a long trip. When it’s cold we wear extra clothes anyway, it’s mainly in summer that it can be a bit uncomfortable.
I think the trains on the Bendigo line are very frequent. We’re so lucky to have trains roughly once an hour and I’m more than happy to use the ‘old style’ trains. Why do they have to be ‘modern’? If they’re still working and reasonably comfortable, why not? You even have a first class on the Swan Hill train.