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V/Line is a not for profit regional passenger train and coach service in Victoriamarker, Australia. It was created after the split-up of VicRail in 1983. V/Line is owned by the V/Line Passenger Corporation which is a Victorian State Government statutory authority. V/Line operates to 82 railway stations and a larger number of coach stops, and operates 1444 rail services and 592 coach services every week across regional Victoria.

The V/Line system carried a record 1,175,030 passengers in July of 2008 and continues to grow at a rate of over 20% on the major interurban lines servicing Ballaratmarker, Geelongmarker, Bendigomarker and Latrobe Valley.


As a government authority

On July 1, 1983 the Transport Act 1983 was passed and the State Transport Authority (STA) created. The new authority replaced VicRail, and established the V/Line operating brand in both country passenger and Victorian rail freight. The VicRail orange and silver 'teacup' livery used on passenger rolling stock was replaced in August 1983 by the orange and grey livery, the white and green V/Line logo also being launched at the same time.

This was altered in 1989 when the Transport (Amendment) Act was passed, creating the Public Transport Corporation (PTC) from the merger of the State Transport Authority with the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The relationship between the country V/Line and suburban 'The Met' brands was blurred, with the Sprinter trains delivered in the 1993-1995 period appearing in PTC colours but with both PTC and V/Line logos.

In 1995 the freight and passenger rail divisions of V/Line were divided, with a new red, blue and white 'V/Line Passenger' livery devised, which remains on some of the fleet today. This split was finalised on July 1 1997 when separate management was brought in.

In 1999 V/Line Passenger and V/Line Freight were privatised separately. National Express acquired V/Line Passenger, and Freight Victoria (later Freight Australia, now Pacific National) acquiring V/Line Freight. The V/Line Freight contract included a 45 year lease from the government of most regional track (passenger and freight), with responsibilities for track, signalling and level crossings, with access to passenger sections of track granted to V/Line Passenger.

As a corporation

National Express took control of V/Line Passenger from August 29, 1999. It included all country rail operations in Victoria, with the exception of the West Coast Railway operated Warrnambool line and the Hoys Roadlines operated Shepparton line, previously franchised in 1993. 2004 saw operation difficulties hit the two privately operated lines, and they came back under the control of V/Line.

On December 22 2002 National Express withdrew from their operations in Victoria with the Victorian Government taking control temporarily. Full control was taken on October 1, 2003 by changing the shareholding of V/Line, making the government the sole shareholder via a recently created statutory corporation, V/Line Passenger Corporation.

In 2000 the Regional Fast Rail project was launched to upgrade the tracks linking Ballaratmarker, Bendigomarker, Geelongmarker and the Latrobe Valley to Melbournemarker. The project, which also included new rolling stock and an expanded timetable of rail services, commenced full operations from December 2005.

November 2006 saw Pacific National enter into an agreement to sell the remainder of its Victorian rail lease of the network back to the Victorian Government for $133.8 m, during the caretaker period following the issuing of the writs for the 25 November 2006 Victorian State election. The sale was completed on May 7, 2007, with V/Line becoming the track manager of the Victorian intrastate network.

In May 2008 it was announced that part of the V/Line fleet would be converted to standard gauge to operate an upgraded Albury-Wodonga line service. In December 2008 V/Line ended the sale of alcoholic beverages aboard long-distance trains, after almost a century of the practice.



Southern Cross station, seen from the corner of Collins and Spencer Streets

V/Line operates rail services to the regional cities of Ballaratmarker, Bendigomarker, Geelongmarker, Seymourmarker and Traralgonmarker as well as Araratmarker, Echucamarker, Swan Hillmarker, Alburymarker, Bairnsdalemarker, Warrnamboolmarker and Sheppartonmarker. In addition, V/Line road coaches connect with many rail services at major stations to serve towns away from the main rail network.

Rail services are grouped into two classes - shorter distance Interurban and longer distance Intercity services. Interurban services operate more frequently than Intercity services, and Intercity services usually have first class accommodation provided as well as snack bar facilities.

All rail services depart from Southern Cross Stationmarker in Melbourne on the following lines.

Rail services once extended to Dimboola, Mildura, Cobram and Leongatha but were discontinued during the 1990s. In December 2008 as part of the Victorian Transport Plan the state government announced that V/Line rail passenger services would be extended to Maryborough station, commencing 2010 at a cost of $50 million.


V/Line thermally printed ticket

V/Line currently uses machine printed paper tickets, issued from staffed V/Line stations, selected Connex suburban premium stations, V/Line ticket agents, or by phone. Passengers boarding services at unmanned stations or roadside coach stops can purchase tickets from the train conductor or coach driver.

Tickets have the origin and destination printed upon them, making them point to point, but the fare itself is based on charging zones. Recently changes have been made to the fare system, to integrate it with the suburban Metcard system in preparation for the introduction of the Myki smartcard system to cover the entire state.

Ticket types available include single, return, and a range of periodical tickets. Services are classified as peak and off-peak, with discounts available for tickets valid in off-peak times only. V/Line operates a limited number of trains with first class seating. First class travel requires the payment of an upgrade fee on top of the standard economy fare.

Most V/Line services operate on a non-allocated seating basis, but all intercity (long distance) rail services and some coach services require seat reservations.


V/Line liveried coach

V/Line currently operates a mix of diesel multiple unit and locomotive-hauled trains. All are on broad gauge, but this will change on completion of the gauge conversion of the Albury line. The carriage and Sprinter fleet is currently undergoing a refurbishment program.

Diesel multiple units:
23 motorised intermediate cars (and nine extra three car DMUs) are under construction for delivery beginning in mid 2008. As of April 2009, ten intermediate cars are currently in service.
  • 21 - Sprinter diesel railcars, which can run in multiple, built by Goninan



  • 19 N type carriage sets, built in the early 80's and are locomotive-hauled. A number of sets have additional cars converted from Z cars in their consist. One set operates with a Z car and five S cars as it's whole consist.

Road coaches:

  • Road coaches are supplied by private bus companies, who are contracted by the Department of Infrastructure to operate services for V/Line. These buses often appear in the V/Line exterior livery.

When initially formed, V/Line used the fleet of the Victorian Railways, including a wide variety of diesel and electric locomotives, passenger carriages, railmotors and railcars, guards vans, and freight vehicles. A division was made between V/Line Freight and V/Line Passenger operations in 1995, with it formalised by July 1997, the locomotive fleet was divided between the two new entities along with the relevant rolling stock. Only the VLocity units have been acquired since this time.

Network access

V/Line also manages and maintains all non-interstate rural rail track in Victoria, including lines that do not see passenger services. The lease was previously held by Pacific National, who entered into an agreement to sell it back to the Victorian Government for $133.8 million in November 2006, with the sale completed in May 2007 with V/Line appointed to manage it.

Visual identity

The initial V/Line visual identity was unveiled in August 1983, with a orange and grey livery to locomotives and passenger rolling stock, along with a white and green V/Line logo with a "stylised capital lettered logo with the V and the L split by a deep slashing stroke". Work on the initial V/Line identity has started in May 1983, with freight wagons being released without logos pending the launch. Before this time a stylised 'VR' was on the side of freight wagons, and locomotives and passenger carriage stock had been receiving the orange and silver VicRail 'teacup' since 1981. Carriages in the 'teacup' livery later had the logos removed and replaced by V/Line ones.

Initial 1983 logo

This remained until 1993 when the Sprinter trains were delivered in the teal and yellow suburban 'The Met' brand colours, but with both The Met and V/Line logos. In 1995 the freight and passenger rail divisions of V/Line were divided, with locomotives in the freight fleet retaining the orange and grey livery with 'V/Line Freight' logos, while passenger carriages and locomotive received the red blue and white 'V/Line Passenger' livery which remains on some of the fleet today. It was also at the time that the V/Line logo was altered, with serifs added to the lettering, and the "deep slashing stroke" was altered to a curved blue line. After National Express Group took over V/Line, the logo was again altered in 2000, with mixed case lettering and a curving blue line underneath. In 2006 it was again altered, with the removal of the blue line underneath and addition of a purple line.

The VLocity railcars delivered from 2005 appeared in a totally new image, in stainless steel with purple and green highlights. In 2007 a total alteration of locomotive hauled rolling stock livery was unveiled, consisting of a grey carbody with red, white and purple stripes. Rolling stock in different variants of the livery were released throughout that year, with a consistent version not appearing until 2008, along with a number of repainted locomotives.

Heathmere crash

At 18:40 (AEST) on 16th April 2009, a V/Line bus rolled in the town of Heathmere, a town about 360km southwest of Melbournemarker. It killed two adults and a child.


  2. ibid
  3. Victorian Fares and Ticketing Manual 2008: Chapter 3 - V/Line travel
  4. Three crushed to death as V/Line bus overturns in Heathmere, Victoria,, 16 April 2009.

See also

External links

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