More than 30,000 free seats on regional trains are expected to be quickly snapped up by Victorians on Christmas Day, prompting advice from V/Line to travel early.
With less than a week to go, several trains have nearly booked out as festive travellers take up the chance to stay off the roads during the Christmas rush.
A full Sunday timetable will run, offering 122 free trains across the state – a 34 per cent increase on last year (or 31 extra trains).
V/Line has pledged to run every available carriage, making trains as long as possible, so as many people as possible can travel free.
Last Christmas Day, people made 11,441 free trips on V/Line trains, with some services completely full.
V/Line long distance services to Warrnambool, Ararat, Bairnsdale, Echuca, Swan Hill, Shepparton and Albury require reservations, with many almost fully booked. While short distance services to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon don’t require bookings, trains are also expected to fill quickly.
V/Line General Manager Ursula McGinnes encouraged Victorians travelling on long distance services to book now, or to arrive early for short distance trips with travel offered on a firstcome, first-served basis.
“With trains very busy last year, we’ve boosted seating by more than 30 per cent on Christmas Day and have over 30,000 free seats now on offer. Last year, trains leaving Melbourne between 10 and 11am were particularly busy with people planning to arrive in the country just in time for Christmas lunch,” Ms McGinnes said.
The free travel was offered on a first-come, first-served basis and that due to public holiday constraints back-up road coaches will not be available to carry additional passengers once train capacity has been reached.
Free travel will also be offered on all New Year’s Eve services arriving at their destination after 6pm. Free travel is also available on the first service leaving Melbourne to every regional destination on 1 January 2009.
For more information visit www.vline.com.au