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Commuters derailed amid stormy start to day

Date

Adam Carey and Nino Bucci

Werribee line pain...Commuters delayed at Newport station.

Werribee line pain...Commuters delayed at Newport station. Photo: Justin McManus

Just when they thought this morning's peak-hour commute couldn't get any worse, passengers became stuck in the middle of the West Gate Freeway when a bus replacing their cancelled train broke down.

Do you have pictures? Email scoop@theage.com.au

In for the long haul ... Buses replace trains on the Werribee line.

In for the long haul ... Buses replace trains on the Werribee line. Photo: Justin McManus

About 80 people were travelling to Melbourne from Geelong when the V/Line coach broke down in heavy weather.

The coach came to a sudden halt in the middle of the freeway, which has a 100 km/h speed limit, where it remained for several minutes before emergency services towed it into the emergency lane.

A passenger on the bus, which was running in place of a disrupted V/Line train, said trucks and cars were speeding past either side of the coach for up to half an hour.

Lightning, slow ... Commuter headaches reach a peak after overnight storms.

Lightning, slow ... Commuter headaches reach a peak after overnight storms. Photo: Justin McManus.

‘‘The service that I caught from Lara broke down in the middle of the highway, just near the Millers Road exit,’’ said Adam, who asked that only his first name be published.

‘‘It was in the middle lane so weren’t able to disembark the bus. There was cars and trucks just tooting their horns and moving around the bus that was stuck.

‘‘They had to tow the bus while we were in it to the side of the road in the emergency lane because we just couldn’t get out with the traffic passing us.

‘‘I must say the driver was as helpful as possible and he had our best interests at heart.’’

Train services have mostly returned to normal after storms disrupted morning travel for thousands of commuters.

Metro reports that services have returned to normal on all lines, apart from trains on the Alamein, Belgrave and Lilydale lines, which are still bypassing the City Loop.

Commuters have to change at either Richmond or Flinders Street for City Loop services.

Minor delays are still expected on the Werribee line, but trains resumed about 7.50am after storm damage had forced Metro to use replacement buses between some stations.

Normal train services between Geelong and Melbourne were expected to resume just after 8am.

The line between Werribee and Laverton was suspended after lightning strikes damaged equipment.

Disruptions on tram route 75, between the city and Vermont South, have also cleared.

Commuters in Melbourne’s south-east were also disrupted when an underground walkway at Oakleigh railway station flooded, blocking access.

Metro has advised people to catch an outbound train to Huntingdale station then backtrack into the city.

V/Line trains from Ballarat were also disrupted for two hours this morning after lighting struck signals at Rockbank. The signals were repaired and trains were running again by 9am.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, wind gusts reached speeds of about 80 km/h in Melbourne's south-east just after 1am.

Some areas recorded more than 15 millimetres of rain, all of it falling after midnight.

It is the wettest day recorded this month at some Melbourne weather stations.

The bureau is forecasting Melbourne to reach a maximum of 25 degrees today, with the chance of thunderstorms extending into the early afternoon.

It will be cloudy, with isolated showers until the early evening.

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