Belair line improvements

 
  Gayspie Assistant Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, SA
I have several questions about the Belair line:


1) what will be the stopping pattern and timetabling of the services when the line reopens, the same as before or with some services terminating at blackwood as I have heard in previous threads?

2) what works have occurred along the line from Millswood to Belair, if any?

I also have suggestions as well, please comment on them:

1) reopen the disused stations for peak services only as several residents want them open and have those all stopper peaks terminate at blackwood and the non disused station stoppers run through to Belair in peak time and at night, weekends, public holidays and off peak the current timetable remains.

2) extend the passing loops at Belair in either 2 ways:

i) blackwood loop extended to remove siding, Eden hills loop extended 40m on the south side to COMFORTABLY fit long trains, sleeps hill loop extended after about 2 to 3m of hillside at the most is excavated to allow for a loop between the south end of Lynton station and the northern end of sleeps hill tunnel and the Mitcham loop is extended from grange road to just before hawthorn station as there is enough room for 2 broad gauge tracks.

ii) same process for the blackwood and Eden hills loops but leave Mitcham loop and extend Eden hills loop about 20 to 30m at either end so that no minor excavation is needed but the loop can COMFORTABLY accommodate trains.

3) for electrification have the poles for the catenary located on the Adelaide metro side of alignment except for the long loops where the gantry's can be used as in Adelaide yard they are high and a single container per carriage could easily pass and just ensure that the wires are not over the ARTcorp side and then it is fine. the tunnel track can be easily lowered for electrification.

4) demolish the old Adelaide metro Belair platform and build a dual track platform in the old depot area for Belair trains with a bus interchange or move the start of the ARTcorp loop east 200m to the sir Edwin avenue bridge and rebuild the platform there on a straight part of track to allow a dual track platform.

5) upgrade Torrens park station as it is old and needs a new platform

with more stations to collect more revenue, better stopping patterns, longer loops, better stations and electrification the Belair line will be better used and be a great community asset!

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  Jumbo2001 Junior Train Controller

Tell me, why do the disused stations need to be reopened?? Have you found any evidence that they are required? And again, remember the complexities of extended travel times from having them which cause the service to not be able to run as frequently as it is single line! Particularly that adding more stations slows the trip down, making it less of a viable alternative to other forms of transport. You want to make rail as quick as possible, so a good spread of stations is required and in my experience I would say Belair has a good spread.

I'm confused why you would want longer loops. The current consists fit there as designed, and it isn't tight getting the consists in there at all. In any instance, they only need to fit, 'comfortably fit' is unimportant. I suspect you want this because you have ridden on the Belair line and notice that railcars roll up close to the signals? If so, this is so that the CTC system recognises the train is fully in the loop and you get a signal to depart. There is no need for it, the longest consist that runs to Belair is a 3 car, and that is currently once a day. More to the point, 3 cars do not fit at Glenalta or Pinera, so will not be something that happens overly frequently. Loadings on the Belair line generally do not warrant 3 cars.

Firstly with your plan, station upgrades are required more than anything else Torrens Park as you said definitely needs to be redone, and Glenalta and Pinera extended to accomodate 3 cars.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

1) reopen the disused stations for peak services only as several residents want them open and have those all stopper peaks terminate at blackwood and the non disused station stoppers run through to Belair in peak time and at night, weekends, public holidays and off peak the current timetable remains.
Heath Loxton
I don't expect somebody from Redhill to have any local knowledge, so let me explain why these stations should not be resurrected.

In the case of Millswood it's only two minutes walk to Goodwood Road where there is a high frequency bus service servicing places that people actually want to go to such as Flinders University, the Central Market, the centre of the CBD and North Adelaide. Tabor College is the only trip generator possibly relevant to the hills rail line in the area, and even that is only a couple of minutes further to walk from Goodwood station than it is from Millswood.

For Hawthorn, again it is only a two minute walk from a high frequency bus service that services places people actually want to go to, some

Clapham is only a five minute walk from the operating stations in either direction, and even less of a difference to anybody whose origin/destination is not right alongside the platform at Clapham.

When we're in the middle of an obesity epidemic, giving a handful of theoretical passengers a slightly shorter walk to a heavy rail station is quite rightly not a priority, especially if it comes at the expense of real passengers. The lazy fatties can drive their scooters a couple of minutes longer.

4) demolish the old Adelaide metro Belair platform and build a dual track platform in the old depot area for Belair trains with a bus interchange or move the start of the ARTcorp loop east 200m to the sir Edwin avenue bridge and rebuild the platform there on a straight part of track to allow a dual track platform.
Heath Loxton

The ARTC loop end cannot be shifted to the east, it is already pushing it to fit even a 1500m train.

Again, I don't expect a resident of Redhill to have any local knowledge of the hills, but you might not be aware that Belair would be the worst possible place for a bus interchange.  The rail line follows such a useless looping path that the bus makes for a faster door to door journey for people travelling from the city or Mitcham area. A bus interchange is useful where you have a roughly direct route needing local connections, not for taking an already too long journey and making it longer.

The Belair line from Blackwood onwards is useless - it's faster for a moderately fit person on even a heavy steel-framed bike to cycle up the hill from Mitcham to Belair station, let alone an enthusiastic cyclist on a lightweight road bike. If anything, the best modification in this area would be to cut the passenger rail back to Blackwood and give ARTC the other half of the corridor from there to Belair so they can have a longer loop (as you said, longer loops are good) on the Adelaide-Melbourne corridor and take trucks off the road - a far greater gain for the rail industry as a whole.

5) upgrade Torrens park station as it is old and needs a new platform
Heath Loxton

I do agree with this, if Torrens Park is to be retained into the future then the current platform done on the cheap needs to be properly replaced. A rebuild shouldn't be done without first considering whether the station actually needs to be retained and whether the current location is the right spot for it - all options should be put on the table rather than just blindly forging ahead with something that may not be the best move.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I have several questions about the Belair line:


1) what will be the stopping pattern and timetabling of the services when the line reopens, the same as before or with some services terminating at blackwood as I have heard in previous threads?

2) what works have occurred along the line from Millswood to Belair, if any?

I also have suggestions as well, please comment on them:

1) reopen the disused stations for peak services only as several residents want them open and have those all stopper peaks terminate at blackwood and the non disused station stoppers run through to Belair in peak time and at night, weekends, public holidays and off peak the current timetable remains.

2) extend the passing loops at Belair in either 2 ways:

i) blackwood loop extended to remove siding, Eden hills loop extended 40m on the south side to COMFORTABLY fit long trains, sleeps hill loop extended after about 2 to 3m of hillside at the most is excavated to allow for a loop between the south end of Lynton station and the northern end of sleeps hill tunnel and the Mitcham loop is extended from grange road to just before hawthorn station as there is enough room for 2 broad gauge tracks.

ii) same process for the blackwood and Eden hills loops but leave Mitcham loop and extend Eden hills loop about 20 to 30m at either end so that no minor excavation is needed but the loop can COMFORTABLY accommodate trains.

3) for electrification have the poles for the catenary located on the Adelaide metro side of alignment except for the long loops where the gantry's can be used as in Adelaide yard they are high and a single container per carriage could easily pass and just ensure that the wires are not over the ARTcorp side and then it is fine. the tunnel track can be easily lowered for electrification.

4) demolish the old Adelaide metro Belair platform and build a dual track platform in the old depot area for Belair trains with a bus interchange or move the start of the ARTcorp loop east 200m to the sir Edwin avenue bridge and rebuild the platform there on a straight part of track to allow a dual track platform.

5) upgrade Torrens park station as it is old and needs a new platform

with more stations to collect more revenue, better stopping patterns, longer loops, better stations and electrification the Belair line will be better used and be a great community asset!
"Heath Loxton"

You are crazy.

Extending the loops to comfortably allow for long trains? Why? The Belair line struggles to source a small train load.

We've posted this before, the Belair line effectively CANNOT be electrified. Even if it were electrified, spark trains could not improve the service anyway. As far as a passenger service goes, the Belair line is all but a waste of time - intended pun. That before you attempt to reopen closed stations and cock up the running times even further.
  DrJames Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide, SA
I haven't got much to add as everyone seems to have covered the most salient points as to why sparks etc would not provide a much better service.

However, being a non-hills resident, a couple of questions occur to me:

1) wikipedia says the line to Bridgewater was opened in 1883, does anyone know if the alignment has changed much / at all since then? or is the current alignment a relic of 19th century engineering? if done today, would there be any ways to create a better alignment, or is the terrain too difficult?

2) In the interim, would curtailing the line at Blackwood enable a slightly more frequent service? do many pax make use of Glenalta, Pinera, Belair?
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I haven't got much to add as everyone seems to have covered the most salient points as to why sparks etc would not provide a much better service.

However, being a non-hills resident, a couple of questions occur to me:

1) wikipedia says the line to Bridgewater was opened in 1883, does anyone know if the alignment has changed much / at all since then? or is the current alignment a relic of 19th century engineering? if done today, would there be any ways to create a better alignment, or is the terrain too difficult?

2) In the interim, would curtailing the line at Blackwood enable a slightly more frequent service? do many pax make use of Glenalta, Pinera, Belair?
"DrJames"

The main alteration to the alignment came with the boring of the current Sleeps Hill tunnel, deletion of the two prior tunnels and viaduct. This was discussed to an extent in another thread, with I think Pressman(?) posting a photo of the of viaduct.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I haven't got much to add as everyone seems to have covered the most salient points as to why sparks etc would not provide a much better service.

However, being a non-hills resident, a couple of questions occur to me:

1) wikipedia says the line to Bridgewater was opened in 1883, does anyone know if the alignment has changed much / at all since then? or is the current alignment a relic of 19th century engineering? if done today, would there be any ways to create a better alignment, or is the terrain too difficult?
DrJames
The answer to how we would do it (assuming the use of modern technology, the will to undertake big projects, the knowledge of future commuter belt development and the freedom of less restricted land use) would depend on whether you're looking for a hills commuter line to serve the Blackwood and Coromandel Valley area, a hills commuter line for the Stirling-Aldgate-Bridgewater area or a through freight route to the south-east and Victoria.

If you want all three you would probably get three different routes, with all three having at least one major tunnel as well as cut/cover undergrounding through the inner suburbs.

I would submit that the two passenger routes would best follow roughly straight lines leaving a city centre underground line from the south-eastern side, with a few S-bends, viaducts and tunnels using the terrain to gain the necessary height while not being too steep for European-style EMUs capable of handling 5% gradients could be used. The Blackwood line would not have the Eden Hills diversion, and would ideally continue through Coromandel Valley towards Aberfoyle Park and Happy Valley at the other end. The Stirling line could use an alignment not too dissimilar to the Adelaide-Crafers Highway with smarter use of the terrain and a tunnel under the highest bit at Crafers, then the current route could be decent enough to serve Aldgate, Bridgewater and out towards Woodside.

For the longer-distance line to the south-east and Melbourne, that would best be done using a base tunnel under the Mt Lofty Ranges, which wouldn't necessarily need to have anything to do with the line through Stirling and could take a more direct east approach towards the hills instead of going south past the CBD first.
  Gayspie Assistant Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, SA
yes well I can understand why sleeps hill and Mitcham passing loops do not need to be extended but I think the Eden hills loop could be extended slightly as it is the smallest and as u all said longer loops are better and blackwood loop does not need that silly siding and should be replaced with an extended loop. I didn't say to have the disused stations in operation all the time I said just a couple of inbound services in the morning peak and a couple of outbound services in the evening peak just to provide a rail service to those residents. also in peak times those services shall stop all stations to blackwood and the other services going to Belair shall run express without stopping at them and they only get serviced in peak as I have said before. for existing station upgrades I believe that Torrens park needs a rebuild and Glenalta and pinera need platform extensions. electrification can be done! why not electrify the line as far as the sleeps hill loop and that is before the tunnels and the hills and run electric trains from Adelaide to Lynton every 1/2 hour via Millswood, hawthorn and Clapham and run DMU's the rest of the way every other train so that is hourly Belair trains and 1/2 hourly electric trains to Lynton.

so the Belair line can be improved extending 2 loops, reopen the disused stations for limited peak service, improve timetabling, upgrade stations and partial electrification!
  rwatts Junior Train Controller

Location: Adelaide SA
I think the Eden hills loop could be extended slightly as it is the smallest  
Heath Loxton
Its either big enough or it isn't.  Since I've sat on trains in it many times it must be, so why do you wish to waste money?  Do you actually understand that such works need to be paid for - from those of who pay taxes ?
blackwood loop does not need that silly siding and should be replaced with an extended loop
Heath Loxton
Why doesn't Blackwood need it ?  I'm sure someone thought it could be useful sometime, even if just somewhere to put track machinery during the day.  Rail grinding, ballast work on the line gets done overnight (living near the line I tend to get letter-boxed to warn of the noise).  That equipment needs to be left somewhere during the day.  There are enough scenarios to make such a siding useful even if not used everyday.

Again,  why does Blackwood need an extended loop?

electrification can be done! why not electrify the line as far as the sleeps hill loop and that is before the tunnels and the hills and run electric trains from Adelaide to Lynton every 1/2 hour via Millswood, hawthorn and Clapham and run DMU's the rest of the way every other train so that is hourly Belair trains and 1/2 hourly electric trains to Lynton.
Heath Loxton

So now you want to have an isolated line with DEMU - a la Frankston to Stony Point?  Why? Instead of just spouting these fantasies, please think them through and provide justifications.  Start with simple cost-benefit analysis.  You want to extend loops.  How much will it cost to do each one?  How much benefit in dollar terms will be gained?

Richard
  SAR520SMBH Junior Train Controller

Heath, Heath, Heath.
Partial electrification? Yeah, nuh, can't see that ever happening mate.
With the disused stations, I wish they'd bulldoze them because I'm over reading time and time again about reopening them, even just for a couple of peak runs on the timetable. Completely pointless. The trip's long enough as it is now and people won't use a longer running, time wise, system.
I agree with justapassengers comments about the short walk from the disused stations to the nearest used stations and the need for people to take the walk to improve their health, there's plenty of people out and about that need it.
Agree with work needing to be done on Torrens Park station/platform, it's a disgrace and needs plenty of work done to it.
  Gayspie Assistant Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, SA
and the old stations are an eyesore for local residents as they are covered in graffiti. either reopen them or demolish them!!!
  SAR520SMBH Junior Train Controller

Demolish them. They're not needed, will probably never be reopened and if they're not there then the imbeciles that like to deface and destroy the property of others can't deface them anymore!
  witsend Chief Commissioner

Location: Front RH Seat of a School Bus
New Belair Timetable

First Service leaves Adelaide at 5:10 M to F, leaves Belair 5:52am. Confirms Belair Depot is no longer for storage.
Peak hour services every 15 minutes.

Last service from Belair is all stops leaving at 1:06am, no longer 10:36pm.

Mile End Station serviced 7 days a week now!

http://m.adelaidemetro.com.au/routes/BEL

No weekend shoppers special, no saturday only services. Still only hourly at weekends. Now leaves the city at x:22, Belair at x:13.
  2001 Moderator The Snow Lord

Location: The road jump at Charlotte Pass. Paxman Valenta on two planks.
I don't use the Belair train, but the hourly service all weekend surprises me. Would've thought a 30 minute service Saturday mornings be more suitable.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

I have used the Saturday morning services a few times, and they are about as sleepy as you could possibly get. If it were not for the Mountain Bike community using the Belair-bound trains in droves, those services would only justify a single 3000 railcar. Travelling by public transport to the city for shopping on a Saturday morning isn't attractive enough for casual users other than 100% subsidised seniors card users thanks to the suburban centres (and online options) being more competitive and the continued charging of peak ticket prices on weekends being uncompetitive against a single paid car park being usable by a whole carload of people.

I wouldn't bet on Mile End retaining the level of service in the temporary timetable once Wayville opens at the end of the year, the usage shouldn't be hard to monitor using Metrocard data or security camera footage.

I guess there is a chance that the next full timetable at the end of the year including a couple of match day timetables with extra services for weekend events at Adelaide Oval due to public transport to/from the game being pre-paid as part of the ticket price.

I guess we'll see if the depot closure is permanent once the temporary timetable is replaced with the next full one at some point in the future. The time between now and then will give plenty of indication as to whether adding lots of non-service runs and useless services is a cheaper result than retaining the depot.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
I have used the Saturday morning services a few times, and they are about as sleepy as you could possibly get. If it were not for the Mountain Bike community using the Belair-bound trains in droves, those services would only justify a single 3000 railcar. Travelling by public transport to the city for shopping on a Saturday morning isn't attractive enough for casual users other than 100% subsidised seniors card users thanks to the suburban centres (and online options) being more competitive and the continued charging of peak ticket prices on weekends being uncompetitive against a single paid car park being usable by a whole carload of people.

I wouldn't bet on Mile End retaining the level of service in the temporary timetable once Wayville opens at the end of the year, the usage shouldn't be hard to monitor using Metrocard data or security camera footage.

I guess there is a chance that the next full timetable at the end of the year including a couple of match day timetables with extra services for weekend events at Adelaide Oval due to public transport to/from the game being pre-paid as part of the ticket price.

I guess we'll see if the depot closure is permanent once the temporary timetable is replaced with the next full one at some point in the future. The time between now and then will give plenty of indication as to whether adding lots of non-service runs and useless services is a cheaper result than retaining the depot.
justapassenger
An hourly service isn't attractive - full stop - even to "100% subsidised seniors card users" such as myself.  Might as well not run it at all.

It should be half hourly all day every day; 15 minutes in weekday peak, with a couple of school traffic specific runs and perhaps an express morning or evening (non-stop Eden to Adelaide).
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Might as well not run it at all.
"kipioneer"

That may well be the planned end game.
  SouthAussie94 Station Staff

An hourly service isn't attractive - full stop - even to "100% subsidised seniors card users" such as myself.  Might as well not run it at all.

It should be half hourly all day every day; 15 minutes in weekday peak, with a couple of school traffic specific runs and perhaps an express morning or evening (non-stop Eden to Adelaide).
kipioneer

Could it be possible that the hourly weekend service is only a temporary thing while the works around Goodwood Junction/Kesville are completed? I'd imagine that working near the track would be difficult during the week with trains having a 15 minute frequency so by having bigger spaces between trains on the weekend it could possibly allow work to be completed faster.  

Just a thought..
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
Could it be possible that the hourly weekend service is only a temporary thing while the works around Goodwood Junction/Kesville are completed? I'd imagine that working near the track would be difficult during the week with trains having a 15 minute frequency so by having bigger spaces between trains on the weekend it could possibly allow work to be completed faster.  

Just a thought..
SouthAussie94
It has been hourly evenings and weekends for many, many years.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
The only line I can think of that is similar to the Belair line is the Johnsonville line in Wellington, NZ.

That line has a 1/2 hour service every day most of the day with hourly services for the first and last few trains each day, and, on weekdays, a couple of extra trains in peak.

If you haven't ridden this line then make it a "must" next time you are in Wellington.    There is a shopping centre at Johnsonville for refreshments, etc.
  Milkomeda Chief Train Controller

Clearly AdMet don't think there are enough passengers on the line to warrant 30 minute services on the line for weekends. If the line was like the OH line then yes I could see it being 30 minutes but AdMet probably lose out more by running more services on weekends.
  kipioneer Chief Commissioner

Location: Aberfoyle Park
Clearly AdMet don't think there are enough passengers on the line to warrant 30 minute services on the line for weekends. If the line was like the OH line then yes I could see it being 30 minutes but AdMet probably lose out more by running more services on weekends.
Milkomeda
But Wellington's population (400000) is a fraction of Adelaide's.    If they can do it then so can Adelaide.

The difference may be that they can, just, get 2 trains an hour on the Johnsonville line with one EMU unit.

* Edit: make that 2 EMU units.
  Gayspie Assistant Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, SA
well the belair line would get used more if millswood, hawthorn and clapham were served during the weekday peak with the blackwood services stopping there as per "people for public transport". their statistics state that transadelaide (adelaide metro) is missing out on at least 5000 passenger trips per month by not serving them at least in peak times!

secondly it would be nice to pull into an extended eden hills loop that has been extended by 40m and a blackwood station with a longer loop and not a stupid siding that is no longer needed due to track machine storage being available in the belair sidings!
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
well the belair line would get used more if millswood, hawthorn and clapham were served during the weekday peak with the blackwood services stopping there as per "people for public transport". their statistics state that transadelaide (adelaide metro) is missing out on at least 5000 passenger trips per month by not serving them at least in peak times!

secondly it would be nice to pull into an extended eden hills loop that has been extended by 40m and a blackwood station with a longer loop and not a stupid siding that is no longer needed due to track machine storage being available in the belair sidings!
Heath Loxton
Would it though Heath I don't think so as they were closed because patronage did not warrant them and by stopping at every nook and cranny it took to long to get to Belair or anywhere up there actually. What is the actual source of these figures though something that is written in concrete or at least official etc.

Why in Gods name extend any loops on this line at all, it is not needed at all as previous posters have pointed out. There will be no magical jump in the number of passengers on this line for a long time in the future if ever actually. Why waste money on something that will never be used. Long railcar sets can still pass a shorter one the short set simply goes into the loop and the long one passes on the main. It is not rocket science to work this out. It would be a very rare day when all the railcar sets used to Belair were long ones. The patronage at the moment does not warrant it.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Care to publish that data from the so-called "people for public transport" Heath/Mitchell? Care to back it up with some independent source?

I would guess that the number of new public transport users (who would not be switching from bus services or from using one of the closely-spaced adjacent stops on the train) could probably be counted on one hand. A higher number of people would consider walking away from the train as the service is already slow enough and doesn't need to get even slower with more stops for nobody to use.

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