Infrastructure - SYD v MEL

 
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
Okay, I would not like this to get into a Sydney vs Melbourne tussle. We can leave that for the footy field (the AFL ladder looks interesting at the moment, two WA teams at the top, then the retards, followed by the Swans, Crows, Giants, Dogs and Hawks). The Footy field will settle all of the interstate rivalries.

Before we get into any debate, the reason I am posting this is because I have been reading about the congestion on the eastern lines, particularly the Dandenong line, mostly caused by Lx delayes and the consequent lack of capacity, as well as on the Frankston lines. I have also been apalled by the state of the track infrastructure when I have been in Melbourne.

Can I urge to you to watch the following video:

https://youtu.be/3SNZUSb2ODI - in its entirety (before you respond - sorry, it is 31 minutes, but after you watch it, you will know what I mean) - and note the following:

The East Hills line was opened in 1931, and was mainly a Rail Motor shuttle.
The line was duplicated,well before it needed to be.
The line was extended to connect with the Southern line at Glenfield, well before it needed to be.
The line was quadruplicated to Kingsgrove, well before it needed to be.
The line was further quadruplicated to Revesby, well before it needed to be.The flat junction at Glenfield was grade-separated well before it needed to be


Most importantly, the SWRL to Leppington was built with bugger all people living out that way. In other worfs, put in the transport infrastructure BEFORE people start living there, that way they don't develop the driving habit which then needs to be corrected. Put the rail service in front of them before they build, and public transport will become the natural choice.

Why am I posting this in this forum?

Looking at all of the complaints about RRL, Tarneit and Wyndham Vale, and these services will be overloaded from day 1, it seems there was no planning done in advance of these areas being developed, from a transport POV.

What am I getting at?

NSW seems to be be better at planning ahead, so that the required transport services are there when they are needed, rather than playing catch up all the time, which seems to be the case in Melbourne.

Also, looking at the state of the infrastructure, I was amazed when I saw weeds growing through the ballast at Richmond (Vic), with wooden sleepers, four months ago. Check out the NSW infrastructure on the above video.

Now, why is this the case?

The NSW gum'mint can keep on injecting funds to cause massive weekend and evening disruption to ensure that the network is maintained,

(Sorry, this a cheap jibe about the constant treckwork which is always underway).

Why can't the Victorian gum'mint do the same?

Dave

(Please note, I do urge you to watch - in its entirety - the video link Iposted above, and do note the state of the infrastructure)

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  L1150 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Pakenham Vic.
Have to agree with you, Doc. NSW seems to have had the "build it and they will come" philosophy for a long time while here in Vic, the attitude is "lets wait until there is massive urban development and then we will think about perhaps doing something about it", by which time, as you say people will have become car dependent.Sad
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Personally I think that apart from politics, funding is the main issue. The Victorian Government spends money on unnecessary fare discounts when they could be spending it on reducing inefficiencies and general service improvements.
  melbtrip Chief Commissioner

Location: Annoying Orange
Personally I think that apart from politics, funding is the main issue. The Victorian Government spends money on unnecessary fare discounts when they could be spending it on reducing inefficiencies and general service improvements.
railblogger
In Sydney - public transport fares are more discounted then fares in Melbourne.

Sydney to Newscalte = $8.30

Melbourne to Bendigo = $28.80
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
You make some valid points, but it wasn't always that way. Melbourne was well on it's way to electrifying it's rail system before the first world war. While the war held things up, public electric train services were running by 1918. Well before Sydney.

And electrification didn't stop at the fringe of suburbia, places well beyond the densely built up areas were electrified too, so we have former hamlets that first saw their first electric train over 90 years ago like Lilydale and Frankston which are now the terminus of busy suburban train lines because electrification on those lines hasn't been extended since, even though Melbourne's population is about 4 times what it was 90 years ago.

So why did this enthusiasm for urban rail stop 90 years ago? There were lots of "make work" projects in the Great Depresion of 1929 - 1934, but none of them were concerned with urban rail. Perhaps it was Melbourne's preoccupation with trams? The tram lines have been extended regularly, from the late 1940's to today, especially in areas that aren't serviced by (heavy) rail such as Bundoora and Vermont South.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

I agree that Sydney Trains' infrastructure is in better condition, the Metropolitan Track Strengthening project in the mid to late(?) eighties made significant advances. Signalling and OH wiring also moved ahead in the same era.

I also agree that the Leppington line has been built largely ahead ahead of the suburban development, however the previous time that occurred was the construction of the East Hills line, so NSW guvments are hardly better than VIC's.

Three major NSW *uckups in recent years are:
  • Removal of the Ropes Creek/Crossing line so that it couldn't get in the way of the land developers
  • Too small kinematic envelope on the NWRL guaranteeing it can never be an integral part of the Sydney System
  • The wilful vandalistic destruction of the Newcastle branch, again so that developers can have their wicked way, (so it seems to me).
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

The NSW gum'mint can keep on injecting funds to cause massive weekend and evening disruption to ensure that the network is maintained,

(Sorry, this a cheap jibe about the constant treckwork which is always underway).

Why can't the Victorian gum'mint do the same?

Dave

(Please note, I do urge you to watch - in its entirety - the video link Iposted above, and do note the state of the infrastructure)
thadocta

The Regional Rail Link (RRL) was planned to be 4 tracks, 2 METRO and 2 V/Line, therefore eliminating the crowded V/Line trains which will come from opening of the project in a few weeks.

The previous conservative adnministration in Victoria boasted the RRL was built under budget, no wonder when some important infrastructure of the project was cancelled and will have to be implemented by a PT friendly government at a future time.

You attempt to put forward a considered case, but you write in condescending terms.

No matter your political colours...in case you didn't realise, Government is spelt Government and we should be fuc.king proud that we live in a democracy and not some militaristic or corrupt dictatorship.

Mike.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
The Regional Rail Link (RRL) was planned to be 4 tracks, 2 METRO and 2 V/Line, therefore eliminating the crowded V/Line trains which will come from opening of the project in a few weeks.

The previous conservative adnministration in Victoria boasted the RRL was built under budget, no wonder when some important infrastructure of the project was cancelled and will have to be implemented by a PT friendly government at a future time.
Vinelander
Pure unadulterated garbage.

It contained planning for four in the future (ie. the year 2200), but was never to be built as four.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Also, looking at the state of the infrastructure, I was amazed when I saw weeds growing through the ballast at Richmond (Vic), with wooden sleepers, four months ago. Check out the NSW infrastructure on the above video.

Now, why is this the case?
thadocta

The state of the infrastructure has to do with the willingness of the respective Governments to expend the necessary funds.

I rather suspect the culture of high quality track in NSW has its genesis in Granville. The immediate cause of this accident was, of course, a derailment due to poorly maintained track. I know that one of the consequences of the accident was a large funding program to renew rail infrastructure. Beyond the immediate reaction, a catastrophic rail accident is also likely to change the culture towards maintenance - both politically and in management.

Victoria has been fortunate in not having such an accident. It is possible that the management in Victoria has been better at riding the risk/cost curve. On the other hand, they could have been lucky.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
To me, it is obvious that both cities, or rather the relevant authorities and governments that initiated various upgrades over the years, had different priorities. For example, to my knowledge Sydney eliminated all of their inner and middle suburb level crossings as part of the returned soldiers public works program (not sure if that program actually had an official name) after WW1, whereas in Victoria, The Great Ocean Road was built.

Earlier, Melbourne also had quadruplication before needed, between South Yarra and Caulfield, in 1915. Later it also built an electrified line out to the farmlands of Glen Waverley before it needed to, and duplicated that line when the sprawling suburbs along it were still new. Melbourne had electrification earlier, but Sydney had an extensive underground loop MUCH earlier with later extensions, while Melbourne's simple loop is still 'as-built'.

I'm wondering now if, along the way, geology played an increasing part in the decision making. There has been some recent (political) noise about a proposed road in Melbourne that features a tunnel and overhead expressway, costing twice as much as the vital and much shorter NorthConnex in Sydney. Fact is, the grounds of Sydney are made of easily worked rock and the grounds of Melbourne are made of mud, with resultant construction complexities. Has this been a factor in thought-bubble rail projects in recent decades?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The Regional Rail Link (RRL) was planned to be 4 tracks, 2 METRO and 2 V/Line, therefore eliminating the crowded V/Line trains which will come from opening of the project in a few weeks.

The previous conservative adnministration in Victoria boasted the RRL was built under budget, no wonder when some important infrastructure of the project was cancelled and will have to be implemented by a PT friendly government at a future time.

You attempt to put forward a considered case, but you write in condescending terms.

No matter your political colours...in case you didn't realise, Government is spelt Government and we should be fuc.king proud that we live in a democracy and not some militaristic or corrupt dictatorship.

Mike.
The Vinelander
No - we live in a corrupt, or at the very least incompetent, democracy.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

I rather suspect the culture of high quality track in NSW has its genesis in Granville.
historian
Granville certainly was the catalyst to loosen the treasury purse strings (these days I'm a safety professional and know only too well that it often takes a catastrophic event to shock management out of their risk blindness/denial). The railway as a whole, and the Way & Works branch in particular, was not prepared for the sudden largesse from the Wran government and a lot of the money was not spent wisely (I remember the joy we felt when we were told that overtime was to be unlimited! Razz). I became the Track Supervisor, only two years after the "Upgrading" had finished, in an area that I knew had had a bucket of money spent on it. I was aghast at the poor condition of it.
So even though there were five years of mega budgets, by the mid 80s the benefit had largely passed and the Metropolitan Track Strengthening project had begun. The MTS (which was born out of the success of the Hunter Valley Track Strengthening project) was far better planned and targeted specific areas, rather than the shotgun approach of the upgrading years.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

To me, it is obvious that both cities, or rather the relevant authorities and governments that initiated various upgrades over the years, had different priorities. For example, to my knowledge Sydney eliminated all of their inner and middle suburb level crossings as part of the returned soldiers public works program (not sure if that program actually had an official name) after WW1, whereas in Victoria, The Great Ocean Road was built.

Earlier, Melbourne also had quadruplication before needed, between South Yarra and Caulfield, in 1915. Later it also built an electrified line out to the farmlands of Glen Waverley before it needed to, and duplicated that line when the sprawling suburbs along it were still new. Melbourne had electrification earlier, but Sydney had an extensive underground loop MUCH earlier with later extensions, while Melbourne's simple loop is still 'as-built'.

I'm wondering now if, along the way, geology played an increasing part in the decision making. There has been some recent (political) noise about a proposed road in Melbourne that features a tunnel and overhead expressway, costing twice as much as the vital and much shorter NorthConnex in Sydney. Fact is, the grounds of Sydney are made of easily worked rock and the grounds of Melbourne are made of mud, with resultant construction complexities. Has this been a factor in thought-bubble rail projects in recent decades?
DirtyBallast
I was not aware of a programme after WW1, but a lot of the LXings were abolished post WW2 as evidenced by the designs and materials used.

You're right Dirty Ballast (great handle btw), Sydney sandstone is an excellent material to work with, easily carved and quite stable, but I've not picked up anecdotal or empirical evidence that that has caused projects to proceed, or not.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
The Regional Rail Link (RRL) was planned to be 4 tracks, 2 METRO and 2 V/Line, therefore eliminating the crowded V/Line trains which will come from opening of the project in a few weeks.

The previous conservative adnministration in Victoria boasted the RRL was built under budget, no wonder when some important infrastructure of the project was cancelled and will have to be implemented by a PT friendly government at a future time.

You attempt to put forward a considered case, but you write in condescending terms.

No matter your political colours...in case you didn't realise, Government is spelt Government and we should be fuc.king proud that we live in a democracy and not some militaristic or corrupt dictatorship.

Mike.
The Vinelander
(Apologies for the tardiness of this reply, I have been using mobile devices for the last while, and you cannot quote in replies, tonight is the first opportunity I have had to post from a real computer).

Poor poor sad sad Mike, you have to read politics into everything, don't you.

My post was in no way directed at a political party of either persuasion. In fact, in NSW, both parties, Labor AND LNP, have directed large sums at public transport, and this results in the superb infrastructure we have today.

(Sometimes, I wish they wouldn't, we have a total shutdown in the Blue Mountains this weekend, and there is trackwork less than 50 metres from my bedroom here in Katoomba, and that is at 5 in the morning, but I digress).

In contrast, we have Victorian governments, of BOTH persuasions (Labor AND LNP) who have not seen fit to direct appropriate resources.

I was seeking to make this a state-based comparison, but you had to make it political, didn't you, you sad sad person. (was going to say sad sad man, but changed my mind).

Can you please come back when you can actually address the issues I raised, namely why the infrastructure in Melbourne is so bad, although if you are going to start pontificating about the merits of a particular political flavour, don't bother).

Dave

(btw Mike, just did a search for flights next Easter, on Qantas Link, MEL 1850, MQL 1955 on Easter Thursday, returning Easter Monday at 1725 arriving 1820, $129 each way. Better to ignore these flights so that you can have another whinge next year about how extortionate it is to fly to Mildura over Easter).
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

The Regional Rail Link (RRL) was planned to be 4 tracks, 2 METRO and 2 V/Line, therefore eliminating the crowded V/Line trains which will come from opening of the project in a few weeks.

The previous conservative adnministration in Victoria boasted the RRL was built under budget, no wonder when some important infrastructure of the project was cancelled and will have to be implemented by a PT friendly government at a future time.

You attempt to put forward a considered case, but you write in condescending terms.

No matter your political colours...in case you didn't realise, Government is spelt Government and we should be fuc.king proud that we live in a democracy and not some militaristic or corrupt dictatorship.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Yes we do live in a democracy, and we have the right to be critical.

Some of the Important infrastructure for RRL was cancelled by the Brumby Government in 2009. The Ballieu/Napthine Government simply did not reinstate them.

So you see both the ALP and Coalition have not been spending money on PT and it is a Victorian Disease. Lets hope the Andrews Administration will be true to their word and fund PT accordingly.

Michael
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
From my limited observations, Victoria seems to do things first, then NSW does it properly. A little humour here.

I blame NSW for the gauge problems.

There is probably good and bad in both systems.

I would say QLD has a good system, even though there is no commuter rail service to Toowoomba.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
From my limited observations, Victoria seems to do things first, then NSW does it properly. A little humour here.

I blame NSW for the gauge problems.

I would say QLD has a good system, even though there is no commuter rail service to Toowoomba.
Camster
And I would say that Queensland gets it spot on with rail infrastructure, once they eventually get around to implementing things that Victoria & NSW have had for yonks Laughing

I blame the British for not being more firm on the choice of rail gauge; for not encouraging the Australian colonies to think of themselves as Australians first instead of as separate but co-habiting British colonies; and for letting the Victorians put an Irishman in charge of their railways!
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
... I blame the British for not being more firm on the choice of rail gauge; for not encouraging the Australian colonies to think of themselves as Australians first instead of as separate but co-habiting British colonies; and for letting the Victorians put an Irishman in charge of their railways!
LancedDendrite
By the early 1850's, the governors of all Australian colonies had to put up with a legislative council composed of landowners and businessmen that often thwarted what the governors may have believed was best for the colony.

In 1856 Victoria was the first place in the world (soon followed by other colonies) to introduce both a vote for every man and a secret vote. This meant that all the ordinary riff-raff had a say in government.

In 1860, the four south eastern colonies were granted "Responsible Government". That meant that their laws could not be overturned by the UK government, they were responsible for their own defence, etc. This made them effectively independent, (whether they wanted to be or not). Qld and N.Z. got responsible government a few years later, but W.A. had to wait until 1890 (as it was too poor and underpopulated to look after itself before then).

So in the 1850's the UK had very little ability to control it's wilful antipodean colonies. By 1860 it had no power all all. Thus the blame for all the screw ups lies overwhelmingly with the people our ancestors elected 160 odd years ago.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Some very good posts here and the one from lockspike is right on the money as I distinctly recall the many references to Granville at the time the NSW Government state it was proceeding with a massive renewal program that was subsequently refined and better managed as has been said.  I have commented extensively on other psts about the quality and depth of renewals and upgrades undertaken in NSW over the past 30 years relative to Melbourne.   The depth I refer to is what I would best describe as a whole of systems approach where the upgrades and renewals effectively start from formation and drainage works of the track right through to deep well drained ballast closely spaced concrete sleepers and heavy welded rail.  You look at the overhead and power supplies to see how heavy duty they are and then look the trunking systems for laying signal and other cabling compared to the way that stuff is literally thrown on the ground in Melbourne.   Look at the deep renovation of stations, lighting, subways and stairways with their high standard finishes and how CCTV systems are cabled and installed versus the way its been done in Melbourne.

There is no doubt the new works in Melbourne are to a much higher standard but the weather protection at rebuilt locations such as Sunshine and Footscray is a joke compared to say something like Paramatta.

But their is obviously the serious issue of how to fund a prgram like this which in NSW/Sydney is in the billions and has effectively been ongoing over 30 plus years.   There is also an issue perhaps of a degree of over engineering perhaps but the longetivity and reliability that must be flowing out of the system in NSW given its massive size and intensity of operation must have paybacks overtime.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Just did a search for flights next Easter, on Qantas Link, MEL 1850, MQL 1955 on Easter Thursday, returning Easter Monday at 1725 arriving 1820, $129 each way. Better to ignore these flights so that you can have another whinge next year about how extortionate it is to fly to Mildura over Easter.
thadocta

Next year I'll be on an old farts 50% off 60 Saver fare hence the differences in the fares V/Line Vs airlines will be even more stark.

BTW who's buying tickets to travel intrastate 10 months out Question

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