RRL Opening Timetable - April 2015

 
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
There was a "meet the managers" session aboard the 2:15 Bendigo service last Thursday. We had a good chat about new services, wifi (they seem to be pushing for this themselves) and reliability and timeliness  of information.

He said to me that the new timetable that was meant to be coming out in November will be a minor one (though he didn't state whether this was just for the Bendigo line or for all of them) and that a more major one will be out in January. I am led to believe there will be at least one more peak service in each direction from November.

I'm figuring this will be for just the Bendigo line so that in November they have to adjust for new rolling stock allocations with major changes for Geelong and Ballarat, and so they arent introducing a new timetable as the St Albans level crossing removal ties everything up over the summer, and they have to change to Bus replacements anyway.

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  Tony M. Locomotive Fireman

Seems the "every 20 minutes" Geelong schedule can't survive contact with a (projected) 36 degree day. http://www.vline.com.au/home/news/carousel/191691911/Article.aspx

So we can look forward to mass cancellations (well, every second train in the afternoon) on a regular basis for what, the next six months? Hopefully the trains that do run will be combined services, because even the afternoon trains to Melbourne are full up these days.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Shepparton Is 182 km ex Melbourne

Ararat Is 206~211 km ex Melbourne

Warrnambool Is 267 km ex Melbourne
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Seems the "every 20 minutes" Geelong schedule can't survive contact with a (projected) 36 degree day. http://www.vline.com.au/home/news/carousel/191691911/Article.aspx

So we can look forward to mass cancellations (well, every second train in the afternoon) on a regular basis for what, the next six months? Hopefully the trains that do run will be combined services, because even the afternoon trains to Melbourne are full up these days.
Tony M.
Two things here  :

1. Poor planning and timetabling initially with 9 minute turnarounds at Waurn Ponds the timetable was going to be unachievable with  WOLO  speed rsetrictions.

2. Secondly no contingency planning by VLP or PTV to maintain the 20 minute timetable .

SOLUTION :

On WOLO heat days terminate/originate all South Geelong &  Waurn Ponds services at platform 2 Geelong, allowing sufficient turnaround time to maintain scheduled Up departure times from Geelong .  
Cross platform connection at  Geelong to Sprinter set running shuttle from Platform 3 to/from South Geelong and Waurn Ponds .  Its NOT  Rocket Science , just thinking flexibly and MANAGING the situation and using AVAILABLE  resources efficiently to maintain the advertised service .
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Seems the "every 20 minutes" Geelong schedule can't survive contact with a (projected) 36 degree day. http://www.vline.com.au/home/news/carousel/191691911/Article.aspx

So we can look forward to mass cancellations (well, every second train in the afternoon) on a regular basis for what, the next six months? Hopefully the trains that do run will be combined services, because even the afternoon trains to Melbourne are full up these days.
Tony M.

Link doesn't work..
  Tony M. Locomotive Fireman

Seems the "every 20 minutes" Geelong schedule can't survive contact with a (projected) 36 degree day. http://www.vline.com.au/home/news/carousel/191691911/Article.aspx

So we can look forward to mass cancellations (well, every second train in the afternoon) on a regular basis for what, the next six months? Hopefully the trains that do run will be combined services, because even the afternoon trains to Melbourne are full up these days.

Link doesn't work..
The Vinelander
My bad - they seem to have taken it down as soon as the disruption passed (as I should have realised they would).

Basically, every second train running from Geelong - Melbourne in the afternoon was cancelled, with a couple of the Melbourne-Geelong services gone too. And then I believe the trains that did run from Melbourne to Geelong that afternoon were almost all delayed by around a half-hour or so.
  TedHanson Junior Train Controller

Geelong seems OK today.
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

Why do we STILL have WOLO's ? When France was having its 40 degree days I checked the TGV website, and there were NO heat delays.  They have the technology to run at much higher speeds than we do, and without WOLO's.  It seems RRL was built with this technology, because WOLO's only applied to the old RFR track, which was probably done on the cheap. I presume this technology is simply better expansion jointing.  How much would it cost to retrofit it to the relatively section of RFR track between the end of RRL and Corio (27 km) ?

The whole WOLO approach seems backward. We're locked into a risk-averse approach, when a relatively small research project should be able to come up with a much better solution of graded WOLO's as an interim solution until we can improve the expansion jointing. It should not be difficult to predict rail temperature from the numerical forecasts produced by the Bureau of Meteorology, and apply perhaps a 3-level WOLO depending on the forecast rail temperature of the line sector. At present WOLO's for the entire Bendigo line are dependent on the air temperature forecast for Bendigo, which is the hottest place on a line that rises to over 500 m above sea level. Surely we can do better than this.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

A blanket approach of 90kmh operation on WOLO days applies to all passenger tracks irrespective of Track Class which seems "nanny state" stuff in that Class - 1 Track with 60 kg rail CWR and concrete sleepers etc is a much higher quality and robust track , than Class 2 or 3  tarck .    Also virtually all pax lines are CWR these days, with the exception of  North Bendigo to Kerang .

So realsitically  if we need  WOLOS at all then a 90 kmh SR on all track classes is not very sensible .   A more sensible approach would be based on track quality and Class  .  Like  115kmh on Class - 1  CWR,  100kmh on Class-2  CWR,  90 kmh on  Class - 3  welded or jointed . The higher track class the better it is anchored, and less likely to buckle .  

Where the WOLO SR came from when we ran at normal line speed for years on high heat days for years without any incidents.

The current situation where VLP are cancelling far too many trains and just directing pax to the next service is fraudulent ., when they could be still running most services as trains with flexible innovative operational management of the network .

An innovative railway would actually have a  WOLO  tt that just went into operation on hot days, rather than the spur of the moment crisis management approach which treats the pax very poorly .
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Kuldalai,

You're last couple of posts make perfect sense and evidences to a great extent how much expertise and knowledge has been lost over the past few years both in operations and emngineering and secondly how there seems to be an almost beligerent refusal to not look at both domestic and international best practices.

The Geelong Line has as its greatest wekness the single line impacts affecting both service planning and performance south of Geelong and more so beyond Sth Geelong.   So I agree with you why when you get a major disruption are services not terminated at Geelong and a bus shuttle or even potentially a single train consist running shuttles employed to cover the territory south of Geelong until you recover the situation.  That's standard operating practice 101.

Standards for concrete sleepered track on high temperature days.   There is ample detailed international and domestic experience and EVIDENCE to demonstrate that well maintained conrete sleepered track can permit higher speed operation in high temperatures.   Yes 20 years ago one might have taken an extra cautious approach to applying some speed restrictions but even Victoria has now sufficient in-field operating experience to back up international experience to say that speed restrictions to be applied can be less conservative.   So that might be pulling back from 160 to 120/130 km/hr.   I'm not aware of any track buckles on the fully concrete sleepered sections of the RFR sections since 2005/2006 and we have had extensive periods of hot weather in the past 9 to 10 years to get a detailed understanding of how that track performs.
  torrens5022 Junior Train Controller

What does WOLO mean?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Its an old railway telegraphic code word for heat speed restrictions
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

Standards for concrete sleepered track on high temperature days.   There is ample detailed international and domestic experience and EVIDENCE to demonstrate that well maintained conrete sleepered track can permit higher speed operation in high temperatures.   Yes 20 years ago one might have taken an extra cautious approach to applying some speed restrictions but even Victoria has now sufficient in-field operating experience to back up international experience to say that speed restrictions to be applied can be less conservative.   So that might be pulling back from 160 to 120/130 km/hr.   I'm not aware of any track buckles on the fully concrete sleepered sections of the RFR sections since 2005/2006 and we have had extensive periods of hot weather in the past 9 to 10 years to get a detailed understanding of how that track performs.
Trainplanner

About 10 years ago V/Line installed temperature sensors all around the network to advise the track temperature in a more specific way.

Some of these sensors are located on the downside of the horseshoe curve on the Ballarat line, another half way up the incline before Bank Box Loop and on the Bendigo line there's one just by Thompson's foundry at Castlemaine.

These sensors are easily seen from the train as they are behind tough wire fencing about a meter squared, have the V/Line logo clearly visible and the have temperature sensors and an aerial.

To my knowledge, this network of WOLO temperature sensors has never been switched on.

Mike.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
There Is one at Bendigo North
  Carnot Minister for Railways


About 10 years ago V/Line installed temperature sensors all around the network to advise the track temperature in a more specific way.

Some of these sensors are located on the downside of the horseshoe curve on the Ballarat line, another half way up the incline before Bank Box Loop and on the Bendigo line there's one just by Thompson's foundry at Castlemaine.

These sensors are easily seen from the train as they are behind tough wire fencing about a meter squared, have the V/Line logo clearly visible and the have temperature sensors and an aerial.

To my knowledge, this network of WOLO temperature sensors has never been switched on.

Mike.
The Vinelander
There's one on Macedon Bank too.  Sounds like they didn't give reliable readings if they've never been turned on.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

One on the Down side of river at Lara on the left hand side of the East Line approaching the Canterbury Road level crossing .
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
So much of rail transport in Victoria is simply narrow minded, uncoordinated, neanderthal, negative, incompetent and nanny state in so many ways.
  melbtrip Chief Commissioner

Location: Annoying Orange
I hear there is talks about Bendigo line separation, possibly coming off towards Clarkefield and running via the Airport, or alternatively using the rail corridor that is part of the Outer Metropolitan Ring to pick up the RRL further west.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I hear there is talks about Bendigo line separation, possibly coming off towards Clarkefield and running via the Airport, or alternatively using the rail corridor that is part of the Outer Metropolitan Ring to pick up the RRL further west.
melbtrip
I haven't heard the Bendigo via Airport before but I suppose it makes sense. I don't see that happening, but if it were to I'd hope some kind of link with Sunbury was kept, either via extending electrification to Clarkefield or running shuttles between Clarkefield and Sunbury as Sunbury is an important destination station, not just an interchange.

I have heard the branch off between Calder Park and Digger's Rest and head straight south to the Ballarat line before, and I suppose that wouldn't be too bad, except to get real benefit from it, Sunbury station would have to be rebuilt with 3 or 4 platforms to allow Vline Trains to pass through without Metro Paths getting in the way and Vice Versa.

By my estimations using the measurement tool on Google Maps, Via the Airport would save 10km and via Deer Park would add 10. I suppose its all in the speed traveled though. It's all just stuff to froth about until the Outer Metropolitan Ring Road is funded and construction is announced.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
I hear there is talks about Bendigo line separation, possibly coming off towards Clarkefield and running via the Airport, or alternatively using the rail corridor that is part of the Outer Metropolitan Ring to pick up the RRL further west.
melbtrip
The former option (Clarkefield via Airport) was discussed in section 2.2.7 of the 'Railing Ahead' report: http://www.railfreightalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Railing-Ahead-FINAL-19-03-2012.pdf

The Bendigo line's bottlenecks are presently on the single-track sections between Kyneton and Bendigo, not between Sunshine and Sunbury. Get those fixed and an actual railway to Melbourne Airport built first, then you can start thinking about linking Tullamarine and Clarkefield.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
I hear there is talks about Bendigo line separation, possibly coming off towards Clarkefield and running via the Airport, or alternatively using the rail corridor that is part of the Outer Metropolitan Ring to pick up the RRL further west.
The former option (Clarkefield via Airport) was discussed in section 2.2.7 of the 'Railing Ahead' report: http://www.railfreightalliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Railing-Ahead-FINAL-19-03-2012.pdf

The Bendigo line's bottlenecks are presently on the single-track sections between Kyneton and Bendigo, not between Sunshine and Sunbury. Get those fixed and an actual railway to Melbourne Airport built first, then you can start thinking about linking Tullamarine and Clarkefield.
LancedDendrite

We can forget all about an Airport railway via the new Regional Rail Link. The RRL is almost at capacity during the peaks and at other times is still busy. Already due to the very tight scheduling, V/Line trains often crawl behind one another from Sunshine to Footscray and more than one occasion we have suffered the embarrassment of a METRO train overtaking a V/Line train on that leg of the morning commute and beating our 'express' train to Footscray Exclamation

Any future PT improvements like more frequent V/Line peak trains will have the RRL at gridlock, at a time when a high number of pax are arriving by air at Melbourne airport to use the trains which are planned to follow the same route.

It doesn't add up...

Mike.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I count 14 Trains per hour in one direction through Footscray at the busiest hour for the RRL. Even with the flat junction, surely it could get up to 20 easy with smarter platform management at Southern Cross (such as not using platform 8 so UP Trains don't have to cross the Down line on entry - this also has the bonus of better access to suburban platforms) and smarter spacing - A Bendigo Train that doesn't stop goes through Sunshine only 2 minutes after a Ballarat train that does - should allow this.

Electrify to Melton/Bacchus Marsh and half the trains from the Ballarat line now run via the Suburban Lines, flyover junctions at Deer Park West and on entry to Sunshine for Bendigo Trains and there should be plenty of capacity for 4-6 extra trains per hour.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
I count 14 Trains per hour in one direction through Footscray at the busiest hour for the RRL. Even with the flat junction, surely it could get up to 20 easy with smarter platform management at Southern Cross (such as not using platform 8 so UP Trains don't have to cross the Down line on entry - this also has the bonus of better access to suburban platforms) and smarter spacing - A Bendigo Train that doesn't stop goes through Sunshine only 2 minutes after a Ballarat train that does - should allow this.

Electrify to Melton/Bacchus Marsh and half the trains from the Ballarat line now run via the Suburban Lines, flyover junctions at Deer Park West and on entry to Sunshine for Bendigo Trains and there should be plenty of capacity for 4-6 extra trains per hour.
TOQ-1
I believe it was mentioned here that it was actually signalled for 20 trains per hour.
  712M Chief Commissioner

This isnt helped that you have four different types of train (Vlocity, Sprinter, N class and P class) all sharing the same section of track and all with different acceleration and top speeds. Running a 20 tph timetable would mean all trains will need to be timed to match the slowest P class push pulls.

Also a problem from day one has been dwell times at stations. Whilst on Metro, 20 tph is easily achievable, V/Line trains only have 2 narrow doors per carriage meaning it takes significantly longer for people to get on and off. Combined with the slower acceleration of diesel trains, it makes it very difficult to run a three minute frequency on RRL without regular delays.

Hopefully next generation DMUs for the Geelong line will be of similar design to the IMUs that Queensland Rail uses on the Gold Coast line, with lots of seats, grab rails and wide doorways.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Nevertheless...despite some of the above comments to the contrary, I'm speaking from practical daily experience and note Nightfires comments that all trains would have to be of a similar type with similar stopping patterns and scheduled with similar timing spacings for everything to work...

And seriously, does V/Line operate a service anywhere else on the network where such timings for train spacings are absolutely crucial for the system to work as envisioned, notwithstanding such vagaries of possible pax boarding/de-boarding delays and intricacies such as a drivers driving style which all have to be factored in, or is it expected all trains will just crawl along the RRL on yellow/red signals...that will be a great look for visitors to Melbourne using the airport train.

Given that going forward train frequencies are only going to increase, I claim that there will be nothing but congestion delays with an airport rail service added to the mixture.

No doubt...only time will tell.

Mike.

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