Waurn Ponds rail depot: $115 million stabling facility in limbo more than two years after announcement

 

News article: Waurn Ponds rail depot: $115 million stabling facility in limbo more than two years after announcement

RAIL experts have urged the State Government to get on with building the Waurn Ponds stabling and maintenance yards — a project announced more than two years ago with the potential to create 130 jobs.

  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
This yard is to be base don farmland and provides no real benefit in building this yard.  There is still ample storage around Geelong and North Geelong Yard could also be used for servicing and storage.

What a crap idea.  No wonder the project has not kicked off.

Waurn Ponds rail depot: $115 million stabling facility in limbo more than two years after announcement

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  Radioman Chief Train Controller

Hello All,

there are rightly concerns re affect on local farmland , however Geelong Council and G21 are seeking to have a regular and frequent service to Waurn Ponds, in which case a new stabling and maintenance facility at Waurn Ponds actually makes sense and reduces unnecessary empty car running.

The other issue would be the provision of 4 car Vlocity sets as this effects the design of the Maintenance Shed , the current SSS Shed is designed for # car Vlocity only , and the Geelong line track circuiting arrangements cannot efficiently handle 9 Car Vlocity but can handle 8 car Vlocity sets.

For your consideration , best wishes and regards, Radioman
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Apparently the recalcitrant farmer won't sell his land and the government is loathe to compulsory acquire it due to IMO 'political factors' and the adverse publicity which would arise as a result of the acquisition.

It may be a case of waiting for the farmer to die...though I hope he's not a young bloke.

On a separate matter the single track rail tunnel capacity was raised at the Forum and the consensus from experts at the Forum was the tunnel is NOT an impediment to increasing the frequency of trains to Waurn Ponds / Warrnambool.

Mike.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
- still ample storage around Geelong and North Geelong Yard
- the tunnel is NOT an impediment to increasing the frequency of trains to Waurn Ponds / Warrnambool

Based on these two comments i see X31's point.  GO use existing land that isn't needed in the existing rail reserve.  The 20-25km or so is really not that long a distance to run empty.  If thats a concern, just run the service back to North Geelong as a revenue earner.  I bet Geelong would love a mini metro!
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
- still ample storage around Geelong and North Geelong Yard
- the tunnel is NOT an impediment to increasing the frequency of trains to Waurn Ponds / Warrnambool

Based on these two comments i see X31's point.  GO use existing land that isn't needed in the existing rail reserve.  The 20-25km or so is really not that long a distance to run empty.  If thats a concern, just run the service back to North Geelong as a revenue earner.  I bet Geelong would love a mini metro!
james.au

Exactly my point.

Cannot for the life of me work out why this is required as there is plenty of space in Geelong yard, Geelong Loco and North Geelong yard for storage of BG sets.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
A question, what is the real estate market like in Geelong?  Would there be any great urban regeneration benefits if the yards in geelong were converted to apartments/houses/suburbs??
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
A question, what is the real estate market like in Geelong?  Would there be any great urban regeneration benefits if the yards in geelong were converted to apartments/houses/suburbs??
james.au

Are we running a railway or a real estate business?  Geelong is a major destination for communters as the bus network connects to Geelong Station.  I fail to see how making a railway station a real estate development will translate to better and more timely services for Geelong/Melbourne Commuters.

This money would better be spent upgrading Geelong and other stations in the Geelong area.

When electrification comes to Geelong and it will Geelong Yard will be required to ensure sparks can be stabled as the tunnel as it is today will still be the same.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
A question, what is the real estate market like in Geelong?  Would there be any great urban regeneration benefits if the yards in geelong were converted to apartments/houses/suburbs??

Are we running a railway or a real estate business?  Geelong is a major destination for communters as the bus network connects to Geelong Station.  I fail to see how making a railway station a real estate development will translate to better and more timely services for Geelong/Melbourne Commuters.

This money would better be spent upgrading Geelong and other stations in the Geelong area.

When electrification comes to Geelong and it will Geelong Yard will be required to ensure sparks can be stabled as the tunnel as it is today will still be the same.
x31
As a community we are running a society.  In or close to very built up areas I can understand why you would want to put housing close to CBDs, as the transport costs will be vastly reduced for residents, and the additional cost of moving rolling stock whilst higher, will be outweighed by the savings.  In CBD areas of Sydney and Melbourne, that makes more sense given the huge employment hubs.  But in smaller centres like Geelong it may not be as worth while.  Hence my question to understand more about the Geelong situation.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
A question, what is the real estate market like in Geelong?  Would there be any great urban regeneration benefits if the yards in geelong were converted to apartments/houses/suburbs??

Are we running a railway or a real estate business?  Geelong is a major destination for commuters as the bus network connects to Geelong Station.  I fail to see how making a railway station a real estate development will translate to better and more timely services for Geelong/Melbourne Commuters.
x31
I think you'll find overseas that the most successful railways are real-estate businesses.

As for why the Waurn Ponds/Mt Duneed stabling/maintenance facility is needed:
  • The Bombardier facilities at Southern Cross can't be expanded and present a potential bottleneck. Geelong is the line with the most frequent service, so it's a natural place to host a new maintenance facility.
  • North Geelong yard is a freight yard and likely to have a significant portion of it gauge-converted. I doubt you'd get enough space there for even a maintenance-only facility with stabling elsewhere unless you moved most of the freight yard to somewhere else (like say, Gheringhap).
  • Overnight stabling at the Waurn Ponds end will be needed in future for early-morning Up services anyway, so going the whole hog and building a maintenance facility there to enable overnight servicing as well as stabling makes a lot of sense.


On a separate matter the single track rail tunnel capacity was raised at the Forum and the consensus from experts at the Forum was the tunnel is NOT an impediment to increasing the frequency of trains to Waurn Ponds / Warrnambool.
The Vinelander
This makes sense. The real bottleneck is that there's only one short crossing loop (at Marshall) between Waurn Ponds and Geelong. A second platform at Waurn Ponds and possibly a long passing loop Up towards Marshall would be a good start, as there's plenty of land there and it would enable Warrnambool services to pass terminating Waurn Ponds services and so on.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
What is the total time for an empty to run to waurn ponds from Geelong?  3 minutes?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW

  • North Geelong yard is a freight yard and likely to have a significant portion of it gauge-converted. I doubt you'd get enough space there for even a maintenance-only facility with stabling elsewhere unless you moved most of the freight yard to somewhere else (like say, Gheringhap).
  • Overnight stabling at the Waurn Ponds end will be needed in future for early-morning Up services anyway, so going the whole hog and building a maintenance facility there to enable overnight servicing as well as stabling makes a lot of sense.
LancedDendrite

Agreed with all your other points.

1, Re North Geelong, will the freight yard be needed, or would it all be needed? Ive said before that Id suspect that operators would be able to better utilise their fleets and perhaps rake storage space needs would be reduced compared to what they were before?

2, Why could overnight stabling not be done at North Geelong?
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Seems straight forward to me.
  • V/Line want ALL Geelong line services to start and finish at Waurn Ponds (save for the Warrnambool services of course).
  • On top of that, long term plans have VLP running services to and from Torquay, adding extra strain to the line.
  • The line is currently single track from Geelong to Waurn Ponds.
  • V/Line/ Victrack/ State Government own the land at Geelong Loco, and Geelong yard, which is prime real estate.
  • V/Line's Vlocity fleet is mostly maintained at 2 locations, Ballarat and Southern Cross, with the fleet constantly growing, it will likely need another maintenence base.

Geelong Loco was built when Geelong was the end of the line, and only a handful of trains ran per day, Waurn Ponds is now the end of the line, and trains now run at 10 to 20 minute frequencies.

V/Line need a new maintenence facility, it makes sense for that to be at the down end of the busiest line. Selling off the prime real estate of both Geelong yard and Geelong loco to developers who could command a higher price based on the fact that any buyer would have easy access to Geelong station while also being in walking distance to both the City center, and the waterfront, or in the case of Geelong Loco, close proximity to the fashionable Pakington St.

This could be a boom for the local economy of Geelong, along with allowing for additional funding for the construction of a new maintenence yard at the end of the line, but to also duplicate much of the line from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds.

There seems to be a lot of positives in it as far as I can see, if the farmer doesn't want to sell, find a farmer with land rail adjacent that will. Surely this farmer isn't the only one with suitable land near the down end of Waurn Pomds.

To those that think that "We are running a railway, not a real estate firm", the two are not mutually exclusive.

That said, I hope V/Line aren't that short sighted that any new Bombardier maintenece facility at Waurn Ponds isn't suitable for 4 car Vlocity sets as this really needs to be the future.
  MetroFemme Assistant Commissioner

So it is all about developers and not commuters?  

I fail to see the merit in your argument. Are you saying railways cannot work efficiently without a maintenance depot at the end of the line when NSW has just announced a new maintenance hub at Sunni which is not at the end of the line?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
IDK.  Looking at Ballarat, the stabling isn't done at Wendouree is it?  Is it just the volume of traffic on this line that makes it different?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
So it is all about developers and not commuters?
I fail to see the merit in your argument. Are you saying railways cannot work efficiently without a maintenance depot at the end of the line when NSW has just announced a new maintenance hub at Sunni which is not at the end of the line?
MetroFemme

I fail to see the merit in your argument that it's all about developers vs commuters. The maintenance depot at Waurn Ponds is needed regardless of whether Geelong Yard, Geelong Loco or North Geelong Yard decommissioned and then sold off to developers or not (in the case of North Geelong, it's highly unlikely IMO). Selling off that land without having an equivalent stabling yard nearby would affect V/Line's operations (and hence commuters), but that's absolutely not what anyone is proposing.

The ends of railway lines happen to be the places where there is sufficient under-developed land to create the large maintenance depots needed these days. Stabling facilities are best placed as close as possible to the railway termini to reduce empty car movements. The new maintenance depot for the new TfNSW Intercity Fleet trains is being built at Kangy Angy, just before the Central Coast line/service's terminus at Wyong.


  1. Re: North Geelong, will the freight yard be needed, or would it all be needed? Ive said before that Id suspect that operators would be able to better utilise their fleets and perhaps rake storage space needs would be reduced compared to what they were before?
  2. Why could overnight stabling not be done at North Geelong?
james.au
That depends. North Geelong Yard is a convenient location for storing grain trains before they head to the unloading loop because it's so close by. It's also convenient for crew changes. As for fleet management: I doubt there'll be much net change.
Even once the Murray Basin Rail Project is completed there'll still be grain branchlines left on the BG (and they'll be less utilised because they'll be serving less lines) and North Geelong is still a logical place to store them. The other thing that'll happen is that smaller operators like SSR will move into Victorian grain haulage and they'll have separate fleets to PacNat and Qube. If the benefits of the MBRP are fully realised then there'll be more trains in North Geelong Yard, not less.

On the other hand, North Geelong could do with a bit of track rationalisation, particularly once PacNat finish scrapping their BG wagon fleet. But I still doubt that there'll be enough room freed up to build a useful stabling yard for V/Line.
  Tony M. Locomotive Fireman

"Apparently the recalcitrant farmer won't sell his land and the government is loathe to compulsory acquire it due to IMO 'political factors' and the adverse publicity which would arise as a result of the acquisition"

The site is in a very marginal (Liberal) seat - there's no way they're going to grab a farmers land there.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
"Apparently the recalcitrant farmer won't sell his land and the government is loathe to compulsory acquire it due to IMO 'political factors' and the adverse publicity which would arise as a result of the acquisition"
The site is in a very marginal (Liberal) seat - there's no way they're going to grab a farmers land there.
Tony M.

Makes sense as farming land is valuable.

I also think there is room around the Geelong area for the storage.  It will be easy to run sets from Geelong to Ballarat for maintenance if required assuming maintenance of the Vlocities is still being done there?
  Tony M. Locomotive Fireman

The farmer's case:

The Government wants to compulsorily acquire about 35ha of the Larcombe’s 455ha farm, which would separate the farmhouse and sheds from the paddocks.

Public Transport Victoria wants a 200m-wide strip of the farm running 1.9km alongside the Melbourne-Warrnambool rail line, which bisects the farm.

Mr Larcombe crosses the rail line several times a day to move sheep around the farm and says PTV officials claim it would be too expensive to build an underpass.

He said the property, farmed by his family for 112 years and founded in 1855 by the state’s first European settlers, the Hentys, would be ruined as a working farm.
The Weekly Times
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

If the will exists, the standoff with the farmer could easily be resolved by simply increasing the offer and adding in a simple concrete culvert underpass.

That this move hasn't happened would suggest one of the two following scenarios applies:
1. The facility is unnecessary and the proposal was never more than a w@nk.
2. Vline management are totally inept and the increased offer for the farming land could be paid for by Vline moving away from salaries towards performance-based pay.
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne

2. Vline management are totally inept and the increased offer for the farming land could be paid for by Vline moving away from salaries towards performance-based pay.
justapassenger
Doesn't Victrack handle land acquisitions and the like and not V/Line?
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

I'm not au fait with how the responsibilities are divided up between the different offices of the transport department in that state, but I would have thought a maintenance depot to be used by only one operator would be the responsibility of that operator?

Even if it is VicTrack's role, Vline should still be hard on their case to keep the issue as a priority. That it hasn't happened would suggest that either the facility is not at all important, or that they should shelve it until they successfully manage to organise a pissup at a brewery.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
If the will exists, the standoff with the farmer could easily be resolved by simply increasing the offer and adding in a simple concrete culvert underpass.
justapassenger
How many 200m long concrete culvert underpasses are there around?

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