Melbourne Ferries REMASTERED?

 
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

Are Melbourne and ferries a good match? Will it possibly work? Have a look at a second draft map I made: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1c5K_2X705FK7qquDX9nNQLa7U5Q&usp=sharing

It was based on this: https://urban.melbourne/transport/2013/08/23/harbouring-doubts-are-ferries-for-melbourne-viable

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  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Surely you don't expect us to go through all this tripe again? Melbourne and ferries are not a good match, and this was comprehensively demonstrated the last time you put up the idea. The geography does not work. For God's sake, give it a rest.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
From a historical perspective ferries, were once an essential part of transport on Port Phillip. No railway was built to the western part of the Mornington Peninsula, partly because of the difficult geography of putting a line around hills like Arthurs Seat and Mt Martha, but mostly because ferries provided a good service without the expense of building a railway. Apart from the routine passenger and freight services linking jetties on the peninsula with Melbourne and Queenscliff, paddlewheelers ran seaside excursions from Melbourne for large groups of our ancestors. At Sorrento there was even a steam powered tramline to take passengers from the pier to their homes and tourists right over to the Back Beach

Modern ferries tend to be catamarans rather than monohulls (they are faster, more stable and require less fuel) and in overseas locations Australian built ferries (made by Incat of Hobart and Austal of Perth) run scheduled services hitting speeds of up to 100 kmh on less sheltered waters then Port Phillip. Of course, while this is possible in theory, people here are far too fond of their cars to change, even to a faster service such as the Port Arlington to city ferry run by a company associated with Paul Little.

Finally, beyond tourist trips around the city and Docklands, river ferries are still popular with Melbourne residents, albeit only on one day a year when passengers are transported to Flemington Racecourse from landings downstream of Dights Falls.
  Mr Gus Meister Junior Train Controller

I just thought that with more members on Railpage I could have more opinions. I will delete this thread.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Please leave the thread, I think there's potential for an interesting discussion of Melbourne ferries. While I often agree with Valvegear on policy, perhaps he is being a little too negative on this subject.

That 'Urban Melbourne' article dates from 2013 and discusses the then proposed ferry from Werribee South and Point Cook to Docklands. Well, it did operate, but without a government financial subsidy and it didn't have indirect marketing through being shown on maps of rail lines like Skybus is. So sadly, it didn't gain the critical mass to become viable.

Another problem is the 5 knot (9 kmh) speed limit in the lower Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers which wasn't relaxed for ferries. Also, the article mentions top speeds of 25 knots (46 kmh), but the Hobart ferry builder Incat cites the most fuel efficient speed for their current designs is around 36 knots (68 kmh) with top speeds up to 55 knots (102 kmh), so a modern ferry could really hoon across Port Phillip to make up for restricted speeds in the lower Yarra.

So I reckon there definitely is a role for fast ferries on Port Phillip and the lower Yarra, IF things are done properly through running modern high speed ferries, obtaining government financial subsidies and routes being shown on public transport maps in the same way that Skybus is.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
So I reckon there definitely is a role for fast ferries on Port Phillip and the lower Yarra, IF things are done properly through running modern high speed ferries, obtaining government financial subsidies and routes being shown on public transport maps in the same way that Skybus is.
Bogong
I never understood why they ran the trial in the Winter / colder months. Melbourne is pretty miserable at that time of year, surely starting in the warmer weather and getting people used to the idea so that when winter came pax just kept on doing what they had gotten used to doing would have been a better strategy?

The subsidy question is an interesting one, the VLine passenger subsidy sits around $20 per passenger per trip, I would love to see a breakdown of the Wyndham Vale services to see what the cost recovery is on those trains.

BG
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Please leave the thread, I think there's potential for an interesting discussion of Melbourne ferries. While I often agree with Valvegear on policy, perhaps he is being a little too negative on this subject.

That 'Urban Melbourne' article dates from 2013 and discusses the then proposed ferry from Werribee South and Point Cook to Docklands. Well, it did operate, but without a government financial subsidy and it didn't have indirect marketing through being shown on maps of rail lines like Skybus is. So sadly, it didn't gain the critical mass to become viable.

Another problem is the 5 knot (9 kmh) speed limit in the lower Yarra and Maribyrnong rivers which wasn't relaxed for ferries. Also, the article mentions top speeds of 25 knots (46 kmh), but the Hobart ferry builder Incat cites the most fuel efficient speed for their current designs is around 36 knots (68 kmh) with top speeds up to 55 knots (102 kmh), so a modern ferry could really hoon across Port Phillip to make up for restricted speeds in the lower Yarra.

So I reckon there definitely is a role for fast ferries on Port Phillip and the lower Yarra, IF things are done properly through running modern high speed ferries, obtaining government financial subsidies and routes being shown on public transport maps in the same way that Skybus is.
Bogong
For what its worth , I agree, particularly for places like Sorrento, Rye etc, last time went to Sorrento it took around 2 and 3/4 hours (by public transport). The direct distance to Port Melbourne is around 60 kilometres a modern ferry could do this in under an hour. The timetable time for a tram to Spencer st is only 14 minutes. What would be best would be a wharf just for harbor ferries with a tram stop on it, providing this would be a fraction of the cost of either a freeway or a rail line to Sorrento.

Now I do NOT know why they have set a slow speed limit on the Yarra, nearly all other inland water ways and canals have a low speed limit though to prevent erosion of the banks from the bow waves of water craft, so its unlikely this speed limit can be changed significantly (Note: the entire canal system in Britain has a speed limit of 5 knots for this reason).

woodford
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Now I do NOT know why they have set a slow speed limit on the Yarra,
"woodford"
Read the previous thread. It tells you that reasons are prevention of erosion and safety on the Yarra.
Port Philip, despite what people may think, is not Melbourne. Fast ferries on the bay are fine. In the Melbourne dock environs, they are not. A bay ferry gets you to Port Melbourne  reasonably quickly, and that's the end of the penny section. Slow by river, or catch PT if you want to get to the CBD.

What would be best would be a wharf just for harbor ferries with a tram stop on it, providing this would be a fraction of the cost of either a freeway or a rail line to Sorrento.
"woodford"
If I may quote woodford's standard catch-cry, "Who's paying?" How many passengers will use it? What are the costs? Who'll operate it?

Ferries exist in Sydney from historical necessity, and totally different geography.

Ferries for Melbourne; No.
Ferries for Port Philip: Possibly.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
If you look at the website for the current Portarlington ferry and click on the daily commute tab, you see a map showing that the ferry trip from the Bellarine Peninsula to the mouth of the Yarra takes only 45 minutes, which is less than half the time it would take in a car. BUT the very short trip from the mouth of the Yarra to Victoria Harbour also takes 45 minutes, so the whole journey from Portarlington to Docklands takes 90 minutes. Sad

If they could only speed up the section in the Yarra River to a modest 20 knots, the whole trip would take under an hour and it would be a very attractive way of getting to Melbourne for many people on the Bellarine Peninsula. Now in the port section, the Yarra is mostly very wide and in the section where it isn't, the banks are lined with concrete or bluestone. So a small 35 metre ferry isn't going to contribute to any erosion of river banks. Of course the bureaucracy blindly follows rules in an inflexible Vogon like manner, so it may require interference from politicians to allow ferries with qualified masters to travel at speeds over 5 knots, but I doubt even the most passionate greenie would object to that through the port area.

BTW, I looked up the Incat site and it appears that smallish 35 metre long catamarans have a slightly lower speed for maximum fuel efficiency, closer to 30 knots than 36 knots for max fuel efficiency on their big 99 to 115 metre ships. Still, there is a Tassie built Incat ferry running between Montevideo and Buenos Aries which operates at a freeway speed 58 knots (107 kmh) according to its Wikipedia entry.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Bogong, erosion is not the sole reason for the Yarra speed limit. The other one is safety. The Yarra is busy with tugs, freighters et al, all manoeuvring at times and it's like the road. There's a speed limit. I have pointed out before that Fremantle harbour has a limit of 5 knots, Sydney harbour has speed limits in congested areas, and up the Parramatta River.
There's no argument about what the various ferries can do. I happen to know a good deal about the vessels built by Austal in Henderson, WA, due to my decades of involvement with a supplier of original equipment for their craft. The sole question is speed in certain areas.
Watch the Manly high speed vessel; it slows whilst still a good way out of both Manly and Circular Quay, for safety reasons. It's quick on the main harbour, which is just a tad wider than the Yarra if I recall correctly.

Melbourne is just not suited to high speed river traffic any more than the other speed-limited areas I have mentioned.
Sad, but true.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
If you look at the website for the current Portarlington ferry and click on the daily commute tab, you see a map showing that the ferry trip from the Bellarine Peninsula to the mouth of the Yarra takes only 45 minutes, which is less than half the time it would take in a car. BUT the very short trip from the mouth of the Yarra to Victoria Harbour also takes 45 minutes, so the whole journey from Portarlington to Docklands takes 90 minutes. Sad

If they could only speed up the section in the Yarra River to a modest 20 knots, the whole trip would take under an hour and it would be a very attractive way of getting to Melbourne for many people on the Bellarine Peninsula. Now in the port section, the Yarra is mostly very wide and in the section where it isn't, the banks are lined with concrete or bluestone. So a small 35 metre ferry isn't going to contribute to any erosion of river banks. Of course the bureaucracy blindly follows rules in an inflexible Vogon like manner, so it may require interference from politicians to allow ferries with qualified masters to travel at speeds over 5 knots, but I doubt even the most passionate greenie would object to that through the port area.

BTW, I looked up the Incat site and it appears that smallish 35 metre long catamarans have a slightly lower speed for maximum fuel efficiency, closer to 30 knots than 36 knots for max fuel efficiency on their big 99 to 115 metre ships. Still, there is a Tassie built Incat ferry running between Montevideo and Buenos Aries which operates at a freeway speed 58 knots (107 kmh) according to its Wikipedia entry.
Bogong
It would also be faster and cost a lot less to reroute the ferry to Port Melbourne to connect with the tram.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Run the ferry to Port Melbourne.
We could then build a railway to connect to Flinders Street and the rest of the Melbourne Metrop.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

would also be faster and cost a lot less to reroute the ferry to Port Melbourne to connect with the tram .
railblogger

Err...light rail. Approximately 10 mins (plus interchange time) to Spencer Street Bridge, where any ferry service would probably terminate. The other end (Box Hill) is a tram.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Sorry Kitchgp.
Political spin - they still look and act like trams to me.
SmileSmile
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
I'm someone who would love to see more fast ferries connecting not just Portarlington to the city as we have now, but other places such as Sorrento and even Sanctuary Lakes / Point Cook with the city.

The current ferry travels the huge distance from Portarlington to the mouth of the Yarra in an amazing 45 minutes, but is then speed restricted to just 5 knots to Docklands, which means it takes another 45 minutes to travel the short extra distance to the city.

However Valvegear has pretty much closed down the discussion in my view. He's worked in association with a major fast ferry builder (I'm just a fan), so if he says that there is just too much traffic in the river downstream of the city for ferries to safely operate at even a measly 20 knots, then there is no future for them.

Regular travellers just won't change to a tram at Station Pier, it's too much extra bother to grab your stuff and walk for a few minutes to a different mode of transport. So if the ferries can't travel up the Yarra much faster than walking pace, then the idea of more scheduled fast ferries on Port Phillip is doomed and the prospects for the only existing service don't look too bright. Sad

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