Geelong - Melbourne fast ferry to be introduced, possibly due to overcrowding on trains?

 
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Paul Little, the squillionaire property developer and former CEO of both Toll Holdings and Essendon footy club is planning to introduce a Geelong to Melbourne ferry service. He currently runs the Portarlington to Melbourne ferry and also ran the unsuccessful Werribee South ferry.

It's an interesting idea and if the 405 seat boat he is introducing can operate at high speed (over 80 kmh), then it has a chance of success. The direct Portalington service makes sense as the land route to Melbourne is rather circuitous, but it is hampered by a frustratingly low speed limit in the Yarra River as it approaches the city. So he is considering running the Geelong service to Station Pier if the state government fulfils its promise to extend the 109 tram line on to the pier (don't hold your breath, I doubt the government will extend the tram). But a ferry run to Station Pier would require city bound passengers to transfer to a tram, meaning the journey wouldn't be much faster than a speed restricted dawdle up the Yarra like the current Portalington ferry.

So with the handicap of either changing to a tram at Port Melbourne or the ferry having to massively slow down in the lower Yarra, I'd be doubtful if a Geelong fast ferry will ever be introduced, if another outfit was proposing it, BUT Paul Little has strong record of running ferries on Port Phillip, plus there is a media release about the Geelong ferry proposal on the Incat website. Incat has built a lot of ferries that go up to 110 kmh and they are about to finish building Hull 090 for an undisclosed buyer. Hull 090 is only 35 metres long, much smaller than the larger ships Incat often builds, but ideal for a smaller operation on sheltered waters like Port Phillip.

Anyway, do people think a Geelong to Melbourne fast ferry has potential? Would people use it rather than the train?

Sponsored advertisement

  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
if its supported and integrated into PTV then YESS
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Good thoughts bogong but as soon has you introduce two forms of mode of transport your transit time increases.

How would passengers get to a proposed terminal in Geelong ? Car or train ?
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Good thoughts bogong but as soon has you introduce two forms of mode of transport your transit time increases.

How would passengers get to a proposed terminal in Geelong ? Car or train ?
freightgate
Back in the days of the late, lamented West Coast Railway, I used it to commute from Melbourne to Geelong, as it was both faster and cleaner than the dodgy Vline service which was usually Harris sets back then. But it was a bit of a hike to get from the station to my office. However a Geelong ferry terminus at Cunningham Pier would be right in the city, closer to most businesses than the train station.

Modern fast catamarans have shallow drafts, so no dredging would be required and it would be nice to reactivate Cunningham Pier right next to Geelong's "Waterfront Tourism Booth". However they're just my thoughts, I have no idea what Paul Little's company is considering.

I also agree with Dan, ferry services should be integrated into the mainstream public transport service. The Portarlington ferry from the Yarra is much faster than getting a train and transferring to a bus, but only people who know about it use it, as it's not included in public transport timetable sites.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
One of the main issues that contributed to the demise of the Wyndham Harbour ferry was the low speed limits enforced on the Yarra.

One of the biggest drawbacks with the ferry to Port Arlington is the low speed limits enforced on the Yarra.

Everytime I have heard Paul Little interviewed on the matter it is clear that he is enthusiastic about improving public transport in Melbourne via our underutilised waterways. 1 thing he has regularly stated is that he believes it is possible that the authorities could relax the speed limit in the Yarra for his vessels. I am yet to see that happen. When it does, that is when I believe that ferries can be of some value.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Everytime I have heard Paul Little interviewed on the matter it is clear that he is enthusiastic about improving public transport in Melbourne via our underutilised waterways.
"Gman_46"
I think Mr Little is enthusiastic about improving his bank balance.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
I think Mr Little is enthusiastic about improving his bank balance.
Valvegear
How cynical of you.

Not wrong though.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
How cynical of you.
"Gman_86"


Yep- a cynic is a man who smells flowers and immediately looks for the funeral.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
405 passengers getting off a ferry and making a bee-line for the next tram would be a problem in itself, whether the tram was on the Pier or at the current terminus. Survival of the fittest, fastest, or those with the strongest elbows.Very Happy
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

I heard that the Portarlington ferry has been quite successful. Correct?
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Were there many ferries used to run to Station Pier before the line closure. I was thinking that ferries as a mode of transport in Melbourne would be more successful if there was an integrated transit link into the city proper, but there's no chance of heavy rail ever going back in now.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
What is the actual speed on the Yarra for all vessels ?
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Exactly TOQ, that's the reason they never built a railway to serve towns on Port Phillip south of Mornington. Places like Dromana, Rosebud and Portsea were all served by ferry. Then cars became popular and the ferry companies went out of business.

A year ago I had to go to Dromana for an opening, so I decided to get the train to Frankston and then the advertised bus. Well, the bus took such a bizarre and indirect route via the highway and obscure back streets (the route even doubled back on itself for a few kilometres) that it took me an hour to go a fairly short distance on the map. The bus is utterly useless for anyone going more than a few kilometres and no one would ever use it regularly. If I find myself without a car and have to go Dromana again, I'll fork out for an Uber from Frankston instead.

In the linked article on the Incat site, Paul Little mentions "there might be potential for a 'grocery run' involving [Mornington] Peninsula stops...". I have to agree, the bus service south of Frankston is so shockingly slow and indirect that I reckon his company would get 90% of traffic from the southern peninsula bound for Melbourne, if they ran a fast ferry with limited stops and IF they can get a subsidy similar to that given to the existing bus and train operators.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
What is the actual speed on the Yarra for all vessels ?
freightgate
In September our benevolent bureaucratic masters raised the river speed limit between Westgate and Bolte Bridges from 5 knots (9 kmh) to 6 knots (11 kmh).

That's really going to make a big difference... or perhaps not. Rolling Eyes
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
So he is considering running the Geelong service to Station Pier if the state government fulfils its promise to extend the 109 tram line on to the pier (don't hold your breath, I doubt the government will extend the tram). But a ferry run to Station Pier would require city bound passengers to transfer to a tram, meaning the journey wouldn't be much faster than a speed restricted dawdle up the Yarra like the current Portalington ferry.
Bogong
Given the Station Pier Is not a public place and Is regarded as "waterside" restricted zone for quarantine and Immigration control, a public tram service would be denied access !

The best case for a tram extension would be to build a covered twin platform tram terminus on that grassed area on the pier side of Waterfront Place.

As for a ferry service coming In from Geelong, It would probably have to use that timber pier next to Station Pier Inner West berth.


Also the proposed ferry service Is Intended to be a private commercial service (that pays It' way) not a taxpayer subsidized MiKi PTV service.

The Idea Is that parts of the ferry would be set up and used as a mobile office for business people.
  amb Train Controller

What is the actual speed on the Yarra for all vessels ?
In September our benevolent bureaucratic masters raised the river speed limit between Westgate and Bolte Bridges from 5 knots (9 kmh) to 6 knots (11 kmh).

That's really going to make a big difference... or perhaps not. Rolling Eyes
Bogong
Its actually the smaller vessels with shallow drafts that cause the wash in the Yarra, the large vessels container ships etc with deep draft cause very little wash.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

Even if the ferry doesn’t go ahead, I would think there is a case for moving the terminus closer to the pier gates and providing a dual-track terminus, as described above, to make it more attractive to cruise ship visitors. The current mickey mouse arrangement for when there is more than one tram at the terminus doesn’t really cut it. The down side is a loss of some parking.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

In September our benevolent bureaucratic masters raised the river speed limit between Westgate and Bolte Bridges from 5 knots (9 kmh) to 6 knots (11 kmh). .................
Bogong

It's not bureaucracy. It's safety and the problems caused by wash in a confined space.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

This old thread discusses the problems with running trams on Station Pier:
https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p422252.htm
The pier is closed to the public when a naval or cruise ship is in dock (not the Spirit of Tasmanias), with up to 50 ships scheduled during the cruise ship season. The new SG tracks have been built over in places. It looked like it would take a fair bit of redesign and work to restore them.

A ferry terminal could be constructed at the stub dock and pier between the shore and Inner West berth. For those that know the area, where the old crane is preserved, the short-lived doggy café was and the maintenance ship Rip was docked. This would be outside the gates and only require a covered walkway of about 100 metres to a re-sited tram terminus discussed above.


405 passengers getting off a ferry and making a bee-line for the next tram would be a problem in itself, whether the tram was on the Pier or at the current terminus. .............
mikesyd

2 x E-Class trams coordinated with the ferry arrival and departing 2 min apart should cover it. The current scheduled time for a Route 109 tram from Port Melbourne to Spencer Street Bridge on the Yarra is 11 min. A lot of the passengers would likely continue on up Collins Street, ie their interchange was at Port Melbourne rather than at the Yarra terminal.  

PS: Should this be in the Other Transport forum?
  woodford Chief Commissioner

What is the actual speed on the Yarra for all vessels ?
In September our benevolent bureaucratic masters raised the river speed limit between Westgate and Bolte Bridges from 5 knots (9 kmh) to 6 knots (11 kmh).

That's really going to make a big difference... or perhaps not. Rolling Eyes
Its actually the smaller vessels with shallow drafts that cause the wash in the Yarra, the large vessels container ships etc with deep draft cause very little wash.
amb
I think you will find the problem is erosion of the banks due to the vessels wake, for this reason nearly all canals and inland waterways (aprox length 3500 kilometres) in Britian have a speed limit of 5 knots.

As has already been mentioned a decent public transport ferry service should be considered for the southern Morninton peninsula. I had to go to Sorrento some time back by public transport it took something like 2 1/2 hours one way, for a part of the Melbourne area thats totally pathetic.

woodford
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
How many more times are we going to go through the question of speed limits on the Yarra? Woodford is correct in part - erosion of the banks is a problem. The other problem on the lower Yarra is traffic. There's limited space and numerous vessels. I don't want to be aboard a 20 knot ferry weaving its way around large ships, pleasure craft, tugs et al.
Harbours have speed limits- live with it.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
How many more times are we going to go through the question of speed limits on the Yarra? Woodford is correct in part - erosion of the banks is a problem. The other problem on the lower Yarra is traffic. There's limited space and numerous vessels. I don't want to be aboard a 20 knot ferry weaving its way around large ships, pleasure craft, tugs et al.
Harbours have speed limits- live with it.
Valvegear
Yes but if you have MONEY you can do anything in Victoria.
If Little goes to VCAT we will probably reroute the Yarra or ban container ships thereon.
Sooner or later Little will win some sort of exemption to the speeds that apply to everyone else on the Yarra (to the detriment of everyone and everything, of course). Crying or Very sad
  stooge spark Chief Train Controller

Location: My House
One of the main issues that contributed to the demise of the Wyndham Harbour ferry was the low speed limits enforced on the Yarra.
Gman_86
I'm gonna have to partially disagree with you there. Yes, the low speeds on the yarra did provide hinderince to the trial, but it also had something to do with the high pricing, and the fact that the only thing close to the harbour is the small town of Werribee south. Most of the houses are closer to the station.
That being said, does the Yarra speed limit apply to all of the river, or is there a section which doesn't have it?
  amb Train Controller

How many more times are we going to go through the question of speed limits on the Yarra? Woodford is correct in part - erosion of the banks is a problem. The other problem on the lower Yarra is traffic. There's limited space and numerous vessels. I don't want to be aboard a 20 knot ferry weaving its way around large ships, pleasure craft, tugs et al.
Harbours have speed limits- live with it.
Yes but if you have MONEY you can do anything in Victoria.
If Little goes to VCAT we will probably reroute the Yarra or ban container ships thereon.
Sooner or later Little will win some sort of exemption to the speeds that apply to everyone else on the Yarra (to the detriment of everyone and everything, of course). Crying or Very sad
YM-Mundrabilla
Little has been in talks with the Port of Melbourne Harbour Master even before the ferry service started about the river speed limit. He was told unless he can prove that his vessel will not cause any wake issues at higher speeds (which he has been unable to do) the speed limit remains.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Stooge, I looked it up.

From the river entrance to Westgate Bridge, the speed limit has been decreased from 10 knots to 8 knots.

Between Westgate and Bolte the speed is now 6 knots (previously 5 knots). But only for boats under 35 metres long (and the new ferry is 35.2 metres, not sure what speed limit will apply to it.

I didn't find anything from Bolte to Victoria Harbour, but that's a fairly short distance anyway.

Beyond the mouth of the Yarra, I assume it's a much higher speed limit, maybe even unrestricted?

. . - - oo0oo - - . .

Personally, I'm not fussed who operates the ferries, it seems we agree that having ferries go to more destinations, more frequently and faster would be a good thing. Actually having Port Phillip Ferries owned by Paul Little may be an asset, as he can afford to take a loss on the failed attempt at a Wyndham ferry without it endangering the company, whereas a small, battling company might go bust or a bureaucracy might get questions asked in parliament about wasting taxpayers money.

Little also has the money to hire lobbyists to combat unnecessary regulations that make running ferries on the bay slower for passengers and more economically marginal for operators. So if Little is able to get the speed limit for ferries on the Yarra increased to something reasonable, that will be a win for everyone.

So I'm for more ferries on the bay, as Woodford also pointed out bus services on the peninsula are so woefully slow and indirect that they're virtually worthless to most potential travellers. I'd also argue for a reasonable subsidy per ferry passenger, perhaps half the subsidy given to bus operators and Vline?

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: freightgate, Nightfire

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.