All very good questions. My impression from the announcement is:
More (short-haul) Vlocities potentially on order for Geelong and Ballarat lines:This is a very interesting surprise when you take into account everything else that has been announced over the last few weeks.
18 V/lo sets expected by 2021 conditional on ALP win.
Question - Can they be easily modified to long-distance and/or SG versions?
Vline currently has 88 3 car sets. Plus todays announcement brings us to 106 sets.
Geelong and Ballarat have been flagged for upgrades and new electrified rolling stock to go with Labor's HSR announcement a few weeks ago.
Wyndham Vale and Melton have also been announced as being sparked, so they will use Metro Rolling stock.
The north east line has its own dedicated fleet of SG trains.
The 56 year young H sets are doing the heavy lifting for WV and Melton.
When Melton and WV are taken over by Metro in the next 10 years and when HSR demands are new rolling stock. What are VLine going to do with 106 sets to run on two lines, Bendigo and Gippsland?
Once again the vague and information light announcement leaves us with more questions than it answers.
Are these the Standard Vlos?
Are the original Vlos that are currently undergoing refurbishment going to be retired?
Does this is include the much hyped buffet cars?
Are these along with others going to converted for long haul trips?
1) That they are purely standard V/los.
2) I doubt it. They should get another 15-20 years out of them.
3) See 1) (Unlikely)
4) Who knows? One would hope so.
Which brings me back to my original and more pressing question, what are they going to do with 106 sets running a 20 minute frequency on two lines and a handful of long haul services? You could have a different set for each day of the week...
This is an excellent question and one that has clearly not been considered by anyone in the government.
First point of order is that we can safely assume VLos will eventually become the rollingstock of choice on the Seymour line as well, so that makes three lines.
Second point is this: V/Line currently has 133 loco-hauled carriages in service, according to their annual report, although I think this includes vans. About 76 of these, according to Wikipedia, are the N sets, almost all of which are allocated to long-distance duties presently. If they usually run as 4-car sets this makes 19 sets. 51 are the H sets. Compare this to the ~318 VLocity carriages we may end up with.
Let's say the H sets can be discarded entirely as their roles will be taken by Metro services. (I know this is not strictly true from a rostering perspective but it is roughly right from a pure numbers point of view.) Then suppose the N set fleet is entirely replaced by VLocities for long-haul services. Let's be generous and give 2 3-car sets to each service formerly run by an N set - so roughly 38 sets required there. This leaves 72 sets. Let's also assume the Geelong and Ballarat lines are sparked and run entirely by new intercity stock.
Now take another 12 of these to run additional SG services in Western Vic, and account for the non-commuter runs presently occupied by VLos - Ararat, Maryborough, Echuca.
So, 60 sets to spread across Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon. That's only 30 6-car trains. I admit I've surprised myself a bit; this doesn't seem entirely unreasonable in light of country rail patronage that will only continue to increase.