Nothing new here just sme old stuff of 3 years ago re-cycled under the re-created Department of Transport .
Reality is we will end up with two V/Locity train types the existing Commuter model as a mix of 3 & 4 car sets so peak trains can be run of 3,4, 6 7 or 8 cars, whereas only 3 or 6 cars can be run now .
Inter City wise a new generation Inter City V/Locity looks the go as fixed 4 or 5 car sets with extra luggage and bike space to cover Warrnambool, Albury (sg), Swan Hill & Bairnsdale . Shepp will go Commuter V/Locity with 8 tarins a day each way .
Intercity wise Governemnt has already promised V/Locity trains specificall for both Albury & Warrnambool .
Speed wise Intercity 160kmh to Geelong, Bendigo & Traralgon then potentially initially 115kmh Traralgon - Bairnsdale,
ditto Eaglehawk - Swan Hill, 130kmh Waurn ponds - Warrnambool, and 130 kmh on North East sg track. Will only take 15 Inter City VL sets to cover the 4 corridors and allow retirement of teh 78 N/Z cars . Of those 15 Intercity VL sets 10 on bg, 5 on sg with 2 spare sets potentially on sg and 2 spare sets on bg . Its probably more about keeping up work for Bomabardier at Dandenong . Also V/Locity is very successful inherently reliable train type, so makes sense to use them on longer distance runs with an enhanced interior fit out . Also big benefits in mainatenance , spare parts in having V/L train types used on all VLP services - commuter or Inter City . The above fleet would support the RNDP frequencies proposed on Weekdays of Warrnambool , Albury and Bairnsdale 5 return trips, and Swan Hill 3 - 4 return trips.
I don't disagree with any of those specifics.
As I posted a couple of days ago, there is some more or less public confirmation that an intercity VLocity will be ordered from Dandenong
But the VLocity platform is unsuitable in the short to medium term for Ballarat and Geelong commuter runs. There is a V/Line report floating around somewhere that states precisely this. It is unlikely that WV and Melton quadding and sparking could be complete before 2025 at the very earliest, most likely even longer depending on how the project is staged with the airport job.
Assuming the government's election promise of an additional 18 3-car sets to be completed by 2021 goes ahead as planned, and a number of intermediate cars are built as the older units transition to long-haul services, it makes complete sense to me if betwixt now and then a new contract is let for more commuter-oriented trains to enter service beyond 2021.
The Department of Transport is developing a business case for a modern New Regional Train to continue to meet passenger needs and growing demand on the regional network.
The business case will also identify and assess supporting infrastructure requirements such as stabling and maintenance facilities, and how best to integrate the trains with the network.
The New Regional Trains will carry more passengers, provide a more comfortable journey, enabling the classic fleet to be phased out over time and be more energy efficient.
"New Regional Trains" sounds like a retender to me, especially given it is on a separate page to the additional VLocity orders, including the intercity orders.
The continued on going acquisition of V/Locity 3 car commuter above a fleet of around 90 x 3 car sets would be idiotic and just waste scarce capital funds for these reasons :
1. We have enough VL trains now ! what we now is LONGER VL trains .
2. Running 9 car all powered VL sets would be extremely expensive and wasteful of capex as basically you are buying extra driving stations that rarely would be used . Secondly there are only a handful of platforms at Southern Cross that can handle 9 car 225 m trains, without reducing the peak period departure number of trains at the station . e:g: 7 cars will take up 2a but still leave 2 b freefor a second train , whereas 9 cars takes up effectively both 2a and 2 b . Thirdly there are complex issues involved in extending platforms at Little River, Geelong, South Geelong and Marshall to 225m involving track and signalling, underbridges, sightlines for drivers etc . 7 car VL sets have run to Geelong prior 2015 and Geelong line can handle 7 car trains again with minor platform extensions at 4 locations .Ballarat can handle up to 7 cars also with selective platform extensions . In fact recent platforms constructed at Caroline Springs are 190m and hopefully under the current upgrade project a similar standard would apply with the new platforms at Rockbank, Cobblebank, Bacchus Marsh, Ballan and Wendouree . 190m allows for 7 car VL operations .
2. RRL is at capacity in peak hours so not much scope to run extra services . Replacing existing H sets that seat 370 with DC x 3 car VL that seat 444 is not much increase for huge capex and then for new trains only used for two one way peak trips a day - very wasteful , and the increased capacity goes over specific trains only, and little benefit to Geelong line .
3. Also with short term electrifications to Wyndham Vale, Melton, Bacchus Marsh and Geelong trains in Airtunnel from 2027 either as bi modal traction or AC sparks , a lot of V/Locity sets are going to become surplus in the short term.
4. Best bang for buck now both capex and opex wise is a few more 3 car bg commuter sets and something like an initial order of 30 T trailer cars to insert into 30 existing 3 car sets . That would give a seated capacity in a 4 car set of 312.
5. Then with a mix of 3 and 4 car VL sets one can run trains of 3, 4, 6, 7 or 8 cars . Indicatively as a first stage with 7 car operation of all peak Geelong and Ballarat services one can potentially achieve around a 30 % increase in peak capacity on both lines spread over all VL services compared to existing total peak capacity .
6. With a fleet of 3 and 4 car sets V/Line can potentially save $ millions annually in opex, fuel and distance based maintenance costs by better matching train sizes to actual loads . e:g: 1658 Dn Traralgon runs as 6VL but only loads to 55 % of capacity. So run that trip with a 4VL offering 312 seats (loading will be 74 %) and the opex savings over 260 Weekdays in a year will be over $ 250,000 !!! Multiply that multiple occasions over 5 corridors 365 days a year and VLP can save big $ a year in opex . However so long as the existing situation of only a 3 or a 6 one cannot realize those sort of savings .
7. Potentially the off peak and shoulder peak savings as outlined above would probably go close to covering the marginal cost of additional train running at peak times in extending all the Geelong and Ballarat 6 car sets to 7 cars . (At off peak times two powered cars saved return trip to Waurn Ponds by running 4 cars instead of 6 far exceeds additional fuel/maintenance cost for 1 extra trailer car on top of a 6 car set . )