Claering up two myths :
- The single track section section Geelong - South Geelong is NOT the issue it is only 3 mins run time .
The service reliability issue is the lack of double track between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds . The round trip run time Geelong - Ponds including tight turnaround is 40 minutes, so existing off peak pattern dicates every 40 to the Ponds and every 20 to South Geelong . Works pretty well, but very tight at peak times with trains fleeting through to South Geelong, Ponds & Marshall .
- The duplication cost is more like $ 300m , and the grade seps add another $ 400m . Wood St is to grade separated probably as that route offers the only East/West route across Geelong for truck traffic . Surf Coast Highway is major divided road with huge traffic volume .
- 9 car VL trains will not happen fast for three reasons 1. Extremely expensive capex wise and opex wise 2. Would actually reduce peak hour train throughput at Southern Cross and 3 . number of operational issues associated with platform extensions to 9 cars and signals etc . (9 car VL trains would take up all of plats 2, 3, 7 or 8 or 15/16 and reduce remaining platform faces available to other train sizes.)
However 7 car VL sets to both Geelong and Ballarat would be easy . Simply buy 28 - 30 trailer cars and insert into 28 - 30 of the 88 VL set fleet . Then one can run VL train sizes of 3, 4, 6, 7 or 8 cars . By simply acquiring 28 - 30 VL trailer cars to make a mix of 3 and 4 car sets the peak hour capacity over 1530 - 1830 on both Geelong and Ballarat can be increased by over 30% for marginal extra opex at lowest capital cost per extra seat . The issue now is LONGER V/Locity trains, not more 3 car VL trains .
88 VL total train sets is more than enough to operate all VLP train services . In fact with short term electrification to both Wyndham Vale and Melton there will be VL 3 car sets released for use elsewhere .