Geelong high speed rail and electrification

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Why do we need a Geelong service that can reach Melbourne in 30 minutes?  Where's the demand, and who's going to pay for it?

Some in the outer suburbs could wait that long just to see a train, let alone a bus.
Geelong, Pakenham, Frankston (amongst other cities) could all have premium (higher cost) 30min express services to supplement SAS services into Melbourne. Have to start somewhere.
John.Z

People aren't going to pay a premium fare to get to Dandenong maybe 10 mins faster than is currently the case.

I'd go the other direction and say some, perhaps many pax would pay a reduced fare if they could board a train with little or no seats at all to save a themselves a few $$.

Mike.

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
How would electrification and higher speeds change this issue of the Deer Park crawl?

  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

How would electrification and higher speeds change this issue of the Deer Park crawl?
bevans

They wouldn't. Don't take the word of a mug on Twitter (albeit a highly entertaining mug) about the underlying problems with the network.

For the umpteenth time, the issues near Sunshine at the moment have nothing to do with whether the trains are diesel, electric, or steam-powered; or whether their top speed is 160, 200 or 500km/h; or whether they are painted blue or purple.

The problem is that the RRL is at its signalling capacity on the city side of Sunshine. Therefore, when there are delays, trains get slowed down on the other sides of the junction.

The only way to solve this is more capacity on the up side of Sunshine and segregation on the down side of stopping and express services.

So, please, can we stop calling it "high-speed rail" and start calling it "fit-for-purpose commuter rail".
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for the reply and further, that being the case and the congestion is it time to actually send some vline geelong services via Newport?
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Thanks for the reply and further, that being the case and the congestion is it time to actually send some vline geelong services via Newport?
bevans
Back to the Future! Wouldn't they then just do the same crawl but this time behind SAS sparks? Newport > Footscrazy is pretty much at capacity during the peak as well.

A quick poke around PTV Journey planner shows services from Newport > Footscray in the 7.30 > 8.00 AM window running every 3 > 6 minutes. Hardly going to force an Express V/Line service through there in a hurry.

BG
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Back to the Future! Wouldn't they then just do the same crawl but this time behind SAS sparks? Newport > Footscrazy is pretty much at capacity during the peak as well.

A quick poke around PTV Journey planner shows services from Newport > Footscray in the 7.30 > 8.00 AM window running every 3 > 6 minutes. Hardly going to force an Express V/Line service through there in a hurry.
BrentonGolding

Certainly no travel time reductions to be had but when we were discussing creative timetabling for the Bendigo line a while back I had a look at Newport too.

There might be room for 1 or 2 Geelong services to head that way in the morning peak, with the corresponding RRL path to be taken by a Wyndham Vale short stopper.

Even though the government has committed to the capacity works they are still 5-10 years off from completion so it would not be outrageous to try and squeeze a little bit more toothpaste out of the tube, so to speak.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
To this day, I remain baffled at all of the brouhaha about a fast train to Geelong - 40 minutes, 50 minutes, what the hell?
Do it somewhere useful.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

To this day, I remain baffled at all of the brouhaha about a fast train to Geelong - 40 minutes, 50 minutes, what the hell? Do it somewhere useful.
Valvegear

Agreed. I will say however that 45 minutes is a worthwhile goal as it makes Geelong-suburban-to-Melbourne-suburban travel time competitive by public transport in virtually every case, and if you really want to use the train to grow Geelong that’s the way to do it. And, it’s achievable using existing trains on the existing alignment. End of story, really.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
From the discussions it would now seem we are looking at a completed clogged picture for the next 10 years of Geelong services into Melbourne.  How long have we had the RRL for?
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

From the discussions it would now seem we are looking at a completed clogged picture for the next 10 years of Geelong services into Melbourne. How long have we had the RRL for?
bevans

Unfortunately there’s really not a lot else can be done that doesn’t involve big expenditure.

The one “small-ticket” item that doesn’t involve implausibly difficult modifications that could be achieved in the meantime is 9-car VLos; some platform and signalling modifications would be required but it’s my understanding it could be done in 18 months or so. That will be money very well spent for obvious reasons (and far cheaper in the long run than intermediate cars to create 4-car sets, given the ability to retain fuel and maintenance facilities based on 3-car multiples). I can’t be bothered finding the press release now but it is government policy to do this.

As for the original RRL scope, it’s often claimed here on RP that the project originally envisaged four tracks to Wyndham Vale on opening, but I’ve never seen any evidence of that. What was envisaged was quadding Deer Park- Sunshine and flying junctions at Deer Park and Sunshine. What this would have meant for train ops is anybody’s guess.

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/cutbacks-compromise-5b-regional-rail-link-20140330-35rx6.html
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

People are forgetting there is a plan and a logic to all this  .
- RRL was built to separate VLP trains from Metro trains on the Geelong & Ballarat lines, and partly on the Bendigo line.
- Capacity released on Werribee and Sunbury lines is required to run additional planned Metro services on both lines.
- Running stopping Metro trains mixed in with Limited Stop VLP trains operationally condemns the VLP tarin to the slower Metro times. Classic example  Southern Cross to Pakenham .

NOW for the umpteenth time 9 car V/Locities are NOT an option account very high opex, very high capex, and actually reduces the number of possible peak departures & arrivals at Sthn Cross as 9 car trains take up two platform faces .  Also platform extension and signalling issues at Little River and in the Geelong area preclude 9 car V/Locity operations .

The FACTS are RRL is at effective peak capacity now so limited or little scope of running extra peak services .  What we need now are longer V/Locity trains NOT more V/Locity 3 car trains .  So we need to insert a trailer car into 44 of the ultimate 88 x 3 car sets to give a V/locity Commuter fleet of 44 x 3 car sets and  44 x 4 car sets .  Then we can run all peak Geelong & Ballarat as 7 car sets with a 34 % increase in peak capacity short term on both lines over all peak services .

Currently VLP with only 3 car sets can only run train sizes of 3 or 6 cars, whereas with a mix of 3 and 4 car sets VLP can run train sizes of 3, 4, 6, 7 or 8 cars .

7 car sets have run to Geelong before and 7 car Geelong operations require only a couple of platform extensions .  Recent and current works on the Ballarat line are said to allow for 7 car operations .  (Caroline Springs plats are 193m long) .

Further VLP can potentially save $ tens millions p.a. in opex by having more train size options . e:g:  1658 Dn Traralgon runs as 6 VL but only loads to 55 %, but loads within the 312 capacity of a 4 car VL set.  With 260 Weekdays in a year the extra opex being needlessly incurred in operating 6 cars instead of 4 is of the order of $ 250,000  p.a.

Now people say all the maintenance facilities are set up for 3 car sets, well that just highlights the lack of forward planning / vision in locking in to a strictly 3 car fleet -  operationally lazy and expensive ; and the poor pax on Geelong are now suffering from those poor past decisions .  

Finally if one acquires 18 x extra 3 car sets and replaces all remaining Geelong and Melton/Marsh loco hauleds with 6 car V/Locities(remembering there is minimal scope to run extra sevrices account RRL at capacity.) the capacity increase you get on Geelong is around  15  % and  Ballarat  20 % and then only on the replaced loco hauled services . Alternatively buy 44 trailer cars and you get a third increase in peak capacity in both corridors over all services .

Additionally the current peak V/locity utilization is not very good - in that many sets do one trip each way a day !!!
So capex for 54 powered cars or capex for 44 trailer cars - the trailer cars are obviously miles cheaper .  Opex goes up by around 20 % for a third increase in seating capacity with 7 car sets .
This is followed immediately by separate VLP express tracks from Sunshine to Black Forest Rd and Melton .

So with RRL at capacity the need is for extra capacity between Sunshine and Southern  Cross and that is where the Government has already telegraphed using a new tunnel pair to host AIRtrain and potentially Geelong services - thus the FAST TRAIN suggestion .

That would take Geelongs off RRL and leave spare paths for  Ballarat & Wynndham Vale sparks .  BUT the Geelongs in a new tunnel from Southern Cross to Sunshine then need to be bi-modal traction or sparks . All this as Governemnt has proposed and partly explained is a developing story as far as sparks to Wyndham Vale and melton, and the talk of fast trains to Geelong .
IMHO realistically 200kmh maximum on existing Class-1 track with separate tracks again for VLP from Sunshine to Black Forest Rd & Melton . Get get too hung up on 35 minute trip times . Remember the RFR flagship schedules of 45 minutes to Geelong, but as one peak trip each way .  Now a distant memory with such huge passenger volumes at  Lara, North Geelong then all stations to Waurn Ponds.
  ngarner Train Controller

Location: Seville
Yet the government seems intent, as of November last year, on modifying platforms etc to fit 9 car vlo's
https://transport.vic.gov.au/about/news-and-media/bigger-better-vlocity-trains
see the second and third paragraphs

Neil
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Yet the government seems intent, as of November last year, on modifying platforms etc to fit 9 car vlo's
https://transport.vic.gov.au/about/news-and-media/bigger-better-vlocity-trains
see the second and third paragraphs

Neil
ngarner
And VL9 markings on the Down end of P4 and the Up end of P3 at Footscray bear this out.

BG
  jakar Assistant Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
1658 Dn Traralgon runs as 6 VL but only loads to 55 %, but loads within the 312 capacity of a 4 car VL set. With 260 Weekdays in a year the extra opex being needlessly incurred in operating 6 cars instead of 4 is of the order of $ 250,000 p.a.
kuldalai
The 1658 (8423) Traralgon service is operated as 6 cars as it splits and stables on arrival at Traralgon to form the first two UP services (8400 + 8402) the next morning. Making it a single unit would require an additional DOWN service to run or another service to run as a 6 car, which is fine as long as a 3 car unit can be sourced and attached at a different time and doesn't impede all the other 6 car trains on platform 15/16 that depart towards Footscray.

Additionally the current peak V/locity utilization is not very good - in that many sets do one trip each way a day !!!
kuldalai
I've probably missed the context of this statement Kuldalai, but are you suggesting that most/all sets should be running around all day? If so then that contradicts your comments regarding the 1658 Traralgon being under utilized as a few units sit around in places such as the storage yard etc between peaks due to lack of demand.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Thanks for the reply and further, that being the case and the congestion is it time to actually send some vline geelong services via Newport?
bevans

So, 25 scheduled minutes out of SCS there's pax standing; that's no different to any other commuter line into Melbourne, so I'd give that Tweeter a fail for being so melodramatic Exclamation

Let's stop banging on about V/Line services via Newport...

According to John Hearsch, the track is already at capacity between Newport and City...end of.

Mike.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
The best solution to any capacity issues in my mind is electrify Melton as fast as possible, with quadding between at least Deer Park West and Sunshine, and terminating some Northern Loop Group trains at Southern Cross Platform 8 during the peak for capacity.

For the next 5 or so years until Metro Tunnel opens, that should provide enough capacity, at which point you have a better idea of how Metro I has actually changed travel patterns.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
The best solution to any capacity issues in my mind is electrify Melton as fast as possible, with quadding between at least Deer Park West and Sunshine, and terminating some Northern Loop Group trains at Southern Cross Platform 8 during the peak for capacity.

For the next 5 or so years until Metro Tunnel opens, that should provide enough capacity, at which point you have a better idea of how Metro I has actually changed travel patterns.
TOQ-1
I would also electrify Wyndham Vale as that would take quite a lot of pressure off the Geelong line.
  reubstar6 Chief Train Controller

Quadruplicating from West Werribee to Deer Park seems a lot more cost effective if SRL will use that route. The Geelong line would use it until Metro 2 is constructed, and eventually SRL would re-use it. Depending on how big Avalon airport gets by that time, it might be worth linking the two airports with SRL.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

According to John Hearsch, the track is already at capacity between Newport and City...end of.
The Vinelander

I dunno. As I say, you’re looking for one or two peak paths each way. Headway is 4 minutes Werribee-Newport and 2.5 minutes Newport-North Melbourne. There are definitely gaps that size on a cursory inspection of the morning peak timetable.

The hassle would probably come at the Southern Cross end (because of course they have to run through North Melbourne for this to make any sense), but I’m not convinced it’s impossible.

If I get a chance I’ll dig up some pre-RRL timetables which I think will show there were more trains on the Newport route in total than there are currently.

The travel time penalty is minimal (remember that was a big criticism of the RRL - that it failed to improve Geelong travel times).

The crux of my argument is this: there are 10 up trains through Footscray on the Newport line between 7.45 and 8.45, against a theoretical maximum of 24; 7 Geelong, 6 Ballarat and 3 Bendigo trains via the RRL on the Up (total 16) against a theoretical max of 18; and 10 Sunbury on the up against a theoretical maximum of 18.

It does not take John Hearsch to see that this is a poor use of the available resources. With the Geelong line in particular under serious strain due to the vast task of dealing with the WV urban fringe, if two WV short stoppers can be extracted by sending one peak Geelong via Newport and one peak Bendigo via the suburbans, they should be.
  ptvcommuter Train Controller

Quadruplicating from West Werribee to Deer Park seems a lot more cost effective if SRL will use that route. The Geelong line would use it until Metro 2 is constructed, and eventually SRL would re-use it. Depending on how big Avalon airport gets by that time, it might be worth linking the two airports with SRL.
reubstar6


Few points:

Geelong does not need to use Metro 2, a fast rail service is a better option. The Andrews government is looking at that. Metro 2 will make it a 45-50 Minute Service, geelong customers don’t need that.

Avalon shouldn’t get very big, not a suitable second airport because of its proximity to Tullamarine, caldermeade would be a better second airport. Air Asia will pull out and move back to Tullamarine within a few years.

SRL may run with its own tracks through another route. The western alignment is yet to be decided
  reubstar6 Chief Train Controller

Geelong does not need to use Metro 2, a fast rail service is a better option. The Andrews government is looking at that. Metro 2 will make it a 45-50 Minute Service, geelong customers don’t need that.
ptvcommuter
I can't see how running a so called "fast rail" service through Sunshine could be fast at all. The amount of bottlenecks, even with the proposed tunnel for the airport link, will just make the service very unreliable. It is also very indirect.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Geelong does not need to use Metro 2, a fast rail service is a better option. The Andrews government is looking at that. Metro 2 will make it a 45-50 Minute Service, geelong customers don’t need that.
I can't see how running a so called "fast rail" service through Sunshine could be fast at all. The amount of bottlenecks, even with the proposed tunnel for the airport link, will just make the service very unreliable. It is also very indirect.
reubstar6
If Geetroit services ran on a dedicated RRL pair from Wyndham Vale / Deer Park Junction to Down side of Sunshine (if sparks were using a separate electrified pair) and then via a new track pair shared with MARL that would make it qucker and more reliable than current services.

Sunshine > SC pair would have 6 TPH MARL sercices to begin leaving more than enough paths for Geelong services (with HC signalling it could have 24/30 TPH capacity) and the new RRL pair if built would have more than enough capacity for Geelong and Ballarat trains. The time savings in those sections compared to the current situation would be plenty good enough and reliability greatly increased.

BG
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Yet the government seems intent, as of November last year, on modifying platforms etc to fit 9 car vlo's
https://transport.vic.gov.au/about/news-and-media/bigger-better-vlocity-trains
see the second and third paragraphs

Neil
And VL9 markings on the Down end of P4 and the Up end of P3 at Footscray bear this out.

BG
BrentonGolding
Platforms on RRL at Footscray, Sunshine, Tarneit and Wyndham Vale were all built to 220m . Sidings at Sth Geelong marked for 9 car VL too years ago, but VLP CEO said recently there are no plans to run 9 car VL trains. And as I have explained on umpteen occasions before it aint going to happen as 1. 9 car trains will take up two platform faces at Sthn Cross actually reducing the number of arrival and departures in each peak hour 2. 9 car VL sets horrendously expensive to operate viz: 9 cars versus 6 cars + 50 %, whereas 8 with two trailers v 6 costs just 20 % more opex for 40 % increase in seats
3. Constraints with lengthening platforms especially at Little River, Geelong, South Geelong and Marshall - in that OK for 7 now, can be exteneded easily for 8 but NOT 9 .
When and if  DOT, VLP do their homework properly they will soon find out that 9 car VL as 3 x 3 is not practicable and dearest capex and opex to increase train capacity .

0636 Up Tlgn is DC VL as 6 cars loading to 52 % and 1658 Dn as 6 VL loading to 55 % - so again the train pair 0658Dn and 0636 Up Traralgon Weekdays would easily live within the capacity of a 4 car VLset of 312 . Saving over $ 250,000 p.a. currently being blown needlessly in extra opex .

Finally buying additional V/Locity driving stations above the the 176 we will have with 88 x 3 car sets is just blowing scarce capex unnecessarily ; in that we are buying expensive DM cars with driving stations for extra peak capacity when the need is for longer trains which is achieved with gretaer capacity and less cost by reforming the VL fleet as 44 x 3 car sets and 44 x 4 car sets .  Then VLP can run train sizes of 3,4,6, 7 or 8 cars better matching train capacity to trip pair patronage .
Every off peak trip to Geelong run with 6 cars where a 4 would suffice is blowing $ 1000 in opex x 260 weekdays a year x several trips per Weekday x over 4 corridors and VLP can save $ tens of millions a year in opex, which can then go towards offsetting the  10 % greater cost of running 7 VL car peak sets initially on Geelong & Ballarat.

By world standards a 6 car train is a small train , and RRL is efefctively at peak capacity. The need now is for longer V/Locity trains and up to 8 cars can be run, and by acquiring 44 trailer cars and re-configuring the fleet as outlined above we can achieve a 34 % increase in peak seating capacity on both Geelong and Ballarat for lowest capex and lowest on going opex .  QED
  Tony M. Locomotive Fireman

Does anyone here have any idea what works are taking place alongside the up section of tracks outside Wyndham Vale station? They've been digging away the entire eastern embankment there for a month or more.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Does anyone here have any idea what works are taking place alongside the up section of tracks outside Wyndham Vale station? They've been digging away the entire eastern embankment there for a month or more.
Tony M.
Is associated with this?

https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/projects/wyndham-vale-stabling-facility

BG

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