Melbourne Airport Rail Link

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Using the Sydney Airport Link and also Brisbane Airtrain on several occasions the one thing recently which really made me think about airport rail services is there absolute need to be reliable 24x7.  Sydney Airport has what seems to be a maximum 10 min interval between services meaning you never think about the possibility of being late for a flight even though I leave plenty of time from the CBD office to the airport.

The distance at Sydney is around 12 kms but this is a lot longer for Melbourne and given the track record of operators in Melbourne reliability is going to be a significant test of user acceptance.  

Therefore reliability must be paramount in the planning of the link and this in itself concerns me as this is not what appears to happen in the network management in Victoria.  How or what is the best way to bring service reliability to the forefront of planning and design for this link?

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  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Using the Sydney Airport Link and also Brisbane Airtrain on several occasions the one thing recently which really made me think about airport rail services is there absolute need to be reliable 24x7.  Sydney Airport has what seems to be a maximum 10 min interval between services meaning you never think about the possibility of being late for a flight even though I leave plenty of time from the CBD office to the airport.

The distance at Sydney is around 12 kms but this is a lot longer for Melbourne and given the track record of operators in Melbourne reliability is going to be a significant test of user acceptance.  

Therefore reliability must be paramount in the planning of the link and this in itself concerns me as this is not what appears to happen in the network management in Victoria.  How or what is the best way to bring service reliability to the forefront of planning and design for this link?
bevans
24/7 is unnecessary, impossible and a waste of money. You wiill find most Airport services are around 18-20h a day, typically midnight to 5am there are no services due to a combination of lack of demand and maintenance access time.

Brisbane airport had no flight curfew, but used to at least have a rail curfew for noise reasons where the Viaduct runs near the houses. having flown in last year at 11pm, I was picked up by car and had there been a train there would have been lucky to be a maxi taxi or 3 full for the two services that followed the flight, after that (I waited 1h for my ride) it would have been empty as Australia has very few domestic services flying after around 10pm at night.

When Brisbane first started it was mostly a 30min service and I was commuting from Brisbane to Gladstone weekly Friday PM for 18mths, sometime I took the RTT and other the plane, about 50:50 as company paid once a month only. (The QR phone booking staff knew me by name, hence "RTT Rules")  Anyway I used to make sure I caught the airport train before my absolute cut off airport service just in case, especially as flights to Gladstone are few and far between.

As for Melbourne, if the service is 20min frequency for most of the day (most practical if there are no or few new other stations), then with a 95% reliability it should be fine and the Mel population which are already PT friendly will take it up quickly as the distance is significant and hence usually makes PT more attractive over taxi/rideshare and private car. A train with a good average speed exceeding 70km/h will help as well.

Last I looked Brisbane train was around 15% of airport flyers and Sydney pushing 20%, I would expect Melbourne to exceed 25% within 5 years of opening, which is 10mpa. It would help if the stations in the city were attractive to people being dropped off / pickup up. By this I mean Airport trains can be attractive for those with baggage, especially if the trains and stations cater for people with baggage, but not always the local services.
  chomper Junior Train Controller

Using the Sydney Airport Link and also Brisbane Airtrain on several occasions the one thing recently which really made me think about airport rail services is there absolute need to be reliable 24x7.  Sydney Airport has what seems to be a maximum 10 min interval between services meaning you never think about the possibility of being late for a flight even though I leave plenty of time from the CBD office to the airport.

The distance at Sydney is around 12 kms but this is a lot longer for Melbourne and given the track record of operators in Melbourne reliability is going to be a significant test of user acceptance.  

Therefore reliability must be paramount in the planning of the link and this in itself concerns me as this is not what appears to happen in the network management in Victoria.  How or what is the best way to bring service reliability to the forefront of planning and design for this link?
24/7 is unnecessary, impossible and a waste of money. You wiill find most Airport services are around 18-20h a day, typically midnight to 5am there are no services due to a combination of lack of demand and maintenance access time.

As for Melbourne, if the service is 20min frequency for most of the day (most practical if there are no or few new other stations), then with a 95% reliability it should be fine and the Mel population which are already PT friendly will take it up quickly as the distance is significant and hence usually makes PT more attractive over taxi/rideshare and private car. A train with a good average speed exceeding 70km/h will help as well.
RTT_Rules
Agree about not needing to be a 24/7 service. Whilst Melbourne Airport doesn't have a curfew, there are almost no interstate flights coming or going after 12am (there are a few international flights between 12am and 6am, but not worth running empty trains).

10min peak service and 20 min off peak would be fine. However adoption will not happen unless the fares are consistent with myki fares for the greater Melbourne area, ie Zone 1+2.
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Federales pressing for tunnel to Sunshine for MARL:

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/going-underground-federal-government-lobbies-andrews-to-sign-up-for-airport-tunnel-20191014-p530jy.html

Tunnel good, giving it to AirRail bad. It would turn into the biggest white elephant the state has seen. It needs to be myki ticketed and part of the Melbourne rail network.

I wonder who within the LNP government stands to benefit most from giving the project to AirRail...
Certainly an ideological battle between a Private Enterprise/PPA and a Government owned & run railway.

It isn't ideology when it's outright corruption to make sure the PPP gets the nod.
No doubt it would be interesting to see which politicians hold pecuniary interests in any of the consortium members of AirRail.

I checked their website and it raises lots of questions about rail gauge, integration (if that is possible) with SRL, the routing of non-electrified V/line services, and high-speed link to Sydney etc...
Emailed them while back and they said 'dual gauge' solution when I asked about the gauge. The State Government seems to want it ultimately, integrated with Vline and the suburban rail loop
Good luck with dual gauge and an 80 km/h speed limit for BG trains.  That will not fly.
Carnot
Yeh its a massive Doubt Moment, my guess that that whoever wrote the didn't really know what 'gauge' is.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
24/7 is unnecessary, impossible and a waste of money. You wiill find most Airport services are around 18-20h a day, typically midnight to 5am there are no services due to a combination of lack of demand and maintenance access time.

As for Melbourne, if the service is 20min frequency for most of the day (most practical if there are no or few new other stations), then with a 95% reliability it should be fine and the Mel population which are already PT friendly will take it up quickly as the distance is significant and hence usually makes PT more attractive over taxi/rideshare and private car. A train with a good average speed exceeding 70km/h will help as well.
Agree about not needing to be a 24/7 service. Whilst Melbourne Airport doesn't have a curfew, there are almost no interstate flights coming or going after 12am (there are a few international flights between 12am and 6am, but not worth running empty trains).

10min peak service and 20 min off peak would be fine. However adoption will not happen unless the fares are consistent with myki fares for the greater Melbourne area, ie Zone 1+2.
chomper
Hi
Numbers quoted for both Syd and Bris include the significant Airport station Premium fares. Melbourne will also pay and still see up to 25% flyers using if presented with a premium fare to the airport which considering the sky high cost of the project I think is required.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Federales pressing for tunnel to Sunshine for MARL:

https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/going-underground-federal-government-lobbies-andrews-to-sign-up-for-airport-tunnel-20191014-p530jy.html

Tunnel good, giving it to AirRail bad. It would turn into the biggest white elephant the state has seen. It needs to be myki ticketed and part of the Melbourne rail network.

I wonder who within the LNP government stands to benefit most from giving the project to AirRail...
Certainly an ideological battle between a Private Enterprise/PPA and a Government owned & run railway.

It isn't ideology when it's outright corruption to make sure the PPP gets the nod.
No doubt it would be interesting to see which politicians hold pecuniary interests in any of the consortium members of AirRail.

I checked their website and it raises lots of questions about rail gauge, integration (if that is possible) with SRL, the routing of non-electrified V/line services, and high-speed link to Sydney etc...
Emailed them while back and they said 'dual gauge' solution when I asked about the gauge. The State Government seems to want it ultimately, integrated with Vline and the suburban rail loop
Good luck with dual gauge and an 80 km/h speed limit for BG trains.  That will not fly.
Yeh its a massive Doubt Moment, my guess that that whoever wrote the didn't really know what 'gauge' is.
Dangersdan707
Think Gauntlet track.
  chomper Junior Train Controller

Hi
Numbers quoted for both Syd and Bris include the significant Airport station Premium fares. Melbourne will also pay and still see up to 25% flyers using if presented with a premium fare to the airport which considering the sky high cost of the project I think is required.
RTT_Rules
It would white elephant in Melbourne if there's a Sydney-style station access fee on top of the myki fare.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I really can't see the Airport station not having some kind of access fee, or being inside a special Myki zone that would charge a certain amount extra. Where that fee goes is what is important. If it is put back into the system to keep it running frequently and reliably, good. If it is taken by the operator as profit leaving the government to fund services and maintenance entirely, then bad.

If there is an additional charge, it would be good if employees at the Airport - everyone from ground crew to the teenagers working in the Hungry Jacks were given a Myki with a Zone pass loaded, or access to a pass at a discount rate to encourage them to use it.

Melbourne Airport is much busier than Brisbane by about 13 million passenger movements a year. I think it will probably have to run for 24 hours some days, but not all of them. Skybus might still have a use for those very late night flights.

I don't think it will be a White Elephant. It is expensive to build and maintain good quality infrastructure. That doesn't mean it doesn't get used, or have a wider benefit to society. The potential good of rail access to the Airport provides a much bigger benefit than the status quo.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
We're now on page 29, and still everything is rank speculation.  It's gunzel heaven.
  chomper Junior Train Controller

I really can't see the Airport station not having some kind of access fee, or being inside a special Myki zone that would charge a certain amount extra. Where that fee goes is what is important. If it is put back into the system to keep it running frequently and reliably, good. If it is taken by the operator as profit leaving the government to fund services and maintenance entirely, then bad.

If there is an additional charge, it would be good if employees at the Airport - everyone from ground crew to the teenagers working in the Hungry Jacks were given a Myki with a Zone pass loaded, or access to a pass at a discount rate to encourage them to use it.

Melbourne Airport is much busier than Brisbane by about 13 million passenger movements a year. I think it will probably have to run for 24 hours some days, but not all of them. Skybus might still have a use for those very late night flights.

I don't think it will be a White Elephant. It is expensive to build and maintain good quality infrastructure. That doesn't mean it doesn't get used, or have a wider benefit to society. The potential good of rail access to the Airport provides a much bigger benefit than the status quo.
TOQ-1


The temptation for the access fee being siphoned off for private profit is far too high for this to be allowed to be borne out of a PPP. It has to be funded with public money and ticketed as part of the regular train network. The Sydney Airport stations would have double the patronage if the two stations were ticketed at the standard Opal rate.

Look at it from another perspective. If the MARL was such a good idea economically (putting aside the greater good that public transport serves), private enterprise would fund it outright because it was a sure thing. It wouldn't even ask the government to assist, it would seek the necessary planning approvals like any major construction and off it would go. The fact that private enterprise wants to do this only via a PPP means ultimately, it's a lame duck economically. The PPP means that they won't be left holding the bag if it goes pear shaped.

Public private partnerships benefit only one entity, the one collecting the exorbitant profit. They are the worst kind of criminal and corrupt concept to not only have government sanction, but to handsomely reward those in power once they leave office for their subservience. It's one of the worst kinds of corruption to ever infect government.
  Adogs Chief Train Controller

We're now on page 29, and still everything is rank speculation.  It's gunzel heaven.
Valvegear

Comment of the year!
  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria
Using the Sydney Airport Link and also Brisbane Airtrain on several occasions the one thing recently which really made me think about airport rail services is there absolute need to be reliable 24x7.  Sydney Airport has what seems to be a maximum 10 min interval between services meaning you never think about the possibility of being late for a flight even though I leave plenty of time from the CBD office to the airport.

The distance at Sydney is around 12 kms but this is a lot longer for Melbourne and given the track record of operators in Melbourne reliability is going to be a significant test of user acceptance.  

Therefore reliability must be paramount in the planning of the link and this in itself concerns me as this is not what appears to happen in the network management in Victoria.  How or what is the best way to bring service reliability to the forefront of planning and design for this link?
bevans
I was recently in Vancouver as part of a holiday .The line to the airport terminates at the airport there and is very close to the terminal and extremely well signposted .Traina (Automated ) appear to run at 10 minute intervals direct to the city . The airport line is a dedicated line and does not share tracks with any other line on the system . It is not non-stop to the city ie there at at least 10 stations on the way but on the whole seems to work well . As stated previously the main key is reliability of the service
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Think Gauntlet track.
RTT_Rules
Hmmm, interesting.... . From an engineering perspective gauntlet would certainly work.
There would be 25% extra rail needed (compared to DG), and a custom designed and manufactured sleeper (100,000 required).
Turnouts would be um, interesting (read as very expensive), although the track could change to DG (yet more custom design) for turnouts.

Is there justification for MARL to have SG provision; I could be convinced either way.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

This is madness. How does a private company contribute only $5 billion yet get $5 billion each from the Commonwealth and State governments, and probably keep the revenue?

Sydney Airport’s rail line is a public-private partnership and cost less than $1 billion. It charges a ~$15 station access fee. AirRail would probably have to charge something north of $30 a trip, or be heavily subsidised by the State government, just to cover its $5 billion. Someone needs to explain how this is all going to be paid for.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Think Gauntlet track.
Hmmm, interesting.... . From an engineering perspective gauntlet would certainly work.
There would be 25% extra rail needed (compared to DG), and a custom designed and manufactured sleeper (100,000 required).
Turnouts would be um, interesting (read as very expensive), although the track could change to DG (yet more custom design) for turnouts.

Is there justification for MARL to have SG provision; I could be convinced either way.
Lockspike
Gauntlet track is just a cheaper way of building two separate lines or getting around the issue of speed restriction on BG. If its worth the cost, then do it.

Australia has experience building Gauntlet track in the form of triple gauge track in SA including points.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
I was recently in Vancouver as part of a holiday .The line to the airport terminates at the airport there and is very close to the terminal and extremely well signposted .Traina (Automated ) appear to run at 10 minute intervals direct to the city . The airport line is a dedicated line and does not share tracks with any other line on the system . It is not non-stop to the city ie there at at least 10 stations on the way but on the whole seems to work well . As stated previously the main key is reliability of the service
Crossover
Not comparable, 14km of track through suburbia with the airport station at the end on one of its two branches. I was driven down the proposed corridor in 2003.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE


The temptation for the access fee being siphoned off for private profit is far too high for this to be allowed to be borne out of a PPP. It has to be funded with public money and ticketed as part of the regular train network. The Sydney Airport stations would have double the patronage if the two stations were ticketed at the standard Opal rate.

Look at it from another perspective. If the MARL was such a good idea economically (putting aside the greater good that public transport serves), private enterprise would fund it outright because it was a sure thing. It wouldn't even ask the government to assist, it would seek the necessary planning approvals like any major construction and off it would go. The fact that private enterprise wants to do this only via a PPP means ultimately, it's a lame duck economically. The PPP means that they won't be left holding the bag if it goes pear shaped.

Public private partnerships benefit only one entity, the one collecting the exorbitant profit. They are the worst kind of criminal and corrupt concept to not only have government sanction, but to handsomely reward those in power once they leave office for their subservience. It's one of the worst kinds of corruption to ever infect government.
chomper
Its not about if its a PPP or not. A PPP just means the govt doesn't borrow the money to build it and its still run by a private operator, which is pretty much like the rest of Mel network, so no different.

So yes if someone is going to take all the risk and cost, they will also make a buck out of it. Whats wrong with that? the rest of the economy works this way.

As for Sydney doubling patronage if the fee was removed, what basis do you have for this? Do you really believe the airport line is capable of securing 40-45% of the users? It would be one of the few places in Sydney where rail gets nearly 50% of the people travelling on that corridor.

"Exorbitant Profit", a bit sensationalist don't you think? The standard ROR for a infrastructure project like this is between 8-15%, depending on level of risk and govt guarantees hardly exorbitant.

The fact that the private sector has shown so little interest in the MAPL is probably a warning why the govt should think twice before dumping $5B into this. If the govt was able to put say $1B on the table as a contribution for a 35y BOOT, it would be money well spent, but I doubt its anywhere near that much of a subsidy.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
Hi
Numbers quoted for both Syd and Bris include the significant Airport station Premium fares. Melbourne will also pay and still see up to 25% flyers using if presented with a premium fare to the airport which considering the sky high cost of the project I think is required.
It would white elephant in Melbourne if there's a Sydney-style station access fee on top of the myki fare.
chomper
Hardly and no.

What is so different in the People's Republic of Victoria that they are different to those in Syd and Brisbane, oh wait there was this one election....

Sydney is barely 8km from the CBD, rail with no special anything but a higher fare gets 20% of airport users.

Brisbane is 15km from the CBD in a city where rail has no where near the penetration as Mel or Syd and the BAPL doesn't even suit the inner north suburbs and still gets around 15%

Melbourne is 45km north of 4-5m people, most of which have close access to a railway including the IU users to East and West.

Despite the Vic govt having a long list of priority projects for rail ahead of MAPL that will actually reduce traffic congestion to the CBD, we still think its ok to divert limited funds and subsidise people's business and holiday flights?  

The Tulla traffic is about 1 lane of the freeway traffic and the MAPL is not essential to solving traffic congestion to the city and will have only one or two new stations outside the airport district, the project costs an arm and leg and its cost needs to be shared by the users apart from workers of the airport, their fares should be comparable to other PT commuters.
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

@TOQ1 Melbourne gets 13 million more than Brisbane so we should have an airport line at any cost?

Brisbane Airport Rail cost $220 Million and was completed at NO cost to the taxpayer. Amd is not susidised by the Qld Government.

MARL will cost $15 Billion and rising with at least $10 Billion borne by Federal and State Governments. On a scheme that can be better spent elsewhere and will do not much for congestion.

Why not just build a proper transit hub for Skybus introduce more public bus services to the airport amd extend Tram route 59?

Michael
  True Believers Chief Commissioner

I thought the idea of building the Airport rail link, was to provide extra capacity for electrified rail lines into the west of Melbourne, or can the extra capacity be solved something like MM2 and an additional Newport-Sunshine link? I think it's wiser to spend the money on MM2 than the Airport rail link.

Unfortunately, railway planning in Melbourne and Victoria is pretty inconsistent in many ways.

Suburban rail loop is getting built, instead of the planned Doncaster and Rowville heavy rail links (which are being substituted with a busway for Doncaster and light-rail line for Rowville).

It's very bizarre that both the Doncaster and Rowville rail studies that were untaken suggested a possible orbital railway and in both cases were dismissed. Now the government thinks the orbital link is a top priority over many other rail projects?

Meanwhile, the freeway plans have worked on salami techniques, which in turn makes it easy for Governments to want to fill in missing links and have made it possible for the government to justify expenditure towards North East Link and Mordialloc Freeway.

Would the Airport rail link be beneficial to build? Sure it would be, it does provide capacity, but at 10-15 billion, it makes it really hard to justify, MM2 is only 20 billion and that would provide capacity from west & north of Melbourne, which Airport rail link only provides capacity to the west side. If the Airport rail line was built as a suburban rail line to connect the Mickleham to the north and built with stations in between at Keilor East instead of an express line, I think it would be more justified that an express link.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Think Gauntlet track.
Hmmm, interesting.... . From an engineering perspective gauntlet would certainly work.
There would be 25% extra rail needed (compared to DG), and a custom designed and manufactured sleeper (100,000 required).
Turnouts would be um, interesting (read as very expensive), although the track could change to DG (yet more custom design) for turnouts.

Is there justification for MARL to have SG provision; I could be convinced either way.
Gauntlet track is just a cheaper way of building two separate lines or getting around the issue of speed restriction on BG. If its worth the cost, then do it.

Australia has experience building Gauntlet track in the form of triple gauge track in SA including points.
RTT_Rules
Gauntlet track can become a nightmare when it comes to platforms and electrification.
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

@TrueBelievers Once again a thorough analysis. Thank you. I am not against an Airport Rail link but like you I think that $15 Billion is far too much for the benefits it provides for the WHOLE network. Melbourne Metro 2 and the electrification of the Melton corridor is of far greater importance than the MARL or SRL.

Michael
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

.........................................................................

Sydney is barely 8km from the CBD, rail with no special anything but a higher fare gets 20% of airport users

........................................................................................................
RTT_Rules

Sydney runs two-way, ie it is not a terminus. The shorter distance puts it closer to the hub. Hurstbridge, Mernda, Upfield and Craigieburn are not going to catch a train via the CBD to the airport.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Hansard from Vic State Parliament today should be an interesting read:



"All Change at Sunshine..."  A bit like Albury 1883 - 1961.
  RTT_Rules Dr Beeching

Location: Dubai UAE
.........................................................................

Sydney is barely 8km from the CBD, rail with no special anything but a higher fare gets 20% of airport users

........................................................................................................

Sydney runs two-way, ie it is not a terminus. The shorter distance puts it closer to the hub. Hurstbridge, Mernda, Upfield and Craigieburn are not going to catch a train via the CBD to the airport.
kitchgp
It also puts the airport close to a higher density area containing 0.5m to 1.0m people which is a realatively short drive to the airport thus encouraging Kiss'n'Ride, taxi and rideshare over stuffing around with PT.

The places and others you mention are mostly outer style suburbia.

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