Baxter has only been chosen as it has land available to build a major maintenance facility to service the Frankston Line. This will stop transfers to Craigieburn & Newport to service trains, as well as allow for additional stabling on the line.
Baxter has not been chosen because of population or expected patronage. Extending the line will be beneficial for the health and universitiy campuses in the area. If acreage was available at Frankston or Kannanook this project would of never gotten off the ground.
I do agree. But on a purely cost-benefit basis, electrification past a new Langwarrin station is effectively wasted money right now. And knowing some people, this could be the outcome which I find very undesirable.
While new stables has always been the plan for Baxter, the opening of Kannanook stables will delay any stabling at Baxter. Kannanook has plenty of space to expand, meaning that Baxter is currently unnecessary. That may change in the near future with the opening of the Metro Tunnel, but for the moment Baxter stabling is likely to be cost, rather than a cost-saver.
If the state and federal governments are full of penny-pinchers, I would fully expect a stop-gap solution where the line is electrified to Langwarrin. Only when it becomes increasing obvious will Baxter electrification and stabling come up again.
Again, I hope this does not happen. I just think it has a high chance of being the outcome, second only to the full electrification and duplication to Baxter.
1. The Stony Point line currently has between 8 and 10 services per day. Some of these are run by only a single Sprinter.
2. Currently the last service for Stony Point departs Frankston at 6:30pm most nights (some depart later on a Friday night).
3. Currently only 1 train is permitted to operate at any one time between Frankston and Stony Point.
If an increase in service capacity on the Stony Point line (past Baxter) is required, than there are many other ways to improve capacity before full electrification all the way to Stony Point will be justified. Currently it is not.
I also wanted to add some further information to this. The Stony Point line is full single track. No station has a second platform, and there are no crossing loops. Trains cannot pass each other on the line anywhere.
The reason some services are run with a single Sprinter is to increase peak hour services from hourly to every 30min as normal services are constrained by the single track. This means during the peak hour, the 2 Sprinters detach from each other and run half an hour apart before reconnecting at the terminus. Off-peak services are run with the Sprinters joined together.
An electrified Baxter will also reduce run times of the Stony Point line. So even if nothing else happens, the Stony Point line gains greater operational freedom with potential for increased services.