Castlemaine and Bendigo commuters need to realize that the world doesn't revolve around the single peak hour express services in each direction. The commuters on these services still have vastly superior travel times compared to other towns of similar distance. For example Traralgon's AM flagship takes just over two hours to get to the city and doesn't even stop at Southern Cross!
Almost all trains have had extended travel times since the RFR timetable was introduced in 2006. For some reason only those using the fastest express services are the ones whinging. Whinging that it takes the same amount of time to travel 120 km to Castlemaine or Ballarat as it takes to reach Lilydale or Frankston on Metro.
When the RFR timetable was introduced in 2006, there would have been an expectation that the Flagship time from Castlemaine to Southern Cross would remain at 65 mins, however it has now blown out by around 20 mins.
The introduction of concrete sleepers all the way to Bendigo should have realised an even further decrease in running times. EG, the track speed limit from Castlemaine to Elphinstone is 130kph (was /still is timber sleepers), regardless of the direction, however a VLocity can easily exceed 130kph from the Elphinstone tunnel to just before Castlemaine and a higher speed on the up, hence the savings of a few minutes.
Sadly with a conservative government, the flagship services have become just another train, hence the stop at Gisborne. One would hope that with the all new 2015 timetable some pride will be put back into the flagship services...though I'm not holding my breath.
The East I'm just glad I don't live in the East....that's a real second rate service..