Regional Rail Link Bendigo Wise

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Actually Castlemaine is very much a hybrid town with two different populations that rarely interact with each other.

One section of the population is the one you refer to, artsy-fartsy city types, often over educated and often quite wealthy. They started arriving in the 1970's, but didn't make much of an impact until the 80's. by the 90's they had really transformed the nature of the town.

The other part of the population are the people that have been there for 150+ years. Down to earth types who often worked in heavy industry. Castlemaine was quite working class until the 80's and almost everyone had a feel for the communal vibe of the town. Essentially, the place felt like no one had moved into the town in over a century except for a few people providing services such as teachers, doctors and policemen.

When industries such as the woollen mill, Thompsons Foundry and many others started down sizing or closing down, many of the locals were unemployed for the first time in generations. At the same time the "blow-ins" started arriving, attracted by cheap heritage housing in a town dominated by scenic valleys and tall hills.

The locals are still a majority in town, but they tend to stick to their own business, unlike the more visible "noisy blow ins" with their arts festivals and political activism. However there is a quiet resentment that these new comers have forced them out of much of their town, they have taken many of the houses, pushed up house prices to a level that locals can't afford and displacing their rural working class culture with something quite alien to them. People in their 40's that I went to school with are quietly upset that they are being pushed to the periphery of the town that their ancestors built and lived in for centuries.

Castlemaine would be a fascinating study for a sociologist looking to compare a traditional, established, native population feeling confused and impotent about being displaced by brash, self confident new comers.
Bogong

Generally agree with your sentiments here.

As a born and bred in Castlemaine...still with strong family connections there even though I live in Ballan, I agree with your sentiments.

I was at the first Arts festival around 1978, I used to go to the Royal before it was trendified.  My dad worked at the Woollen Mill LONG before the offices burnt down...this was in the early 50's.

I lived at the very top of the Parker St hill and used to watch trains go through the Walker St crossing long before I could even walk...I'm now 59...lol Exclamation

Mike.

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  ab123 Chief Train Controller

Couldn't give you a proper answer because I don't know why, but from experience it is generally true.

Another thing is 3 x 2 car will perform better than 2 x 3 car will in slipery/wet conditions as the middle cars don't have sanders.

Bit off topic my aplogies
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
This is getting WAY off topic but I am a recent migrant to the Goldfields. I was originally going to move to Castlemaine as I wanted to volunteer on the VGR and I had a couple of friends already living there. I had no idea that the rest of Melbourne had the same idea (they call the Maine North-Northcote in some circles!) so we ended up moving to one of the towns nearby.

It is certainly true that many of the recent arrivals from 3000 are the ones driving the increased patronage on the trains and some of the political stuff going on "in town" is even enough to make an old leftie blush but there are still plenty of good old genuine people around if you look. Many of them work on the VGR.

Some of them moan about the newbies but they still won't move "out" to Newstead / Maldon / Guildford or anywhere else in "the sticks". The property prices only affect you if you want / need to move or if you get greedy.

It is sad to see the decline of Thomsons and other great businesses but it is really just a microcosm of what is happening in the wider Australian economy. We all need to wake up and see what is going on before we lose it all. Some of the people I have met around (especially on the VGR) have great skills in industries that will be lost to us soon. Give me them over another bloody know all uni graduate any day, even if they don't increase the pax numbers on the train as much as the newbies!

BG
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Eeek! I never thought I would discover I had something in common with The Vinelander, Shocked but if we're both displaced Castlemaniacs, sympathetic to the bewildered and displaced native population of the town, I feel an instant empathy and solidarity with him. I was a South School kid, so my school mates came from the Wesley Hill, Monument Hill and Ten Foot Hill areas.

Brenton, you will fit in fine with the locals, you have the same grounded and common sense approach to things as they do. If only more migrants were like you and there were less of those artsy-fartsy, trendy-lefties who are trying to change the inherent nature of the town and make it more like Fitzroy or Northcote. Embarassed
  ScottAus Station Master

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Actually Castlemaine is very much a hybrid town with two different populations that rarely interact with each other.

One section of the population is the one you refer to, artsy-fartsy city types, often over educated and often quite wealthy. They started arriving in the 1970's, but didn't make much of an impact until the 80's. By the 90's they had really transformed the nature of the town.

The other part of the population are the people that have been there for 150+ years. Down to earth types who often worked in heavy industry. Castlemaine was quite working class until the 80's and almost everyone had a feel for the communal vibe of the town. Essentially, the place felt like no one had moved into the town for over a century except for a few people providing services such as teachers, doctors and policemen.

When industries such as the woollen mill, Thompsons Foundry and many others started down sizing or closing down, many of the locals were unemployed for the first time in generations. At the same time the "blow-ins" started arriving, attracted by cheap heritage housing in a town characterised by scenic valleys and tall hills.

The locals are still a majority in town, but they tend to stick to their own business, unlike the more visible "noisy blow ins" with their arts festivals and political activism. Typically they have a quiet resentment towards these new comers have forced them out of much of their town, they have taken many of the houses, pushed up house prices to a level that locals can't afford and displaced their rural working class culture with something quite alien to them. People in their 40's that I went to school with are quietly upset that they are being pushed to the periphery of the town that their ancestors built and lived in for centuries.

Castlemaine would be a fascinating study for a sociologist looking to compare a traditional, established, native population feeling confused and impotent about being displaced by brash, self confident, wealthy new comers.
Bogong

Nicely put Bogong, I myself am an ex 3000 and I did feel the lefty vibe of the place so chose the Maldon path instead.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Eeek! I never thought I would discover I had something in common with The Vinelander, Shocked but if we're both displaced Castlemaniacs, sympathetic to the bewildered and displaced native population of the town, I feel an instant empathy and solidarity with him. I was a South School kid, so my school mates came from the Wesley Hill, Monument Hill and Ten Foot Hill areas.

Brenton, you will fit in fine with the locals, you have the same grounded and common sense approach to things as they do. If only more migrants were like you and there were less of those artsy-fartsy, trendy-lefties who are trying to change the inherent nature of the town and make it more like Fitzroy or Northcote. Embarassed
Bogong

Going right back... Castlemaine was always a leftie town. The workers at Thompson's, the Mill, the station with shunters (actually they were classed as Yard Assistants but I digress) and other VR workers and later the growing bacon factory now Castle/KR would all have mostly been Laborites as my late Grandma called them.

North School here in Hunter St..Wink

I believe the movement to a multicultural and growing Castlemaine isn't a bad thing, now all the oldies have died.... I wonder if Harold Diss or Stuart Stoneman would have approved...

Mike.

(trip down memory lane over for a while....back on topic...)
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
You are dead right Vinelander, but it was a sensible, centre-lefty town with admirable, down to earth, country common sense and the locals had no time for the loopy left ideas based on lefty-academic ideology rather than life experience that the "noisy blow ins" are trying to propagate in the town these days.

I was informed that in the 1970's, the then Midlands electorate (which was centred on Castlemaine) actually elected a Liberal MP Shocked (possibly named bill Ebery?), although I was told he was an unusually hard worker for the community and cared more about helping ordinary people than he did about party politics. However I was given to understand he was an aberration due to all his work for battlers and that Castlemaniacs usually voted strongly for the Labour Party.

I don't know who Harold Diss was, but my mother always had a strong suspicion of Stuart Stoneman, despite all the worthy causes he supported around the town. I'm not sure if she disliked him because of how he made his fortune or because of his discreet "alternative lifestyle" which would have been a cause of scandalised gossip in such an old fashioned and conservative town in the 40 years after the war.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
9.08 out of Castlemaine this morning made excellent time until we hit the Keilor Plains area then slowed down to a crawl. We limped along until we got onto the new RRL pair where we made good time for a while before hitting another bottleneck before the flyover. Stopped right outside Festival Hall for a while. Result? In at 10.45ish 10 mins later than scheduled.

As I have said before I am only a sporadic commuter on this service but on my last 4 trips 3 have been around 10 mins late. I don't know what is causing it but the service seems to be worse than before the RRL pair opened for business.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

9.08 out of Castlemaine this morning made excellent time until we hit the Keilor Plains area then slowed down to a crawl. We limped along until we got onto the new RRL pair where we made good time for a while before hitting another bottleneck before the flyover. Stopped right outside Festival Hall for a while. Result? In at 10.45ish 10 mins later than scheduled.

As I have said before I am only a sporadic commuter on this service but on my last 4 trips 3 have been around 10 mins late. I don't know what is causing it but the service seems to be worse than before the RRL pair opened for business.
BrentonGolding

Timetable has this train getting in to SCS at 1048.  So not really late.

Mind you, the current timetable has a silly 15 minutes scheduled in for Footscray - SCS.  The flyover is definitely proving to be a bottleneck though.  Seems to be a lot of conflict between Down and Up trains wanting to use the same track (Western flyover line adjacent Festival Hall).

This morning's Up flagship from Bendigo managed to just get in front of the Ballarat train at Sunshine, but the trip was slower than usual due to the aforementioned bottleneck.  Got in at 0721.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
9.08 out of Castlemaine this morning made excellent time until we hit the Keilor Plains area then slowed down to a crawl. We limped along until we got onto the new RRL pair where we made good time for a while before hitting another bottleneck before the flyover. Stopped right outside Festival Hall for a while. Result? In at 10.45ish 10 mins later than scheduled.

As I have said before I am only a sporadic commuter on this service but on my last 4 trips 3 have been around 10 mins late. I don't know what is causing it but the service seems to be worse than before the RRL pair opened for business.
BrentonGolding

Feel free to write to V/Line OR the Minister to complain about these issues. Heaven knows that hardly anyone writes but everyone complains or grumbles under their collective breaths.

If more people wrote then there would be more attention paid to the issues you've described and just perhap...things would happen.

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Seems to be a lot of conflict between Down and Up trains wanting to use the same track (Western flyover line adjacent Festival Hall).

This morning's Up flagship from Bendigo managed to just get in front of the Ballarat train at Sunshine, but the trip was slower than usual due to the aforementioned bottleneck. Got in at 0721.
Carnot

Yes the North Melbourne flyover seems to have taken over from the old LaTrobe street 'carport'...

Yesterday we had Stirling Moss driving our up Ballarat that followed you and had we not been delayed on the RRL by your good selves I'd have caught an earlier connecting METRO at Footscray.

Today though, no up Bendigo in our path and as we ran through the connecting up METRO at Middle Footscray I WAS able to catch the earlier connector at Footscray.

Funny how pax look out for the METRO service and if there's a chance...it's the fleet of foot that make it to Platform 1 at Footscray, just in time...

Mike.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Oh, pardon me, I was looking at the old timetable, pre RRL improvements, when this train got me to SC at 10.36. So if 10.48 is too late for me to get to work on time I need to either a) get up an hour earlier to catch the 8.06 (which I cannot do as there is no connecting bus) or b) drive (which I cannot do as I do not have a licence! Thanks VLP for the great service!
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Says the guy travelling on highly subsidised tickets - maybe if you paid the full cost of your use there'd be actually be money to improve things.

Anyway, the spark time to Southern Cross from Fscray is 9 minutes - your service is currently timetabled 15 minutes, no stop at North Melbourne.  So expect a decrease once the RRL is properly run in.

It's also stupid to single out minor service changes - if you started work slightly earlier, you'd have to catch that earlier train anyway.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Says the guy travelling on highly subsidised tickets - maybe if you paid the full cost of your use there'd be actually be money to improve things.

Anyway, the spark time to Southern Cross from Fscray is 9 minutes - your service is currently timetabled 15 minutes, no stop at North Melbourne. So expect a decrease once the RRL is properly run in.

It's also stupid to single out minor service changes - if you started work slightly earlier, you'd have to catch that earlier train anyway.
ZH836301

OK, I'll take the bait. Firstly I pay full fare to travel on the train. I also pay registration on one car (driven by my partner) and one motorcycle which I rarely use so in effect I am subsidising other road users. If the full fare were more I would probably pay it after assessing the pluses and minuses but as far as I know there is not an option to pay extra (yet!).

Secondly I start work and finish work at times when I am required to. I am required at work from 11 till 8 on Tuesdays so that is what I do. The problem for me is that if I cannot get to work on time I could theoretically lose my job. I, like many other people who have made the shift to Rural and Regional Victoria, did so based on rail services which were very good. They have since go alot worse which is not what I or any of my neighbors expected.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Rego doesn't contribute to road expenses, excise essentially does by proxy.

Rail is heavily subsidised, so you're already being granted something that isn't available to others, who are still paying for it.

The point with the start times is that it makes no sense to complain about actual arrival times when the frequency has not been downgraded - what you consider bad for you is incidentally better for others wishing to arrive at other times.  There is no grounds for immortalising any departure or arrival times.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
The point that the original poster and I are making is that with journey times blowing out over the last few years people are finding that the train no longer works for them. The local papers around Castlemaine have had stories about people having to rent flats in town as they cannot get to work on time and (as I posted elsewhere) my neighbours even moved back to Melbourne because she could no longer rely on the train to get her to work on time and her boss told her he would have to let her go if she continued to show up late.

If people stop using the service because it no longer meets their needs then you will need either more government subsidies to offset reduced pax numbers or less trains to carry the reduced loadings. Neither of which are desirable outcomes in my opinion.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
But are not passenger numbers on the Bendigo line Continuing to Increase ?
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
But are not passenger numbers on the Bendigo line Continuing to Increase ?
Nightfire

They probably are as many new families are moving into the area. There is construction going on everywhere around Castlemaine and a whole lot of new homes planned for Maldon as well. Bendigo has many new housing developments too.

I would have thought that this in itself should be enough to justify better or at least the same service standards.

As I said I am simply going by what I see and hear in my town and in Castlemaine - that many people who have been medium term users of the line are finding that it no longer meets their needs.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

But are not passenger numbers on the Bendigo line Continuing to Increase ?
Nightfire

From anecdotal experience, regular commuter numbers on the peak services seem to have plateaued in the past year or so.  I'm finding that the morning flagship service is only about 60% full after Castlemaine, but 100% full after Gisborne. (4 car train)

But passenger numbers are probably increasing overall due to the price of petrol and so on.  For people on concession, it's usually a no-brainer to take the train rather than the car.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Patience people! These things take time! I think we can be confident that more and/or faster services will progressively be introduced when:

* The Regional Rail thingy is fully completed in about 9 months.
* The extra 43 Velocity cars are all in service in about 2 years.
* Two extra tracks are in service between Sunshine and Albion as part of the Tulla airport line in about five years.

Of course the bottleneck of single track north of Kyneton also severely restricts line capacity. While extra and/or longer passing loops will probably be built, I think it will be many decades before the double track will be fully restored. Sad
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
If people stop using the service because it no longer meets their needs then you will need either more government subsidies to offset reduced pax numbers or less trains to carry the reduced loadings. Neither of which are desirable outcomes in my opinion.
BrentonGolding

Farebox revenue only covers a fraction of expenditure, and expenditure is reduced somewhat with smaller trains.


Your argument makes no sense, because the billions spent improving the service and lack of cost recovery from farebox means upgrades cost much more money than is recovered by additional fares.


The point that the original poster and I are making is that with journey times blowing out over the last few years people are finding that the train no longer works for them.
BrentonGolding

Join the queue.


Why should you have priority over say quadding to Dandenong?  What right do you have to a faster journey than someone from Pakenham?
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Weelll, we're pretty special out in the country,just ask us, we'll tell ya.

Is there a sarc tag.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Why should you have priority over say quadding to Dandenong? What right do you have to a faster journey than someone from Pakenham?
ZH83630

I've never been to Dandenong but as far as I am aware the quadding hasn't happened yet. As opposed to the RRL works for the Bendigo line which seem to be pretty much done. And the service is slower than before.

As for your previous comment that "what you consider bad for you is incidentally better for others wishing to arrive at other times" when the train is leaving at the same time but arriving later and with all that time being lost in the section from Sunbury to SC I don't see who it could possibly benefit apart from someone who hasn't quite got enough time to finish their Sudoku.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Again, the RRL is not operating at full speed.

For your 'special train' the only changes since the Sept2007 timetable have been:

Departs 5 minutes earlier ex-Bendigo
Departs 3 minutes earlier ex-Castlemaine (loses 2 minutes due to Kangaroo Flat addition)
Departs 2 minutes later ex-Sunbury (loses 5 minutes for Sunbury positioning)
Departs 1 minute earlier ex-Footscray (regains 6 minutes slack ex-Sunbury)
Arrives 4 minutes later Southern Cross (loses 5 minutes due to RRL not at full speed)

So stop whinging.  Once the RRL is up to speed, you'll see at least 7 minutes dropped between Fscray-Southern Cross.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Kangaroo Flat? I thought it was Gisborne?

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