RRL Opening Timetable - April 2015

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Just because all seems quiet in this thread doesn't mean all is running well to the new schedule...

This morning the 6:20 ex Ballarat was on time until it reached the RRL junction where as it turns out a 6:09 ex Geelong is timetabled 3 mins in front of the up Ballarat.

The up Geelong stops at Sunshine, the up Ballarat doesn't, hence the up Ballarat loses time crawling behind the up Geelong and ultimately arrived at SCS 8" late.

Last Thursday, 4 V/Line surveyors were in each car of the same up Ballarat getting plenty of feedback.

I raised the point that the new services are too ambitious with as little as 2 minute headways at Footscray and it's unlikely with such short headways the timetable will ever be a success, leading to ongoing issues with ever increasing numbers of unhappy V/Line commuters.

Mike.

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  Carnot Minister for Railways

I've found that Bendigo services are copping it too.  You just have to be a couple of minutes late leaving SCS during peak and your path is shot.  The lack of a flyover or similar at Sunshine was a mistake.  Trip often blows out by 15 min as a result.

As for 130 km/h running between West Footscray and Sunshine - that doesn't seem to happen in peak anymore.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I've found that Bendigo services are copping it too.  You just have to be a couple of minutes late leaving SCS during peak and your path is shot.  The lack of a flyover or similar at Sunshine was a mistake.  Trip often blows out by 15 min as a result.

As for 130 km/h running between West Footscray and Sunshine - that doesn't seem to happen in peak anymore.
Carnot
Interesting. Brenton's favourite 09.08 Ex Castlemaine has been on time or early for the last 3 weeks at least (2 trips per). Normally arrives at Platform 16 at 10.39 or thereabouts allowing me to get across to 9 for my 10.42 spark connection which is a definite improvement over the way it had been before the new timetable and in the first week thereof.

I find Down services are still having the problems mentioned above and I cannot see a solution to it in the short term, although as Carnot points out it is oft due to a late getaway or a delay getting through the yard at Southern Cross.

This morning I missed my connection by about 5 seconds due to a heavy package and while I waited on the platform a 6 car VL Waurn Ponds service (10.56 arrival) pulled into platform 8 right in front of me. Wouldn't have even been 25% full in my guestimation. My train was not as full as usual but was probably 80%. Maybe the cold weather keeping people indoors.

BG
  Carnot Minister for Railways

This morning I missed my connection by about 5 seconds due to a heavy package and while I waited on the platform a 6 car VL Waurn Ponds service (10.56 arrival) pulled into platform 8 right in front of me. Wouldn't have even been 25% full in my guestimation. My train was not as full as usual but was probably 80%. Maybe the cold weather keeping people indoors.

BG
BrentonGolding
I think you'll find that the school holidays finishing yesterday would be the main reason for light loading at off-peak today.
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

There's been some interesting posts on V/Line's Facebook page, which I've copied below (in case V/Line take them down).



How much of this debacle was because RRL was down-engineered by the Liberals ? In particular the lack of a flying junction at Deer Park, and the lack of rail-road grade separation in the Deer Park area ?  Did V/Line point out the implications of the lack of the flying junction, but were over-ruled by Minister Mulder?



Nevertheless I still think V/Line have been totally inept in slavishly following their 2011 plan on service levels without more detailed modelling of load levels.  The stopping patterns where Zone 2 stations are served at peak with services going to Waum Ponds or Wendouree is very inefficient use of rolling stock, because there is 1/3 of the route with very high loads, followed by 2/3 of the route with only moderate loads.  This is OK off-peak when loads are lower, but during peak a more efficient operation is a tiered service. For example, a Vlocity set should be able to do a short service to Wyndham Vale departing 3:30 pm, another departing at 5:00 pm, and another at 6:30 pm (the latter perhaps going all the way to Waum Ponds). This way a single train set is used 3 times in peak, whereas long-haul to Waum Ponds it can only undertake a single peak service. For a short service every 20 minutes to Wyndham Vale would require 5 Vlo sets. According to VicSig, 8 x 3-car sets have been delivered since October 2014, which should be plenty to serve Tarneit and Wyndham Vale.  



The bus solution to connect Werribee station with Wyndham Vale actually works against efficient use rail rolling stock through short services, because the long-haul Waurm Ponds trains fill up with Wyndham Vale commuters. A better solution would have been a connecting Sprinter between Werribee and Lara. A single train with a dock platform at Lara could provide a half-hourly service, which is better than the previous timetable where counterpeak trains only stopped hourly at Werribee.



Here is the 2011 V/Line report on post-RRL service levels, where it warns on overcrowding if more trains are not ordered:



http://greens.org.au/news/vic/vline-warns-government-regional-rail-link-overcrowding





From V/Line's Facebook page:




[color=#3b5998]Michael Jones[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]10 hr[color=#9197a3]s[/color][/color] ·

About time!
It's an indictment on every layer of management in VLine that the Premier had to intervene.

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3210701/premier-says-sorry/?cs=4170
[color=#3b5998]Emma Rivett[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]4 hr[color=#9197a3]s[/color][/color] · [color=#9197a3]Melbourne[/color] ·

Beyond a joke vline! Every night I have to sit on the floor on the 506 service to waurn ponds because I get on a Footscray! I pay over $300 for my ticket surely that entitles me to a seat? Services that were already full before wyndham vale joined our line are now 10 times worse!!! I'm angry & annoyed at these terrible terrible changes not to mention I have not been at work on time for 3 weeks!!!! Fix it!


[color=#3b5998]Jo Robinson[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]6 hr[color=#9197a3]s[/color][/color] ·

Would vline consider changing the 402 Wendouree service from a 3 carriage to a 4 or 6? It is dreadfully crowded! People standing before even leaving Southern Cross is common.


[color=#3b5998]Kylie Hicks[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]Yesterday at 5:35p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

Absolute chaos at Footscray again. Too many trains running in and out of platform 4. If you can't meet reliability targets, how is a schedule every 2-4 minutes possible? Staff don't even know what trains are arriving without asking the train conductor when it arrives on the platform. Ridiculous!


[color=#3b5998]Ruth Bartlett[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]Yesterday at 5:08p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

Oh look, the 5.02 from Footscray to wendouree is late and absolutely packed full again. At least this consistent. I feel sorry for those who aren't able stand comfortably for whatever reason and have to suffer every day. Its bad enough for those of us who are young, fit and healthy. Lift your game vline.



[color=#3b5998]Elizabeth A. Krieg
[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]Yesterday at 2:07p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

The Ballarat VLine (lack of) service... I used to enjoy my trip in and out of Melbourne on peak Ballarat service, but it has become uncomfortable, overcrowded and down right dangerous. We either need to get our carriages back from Geelong or we need to stop picking up/dropping off at Bacchus Marsh during the peak times, they have their own trains and buses. I pay almost 5 times more than the Bacchus Marsh commuters and get almost 5 times less service during peak times.



[color=#3b5998]Ruth Bartlett
[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 13 at 5:08p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

Great to see the 5.02 from Footscray to wendouree is late and overcrowded again. I love standing all the way home after a long day at work and paying for it. All those consultations have really paid off.


[color=#3b5998]ohn Syme[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 13 at 1:15p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] · [color=#9197a3]Geelong[/color] ·

Vline is ridiculous today! Trains aren't running and when the cancel entire services are refusing to be of assistance or provide compensation. How can a company run like this? I'm now going to be late for work and the employee at the train station has refused to assist or even provide his name.
People actually rely on vline to provide a service. If it can't do this then alternative arrangements need to be made to get customers to melbourne on time and when needed. Not leave them stranded and late for work!
Vline, pick up you act and do what your supposed too!



[color=#3b5998]Caroline Manning[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 13 at 12:26p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

I for one am hoping that the 8.15 train from Melton will be running late every morning. After dropping kids at school I probably won't make the 8.15 and therefore have to wait 48 minutes until the next train. Absolutely ridiculous. Bring back the 8.26 and 8.49.



[color=#3b5998]Damian Hurst
[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 13 at 9:36a[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

So it's been 45min and I'm still waiting for the train from Waurn Ponds through to Southern Cross. Just pathetic - I honestly shouldn't have to pay! [color=#627aad]‪#‎[color=#3b5998]typicalvline[/color][/color]




[color=#3b5998]James Wakefield[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 13 at 9:20a[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

Sent the following message to my local (South Barwon) MP Andrew Katos, I would encourage any RRL commuters to do similarly:

------------------------------
Hello Andrew,


I, like many of your constituents, commute by train to Melbourne daily, for work. As such, I, like them, took a great interest in the Regional Rail Link project, which, although it was initially planned and commenced by Labor, seemed to receive continuing support by the Liberal party, and promised to permit higher frequency services while maintaining or improving travel times.

However, the reality has been chaos, in the form of late and overcrowded trains. It has emerged that under the previous state Liberal government and former transport Minister Terry Mulder, insufficient rollingstock was ordered to meet (correctly) predicted capacity demands, and that the railway itself was under-engineered as funding for certain elements essential for efficient operation was removed.

I understand that for you to campaign for this situation to be remedied as a matter of (appropriately) very high priority might be difficult given that the aforementioned reduction in funding occurred when your party was in power. However, you have generally appeared to me to be a man whose primary concern is his constituency, for which this is a huge issue - a few minutes around Waurn Ponds, Marshall, and South Geelong (to which a significant number of South Barwon residents travel) stations will leave you in no doubt of that. A convenient, fast, and reliable train service to Melbourne is absolutely essential for the continuing viability of South Barwon; it encourages residents to stay, and therefore support local service industries, as well as encouraging prospective new residents to move, also supporting the home building industry. If there is no "light at the end of the tunnel", if you'll excuse the railway metaphor, for the current performance problems with the Regional Rail Link, the region's reputation will suffer terribly.

Therefore, I urge you to, in representing the best interests of South Barwon, to campaign strongly for:
* Construction of the flying junction between the Geelong and Ballarat railway lines, near Deer Park, to replace the existing slow-speed junction
* Removal of level crossings and replacement with grade-separated crossings in Deer Park such as elsewhere on the Regional Rail Link
* Ordering of Bombardier V/Locity train sets to meet capacity demands well into the future.


Regards,
[color=#3b5998]James Wakefield
[/color]
[color=#3b5998]idda Jones[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 13 at 7:34a[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

So sick and tired of these late trains, worst time of my life atm in 15 years of vline travel.


[color=#3b5998]Aaron Goldsmith[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 13 at 7:25a[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

So glad you put the extra line now it's almost an hour and 30 to get to city from Geelong


[color=#3b5998]Danielle Woodhouse[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 11 at 9:29p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] · [color=#9197a3]Melbourne[/color] ·

Dear Vline
I refer to the so called Football trains on the Geelong Line for tonight's NM V Cats game at Etihad. Why do the new non regional stations of Wyndhamvale and Tarneit get more train choices including a dedicated service, than we true regional customers at Lara? They at least have alternatives of Werribee or Hoppers Crossing or William's Landing we do not. Guess we'll be standing all the way home. Service on this line is a joke since the new timetable came in.



[color=#3b5998]elissa Connor[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 11 at 2:50p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] · [color=#9197a3]Geelong West[/color] ·

3 weeks into the change in timetable/route for Geelong trains and still I'm yet to get a train that is on time. Everyday to and from work they are 10-30min late getting into the destination. On Thursday I caught the over crowded 4.43 train from southern cross and not only were we 15 min late getting into Geelong station you decided to let us wait for 10+ mins so the train BEHIND could go before us through to south Geelong. It was that far behind us we could have actually all got off, walked over the bridge and arrived at the platform before the other train came through.

Now it's Saturday and I'm catching a non peak service (unlike most weekdays) and the train is still 20min late. This info only given to us when the train didn't show up for the scheduled time - we don't mind standing in the freezing cold waiting so don't worry about that. Let's see how much further delayed we are by the time we make it to Melbourne.

Also what has happened to all our express services? I used to be able to get one everyday now I've only been able to catch one in the last 3 weeks (which wasn't even meant to be express some genius had clearly just worked out that the train didn't need to stop at Tarneit & Wyndham vale because they have so many services so cxl those stops) It's great that you have more trains but I'm yet to speak to someone who goes through to south Geelong (& further) that is happy with the changes. Why are we stopping at sunshine all the time? No one gets on or off!

We had high hopes that you would be able to get it right over the school holidays with less commuters but I guess not. I also know that this is effecting the Ballarat/Bacchus line so it may be time to start looking at changing that awful time table to help out the people who pay vline prices not metro prices. It's not nice to have to stand for an hr or if you're lucky sit on the floor when you've paid a lot more then the people sitting in chairs who could have actually got the train 10min later that goes to their stops and not ours.

Please feel free to contact me if you need any further info. I (& many commuters) look forward to some much needed changes.


[color=#3b5998]Steph James[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 10 at 7:03p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

On my train to Melbourne, it took an hour to get from Ballarat to Bacchus marsh, seriously guys? So unreliable.


[color=#3b5998]Erin Kate[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 10 at 5:12p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

Currently having the worst experience of my life on a train from Ballarat to Melbourne. Just stood (alongside 100 others on my carriage) for 1.5 hours. In a "quiet" carriage! Ha! I used to quite like getting the train, but giving away all our carriages was a big mistake. What a joke



[color=#3b5998]Lyndel Roberts
[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 10 at 3:30p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] · [color=#9197a3]Melbourne[/color] ·

Just wanting to let you know that myself and probably 100 others - including many children and older people are currently squashed on the 3.17pm 'service' from Southern Cross to Ballarat. This is ridiculously inadequate- surely the travelling public deserve better than this.


[color=#3b5998]Malcolm McCaskill[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 10 at 12:28a[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

To those angered by V/Line's dreadful performance on the new Regional Rail Link, spare a thought for the position they've been squeezed into by the previous government who extracted massive "savings" out of the project to spend on projects such as the Western Highway duplication beyond Ballarat ($200m), something Tony Abbott would have gladly found other funds for. V/line were handed grossly substandard infrastructure, which was nothing like the original plans. There was meant to be a flying junction between the Ballarat and Geelong lines that would reduce conflicts and allow high speeds. There were meant to be road grade separations in the Deer Park area. These were removed from the project Bailleau and Mulder, and we're paying the price for them now. The Liberals also waited 2 years before ordering new trains. I'm sure they're quietly happy that everyone is directing their anger at V/Line rather than them.
One of the few wins for V/Line was to delay the opening from February to June so there would be more new trains, but the wait obviously wasn't long enough.
As to the timetable, we don't know what went on between V/Line and the government, and whether V/Line were pressured into attempted something that was not feasible or untested. There may have been a loss of key expertise in timetabling at V/Line when the Liberals asked for $20m in savings from V/Line




[color=#3b5998]Shaun Holmes
[color=#3b5998]V/Line[/color][/color]
[color=#9197a3]July 9 at 7:14p[color=#9197a3]m[/color][/color] ·

Hi V/Line, just wondering when trains on the Geelong line will actually run to the times stated in the timetable? They might start their trip on schedule but they sure as hell aren't getting to their destination on time, and that's kind of important when it comes to things like getting to work on time.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Bunch of sooks.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Bunch of sooks.
ZH836301

Clearly...you are clueless regards the still ongoing delays and the admittedly now, diminishing overcrowding due to the better placement of and the continuing rolling out of new rolling stock.

Mike.
  SamTheMan79 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Geelong
Average punctuality & reliability for regional trains actually decreasing with RRL - http://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/about-ptv/ptv-data-and-reports/daily-operational-performance-reports/
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Clearly...you are clueless regards the still ongoing delays and the admittedly now, diminishing overcrowding due to the better placement of and the continuing rolling out of new rolling stock.
Vinelander

I get on a Footscray! I pay over $300 for my ticket surely that entitles me to a seat? Services that were already full before wyndham vale joined our line are now 10 times worse!!! I'm angry & annoyed at these terrible terrible changes not to mention I have not been at work on time for 3 weeks!!!!

I used to enjoy my trip in and out of Melbourne on peak Ballarat service, but it has become uncomfortable, overcrowded and down right dangerous. We either need to get our carriages back from Geelong or we need to stop picking up/dropping off at Bacchus Marsh during the peak times, they have their own trains and buses. I pay almost 5 times more than the Bacchus Marsh commuters and get almost 5 times less service during peak times.

So it's been 45min and I'm still waiting for the train from Waurn Ponds through to Southern Cross. Just pathetic - I honestly shouldn't have to pay!

Why do the new non regional stations of Wyndhamvale and Tarneit get more train choices including a dedicated service, than we true regional customers at Lara?

It's not nice to have to stand for an hr or if you're lucky sit on the floor when you've paid a lot more then the people sitting in chairs who could have actually got the train 10min later that goes to their stops and not ours.


Yep, self-absorbed sooks who think they are the most important people in the world.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
...in reality, average Joe's who have little idea of how the 'system' works, who just want a seat on their train and for it to run reasonably to time, as it was before the T/T change.

If their concerns are so insignificant...why would the Premier himself be apologising for the shortcomings of the new T/T.

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/3210701/premier-says-sorry/

Mike.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
In the case of on-time running it's probably more of a need than a desire as there's a chance that they could lose their job/miss assessments because of late trains.
  damooops Junior Train Controller

Location: The Revenue Raising State
The CEO of the PTV was heard on ABC radio this morning.  He stated VLine were receiving a new intermediate coach from Bombardier a week.  Is this correct?

The CEO also stated the new carriages would be added to Ballarat services only.  I listened to the reply with many callers complaining about the lack of capacity on Ballarat services.
NSWGR8022
Vlocity 00 is currently the first of the currently 2 car Vlocity's getting a middle carriage.
Cheers all.
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

damooops : Vlocity 00 is currently the first of the currently 2 car Vlocity's getting a middle carriage.

This in itself is a problem. With the combination of 2 and 3-car sets, there is a graduated range of capacity from 2-cars (~140 seats), 3 cars (222 seats), 4 cars (280 seats), 5 cars (362 seats) to 6 cars (444 seats).  Once all the 2-cars are converted to 3-cars, the options will be only 222 or 444 seats.  For a peak service with a typical patronage of say 250, it will either be overcrowded as a 3-car, or there will  be the capital and operating costs of 2 unnecessary carriages as a 6-car. Most peak services appear to be within this "inconvenient" range.

A second problem is that many of the 2-cars are now nearly 10 years old. At the end of their 30-year life as their maintenance costs increase they couldn't easily be retired because they are in a set with a youthful middle car.  

A more detailed analysis needs to be done of the optimal number of 2-cars sets.  Some services such as the daytime Ararat services certainly don't need 3 cars.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

This in itself is a problem. With the combination of 2 and 3-car sets, there is a graduated range of capacity from 2-cars (~140 seats), 3 cars (222 seats), 4 cars (280 seats), 5 cars (362 seats) to 6 cars (444 seats).  Once all the 2-cars are converted to 3-cars, the options will be only 222 or 444 seats.  For a peak service with a typical patronage of say 250, it will either be overcrowded as a 3-car, or there will  be the capital and operating costs of 2 unnecessary carriages as a 6-car. Most peak services appear to be within this "inconvenient" range.


A more detailed analysis needs to be done of the optimal number of 2-cars sets.  Some services such as the daytime Ararat services certainly don't need 3 cars.
mm42

Patronage is constantly increasing, consequently there needs to be enough accommodation to meet the growing demand.

Mike.
  712M Chief Commissioner

Sprinters and loco-hauled trains will still be capable of running in 2-8 car sets. They are not going anywhere in the near future.

Of course the problem described above can also be worked around by running 3 car sets at closer headways.
  Chidda Bang Locomotive Driver

Location: Banned
My sprinter plan

METRO STONY POINT LINE FLEET
7001, 7002, 7003, 7004

New livery seats removed like north comeng toilet taken out

VLINE FLEET PERMANENT SETS

SP01: 7005(TD), 7006, 7007(D)

SP02: 7008(TD), 7009, 7010(D)

SP03: 7011(TD), 7012, 7013(D)

SP04: 7014(TD), 7015, 7016(D)

SP05: 7017(TD), 7018, 7020(D)

SP06 - 2 CAR SEYMOUR ONLY SET: 7021(TD), 7020(D)

TD car = toilet plus drivers cab #1 end

D car = drivers cab #1 end

Middle sprinters to get cabs n toilets taken out adds 20 seat D sprinters 6 more seat no toilet
  Kerpal Deputy Commissioner

Have things settled down yet?
  Travelling Hooker Locomotive Driver

Location: Follows the weather up and down the coast
Months behind the times I know but I used the RRL for the first time this morning coming up from Warrnambool. Not a bad trip save for all the bloody Demon's supporters on the train.

It's a nice piece of infrastructure although the minimal time saving isn't worth the cost. What was interesting, and where the value of the line will kick in, is seeing how greenfield areas of Melbourne are opening up. That hopelessly over engineered station at Wyndham Vale - a classic case of if you build it they will come. Personally, I'd slit my wrists before I lived out there but judging by the houses going up, plenty of people think differently.

My other thought - why wasn't the opportunity taken here to electrify the line down to Geelong ? I'm aware the ins and outs of that debate have been aired in these pages before, but it's a one hour trip now, no worse than the Penrith - Town Hall or  Campbelltown - Town Hall and if those poor sods can put up with Cityrail, then surely Geelong can get Metroed.

Anyway, that's my feedback on the RRL.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Months behind the times I know but I used the RRL for the first time this morning coming up from Warrnambool. Not a bad trip save for all the bloody Demon's supporters on the train.

It's a nice piece of infrastructure although the minimal time saving isn't worth the cost. What was interesting, and where the value of the line will kick in, is seeing how greenfield areas of Melbourne are opening up. That hopelessly over engineered station at Wyndham Vale - a classic case of if you build it they will come. Personally, I'd slit my wrists before I lived out there but judging by the houses going up, plenty of people think differently.

My other thought - why wasn't the opportunity taken here to electrify the line down to Geelong ? I'm aware the ins and outs of that debate have been aired in these pages before, but it's a one hour trip now, no worse than the Penrith - Town Hall or  Campbelltown - Town Hall and if those poor sods can put up with Cityrail, then surely Geelong can get Metroed.

Anyway, that's my feedback on the RRL.
Travelling Hooker
The objective with RRL was to separate  VLP trains from Metro trains as far as possible towards Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo thus creating 20 new train paths per hour each way on the RRL track pair between Southern Cross and Sunshine.  In the process train paths released by removing VLP Geelong trains from the Werribee line, and Ballarat tarins from the Sunbury line, and Bendigo trains as far as Sunshine creates extra train paths for Metro to use .  Expect new Metro timetable for all lines later this year .

Whilst the RRL track pair may well be electrified as far as Wyndam  Vale in the medium term, it is very hard to justify the huge capital cost to electrify to Waurn Ponds including serious clearance issues with the Geelong tunnel.  The electrical infrastructure requires a huge capex, and there is an on going additional maintenance cost for the electrical infra structure which is totally avoided with continuing with DMU operation .  Will happen eventually but Government has far more important fish to fry on the transport hotplate at the moment, like upgrading the power supply over the whole current Metro Melbourne network .
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
A very early start this (Monday) morning for PT Minister Allan and my local MP Geoff Howard who travelled on the 06:20 up Ballarat and fielded questions from all and sundry pax as they made their way through the carriages.

Fortunately, some might say co-incidentally, the normally 4 car train was a 5 car set this morning which enabled the Minister and company to move along the carriages somewhat unimpeded, yet there were still several pax standing out of Bacchus Marsh and all seats were taken.

Before alighting at Footscray I did get the chance to advise the Minister this train, despite mutterings in earlier pages of this thread is normally a 4 car, not a 5 car train, and had it been the usual 4 car train, her movements through the train would have been very impeded.

I was also able to advise the up Geelong which we follow from the RRL junction stops at Sunshine...we do not, hence we drag our ar$es along from somewhere near Ardeer to Footscray as we did this morning. The Minister was well aware of our slow speed and said she was quite aware of the pathing issues for trains on the RRL.

Fortunately for her there was no parallel METRO service overtaking us on the old UP line to emphasis the point.

I was impressed with Minister Allan who appears to have a knowledge of rail operations and pathing issues so I expect the situation on this particular UP Ballarat train will be rectified in the near future.

Mike.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Since the latest timetable commenced many Bendigo services have been utilising Platform 16 at Southern Cross. This is great especially for Up services as it shaves a couple of valuable minutes off and often enables me to make my Spark connection even though the 10.42 departure is exactly the scheduled arrival time of the 9.08 ex Castlemaine.

On Tuesday night the 5.31 Down Epsom was not quite so good. Departure was delayed 20 minutes. We had a platform but no train. The reason? "V/Line apologises for the delay, due to congestion here at Southern Cross the empty cars are currently unable to gain access to Platform 16"

We then ran late all the way and I arrived at the front bar of The Railway in Castlemaine 15 minutes behind first Stout Schedule.

BG
  jamesadams7 Station Master

I rode on the RRL for the first time the other day and had a terrible experience. At Footscray, both the staircases were closed for no apparent reason, meaning a rush for the lifts, which meant I missed my connecting Waurn Ponds service. Fortunately, it was only a 20 minute wait for the next South Geelong service, but 20 minutes ticked around and the PID screen switched to the next service, with no train! The V/Line staffer on the platform knew nothing, and only found out it had been cancelled 10 minutes later after calling the Ops Centre herself. Thus I waited 25 minutes for the next, late service, only for it to be a Waurn Ponds service, not stopping at North Shore where I had been intending on travelling, although I took it anyway and got a lift from Corio. Cancellations, delays and little communication to travellers (and staff for that matter). Not very impressed with this multi-billion dollar investment.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

Since the latest timetable commenced many Bendigo services have been utilising Platform 16 at Southern Cross. This is great especially for Up services as it shaves a couple of valuable minutes off and often enables me to make my Spark connection even though the 10.42 departure is exactly the scheduled arrival time of the 9.08 ex Castlemaine.

On Tuesday night the 5.31 Down Epsom was not quite so good. Departure was delayed 20 minutes. We had a platform but no train. The reason? "V/Line apologises for the delay, due to congestion here at Southern Cross the empty cars are currently unable to gain access to Platform 16"

We then ran late all the way and I arrived at the front bar of The Railway in Castlemaine 15 minutes behind first Stout Schedule.

BG
BrentonGolding
look n the bright side, you had plenty of time to down a second stout...................Very Happy
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Tim Fischer was interviewed by Jon Faine this morning on 774 ABC Melbourne. During the interview, Fischer referred to the Regional Rail Link's Deer Park West Junction rather amusingly as 'Chokepoint Charlie' due to its configuration as a flat junction with 60kph points. He also complained about the diversion of funds left over from the project to country highway upgrades.

Interview here: http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programitem/pe8BDzYXdL?play=true (interview begins at the 42 minute mark)
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Not having been in Melbourne since the RRL opened, I decided to take a couple of trips last Monday and Tuesday and I was quite impressed. Mind you, I travelled outside the peak, so had no seating worries.

On Monday 21/9, I did a return trip to Waurn Ponds - departing on a 3 Car VLO from Southern Cross at 09:30, and returning on the same set from Waurn Ponds departing at 10:52. The down trip was about 50% full, the return almost 100%. Both trips ran to time and I noticed that the Carpark at Tarneit was overflowing - so its popular there it seems. Some rough spots seem to have already developed on the Down track between Deer Park Junction and Tarneit, and also between Wyndham Vale and West Werribee. Cost was $4.13 each way (I am old enough for Concession Fares).

On Tuesday 22/9, I did a return trip to Castlemaine - departing on a 6 Car (2x3) VLO from Southern Cross at 10:15, and returning from Castlemaine on the same set (again) departing at 12:53. The down trip had limited stops whilst the return stopped at all stations to Sunbury - both ran on time and were about 50% full. Cost was $7.13 each way (Concession).

As a visitor, I am impressed, but no doubt the regular peak hour users will have issues with overcrowding and on-time running. Beats driving to and from though.

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