New VLP Timetable January 2017

 
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

A new  VLP timetable is to be introduced in January 2017, along with a new  Metro tt especially for Northern Group.
(Sunday HUN  17/07/16)

The VLP changes were foreshadowed in the 2016  State Budget and will total something like 172 extra one way  trips per week .
A series of conflicting and disjointed Media Releases gives some idea of the likely extra VLP services each week .

South West + 64 West + 38  Northern + 28  Goulburn Valley + 14  Eastern + 28  =  Total  around  172

South Western  :  Geelong + 52 Warrnambool + 12  = 64

Weekdays -  An additional loco hauled  Warrnambool - Geelong return trip on Weekdays as an 0745 Up and  1700 Down .  NB: Melbourne pax cross platform transfer at Geelong to  V/Locity services .  

Geelong Weekdays  evenings goes to every 40 minutes instead of hourly, all trains to Waurn Ponds

Saturdays -   Geelong between 0700 and  1900 goes from hourly to 40 minutes with all services to / from Waurn Ponds.
Evenings to 40 minutes also ?

Sundays  -  Warrnambool additional return loco hauled to/from Melbourne.  Believed to be 1300  Up and  1700 Down .
Geelong between 0700 and  1900 goes from hourly to 40 minutes with all services to / from Waurn Ponds.
Evenings to 40 minutes also ?

Western  -  Ballarat + 28  Maryborough + 10 =  38

Weekdays -  guts of the day goes to every 40 minutes instead of hourly, with am Down and  Midday Up extensions to/from Maryborough .

Saturdays & Sundays  2 extra return trips each day, basically standardizing service frequency .

Northern -  Bendigo  +  28
Daily -  2 extra return trips to  standardize service frequency

North Eastern  /  Goulburn Valley :   +  14
Daily an extra return trip to Shepparton, largely as extensions of existing Seymour services  .(but as loco hauleds).

Eastern :   +  28
Daily  2 extra Traralgon return trips  basically standardizing service frequency .
Comment :  Why one would provide extra trips to Maryborough ahead of Echuca is just non sensical .

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  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Comment :  Why one would provide extra trips to Maryborough ahead of Echuca is just non sensical .
kuldalai
I hope that someone in PTV is listening to this. They should either do Echuca first, or both at the same time.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
- Good News for Geelong trains in the evening, my aunt who lives in Wyndham Vale got stuck in the city for an hour the other week, 60 min is too infrequent for a suburban line.  Hopefully in another 6-12 months the service might move to 30 min in the evenings/on weekends.

- The Warrnambool-Geelong train will be interesting to watch. If people don't mind changing at Geelong, perhaps we might see a similar system on the other long haul lines where there's only some trains that go all the way to Melbourne while others turn back.

- Will the new tt make use of the Rowsley Loop? Also, hopefully V/Line decide the service pattern to Ardeer/Deer Park for some consistency for those passengers.

- Too bad there's no improvements to the Echuca service. Obviously they want to keep ignoring it like they've ignored those level crossing upgrades for however long now. One can hope at least they change up the stopping pattern so that it runs limited express to Bendigo, which should get the time down to about 3 hours 5 min. With a line speed upgrade, this could be under 3 hours.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

- Good News for Geelong trains in the evening, my aunt who lives in Wyndham Vale got stuck in the city for an hour the other week, 60 min is too infrequent for a suburban line.  Hopefully in another 6-12 months the service might move to 30 min in the evenings/on weekends.

- The Warrnambool-Geelong train will be interesting to watch. If people don't mind changing at Geelong, perhaps we might see a similar system on the other long haul lines where there's only some trains that go all the way to Melbourne while others turn back.

- Will the new tt make use of the Rowsley Loop? Also, hopefully V/Line decide the service pattern to Ardeer/Deer Park for some consistency for those passengers.

- Too bad there's no improvements to the Echuca service. Obviously they want to keep ignoring it like they've ignored those level crossing upgrades for however long now. One can hope at least they change up the stopping pattern so that it runs limited express to Bendigo, which should get the time down to about 3 hours 5 min. With a line speed upgrade, this could be under 3 hours.
TOQ-1
- It is understood Geelong evenings goes to every 4o mins all trains to/from Waurn Ponds 7 days a week . The reason why 40 minutes is because then all trains can run through to Waurn Ponds. Whereas with a 30 minute frequency , every second train can only get as far as Marshall and with every 20 minutes only as far as South Geelong (as Weekday daytime current tt.)

- Not clear as to why Weekdays extra Warrnambool are not running to Melbourne through as the paths are available, if they ran express Geelong - Footscray as all Warrnambools should be doing . A SAS Warrnambool is another proof of disasterous crazy scheduling by VLP and  PTV.  We wait and see .

- No operation of a 40 minute Weekday Ballarat  Off Peak tt does not require use of Rowsley Loop.  Stations out to  Melton should be Weekday Off Peak day time consistent pattern  :  Ardeer served only by Bacchus Marsh trains only , Deer Park by  South Geelong, Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh trains, Rockbank by Bacchus Marsh trains only, Melton & Bacchus Marsh by  Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh trains  .  Ideally the Bacchus Marsh frequency should be stepped up too from hourly to every 40 minutes, but opeerated as Sprinter pairs in lieu of 3 car VL sets .

- Echuca, line speed and lx another failure of VLP management to deliver as promised back in 2011 .  We live in hope, one would think the Minister coming from Bendigo would show more interest in 1. Getting VLP to finish the lx upgrades and 2. Delivering the promised 100kmh Echuca linespeed .  PS:  0915 Dn Bendigo is easily extended to Echuca to form a midday ish  Up  Echuca.  Not rocket science, but no one in VLP or PTV cares .
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

- Echuca, line speed and lx another failure of VLP management to deliver as promised back in 2011 .  We live in hope, one would think the Minister coming from Bendigo would show more interest in 1. Getting VLP to finish the lx upgrades and 2. Delivering the promised 100kmh Echuca linespeed .  PS:  0915 Dn Bendigo is easily extended to Echuca to form a midday ish  Up  Echuca.  Not rocket science, but no one in VLP or PTV cares .
kuldalai
Maryborough is in a marginal electorate, Echuca is not.

Need I say more.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
- Echuca, line speed and lx another failure of VLP management to deliver as promised back in 2011 .  We live in hope, one would think the Minister coming from Bendigo would show more interest in 1. Getting VLP to finish the lx upgrades and 2. Delivering the promised 100kmh Echuca linespeed .  PS:  0915 Dn Bendigo is easily extended to Echuca to form a midday ish  Up  Echuca.  Not rocket science, but no one in VLP or PTV cares .
Maryborough is in a marginal electorate, Echuca is not.

Need I say more.
Carnot
Yes, Minister.
  MetroFemme Assistant Commissioner

Additional return service to Warrnambool will be welcomed and changing at Geelong is really not a problem as not everyone wants to go to Melbourne. Changing trains at major stations is not something new in many places around the world and has been a feature of the system in the past my dad tells me. Also think Bendigo will become a bigger hub with more trains but why no additional Echuca services?

Bendigo is nearly 160,000 people and Ballarat 100,000 but receives more services than Bendigo. Why?
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Maryborough is in a marginal electorate, Echuca is not.

Need I say more.
Yes, Minister.
YM-Mundrabilla
LOL, I can hear Sir Humphrey now.

SHA "More Rail services for Echuca? That's a very (pauses) brave idea Premier...... Might I humbly suggest that the Premier look at something a little easier for the electorate to stomach? Such as Marybourough for instance?

Dapper Dan "Electorate? What electorate"

SHA "Well Premier, when I say electorate what I mean is some of the more nervous members of the backbench"

BG
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Additional return service to Warrnambool will be welcomed and changing at Geelong is really not a problem as not everyone wants to go to Melbourne. Changing trains at major stations is not something new in many places around the world and has been a feature of the system in the past my dad tells me. Also think Bendigo will become a bigger hub with more trains but why no additional Echuca services?

Bendigo is nearly 160,000 people and Ballarat 100,000 but receives more services than Bendigo. Why?
MetroFemme
Bendigo's population is 100000, and we're further from Melbourne than Ballarat and thus have less commuters.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Except that Maryborough is in the electorate of Ripon, which is held by the Libs at the moment.

The last change to electorate boundaries saw Ripon move west a bit, it lost areas on the edge of Ballarat and gained areas on the edge of Ararat. That made the electorate more rural and less urban, all those extra farmers and small business people helped the Libs get a higher vote and take the seat from the ALP. But Ripon is still fairly marginal and it's by no means a safe seat. So governments of both flavours will continue to pour money into it.

By contrast Echuca is bang in the middle of National Party territory. Because there is no chance of the seat ever changing hands, that means neither Labour nor the Coalition will pork barrel money into the area.

To balance things, I will say that the Deer Park - Melton corridor is utterly safe ALP territory, thus the reluctance by both Labour and the Coalition to duplicate the railway line there... unless it would help services to Ballarat which has a couple of marginal-ish seats.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
No operation of a 40 minute Weekday Ballarat  Off Peak tt does not require use of Rowsley Loop.  Stations out to  Melton should be Weekday Off Peak day time consistent pattern  :  Ardeer served only by Bacchus Marsh trains only , Deer Park by  South Geelong, Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh trains, Rockbank by Bacchus Marsh trains only, Melton & Bacchus Marsh by  Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh trains  .  Ideally the Bacchus Marsh frequency should be stepped up too from hourly to every 40 minutes, but opeerated as Sprinter pairs in lieu of 3 car VL sets .

- Echuca, line speed and lx another failure of VLP management to deliver as promised back in 2011 .  We live in hope, one would think the Minister coming from Bendigo would show more interest in 1. Getting VLP to finish the lx upgrades and 2. Delivering the promised 100kmh Echuca linespeed .  PS:  0915 Dn Bendigo is easily extended to Echuca to form a midday ish  Up  Echuca.  Not rocket science, but no one in VLP or PTV cares .
kuldalai

Caroline Springs...surely that saga will be over by then.

Any info about stopping conditions for that windswept place.

Mike.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Additional return service to Warrnambool will be welcomed and changing at Geelong is really not a problem as not everyone wants to go to Melbourne. Changing trains at major stations is not something new in many places around the world and has been a feature of the system in the past my dad tells me. Also think Bendigo will become a bigger hub with more trains but why no additional Echuca services?

Bendigo is nearly 160,000 people and Ballarat 100,000 but receives more services than Bendigo. Why?
MetroFemme
Ballarat is being given priority in 40 minute frequency before Bendigo in that it can be done on existing infrastructure, and  VLP  / PTV  are in the bad books with  Government no doubt in having made such a b/up with the implementation of the initial RRL tt on the Ballarat Corridor in that it was tt and over optomistic on a single track .  So  Governmet keen to earn some brownie points fast before November 2018 on Ballarat line .

Bendigo will be next to get 40 minute Weekday daytime Off Peak frequency, and it can be done on the existing infrstructure .

Incidentally it takes 9 V/locity sets to run the 20 minute Geelong, 7 to run a 40 minute Ballarat, and 9 to run a 40 minute Bendigo frequency .
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

No operation of a 40 minute Weekday Ballarat  Off Peak tt does not require use of Rowsley Loop.  Stations out to  Melton should be Weekday Off Peak day time consistent pattern  :  Ardeer served only by Bacchus Marsh trains only , Deer Park by  South Geelong, Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh trains, Rockbank by Bacchus Marsh trains only, Melton & Bacchus Marsh by  Ballarat and Bacchus Marsh trains  .  Ideally the Bacchus Marsh frequency should be stepped up too from hourly to every 40 minutes, but opeerated as Sprinter pairs in lieu of 3 car VL sets .

- Echuca, line speed and lx another failure of VLP management to deliver as promised back in 2011 .  We live in hope, one would think the Minister coming from Bendigo would show more interest in 1. Getting VLP to finish the lx upgrades and 2. Delivering the promised 100kmh Echuca linespeed .  PS:  0915 Dn Bendigo is easily extended to Echuca to form a midday ish  Up  Echuca.  Not rocket science, but no one in VLP or PTV cares .

Caroline Springs...surely that saga will be over by then.

Any info about stopping conditions for that windswept place.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Would think initially that Caroline Springs will be served by Bacchus Marsh & Melton locals on Weekdays and by Ballarats oN Weekends till the patronage builds up .
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
The Gippsland line would benefit from more express services instead of having to put up with interminable stops at thinly used hamlets between Pakenham and Drouin. I think the Mansfield line had better patronage than some of those little places. Compare that with the Ballarat line - only a handful of stops beyond the metro area...and we have to put with crawling through the south eastern suburbs at walking pace.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Hmmmmmmmmm, I noticed they have forgotten the NE line (again).

Anyway, a comment on Bendigo and Ballarat.

According to the Austalian Bureau of Statistics, Both Bendigo and Ballarat's population is just under 150,000. By train Ballarat is 119 kilometres from Melbourne and Bendigo is 163ks.

My experience on both lines is limited, I have been to Ballarat more than a dozen times and to Bendigo 4 times. All though the experience is limited (as I mentioned) I have never had to wait for a cross on a trip to Bendigo, where as its quite normal to have to wait for a cross at either Parwon, Bank Box or Millsbrook/Dunstown on the Ballarat train. Ballarat though has a far greater percentage of the line capable of 160kph, this makes the Bendigo line comparatively slow. Note on each trip to Bendigo there were speed limits in force over at least part of the trip.

This overall makes the ballarat line somewhat more attractive for a regular commute.

As a side comment the Bendigo does have significant traffic between Castlemaine and Bendigo, the conductors I talked to were quite "chuffed" about this.

woodford
  skitz Chief Commissioner

The Gippsland line would benefit from more express services instead of having to put up with interminable stops at thinly used hamlets between Pakenham and Drouin. I think the Mansfield line had better patronage than some of those little places. Compare that with the Ballarat line - only a handful of stops beyond the metro area...and we have to put with crawling through the south eastern suburbs at walking pace.
gippslander
I agree Gippslander.

The pace through the suburbs is ridiculous with an average speed between 50km/hr and 60km/hr.  There is no end in sight with the visionless skyrail project that will help cars but see trains operate no faster and no visible planning for express tracks.

In regard to the timetable beyond Pakenham, I share your frustration at the 'stop all sheds' mentality.   Makes for a long day to work in Melbourne when you add a 2hr+ commute to each end of the day.

Two suggestions to discuss as ideas:  

1. Could the services be set up that a pick up service originate at Traralgon and picks up all stations to Warragul and then run express to Pakenham.  While at the same time a service originates ate Warragul and does a pick up service all stations to Pakenham.   Both services combine at Pakenham and use one path to the city.  (an no I am not concerned about a having two train crews or coupling of trains while loaded).   The pattern working in both directions at peak times.   Can you imagine how quick the journey to Warragul would be without a stop!

2. Do what they do on Perth's Armidale line where trains stop at every second station on an alternate pattern.  A down train for example would spilt at Pakenham, then alternate stops to the destination.  Same in both directions.

There is also the third option of rationalising the stations and closing station that are too close together.   Being a Traf local, I wonder what is the point of the station when I have to frequently travel to Warragul to catch the more appropriate service.  

I know I am prepared to plan my day to suit a better run time in a service in preference to having the convenience of service frequency.   I can understand that some users would want to go short trips.  My suggestions are to cater for peak times where the dominant market is the commuter to Melbourne and would be a peak time arrangement.  The slow 'stopping all sheds' can do what it likes during the day.

Thoughts and comments please.
  712M Chief Commissioner

In my opinion I would close Nar Nar Goon, Tynong, Bunyip and Longwarry and introduce a Warragul - Pakenham bus running every ~30 minutes to connect with suburban trains at Pakenham as well as V/Line trains at Garfield.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Hmmmmmmmmm, I noticed they have forgotten the NE line (again).

Anyway, a comment on Bendigo and Ballarat.

This overall makes the ballarat line somewhat more attractive for a regular commute.

As a side comment the Bendigo does have significant traffic between Castlemaine and Bendigo, the conductors I talked to were quite "chuffed" about this.

woodford
woodford

Agreed.

Generally speaking on the Ballarat line in recent times in particular, both on weekdays and weekends when I travel the cross delays have been minimal and in the peaks to and from Melbourne the timings have been very good.

It would be interesting to compare Castlemaine's daily to Melbourne commuter travel market to Ballarat on a per capita basis as Castlemaine is almost the same distance as Ballarat at 125Km. Bendigo is a stretch for a daily commute unless one uses the former flagship services in both directions.

40 years ago, when the Maryborough Walker rail car was operating, it used to arrive in Castlemaine about 07:30 to connect with the only AM up Bendigo which left Castlemaine at 07:35.
A close friend of mine who worked for the then VR at Castlemaine suggested the layover time at Castlemaine till 10:45 could be utilised by running the Walker to Bendigo as a commuter service and return, because at that time there was a market for that service and pax could return on the then 'night' train ex Bendigo at 17:25.

However this was a time when VR ran services for itself, not the general public...consequently it was another 30 years before a Castlemaine - Bendigo commuter service commenced.

Mike.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

I can vouch that the Bendigo - Castlemaine traffic is quite substantial.  And that includes people who live in Bendigo and work at the bacon factory in Castlemaine.

A surprising number also board the first morning Down train at Woodend and Kyneton for Castlemaine and Bendigo.
  MetroFemme Assistant Commissioner

How are Castlemaine to Bendigo morning services provisioned in terms of rollinsstock?

Does the rollinsstock come from Kyneton?

I assume these services originate at Castlemaine and for Bendigo to Castlemaine morning services do these terminate at Castlemaine?

Would the PTV consider scheduling shuttle services between the Castlemaine and Bendigo hubs?
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

How are Castlemaine to Bendigo morning services provisioned in terms of rollinsstock?

Does the rollinsstock come from Kyneton?

I assume these services originate at Castlemaine and for Bendigo to Castlemaine morning services do these terminate at Castlemaine?

Would the PTV consider scheduling shuttle services between the Castlemaine and Bendigo hubs?
MetroFemme
First morning Down service is usually a 3 car VLo that originates at SCS.  Gets to Bendigo at 8:16am to form the front half of the following Up service (back half is Echuca Up service).

And very inconveniently the next Down train gets to Bendigo at 9:20am...
  woodford Chief Commissioner

How are Castlemaine to Bendigo morning services provisioned in terms of rollinsstock?

Does the rollinsstock come from Kyneton?

I assume these services originate at Castlemaine and for Bendigo to Castlemaine morning services do these terminate at Castlemaine?

Would the PTV consider scheduling shuttle services between the Castlemaine and Bendigo hubs?
MetroFemme
From my discussions with the conductors people started travelling from Castlemaine to Bendigo when the Bendigo service become frequent enough for Castlemaine people could easily get a train into Bendigo for shopping or an appointment. From what the conductor said the patronage was not on particular services but was a significant general increase on all services between Castlemain and Bendigo.

To give some idea of the timings for such travel there is a good deal of traffic between Benalla and Wangarrata, people travelling to Wang on the 0930 Albury and comming back on the 1341 Melbourne train, gives 3 hours in  Wang, enough time for an appointment or two, some shopping and lunch. You cannot do the same thing to Albury as the delay to the evening train is far to long. Between Castlemaine and Bendigo patrons have a service every hour each way gives one plenty of flexibility. Lucky devils Wink.

woodford
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
The Gippsland line would benefit from more express services instead of having to put up with interminable stops at thinly used hamlets between Pakenham and Drouin. I think the Mansfield line had better patronage than some of those little places. Compare that with the Ballarat line - only a handful of stops beyond the metro area...and we have to put with crawling through the south eastern suburbs at walking pace.

1. Could the services be set up that a pick up service originate at Traralgon and picks up all stations to Warragul and then run express to Pakenham.  While at the same time a service originates ate Warragul and does a pick up service all stations to Pakenham.   Both services combine at Pakenham and use one path to the city.  (an no I am not concerned about a having two train crews or coupling of trains while loaded).   The pattern working in both directions at peak times.   Can you imagine how quick the journey to Warragul would be without a stop!

skitz
The original thinking behind RFR was to provide fast connections to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley. The City of Latrobe has a population of 75000 and a catchment around of another 10000 or so, which makes it quite similar in size to Ballarat & Bendigo. However, the dumbing down of the timetable to pretty much stopping all stations puts it at a serious disadvantage to the other two centres, particularly when the extensive section of metro area has to be traversed at narrow gauge speeds. I accept that the micro towns closer to Melbourne have the right to be service, but a return trip from Traralgon to Southern Cross is now a pretty tortuous exercise.

I like the idea of Warragul once again getting some peak hour originating services so that the growing Drouin/Warragul periurban  centres can be better serviced as well as the small settlements down the line, and allowing the Latrobe Valley folk to get a better run. A lot of the boardings at Traralgon are from places like Sale, Yarram and Maffra so it can be seen that the rail service is handling quite a few long distance travellers. I think that V/Line needs to move away from its traditional terminus to city and return mindset, and realize that much of the business is now intra region.
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
The Gippsland line would benefit from more express services instead of having to put up with interminable stops at thinly used hamlets between Pakenham and Drouin. I think the Mansfield line had better patronage than some of those little places. Compare that with the Ballarat line - only a handful of stops beyond the metro area...and we have to put with crawling through the south eastern suburbs at walking pace.

1. Could the services be set up that a pick up service originate at Traralgon and picks up all stations to Warragul and then run express to Pakenham.  While at the same time a service originates ate Warragul and does a pick up service all stations to Pakenham.   Both services combine at Pakenham and use one path to the city.  (an no I am not concerned about a having two train crews or coupling of trains while loaded).   The pattern working in both directions at peak times.   Can you imagine how quick the journey to Warragul would be without a stop!
The original thinking behind RFR was to provide fast connections to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley. The City of Latrobe has a population of 75000 and a catchment around of another 10000 or so, which makes it quite similar in size to Ballarat & Bendigo. However, the dumbing down of the timetable to pretty much stopping all stations puts it at a serious disadvantage to the other two centres, particularly when the extensive section of metro area has to be traversed at narrow gauge speeds. I accept that the micro towns closer to Melbourne have the right to be service, but a return trip from Traralgon to Southern Cross is now a pretty tortuous exercise.

I like the idea of Warragul once again getting some peak hour originating services so that the growing Drouin/Warragul periurban  centres can be better serviced as well as the small settlements down the line, and allowing the Latrobe Valley folk to get a better run. A lot of the boardings at Traralgon are from places like Sale, Yarram and Maffra so it can be seen that the rail service is handling quite a few long distance travellers. I think that V/Line needs to move away from its traditional terminus to city and return mindset, and realize that much of the business is now intra region.

The other interesting development is that the State seat of Morwell has moved from safe Nat status to a marginal, and both major parties are recognising that.
  beanzs27 Assistant Commissioner

For the extra Warrnambool weekday train is the 1700 down leaving Geelong at 1700 or Melbourne at 1700 or arriving into Warrnambool at 1700?

What does that train do between it arriving into Geelong in the morning until it leaves in the afternoon?

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