The fact that there are two timetables is no criticism of the service as you seem to suggest - in fact, it shows the connectivity inherent in having multiple routes to Melbourne via several major centres.What is completely clear from the election less than 1 month ago is about progressive and inclusive government with services for all Victorians. The last two posts are not in this theme.The fundamental problem with the "we deserve a train, like other Victorians" line is that it leaves precisely zero room for nuance. Who can successfully argue that one town is more deserving than another?
The Mildura service will be returned as it provides services that voters clearly want.
The reality is, however, that even with a very substantial capital investment in track, facilities, signalling and rollingstock, a train to Mildura would be slow, circuitous, infrequent, and, on the whole, INFERIOR to the bus services it replaced.
The bus is slow...limited to 100Km/h for literally hours on end...
Yes it takes 2 separate timetables to cover the V/Line services on offer to Mildura...
The SG track would be third rail from Maryborough to Ballarat by the time this proposal eventually grows legs. Pax will change trains at Ballarat.
Trains would operate in tandem with the existing bus service so the towns that currently receive a V/Line bus service remain as part of the system EG Robinvale, Euston, Manangatang, Nyah etc.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because the track is upgraded BEFORE any scheduled passenger trains commence operation on the Mildura line.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it has superior disability access and facilities.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it encourages freedom of movement within the train cars.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it has catering at hand.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it has two classes of accommodation, both of which are more spacious.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it will be travelling faster than 100Km/h.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it will ride more smoothly than the bus on the Murray Valley, Calder and the goat track, Sunraysia Highway.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it is a safer mode of transport.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it is an inducer for people to travel by PT instead of driving or paying exorbitant air fares.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because the point to point times will be faster than the current train/bus timetable. (see above)
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because it will actually be an enhanced population changer like the other regional cities with regional trains.
The train is INFERIOR to the bus because the railway stations the train will serve now become community hubs and Tourist Information centres instead of deserted buildings.
I think that wraps up enough discussion regarding why the train is INFERIOR to the bus.
The rest is a classic example of the Gish gallop - trying to overwhelm the debate by providing a vast number of arguments, without regard to the accuracy or logic of them. So, taking you point by point:
- (addressing the comment here and in the other thread) Do you have any idea how much it would cost to upgrade the track to a standard that you perceive as a given? Getting DMU operation above 100km/h, high speed points, protecting level crossings... I think a very conservative estimate would be $500 million. The question must be asked whether half a billion dollars is a justifiable investment for, at the very most, one train load of people each way each day. Imagine what the same amount of money could do for the Swan Hill line and a fleet of new, accessible buses.
- I won't begrudge you this one.
- I have no idea what "freedom of movement" between carriages has to do with the provision of public transport. By that logic you would be happy with an articulated bus.
- The same facility is already provided for the majority of the bus/train journey. 2 and a half hours is not a particularly long time to go without food or refreshment.
- There is no suggestion that the next generation of regional stock will have two classes. Or is that another extra investment we need to make for the special Mildurans?
- I think you'll find the train won't ride particularly well on the Murray Valley Highway. Also, see point 1.
- That's splitting hairs. It's like comparing the safety records of the major Australian airlines - incidents happen so infrequently it's impossible to make any sort of meaningful statistical comparison.
- The question has to be asked at some point how many of the potential train passengers you mention are already using public transport. My suspicion is that it would be a large number. This means your capital investment (see point 1) can't even be fairly said to benefit the entire train load of passengers. Simultaneously, you reduce the number of passengers on the bus routes, which according to you, must remain open as well, because the state hasn't thrown enough money at this thing.
- See point 1. Massive investment required to compete on time, can it be justified?
- I have no idea what an "enhanced population changer" is - it sounds like something out of Gattaca - but if it's another sad attempt to compare Mildura to the RFR routes, just remember that no one is going to be doing the daily commute from Mildura on the train.
- See point 1. The state should spend a cool half bill just so a couple of buildings have people in them? Really?
Ultimately all these comments do nothing towards answering the primary question, which must be answered objectively, with some sort of rigorous evidence, if this thing is to ever get up.
Is there a substantial but untapped market of potential passengers in Mildura, who would gain some sort of economic and/or social benefit from the provision of a train specifically? Emphasis on the four tests that I thing need to be applied.
I wish the campaigners luck, I really do. I am on Railpage after all and am not a total cynic. But if they are to succeed, then they must learn that successful public transport campaigns are based on evidence, broad support and obvious potential for patronage, rather than emotional appeals which do nothing to win over the government or the broader public.