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Can the estimated trip time savings between Melbourne and Albury be realised? We review their proposal for do-ability.
Southern Cross to McIntyre Loop sees lots of scope to save time in running. 25km/h to the flyover, then up to 30 for a couple of hundred metres before that 15km/h diverge (thanks to the documented poor design of the dual gauge points), then back up to 30 - 40km/h to Sims Street (25 is quite enough through there). Then 65km/h to Tottenham platform area, then finally accelerate to 80 then 95km/h before the 65 curve at Albion.
And just when you think you are going places, we slow to 15km/h through McIntyre Loop because we are crossing a steel train. That is a long way at 15km/h. Get going again, and reach Broadmeadows after 42 minutes. What's that, about 20km from Melbourne?
Extending McIntyre loop to connect into Tullamarine Passing Lane would overcome so much of those problems. A decent alignment through Dynon and perhaps some decent trackwork at Sims Street would be nice. And there is no doubt that someone in Vline messed up when they installed those dual gauge points at the top of the Flyover.
And don't forget ARTC. they built the Wodonga by-pass track, which has as many mud holes as anywhere else on the NE SG. You cannot blame the 1962 VR track for that one!
If they could do Broadmeadows from Southern Cross in 20 minutes, that's a good saving without really raising track speeds or even getting close to 130km/h.
Slowing down for curves doesn't really worry us too much; most of them are good for at least 100km/h, and they tend to be in bunches, so once through a few you can get back up to speed again and retain that speed for some time. Broadmeadows to Lightwood, and then north of Seymour are the places where you would gain from 160km/h running, the rest just is lots of work and cost for little value.
Loco hauled trains (even when 5 cars plus PCJ) easily achieve 115km/h between each station. No reason why a Vlocity or similar could not achieve 130 (or 160), especially Broadmeadows - Lightwood and north of Seymour.
Biggest problem for us maintaining times is the Operator imposed speed restrictions (East track / old SG lines, due to woeful conditions), and the ARTC's TSR's. Consistently fixing them would save us another 10 - 15 minutes per trip.
Final slow down for VLP happens near the Murray River, where the NSW paranoia about driver-only trains means we only do 40km/h most of that section, and 15km/h into Albury platform (they cannot trust us to do 40, or even 25). That administrative problem costs us 5 minutes each trip.
Now, while still using N class hauling carriages, and by fixing those items above, and with a maximum 115km/h, we could achieve Melbourne - Albury in under 3 hrs 30 mins.
Acronyms; NE - North East; SG - standard gauge; TSR - temporary speed restriction; ARTC - Australia Rail Track Corporatation
To read discussions on the Proposal to Wodonga join us at: https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11398537.htm
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