V/Line to squeeze Albury assets to boost reliability

 
Topic moved from News by bevans on 19 Oct 2016 14:36
  hbedriver Assistant Commissioner

Few points to note.
1. SG trains via Albion to/from Broady at best take about the same as a peak hour loco-hauled train following a spark at worst, so not much to be gained from diverting from current.
2. Running via Upfield has potential, however the access across the ARTC tracks may be an issue. Can ARTC be expected to hold the grade crossing when the XPT is approaching? (I doubt they will!) Or are they going to build a flyover similar to Manor Junction, which will have to be higher to span electrified tracks?
3. Gauge conversion beyond Seymour? That places all Shepparton as well as Albury trains via Albion; these trains won't lose much time, with more capacity to run more trains in the peak hours. Assume they will convert the existing Up line to SG, and make the Down line bi-directional, maybe with passing lanes at Kilmore East/Mt piper and Tallarook using existing alignments. That keeps the commuter traffic separate from longer distance, possibly also allowing faster transit times on Up side of Seymour off-setting the time lost via Albion. Note that some Shepparton trains SAS, many stop at 4 places (Wallan, Wandong, Kilmore East and Broadford), so easy to reduce travel times.
4. Extend McIntyre Loop to link directly into Tullamarine Passing Lane (dunno why they didn't do that in the first place). That avoids the horrid low-speed approach into the loop (15km/h all the way in).
5. Remove most sidings at Tottenham, straighten the sg tracks to allow faster speeds (currently 65km/h, with numerous hard curves).
6. Transfer track back to V/Line control/maintenance, avoiding the issues with ARTC as track manager. If the track falls apart, then there will be no doubt who is to blame.

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  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Few points to note.
1. SG trains via Albion to/from Broady at best take about the same as a peak hour loco-hauled train following a spark at worst, so not much to be gained from diverting from current.
2. Running via Upfield has potential, however the access across the ARTC tracks may be an issue. Can ARTC be expected to hold the grade crossing when the XPT is approaching? (I doubt they will!) Or are they going to build a flyover similar to Manor Junction, which will have to be higher to span electrified tracks?
3. Gauge conversion beyond Seymour? That places all Shepparton as well as Albury trains via Albion; these trains won't lose much time, with more capacity to run more trains in the peak hours. Assume they will convert the existing Up line to SG, and make the Down line bi-directional, maybe with passing lanes at Kilmore East/Mt piper and Tallarook using existing alignments. That keeps the commuter traffic separate from longer distance, possibly also allowing faster transit times on Up side of Seymour off-setting the time lost via Albion. Note that some Shepparton trains SAS, many stop at 4 places (Wallan, Wandong, Kilmore East and Broadford), so easy to reduce travel times.
4. Extend McIntyre Loop to link directly into Tullamarine Passing Lane (dunno why they didn't do that in the first place). That avoids the horrid low-speed approach into the loop (15km/h all the way in).
5. Remove most sidings at Tottenham, straighten the sg tracks to allow faster speeds (currently 65km/h, with numerous hard curves).
6. Transfer track back to V/Line control/maintenance, avoiding the issues with ARTC as track manager. If the track falls apart, then there will be no doubt who is to blame.
hbedriver
1. Also important to consider Capacity of RRL to run via Albion. You'd probably also want a flying junction at Albion to prevent conflict with Metro trains.
2. A grade separated junction is the plan (eventually). Given the proximity to the Somerton Road bridge, I'm actually expecting the Upfield line to go under the ARTC tracks. It's the interstate lines that have a higher clearance to provision for future double stacking.
6. If whoever is in charge doesn't get the funding, the track will be poor quality no matter what. The manager isn't the real issue here.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

oops Woodford.  Remember the Albury service is SG via Albion and it runs express to Broadie and then Express to Seymour, which is what Kuldalai and I say should be the style of service pattern reintroduced back onto the Warrnambool and other services.   Cheers
Trainplanner
It actually was not an oops, the phrasing was deliberate,

woodford
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
I dont follow @woodford.  Albury services go via Albion - and dont share tracks with Metro (except maybe a little bit down at SCS), and they already go express Broadmeadow-Seymour.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Could V/Line services use the tracks on the map between Albion and Broadmeadows for passenger services and would this add much time to the current timetable?
MetroFemme
They can and they have used that path, its fairly rare though, but I have been on two Seymour and one Albury train that was diverted that way. It generally takes slightly longer, the time though is governed by other traffic particularly from Totenham in towards Southern Cross.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
We talk regularly about the poor state of track on the North East but there are many areas of the Melbourne Metro area where the track is incredible poor especially around Windsor!
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
We talk regularly about the poor state of track on the North East but there are many areas of the Melbourne Metro area where the track is incredible poor especially around Windsor!
x31

Except that...with respect, trains around Windsor would unlikely exceed 60KPH. Trains on the North East are scheduled to operate at a maximum speed of 130KPH.

Mike.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Could V/Line services use the tracks on the map between Albion and Broadmeadows for passenger services and would this add much time to the current timetable?
MetroFemme
Yes VLP bg passenger services could use the route via Sunshine, Albion and Jacana ; and in fact have done so in times of disruption in past years .

-  BUT  track quality is only 65kmh on the bg line.
- More importantly if you ran bg  Seymour & Shepparton services via Sunshine then that chews up scarce train paths on the Metro lines which are needed for Sunbury services.
- Likewise VLP paths on RRL are required for  Geelong & Ballarat services .

That is why the plan is to run Seymour & Shepparton services via Upfield as that line has spare capacity at peak hours. The flow on effect by removing these VLP trains from the route via Essendon and Broadmeadows will be to release these VLP paths to extra Metro peak services .
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Question, what capacity is there on the SG line at peak?
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

Maybe Victoria are interested in some 30 year old XPT's when the NSW Government replaces them.
  hbedriver Assistant Commissioner

You've been listening to the same rumours as I have! And they would lower the average age of the loco-hauled stock system-wide. Small wonder VLP call them their "classic fleet".

As to James.AU's question, there isn't much capacity on the SG line in the peaks between Melbourne and Freemantle Junction, and limited scope for more trains between there and Somerton loop. The low speed approaches through McIntyre and Somerton loops are a constraint through chewing up track occupancy time. Wallan Loop is another constriction. One would have expected that the passing lanes at Tullamarine and Kilmore East might have rendered these old type loops redundant, however they still seem to get at least as much use as the newer, higher speed Passing Lanes. See also my point 4 from 27/10 above.

Quite common for incoming trains to be held back waiting for shunts around Sims Street to clear. Bi-di double tracks are only a help if they can be used, as it is you get a train coming out on one track, a shunt on the other, so we get held back even as far back as McIntyre. Maybe they need to install a shunting neck at Sims Street for the PN trains?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Freemantle Junction??
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Could the current line take say the existing Shepparton services, assuming as posted upthread, that the Shep line goes SG?

Ive looked at the timetables and think possibly yes, but dont know the ins and outs of how it all works from a timetable management perspective.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Could the current line take say the existing Shepparton services, assuming as posted upthread, that the Shep line goes SG?

Ive looked at the timetables and think possibly yes, but dont know the ins and outs of how it all works from a timetable management perspective.
james.au
Probably not, 4 Albury trains and 4 Shep trains a day, the SG line from Seymour is basicly a single line track can not cope with existing traffic without significant delays waiting for cross's, and from Totenmham yard in the lines a pigs breakfast, as hbedriver has mentioned its not hard to be waiting a long time for shunting to clear the path.

If the Shep line is converted to SG they are going to have to spend BIG sums of money on the line from Seymour all the way in to Southern Cross otherwise it will be a disaster.

woodford
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Freemantle Junction??
james.au
Tottenham (Former B Box)
  Inland_Sailor Junior Train Controller

Could the current line take say the existing Shepparton services, assuming as posted upthread, that the Shep line goes SG?

Ive looked at the timetables and think possibly yes, but dont know the ins and outs of how it all works from a timetable management perspective.
Probably not, 4 Albury trains and 4 Shep trains a day, the SG line from Seymour is basicly a single line track can not cope with existing traffic without significant delays waiting for cross's, and from Totenmham yard in the lines a pigs breakfast, as hbedriver has mentioned its not hard to be waiting a long time for shunting to clear the path.

If the Shep line is converted to SG they are going to have to spend BIG sums of money on the line from Seymour all the way in to Southern Cross otherwise it will be a disaster.

woodford
Will not the section between Melb and Seymour be upgraded to the required standard [double track?] under the Inland Rail Project and therefore be capable of handling SG Shepp traffic?
  tazzer96 Chief Commissioner

Okay, south of tottenham yard, its not a pretty sight.  Not a hige amount of improvements can occur here without spending big $$$.    But between seymour and tottenham, what is stopping them putting some 200m long loops just for passenger trains to pass.  It won't stop delays but will increase reliability and some speed.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Will not the section between Melb and Seymour be upgraded to the required standard under the Inland Rail Project and therefore be capable of handling the Shepp traffic?
Inland_Sailor
With a major freight terminal planed for Donnybrook/Beverage,It would be expected that most freight services from Northern States would terminate / originate here or at another terminal In the outer Western Suburbs (linked by an outer ring transport corridor)  

Smaller port shuttles trains working to Port of Melbourne / Port of Geelong ?
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Okay, south of tottenham yard, its not a pretty sight.  Not a hige amount of improvements can occur here without spending big $$$.    But between seymour and tottenham, what is stopping them putting some 200m long loops just for passenger trains to pass.  It won't stop delays but will increase reliability and some speed.
"tazzer96"



From my experience from travelling on the Albury train, from Tottenham in is where all the big delays occur, the Melbourne bound train quite regularly is held up at the signal in Tottneham just before the track starts to decend for the Bunbury st Tunnel.

From my experience on the line between Broadmedows and Seymour the controlers give passes priority, if as is the case with the morning Melbourne bound service that twp passes cross, they will usually ask the train that will have to stop in a loop to slow down so it does not have to stop.

Note: The Albury train can get from Broadmedows to Southern Cross in 26 minutes, it can (and has) also taken 50 minutes such variation in this day and age is stupidity

woodford.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks Woodford.  Going back to around 2008 when rail traffic forecasts undertaken by ARTC in association with the Department of Transport (and in line with Bureau of Transport Economics), were much more bullish than they are now, it was forecast that by around 2014 to 2016, there case for duplicating the Seymour to Tottenham section of the SG.    As part of those forecasts daily train numbers were anticipated to be around 30 - 36 or so per day with passenger trains 12 being V/Line 8 (4 each way) and XPT 4 (same as today) and the rest freight around 18 to 24 = 9 to 12 each way.

The real bottle neck as mentioned here was Somerton through to Simms Street with the section in from Tottenham being particularly problematic which is why despite some pulling back in scope, the NE Project still contained new "holding" capacity at Tottenham, a new loop and bi-directional running from Tottenham to Simms street to allow parallel moves etc combined with resignalling and a host of other track works at Simms Street.

Unfortunately with a reduced budget things like the commissioning of passing lanes between Tottenham and Somerton were deferred etc resulting in a diabolical timetable for the NE V/Line services with additional 15 to 20 minutes for crosses etc.

Ever since the commissioning of that passing lane, no one appears to have any real appetite to totally clean up and revamp the timetables and other working for both passenger trains and freight services, between Somerton and Dynon and Laverton and Dynon to maximize the available capacity that exists there.   This has been complicated further with lots of light engine movements, wagon transfers etc all through Tottenham etc as well as using the mainline through Simms street for shunting etc making this a very complicated area.

I mention this because there has been consideration from time to time about actually dual gauging the Upfield Line to divert all SG and BG regional and interstate trains to/from the north-east down that line and this then leaves only The Overland to have to go via Tottenham.

At first glance the first response is always what impact will these extra trains have on the Upfield Line and how do you squeeze this through North Melbourne.

In numbers of trains, the Upfield runs three to four per hour.   Regional and interstate train frequencies would for the most part add about another 3 trips each way per hour if you combine Seymour, Shep and the NE standard gauge.   That brings the total number of train movements each way per hour at the busiest hour up to 7 to 8 per hour.   Sure from the junction of the Upfield Line just prior to North Melbourne through to the junction into Southern Cross is a lot more problematic but not impossible.   Whichever you cut you still have achieved 3 very significant things.  You've removed ALL north east broad and standard gauge passengers of both the SG via Albion and the BG via Essendon.  ALL SG passenger trains are also off the North Melbourne Flyover.  The BG trains that ran via Essendon now only occupy a very short segment of Metro track around Nth Melbourne and the real issue is adding a relatively short section of DG through Nth Melbourne.

In the overall there are real benefits to everyone including those sqeezing capacity out of the Metro network, getting passenger trains out of the SG Port and Terminals area, and improving both the transit time and reliability for BG and SG services.

This also facilitates the next round of regional gauge standardization in the Goulburn Valley as the biggest passenger  infrastructure issue as part of that project has been largely addressed.
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

How would the cost of dual-gauging the Upfield line compare with equipping the new regional trains with variable-guage bogies ?  In Spain there are about 600 passenger cars with variable guage bogies able to switch from the narrow guage network onto the standard guage high speed network.  In addition to savings from not having to dual-guage the Upfield line, other benefits would be
- passenger trains could use the dual-track broad guage line from Seymour rather than the single track standard guage
- the line via Broadmeadows could be used as an alternative to Upfield
- there would be a single pool of variable-guage regional trains serving both broad and standard guages, rather than a small fleet on standard guage with either low reliability (as at present) or low utilisation (as with current plants for 4 train sets of which only 2 would be in service at any time)
- the Shepparton line could be standardised without impacting fleet requirements
- a wider choice of platforms would be available to Southern Cross, instead of the few currently with dual guage
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
What would the cost of dual gauging the Upton line be @Trainplanner?  
Id assume SG would be diesel only operations too given the possible alignment issues with the overhead?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Thanks James.au.   A big question affecting dual gauging would be around how much the line has been equipped with BG concrete sleepers.   I haven't been across it for a very longtime but would assume there would be some, especially in station pits and through level crossings.   Even so concrete sleepers could be reclaimed for use elsewhere on the Metro network as there are extensive quantities of BG concrete needed.    So at around $110 each at about 1600 or so per kilometre not exactly cheap plus the associated signaling mods for the dual gauge detection.   The big issue is dual gauge turnouts and signaling but put in perspective this has medium and long term benefits both for improving NE passenger services as well as giving up a lot more capacity for Metro on its busy Broadie route and really hands over the Tottenham to Dynon area almost exclusively for freight which we expect to grow with the port sale etc.   Sorry I cannot be more definitive.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Care to ballpark it??
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Real ball park $250-$350 mill.    Probably half to a third the cost of trying to really expand capacity from Broadie to Simms street via Albion.

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