This has to be one of the strangest threads I've ever participated in here. Everyone appears in furious agreement. However that isn't going to stop me biting back here.
For my part, I am not an advocate of electrification to Picton. It's a one off incremental upgrade (of sorts), that on it's own probably isn't justified. But unlike just about everything else suggested here, it doesn't depend on the success of another project (of equally questionable value). Yes, it needs ARTC's support, but that is an administrative/political impediment, not a factual one. I think it's chances of getting proposed and getting up are quite high for that reason: that is something that can be done - as distinct from should be done.
You don't build 28km of overhead for a 1hrly service plus a few extra's in peak.
NSW does. This is the base service frequency of the Blue Mts, South Coast and Newcastle lines.
BTW, if anyone knows - or could provide a link- I'd be interested to learn the service frequency of the South Coast line prior to electrification south of Dapto.
Your cost assumptions do not include purchase of the EMU rollingstock for which the price difference is that great, more driven by volumes the technology.
Never said they did. But ... an hourly EMU service to Picton needs all of one extra train, which accommodating out of a fleet of over 200 trains should not be a problem.
Beefing up the DMU service out of the current fleet *is* a problem. In fact it's impossible. RailCorp need to either place a special order just for this route, or rely on another - as yet unfunded and unscheduled - delivering hand me down rolling stock to meet the need. (I think the latter that is the most likely outcome BTW).
Yes, the days of converting a line to electric traction to stop at stations the size of chicken sheds with zero facilities and at grade crossings are over, not just NSW. Also modern station infrastructure is such that when building greenfield, you want numbers.
Yet it's OK to buy a fleet of equivalent DMUs to provide an equivalent service without such upgrades?
I haven't driven through this area for a few years, but if I use the current satellite photos and assume some growth since, extension of the O/H to Menangle Park would likely be the current max you could justify.
I think everyone is in furious agreement on this point to. Everyone seems to think sparking the down road to Menangle Park, building a new down platform.
But I don't think NSW has a particularly good track record on these sorts of sensible incremental infrastructure upgrade decisions, especially in Rail. It tends to be all or nothing, a big political statement, which when implemented, is typically way over capitalised because everyone knows when the time comes for the next increment the funding won't be there.
No, Most of the IU electrification was built for freight. Today most of the IU spark network has passenger numbers to justify retention and in some areas expansion.
I would suggest Railcorp don't have a spark sitting around idle wondering what use it could be. Its takes long than one hour for a spark to do a loop Central to Picton and back. So you still need a train. DMU/EMU.
DMU replacement like for like. If you are spending money on O/H, it usually means there are reasonable number of users, what is Meangle Park to Picton delivering? Is the station wall to wall bodies like parts of Sydney? So yes its acceptable to replace the aging END cars with something shiner that still an oil burner.
At a guess the line will either supplied with a new fleet of DMU's along with rest of NSW regional, or as you said a series of hand me downs from XPL fleet relocated. As the XPL/END fleet is 1992 vintage, younger than much of the spark fleet, your trains are younger and even AC 'ed than commuters in parts of Sydney where they move real numbers.
So what is actually unfunded/unscheduled? The XPT/XPL replacement discussions are happening now. The govt has stated and allocated $1B or so to do the job.
I don't think they intentionally go for the multiple billion dollar project ignoring the smaller ones, its just we don't see it as much because, well there is no fan fare. Don't forget you have legal and safety issues that once you touch a piece of aging infrastructure, they whole thing needs to be moderised to current standards. So replacing a Pedestrian LX cannot be simply done to a walk over bridge, you need a lift etc etc.
So to do this O/H extension, a few questions
- Are both tracks bi-di?
- Would this spark extension impact on the current DMU operations? Duplicate, waste time??
- Are there sparks available?
- Can you use a Surburban Spark, the END has toilets correct? Suburban sparks don't.
- Is the platform long enough? (I checked, its likely even too short for a 4 car set)
- the sparked line will be mostly accessed across the tracks, so a bridge is required because if you build something to attrack bodies and someone gets flattened.....What would the Corona say?
- The car park needs to be extended
- Do you need a substation?
- How does it fit into the current or next timetable?
So a simple suggestion is not always so simple