Ballarat needs another rail track more than extra carriages says Public Transport Users Association

 

News article: Ballarat needs another rail track more than extra carriages says Public Transport Users Association

The Public Transport Users Association says boosting the number of regional train carriages will not make much of a difference for passengers on the Ballarat line.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The Public Transport Users Association says boosting the number of regional train carriages will not make much of a difference for passengers on the Ballarat line.

The Victorian Government has ordered 21 extra carriages which it said would increase capacity and allow an extra 1,500 people to travel on V/Line services each day.
Ballarat needs another rail track more than extra carriages says Public Transport Users Association

The investment recently announced by the Andrew's government will solve the overcrowding issues and provide additional capacity for those trains which are already at capacity. Is there capacity for additional services?

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  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Is there capacity for additional services?
bevans
There might be in one direction. But there will no doubt be a time when that capacity will run out.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
But there will no doubt be a time when that capacity will run out.
railblogger
You start to know this when road coach services start appearing on the timetable for the counter peak.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
The track capacity studies for the Ballarat Line identified 3 key projects that are needed to operate an UNCONSTRAINED 30 minute frequency in both directions.  An additional crossing loop between Bacchus Marsh and the commencement of the Ingliston Bank, a loop at Gordon eliminating the use of the longer and slower old main and installing a turnout and upgrading the second track from Ballarat up to Warrenheip.

These capacity improvement would also permit "fleeting" of peak period trains in the peak direction to operate at about 15 minutes whilst still enabling a contra peak service at a reasonable frequency.

The so called Ballan loop and second platform announcement of the former Government which in reallity would have been a disaster thankfully never went ahead and the revised "Ballan" loop which is now closer to Bacchus Marsh as referred above is I understand on program for construction.

While all 3 uprades referred to here would result in much more efficient utilization of train sets and better uniform timetables, the reallity is every ounce of train capacity will be required to service Wyndham Vale and Tarneit which will be served by v/Line trains only rather than the original Regional Rail Link Plan which was to extend Werribee Line Metro services round the corner to serve those two stations.   There was a huge amount of funds saved through the competitive tendering and work package arrangements for RRL that would have just about fully funded that extension. It should never have been removed from the scope and importantly it provided a rail to rail transfer for people travelling from the Geeelong Corridor to the Newport and associated areas of Melbourne.

Instead as has been stated by others and myself we will see V/Line trains deluged with customers when full services start next month and whilst regional passengers will mostly get a seat in the morning just watch the free for all in the PM peak as Metro customers and VLine passengers fight to get aboard.   Any true benefits of RRL will be buried under the mass of adverse media coverage and not caused by the new Government!!!
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The original Regional Rail Link Plan which was to extend Werribee Line Metro services round the corner to serve those two stations.   There was a huge amount of funds saved through the competitive tendering and work package arrangements for RRL that would have just about fully funded that extension. It should never have been removed from the scope and importantly it provided a rail to rail transfer for people travelling from the Geeelong Corridor to the Newport and associated areas of Melbourne.
Trainplanner

I can see this Werribee - Wyndham Vale link becoming high on the wish list for Wyndham locals.

Commuters from Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and maybe even Williams Landing may wish to travel to the City via a change of trains at Wyndham Vale (If this link was In place)

No doubt when Wyndham Vale and Tarneit open next Month there will be chaos, with trains packed too the rafters, people going off their heads because they can't get a seat.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
That is also what I am predicting. I have no idea why electrification to Wyndham Vale at least was left out of RRL - building new lines without connecting them to the old ones is just bad planning
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
That is also what I am predicting. I have no idea why electrification to Wyndham Vale at least was left out of RRL - building new lines without connecting them to the old ones is just bad planning
TOQ-1

The sad part in all of this will be the negativity on opening around the lack of electrification and over-crowding which will plague the network and place the entire project into the trough of disillusionment.

Could and should have been a better planned network around connection between the new RRL lines and the old RRL lines.

The position of the government of course will be the new vline was built for vline only.  With the money saved did this still go into Rail or was it spent somewhere else?
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Just a point in passing..........................

Excuse the fixed formating, the following has been writen in an external editor in order to allow me time to write it well. Sadly these days its VERY likely Railpage will kick you out if any piece takes longer than a few minutes to write. Its happened to me repeatedly. hence this solution.

Woodford on managment..................

Any group running any orginisation behaves the same way. Anything new has a hard
time getting up. This is because new means unkown and carries a greater risk
than repairing an existing problem. this is a WELL known management issue.

Look at the mass of critcism leveled at the regional fast rail and also the
regional rail link even in Railpage. This usually means funds for new projects
will be restricted, so the powers to be must make choices from a range of options.
As Sir Humphrey Appelby said in Yes Prime Minster, such choices please a small
group but enfuriate everyone else. So a new project will rarely meet with mass    
aprovel. Fixing an existing issue though becomes much easier, the more serious    
the issue usually the easier it becomes to fix as nearly all parties can see the  
solution. So the managing group does not have to sell the solution.

The current sitution with these new stations could easily have been set up to
allow the government to be able to push through what previously could have been
much cricised as waste of money.

As already stated this problem and its solution by somehow delibrately setting up
a critical situation are well known by nearly all modern mangement.

Its one of the many was  availible to the powers to be that allow them to minipulate
the rest of the people. Now I am not saying this is the case here, but it certainly
could be.

woodford
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Has the PTV or vline begun advertising or issues communications to the public regarding the changes to vline services via RRL ?

What plan could be dusted off to address that perceived shortfalls in the RRL project if overcrowding becomes an issue ?

Did the government transport planners know about the expected over crowding ?
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Any group running any orginisation behaves the same way. Anything new has a hard
time getting up. This is because new means unkown and carries a greater risk
than repairing an existing problem. this is a WELL known management issue.

Look at the mass of critcism leveled at the regional fast rail and also the
regional rail link even in Railpage. This usually means funds for new projects
will be restricted, so the powers to be must make choices from a range of options.
As Sir Humphrey Appelby said in Yes Prime Minster, such choices please a small
group but enfuriate everyone else. So a new project will rarely meet with mass    
aprovel. Fixing an existing issue though becomes much easier, the more serious    
the issue usually the easier it becomes to fix as nearly all parties can see the  
solution. So the managing group does not have to sell the solution.
woodford

@woodford I do not disagree with your comments.  Provide a place to critique government policy and it will happen.  Railpage is one such place.

if I can be more specific about thoughts.  Is it really about making the right decision being the issue or more about the implementation? From where I sit there implementation of rail projects in the state is a major problem.  Not only are they over priced and in some cases poorly executed but there is a perception we do not get good value for money.

The second issue (I believe) is in the planning.  The RRL is a perfect example.  A well developed and run project in my view. Delivered under budget and on time.  But could it have been planned better?  If there was money left over then why was the glaringly obvious omission of an interconnection at West Werribee or similar not addressed?

It is these omissions which bring an entire project into question.  Obvious omissions.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Talking of more service and more capacity, I wonder the details like:

* how many velocity units can couple and make a train ? I'm thinking of how many 3 car sets can form a train, not how many intermediate carriages units can make a "poor man's xpt" . Not asking how many can they join, as they might be able to attach many more and control them but not for passengers. I'm interested in passenger carrying.

* depending on the first answer, can the stations along the line cope with longer trains ?

Regards,
David Head
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Talking of more service and more capacity, I wonder the details like:

* how many velocity units can couple and make a train ? I'm thinking of how many 3 car sets can form a train, not how many intermediate carriages units can make a "poor man's xpt" . Not asking how many can they join, as they might be able to attach many more and control them but not for passengers. I'm interested in passenger carrying.

* depending on the first answer, can the stations along the line cope with longer trains ?

Regards,
David Head
dthead
The longest Vlocities are currently 7 cars long, 3+2+2. I believe as a part of RRL, they were being modified/upgraded to allow 9 car running.

The Down Platforms at Footscray and Sunshine have been built for 9 cars, the Up Platforms for 7. I believe Tarneit and Wydham Vale have both been built for 9 cars.

This implies that Geelong trains will run as 7 cars maximum in both directions (I am unsure of platform length in Geelong, potentially these could also be 9 if there are platforms that allow this), and any local Wydham Vales would be 9 cars in the afternoon peak and a maximum of 7 in the morning.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Tests have been undertaken to enable 9 V'Locity cars to be operated (3 x 3-car sets).   Similarly the 2 new stations on the RRL section plus Sunshine, Footscray are suitable to 9 car consists so the concept of shuttles is a possibility.  The announcement of 21 V'Locity carriages and very importantly the establishment of a new stabling facility at Waurn Ponds on the Warrnambool end of the cement works provides the opportunity to now seriously consider non-powered intermediate cars to create 4 car sets.   This was always an option but the issue was availability of a maintenance facility to support 4 car sets as existing facilities are geared around 3 car sets.

I have seen details of the reduced capital and operating costs for developing the 4 car configuration and the case for it is very compelling.  Impact on operating performance of a 4-car set has been assessed as being so minimal that it wn't impact on journey times.

Changing some  entrenched thinking in V/Line and elsewhere is more likely the challenge

The 4 car set option complemented by a facility at Waurn Ponds enables these bigger sets to be used on the Geelong Line as 8 car sets in the peak period with other platform extensions needing to be undertaken.   Importantly there are many non peak services currently operated with 5 and 6 car consists that would be better suited to a 4-car set.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Tests have been undertaken to enable 9 V'Locity cars to be operated (3 x 3-car sets).   Similarly the 2 new stations on the RRL section plus Sunshine, Footscray are suitable to 9 car consists so the concept of shuttles is a possibility.  The announcement of 21 V'Locity carriages and very importantly the establishment of a new stabling facility at Waurn Ponds on the Warrnambool end of the cement works provides the opportunity to now seriously consider non-powered intermediate cars to create 4 car sets.   This was always an option but the issue was availability of a maintenance facility to support 4 car sets as existing facilities are geared around 3 car sets.
Trainplanner

Thanks for a great post.  isa the plan to service Geelong based Vlocity sets at Waurn Ponds and stabling to be at both Geelong and WP?

How big is the WP facility to be?

Also how many VLocity sets are stored in Ballarat overnight?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line

No doubt when Wyndham Vale and Tarneit open next Month there will be chaos, with trains packed to the rafters, people going off their heads because they can't get a seat.
Nightfire

As the travel time from Wyndham Vale to Footscray will be no more than 30 mins....it's not going to be the end of the World. These same pax are standing on slower METRO sparks over a longer journey, particularly in the evenings right now.

Mike.
  TedHanson Junior Train Controller

...If there was money left over then why was the glaringly obvious omission of an interconnection at West Werribee or similar not addressed?...
bevans
There wasn't any money left over. In 2011, both the ALP federal government and the LNP state government reduced the amount of money originally committed (almost $1 billion all up). The savings (through reduced "scope") went to the bottom line of both budgets.

Consider regional rail 15 years ago - it was almost finished - and was well and truly the mode of travel of last resort, especially for anyone who owned a car. All that changed with investment, albeit relatively minor on the scale of things. Remember the squeals about "farce rail" when the cost of the renewal topped $1 billion; $1 billion for 500km of rejuvenated track and signals! And yet, almost 50% of the community was recently prepared to pay ten times that amount for a 4.4km tunnel. Go figure.

These days, rather than being the mode of last resort, regional rail is the preferred option for many from the regional cities. You can see why on those few occasions when the track parallels the corresponding highway - 160kph compared with 100kph. It may not be the TGV or Shinkansen, but it's the fastest in Australia - until the lines meet the Metro system.

RRL will solve many of those problems for three regional rail services but not for the other one to Traralgon. No amount of signalling will solve that, only a third track for express services, at least to Dandenong, will. But despite spending billions on an upgrade, no such provision will be made. This rubbish about being able to do it some time in the future is just that - rubbish. Unless you build excess provision at the time, later provision is rarely if ever made, and if it is, it is at a far greater cost (think solving the problems of the Loop).

When the current metro network was built and then electrified almost 100 years ago, there was enormous excess provision built into the network - and we have been living off that ever since. But the few bottlenecks that were part of that excellent provision (think Heidelberg line) have proved impossible to remedy.

My guess is that when the RRL opens in June, it will significantly boost ridership figures which will produce its own set of problems. But that is far better than having done nothing for fear of not doing it perfectly. As long as we live in a low tax country we will never have first class infrastructure, but will have to make do with a cheaper version. It's better than nothing.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
The concept of a depot at Waurn Ponds which is just beyond the perimeter of the Outer Geelong Urban Growth Boundary emerged at about the sametime as the early planning for Grovedale Station commenced.   It was based on putting your train stabling etc at the end of the corridor to minimize the amount of dead running and shunting movements. It also enables an increase in the number of peek period trains that can be operated south of Geelong as these can be "fleeted" out of Waurn Ponds of a morning and similarly back in the evening.


  It was also about planning to remove train stabling and cleaning functions at Geelong Station  that are inadequate for the ever increasing train fleet.   Train stabling options have also been planned and considered using spare sidings at North Geelong as well so that in time Geelong Station could be redeveloped with surrounding high quality commercial development to reinvigorate that part of the City.   (Newcastle NSW take note).

On the basis that the new depot is now committed this provides an opportunity to establish a depot that could be configured to maintain 4-car train sets as I advised earlier as all other depots are configured for 3 car sets and these depots would either be too costly or in fact almost impossible to extend to service a four car set.

It should be pointed out that the 21 V'Locity carriage order is not really the ultimate solution for the Geelong Line.  It has been proposed in the past that a high capacity train set for the Geelong Line (and Melton/Bacchus Marsh) be developed and doing so release a flood of V'Locity sets to replace H sets in particular on other corridors as well as having the V'Locities able to build up capacity on a lot services including the Ballarat Line   Those high capacity sets would also be maintained at the Waurn Ponds Depot.

I think these plans are likely to be reactivated now that there has been a renewed focus on developing lomger term plans kick started by this weeks budget.
  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
It was also about planning to remove train stabling and cleaning functions at Geelong Station  that are inadequate for the ever increasing train fleet.   Train stabling options have also been planned and considered using spare sidings at North Geelong as well so that in time Geelong Station could be redeveloped with surrounding high quality commercial development to reinvigorate that part of the City.   (Newcastle NSW take note).
Trainplanner

There is nothing wrong with the Geelong station precinct. Geelong has a lovely old railway station. The associated yards next door including the wash plant are not an eyesore and are well maintained.

The idea of using North Geelong Yard is a good idea.  The quicker Victoria can get rid of PN the better.

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