Is it possible to commute from regional victoria?

 
  wyche123 Locomotive Fireman

Took a train from Melb to Ballarat and back. Then a train to Bendigo and back. All were slow and late. As far as I'm concerned; it is not possible to commute from regional Victoria.

Sponsored advertisement

  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Were the trains late by much? are we talking really late?

At what times were the journey's taken?  Peak?
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Took a train from Melb to Ballarat and back. Then a train to Bendigo and back. All were slow and late. As far as I'm concerned; it is not possible to commute from regional Victoria.
wyche123
What times did you take the Bendigo train? From my experience they usually aren't that late.
  RustyRick Chief Commissioner

Location: South West Vic
Define regional....

I commuted from Bendigo and Ballarat for years.  As long as you pick your service it's okay. A lot of people now commute from Castlemaine and closer stations.

Rick
  wyche123 Locomotive Fireman

Off peak, and very late. 20 minutes to half hour. But I've been told if you get the early trains there are no seats, and by checking the timetables, don't seem that fast. Sorry been living in Europe. Will the new lines being constructed in Melb make any difference, and will they be opened before the whole project is completed? I have also been told that during summer the speeds are reduced-don't know why! And why is much of the Bendigo line only one line?
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
I also agree that the original post was pretty vague.

Of course it is possible to commute from the regional centres that are served by the peak V-Line services. Travel times compare favourably to driving if you live in a far-flung suburb. At this very minute Google Maps tells me that the 44km journey from Mt Evelyn to the CBD takes 51 minutes. I would assume you could add half an hour to this in the morning peak. This compares well to a two minute drive and a five minute wait for the Up Ballarat train leaving at 07:34.

Now I see that wych123 caught an off peak train....like the ones that commuters DON'T use.... Rolling Eyes
  dean65 Locomotive Driver

Location: Ballarat
Off peak, and very late. 20 minutes to half hour. But I've been told if you get the early trains there are no seats, and by checking the timetables, don't seem that fast. Sorry been living in Europe. Will the new lines being constructed in Melb make any difference, and will they be opened before the whole project is completed? I have also been told that during summer the speeds are reduced-don't know why! And why is much of the Bendigo line only one line?
wyche123
Trains are slower in the summer on very hot days because the track is prone to heat stress. However, compared to Europe Australian country trains are in the stone age.
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
Trains are slower in the summer on very hot days because the track is prone to heat stress. However, compared to Europe Australian country trains are in the stone age.
dean65

Agreed. But Vline trains between Melbourne and Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon run at the fastest speed of any trains in Australia.  They are very busy in peak times because there are so many people commuting from those cities now.  So obviously its possible because many do it - and there is still unfulfilled demand that will be partly met by additional trains to be delivered in the next year or so.
  dean65 Locomotive Driver

Location: Ballarat
Agreed. But Vline trains between Melbourne and Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon run at the fastest speed of any trains in Australia.  They are very busy in peak times because there are so many people commuting from those cities now.  So obviously its possible because many do it - and there is still unfulfilled demand that will be partly met by additional trains to be delivered in the next year or so.
Calgully
We badly need double track all the way to Ballarat. The Regional Rail Link may speed things up by a few minutes.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
Answer to the thread question is yes.
Geelong is definetely yes..I know of a couple of people who make a daily commute to work in Melbourne.
Ballarat/Ararat, and Bendigo, yes for sure, as I have mates who live in both rural cities, and who are quite happy to commute to Melbourne with V/Line. Luckily, they have understanding bosses when trains run late.
  simeyau Locomotive Fireman

Location: Sunbury, Victoria
But I've been told if you get the early trains there are no seats,
There are no seats because there are so many commuters. If you get on at an originating station you should get a seat. It is no different to suburban peak hour trains anywhere in the world, including Europe...
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
According to Vline annual report, there has been sustained patronage growth over the past number of years.  Much of this would be commuters from these cities.
http://www.vline.com.au/pdf/publications/annualreports/annualreport11-12.pdf

  • 2005   7.25m
  • 2006   7.64m  +5%
  • 2007   9.72m  +27%
  • 2008  11.96m  +23%
  • 2009  13.17m  +10%
  • 2010  13.71m  +4%
  • 2011  14.65m  +7%
  • 2012  15.55m  +6%
or over the 7 year period that's a 114% increase.

The document also quotes 5 year patronage increases 2007-2012 for each of the commuter lines

  • Geelong  +52%
  • Bendigo  +57%
  • Ballarat  +71%
  • Gippsland  +94%
  • Seymour +22%
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
The very fact that you can not get a seat in a 6 carriage train suggests to me that yes you can commute between these cities, and lots of people do it. In fact commuting from Ballarat of Castlemaine is not much different than some of the further reaching edges of the Metro netowork.

2 examples:
1. Ballarat to Melbourne using the 0728 ex Wendouree Vs Frankston to Melbourne  using the 0721 Frankston service        
Ballarat dep: 0736 Southern Cross arr: 0849. Total trip time is 1 hr 13 min
Frankston dep: 0721 Southern Cross arr: 0832. Total trip time is 1 hr 11 min

2. Castlemaine to Melbourne using the 0533 ex Eaglehawk Vs Pakenham to Melbourne using the 0610 Pakenham service
Castlemaine dep: 0602 Southern Cross arr: 0725. Total trip time is 1 hr 23 min
Pakenham dep: 0610 Southern Cross arr: 0723. Total trip time is 1 hr 13 min

While I admit I specifically looked for services that closely matched on travel time, my point is that people think nothing of commuting from some of these outer suburbs, where the reality is it takes almost just as long as commuting from some regional cities.

So yes, it is possible to commute from regional cities if that is what you want to do.
  dean65 Locomotive Driver

Location: Ballarat
You make a very good point. Just goes to show how large Melbourne has become.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
Oh, and don't forget that, surprisingly, the Geelong - Ballarat coach service sees its fair share of commuters too.
The 0630hrs Ballarat to Geelong service can get full by the time it arrives in Geelong I have been told, and the 1745hrs Geelong to Ballarat service, from personal experience, is always standing room only by the time it leaves Geelong.
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
the 1745hrs Geelong to Ballarat service, from personal experience, is always standing room only by the time it leaves Geelong.
xxxxlbear

Really?

Are there standees on a 100Km/h bus service?
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
In answer to the original question it is most certainly possible to commute from regional Victoria to Melbourne assuming a 9-5 day is required there.  There are suitable trains on all routes except those over the longest distances; stations beyond Marshall, Ballarat, Bendigo, Seymour and Traralgon are effectively beyond the reach of daily commuting though is some cases only by a whisker.  For example the morning up Warrnambool arrives at 9.05am and there's an evening departure at 6.39pm.  Likewise the up Shepparton is in at 9.10am and the evening return is at 6.22pm.  If you fancied a 23-hour long day those even connect from and to Griffith!

In many cases it is also possible to commute to regional cities from places nearby on the line of route and some people do this.

As noted above by using road services is it also possible to commute between regional cities and again there is evidence that this is done.

Rail speed here is improving painfully slowly and is way behind the best in Europe but we do at least have some stretches of 160kph line now and some shorter journey times - with a linked benefit that more trains can be run - as a result.  The Regional Rail Link will further separate country and suburban trains at the critical approaches to Melbourne where capacity is at a premium and delays often occur.  This should ease the way for country trains which should become more punctual more often.

Why is the Bendigo line single track?  Many of us have asked the same question.  Most Victorian country routes are fundamentally single track with long loops or crossing places.  This is a legacy of days when far fewer people lived here and fewer trains were needed.  It is also cheaper to build and maintain single lines.  Bendigo was double and was one of the few true main lines in the state.  It was singled during the Regional Fast Rail works allegedly because of the "impossibility" of achieving he required clearances through Elphinstone Tunnel for 160kph running and to save on costs for rebuilding both lines.  Many saw this as an act of industrial vandalism.  It may yet prove to be a very short-sighted decision and costly to reverse.  There are however precedents in Europe and the UK where such things have happened and been made to work albeit with some selective reinstatement of loops as traffic increased.

If you're used to the slick operations in places like the UK (not always but sometimes very fast as well; commuter trains to London now run at up to 200kph) and try to compare with V/line you might think commuting from the regions is akin to crushing into slow and unreliable offerings of some third-world nations.   There's a long way to go and progress is slow and arguably losing pace with reality but with railways effectively governed by politicians and few votes to be won or lost in many areas they often are no-one's priority.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
According to Vline annual report, there has been sustained patronage growth over the past number of years.  Much of this would be commuters from these cities.
http://www.vline.com.au/pdf/publications/annualreports/annualreport11-12.pdf

  • 2005   7.25m
  • 2006   7.64m  +5%
  • 2007   9.72m  +27%
  • 2008  11.96m  +23%
  • 2009  13.17m  +10%
  • 2010  13.71m  +4%
  • 2011  14.65m  +7%
  • 2012  15.55m  +6%
or over the 7 year period that's a 114% increase.

The document also quotes 5 year patronage increases 2007-2012 for each of the commuter lines

  • Geelong  +52%
  • Bendigo  +57%
  • Ballarat  +71%
  • Gippsland  +94%
  • Seymour +22%
Calgully
Hence the requirement to carry with me a folding stool every morning Exclamation

Either that or sit on the floor. The 6:32 ex Ballan, if it's a 4 car VLocity as it's scheduled to be, usually arrives at Ballan 95+% full, consequently the 50 or so pax joining at Ballan, not everyone's going to get a seat.

Mike.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
Obviously people can and do commute from Regional Victoria. Whether you have the patience or not is another matter. Having commuted from Cranbourne to Melbourne for a long time, I could say that it probably would not have been any better than commuting from South Geelong to Melbourne, although now I am out here in Geelong I thankfully don't commute. If I really want to, I can catch a train from South Geelong to Geelong to my job in the CBD of Geelong, but I am getting off track here.
  raudteejaam Train Controller

They major difference between commuting between Pakenham/Cranbourne to the city, and South Geelong or Ballarat or any other regional centre would have to be frequency of trains. Miss your Pakenham train by 30 seconds? No matter another will be along within a few minutes. Miss a Ballarat train, and the wait may be somewhat longer.

Though more employers are now willing to be time flexible in regards to start and finish times, some are not. My mother-in-law commutes from South Gippsland by bus to Melbourne 3 days a week. The inbound leg has her arrive at work 40 mins before start time. Her finish time means she misses a bus by
  Simbera Train Controller

Judging by the contents of the original post I think the OP is trying to commute TO regional cities rather than FROM them, yes?

It is certainly possible to commute to Ballarat or Bendigo from Melbourne, though you have fewer options than you do going the other direction (there's only one train that gets you to Ballarat in time for a 9-5 day for example). I start work at 1030 so I catch the next one, but I never have trouble getting a seat. Even on the 557 ex Ballarat, which is the one that most commuters take back in the evenings, not only do I never have trouble getting a seat but I can almost always get the exact same, forward-facing seat with an empty seat next to me. Traveling counter-peak you rarely get a full train, except occasionally when they run at reduced capacity or the footy is on.

The trackwork currently going on probably won't improve timetabled travel times (not by more than a few minutes, anyway) but it will make them vastly more reliable.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Judging by the contents of the original post I think the OP is trying to commute TO regional cities rather than FROM them, yes?
Simbera
Took a train from Melb to Ballarat and back. Then a train to Bendigo and back. All were slow and late. As far as I'm concerned; it is not possible to commute from regional Victoria.
wyche123
  TheMetman Locomotive Driver

Location: gippsland
As far as I'm concerned; it is not possible to commute from regional Victoria.
wyche123
It's more possible to commute to or from regional Victoria than to commute to or from regional Britain. Overcrowding and high costs in Britain makes it hard to commute. Not to mention capacity issues.
Infact V/line makes it more possible because of cheep fares and frequent services . And I doubt V/line trains are 20-30 mins late all the time. If so then it could be at a time when works or RRL works are occuring. I know there's some issues regarding the Bendigo line however it's not always 20mins late.
  Simbera Train Controller

I would think the phrases "from Melb to Ballarat and back" and "to Bendigo and back" were more deserving of being bolded in that quote, Railblogger.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
I would think the phrases "from Melb to Ballarat and back" and "to Bendigo and back" were more deserving of being bolded in that quote, Railblogger.
Simbera
Except that they were referring to two journeys that s/he took. I would have thought that if s/he wanted to commute to regional Victoria, s/he would have wrote that.

Sponsored advertisement

Subscribers: dean65, Gwiwer, xxxxlbear

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.