Melbourne Metro/Dandenong quadruplication

 
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
This may seem like foaming to some but it is not intended as such. There are aspects of the proposed Melbourne Metro project, should it ever be constructed, that don't make sense to me and I would like my ideas to be evaluated by those interested.

When the Melbourne Metro proposal was first mooted, the Eastern end of the project was to be at Caulfield. Nowadays it is South Yarra. Since South Yarra is simply a point where a pair of lines from Sandringham joins the rail reservation and runs parallel to the existing quadruple line from Caulfield, no congestion is experienced there. It seems silly to me that there should be a need to remove any trains from the resultant sextuple line and make them run through a separate tunnel Up of there. A portal at Caulfield makes much more sense to me.

Consider a scenario where the Caulfield to Dandenong section is eventually quadruplicated. Would it not make more sense to have a situation where, instead of two local and two express lines along that corridor, one pair (the existing pair) caters for the Pakenham and Gippsland V-Line and freight services and the new pair caters for Cranbourne services? Then, the Cranbourne lines would enter the new Metro tunnel just Down of Caulfield, making way and leaving room for the Frankston line at ground level as it exists now? Passengers could transfer between Metro and existing services and vice versa via new underground platforms at Caulfield.

Some people consider that a quadruplication project between Caulfield and Dandenong should only cater for local and express services on their own pair of lines, but if every second Metro train was removed from the existing pair, which would occur under the scenario above, many paths would be freed up on the existing pair. This should enable an increased frequency of Pakenham services and less hindrance for V-Line services at the same time.

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  Pcoder Station Staff

It would probably be better if they did start the tunnel at Caulfield so that they could have a freight/vline track using the Dandenong line track into the City. What they also require is a standard gauge track out to Dandenong that connects to the existing standard gauge network.


There is currently a project being undertaken called the Dandenong Rail Capacity Program. Very little detail has been given out but there was some talk of a 'Eastern Regional Rail Link'. I'd imagine if they did go a ahead with quadding that the 2 new tracks would be for the freight/vline purpose.
  Edith Chief Commissioner

Location: Line 1 from Porte de Vincennes bound for Bastille station
The actual tunnel portal is not AT South Yarra, but between South Yarra and Hawksburn.  So passengers cannot transfer at South Yarra to or from this link without another train ride.  

The issue of track capacity increases between Caulfield and Dandenong is problematic.  It is complex and will not be cheap.  RRL East it may be.  

To get more capacity it can be done with higher capacity trains, longer trains, more frequent trains or more tracks.  Higher capacity suburban trains are an electoral promise for next year.  More frequent trains is electoral suicide as the boom gates are down more than 50% of the time in peak periods already.  Grade separation is one solution which would allow more frequent trains (without inconveniencing motorists), but it could take a decade and would use up about half of the money that is allocated for transport infrastructure in Victoria.  With the East-West road tunnel, there will be nothing else that can be financed for at least five years anyway.

Governments need to borrow money.  PPPs are no solution as the government has to guarantee minimum revenue to the operator anyway and private business cannot borrow money at government rates, even with these guarantees.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The actual tunnel portal is not AT South Yarra, but between South Yarra and Hawksburn.  So passengers cannot transfer at South Yarra to or from this link without another train ride.  

The issue of track capacity increases between Caulfield and Dandenong is problematic.  It is complex and will not be cheap.  RRL East it may be.  

To get more capacity it can be done with higher capacity trains, longer trains, more frequent trains or more tracks.  Higher capacity suburban trains are an electoral promise for next year.  More frequent trains is electoral suicide as the boom gates are down more than 50% of the time in peak periods already.  Grade separation is one solution which would allow more frequent trains (without inconveniencing motorists), but it could take a decade and would use up about half of the money that is allocated for transport infrastructure in Victoria.  With the East-West road tunnel, there will be nothing else that can be financed for at least five years anyway.

Governments need to borrow money.  PPPs are no solution as the government has to guarantee minimum revenue to the operator anyway and private business cannot borrow money at government rates, even with these guarantees.
Edith
The current thinking is to equip the Dandenong track pair from South Yarra onwards with high capacity in cab signalling (initially to be trialled on the Sandringham line), in partnership with 9 car trains and elimination of many of the level crossings.

In addition there is a proposal to build a dual gauge RRL  East from the City to Dandenong for use by freight tarffic to/from Hastings Port and also by VLP Eastern line trains .  It is understood this  RRL East would be single track but with sections of double track where land is available .
  Edith Chief Commissioner

Location: Line 1 from Porte de Vincennes bound for Bastille station
The proposed expansion of the Port of Hastings to increase its use from 100 ships a year to 3,000 will bring much more freight here. It will not be just going to and from Gippsland. The East-West toll-road tunnel will help move many, but not all of the containers to/from the railyards around Melbourne's docks area.  Likewise the proposed export of brown coal from the Latrobe Valley will increase rail use between Gippsland and the Port of Geelong. Many upgrades to infrastructure will be needed, but where is the money for this ?
  hot-axle-box Junior Train Controller

The thing i am worried about are the clowns that designed the Springvale grade separation, I hope it is wide enough for four tracks.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Any extra tracks would go under where the existing tracks are now.

Not part of the existing grade separation project.

So don't expect to see a aditinal bridge opening built as part of this project.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
The thing i am worried about are the clowns that designed the Springvale grade separation, I hope it is wide enough for four tracks.
hot-axle-box
Yes there is provision for two more tracks on the south side of the project, although as has been mentioned, this won't be built as part of the current project (just like Nunawading). (Actually I'm more curious as to how they are going to provide an eastern entrance to the Westall yards, but that's off topic.). When Westall station was rebuilt, provision was made for a single track on the south side of the existing lines beneath the current pedestrian walkway.  

Personally, if they wanted to get started on this, I would rather see Dandenong gain a fourth platform and have the Cranbourne line duplicated. That would provide extra capacity at Dandenong.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
Personally, if they wanted to get started on this, I would rather see Dandenong gain a fourth platform and have the Cranbourne line duplicated. That would provide extra capacity at Dandenong.
jdekorte
Yes, that should also be part of the overall picture.

The way I see the whole arrangement working would be similar to when you drive along a freeway and an on-ramp does not merge with the existing traffic, but forms its own lane, so no further congestion is experienced.

In theory: The (future) pair from Cranbourne would join the rail reservation Down of Dandenong as it does now and run alongside the Pakenham/Gippsland pair. The Cranbourne pair then disappears underground Down of Caulfield and is replaced at ground level by the existing Frankston triple line. The quadruple line reservation Up of Caulfield stays as is and continues to be joined by the Sandringham pair at South Yarra.

Scary, but probably true: The need, or desire, to construct a standard gauge rail line to service the proposed port at Hastings will not be required, in the eyes of some, once the East West road tunnel is built....
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
Yes, that should also be part of the overall picture.

The way I see the whole arrangement working would be similar to when you drive along a freeway and an on-ramp does not merge with the existing traffic, but forms its own lane, so no further congestion is experienced.

In theory: The (future) pair from Cranbourne would join the rail reservation Down of Dandenong as it does now and run alongside the Pakenham/Gippsland pair. The Cranbourne pair then disappears underground Down of Caulfield and is replaced at ground level by the existing Frankston triple line. The quadruple line reservation Up of Caulfield stays as is and continues to be joined by the Sandringham pair at South Yarra.

Scary, but probably true: The need, or desire, to construct a standard gauge rail line to service the proposed port at Hastings will not be required, in the eyes of some, once the East West road tunnel is built....
DirtyBallast
I'm not convinced East-West link is the best transport option, neither am I convinced a Port at Hastings is the best option either.  This being said, amplification of the Dandenong corridor should be for V/Line services & freight services so that the Metro services have more paths.  

I've heard of two plans regarding rail access to Hastings should it ever be required. One is due north from Hastings to Clyde and then onto Officer (I think) to join the Pakenham corridor.  The other is to adjoin the existing Stony Point/Frankston line to Kananook, then via flyover into the Eastlink centre reservation. From there the line would adjoin the Dandenong corridor at Yarraman.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
The other is to adjoin the existing Stony Point/Frankston line to Kananook, then via flyover into the Eastlink centre reservation. From there the line would adjoin the Dandenong corridor at Yarraman.
jdekorte
Why not use the existing line, but run them at night/in off-peak periods?
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Parts of the Dandenong line reservation are quite narrow, with little room for extra tracks, e.g. around Carnegie.  There would be a need for compulsory property acquisition, similar to RRL in the Footscray area?
  ChoooChoo Chief Train Controller
  XAM2175 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Glasgow
Is it not the case that VicTrack already has extensive property holdings along many rail lines in speculation of corridor enlargements? I seem to remember hearing that they're one of the largest land owners in the state by that very means, along with VicRoads for similar purposes.
  Aussie Steve Deputy Commissioner

Is it not the case that VicTrack already has extensive property holdings along many rail lines in speculation of corridor enlargements? I seem to remember hearing that they're one of the largest land owners in the state by that very means, along with VicRoads for similar purposes.
jb17kx

No, that is not the case. VicTrack (the State Government) do not own heaps of land along any rail corridor. The comments about being the largest land holder, relates to all the land that current tracks and stations sit on, not on the very limited land that they may own that is not within a rail corridor.
  Mr. Lane Chief Commissioner

This may seem like foaming to some but it is not intended as such. There are aspects of the proposed Melbourne Metro project, should it ever be constructed, that don't make sense to me and I would like my ideas to be evaluated by those interested.

When the Melbourne Metro proposal was first mooted, the Eastern end of the project was to be at Caulfield. Nowadays it is South Yarra. Since South Yarra is simply a point where a pair of lines from Sandringham joins the rail reservation and runs parallel to the existing quadruple line from Caulfield, no congestion is experienced there. It seems silly to me that there should be a need to remove any trains from the resultant sextuple line and make them run through a separate tunnel Up of there. A portal at Caulfield makes much more sense to me.
DirtyBallast
The Melbourne Metro is more about removing trains from the Caufield and Northern loops. The biggest capacity problems are when the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Frankston lines converge into the Caufield loop in the south east and the Upfield, Craigieburn and Sunbury lines converge into the Northern Loop in the west. I am not sure how they plan to do the eastern side of things, but in the west the Sunbury line will come out of the Northern Group creating more capacity in the Northern Loop and the Melbourne Metro should have the capacity for at least one other line...probably an electrified Melton line or an electrified West Werebee line via the Regional Rail Link. Effectively the west gains another group (lets call it the Sunshine Group).

From memory (correct me if I am wrong) the western portal of the Melbourne Metro was to be around West Footscray with two underground platforms at Footscray. This has been negated by the expansion of the Regional Rail Link scope which includes two new ground level platforms at Footscray, a better option I think.

Pie in the sky here but: In the east I do think that portals at or just east of Caufield would be the ideal option. If ever Dandenong was to go quad track, it should have separate all-stopping and express tracks, but the express tracks should not be limited to V/line and freight. There are less V/line trains in the east than the west so there would be plenty of capacity for some more express Metro services. Either the express or the all stopping Metro services from Dandenong and beyond would then use the Melbourne Metro and no longer use the Caufield loop. This would create capacity for a later Rowville line.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
...

From memory (correct me if I am wrong) the western portal of the Melbourne Metro was to be around West Footscray with two underground platforms at Footscray. This has been negated by the expansion of the Regional Rail Link scope which includes two new ground level platforms at Footscray, a better option I think.
...
Mr. Lane
I think the western portals for the proposed Melbourne Metro are to be in the vicinity of Sth Kensington station, probably adjacent to that large park to the north of the station. The Sunbury tracks would descend into the tunnel as soon as they crossed the Kensington Rd bridge. As for the eastern end, it would be interesting if they ever tried to build the tunnel all the way to Caulfield, but current plan is to have the Dandenong trains enter the Metro tunnel around South Yarra.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
No station Is planed at West Werribee / Manor

Would the proposed metro tunnel be able to cope with Sunbury, Melton, Melb Airport and Werribee (via Sunshine) ?
Every train would have to stop at Middle Footscray, West Footscray and Tottenham !
Unless yet another 2 tracks are squeezed Into the corridor.
  712M Chief Commissioner

The Network Development Plan has the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Rowville lines sharing the double track from Huntingdale through to Sunshine to branch out to Sunbury, Melton and the Airport, all with 9 car trains. Any electrified Geelong line would travel via the RRL.
  DirtyBallast Chief Commissioner

Location: I was here first. You're only visiting.
The Melbourne Metro is more about removing trains from the Caufield and Northern loops. The biggest capacity problems are when the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Frankston lines converge into the Caufield loop in the south east
Mr. Lane
Pardon my lack of knowledge in the workings of the separate groups and the city loop as it operates now, and thank you for your detailed response, but don't the capacity problems experienced on the Caulfield Group emanate at Dandenong? I'm not suggesting that the Metro tunnel portal be located there, but I still cannot understand why the tunnel portal (or in effect, a new pair of lines) would be placed at a point where the capacity problems have already become apparent?

Let us consider the hypothetical scenario where a line to Cranborne never existed, and the government tripped over Scrooge McDuck's money bin and for some strange reason decided to spend it on public transport. Let us also suppose that the concept of a true Metro system, which is to say dedicated end-to-end lines, became a topic that was far more widely supported than what it is now, and actually happened.

Wouldn't the obvious solution be to provide Cranbourne with its own pair of lines, eliminating any possible congestion along whatever corridor those lines might share along its route?
  Mr. Lane Chief Commissioner

Pardon my lack of knowledge in the workings of the separate groups and the city loop as it operates now, and thank you for your detailed response, but don't the capacity problems experienced on the Caulfield Group emanate at Dandenong? I'm not suggesting that the Metro tunnel portal be located there, but I still cannot understand why the tunnel portal (or in effect, a new pair of lines) would be placed at a point where the capacity problems have already become apparent?

Let us consider the hypothetical scenario where a line to Cranborne never existed, and the government tripped over Scrooge McDuck's money bin and for some strange reason decided to spend it on public transport. Let us also suppose that the concept of a true Metro system, which is to say dedicated end-to-end lines, became a topic that was far more widely supported than what it is now, and actually happened.

Wouldn't the obvious solution be to provide Cranbourne with its own pair of lines, eliminating any possible congestion along whatever corridor those lines might share along its route?
DirtyBallast
I am no expert, I only know what I have read over the years and experience from traveling on the network (which isn't much in the last few years) so I am always open for correction.

I think you are dealing with two separate issues here. Caulfield loop capacity is not the same thing as Dandenong capacity. Both need to be solved, the Metro tunnel just solves the loop part of it. The Caulfield loop also has to contend with Frankston trains which would make it more congested than the Caulfield-Dandenong track I would have thought (I am not sure how many V/Lines are running out east these days).

With respect to Dandenong I think the best solution is to build a dedicated express track pair (expensive, but I do think it will *eventually* happen). You are getting your extra capacity and the flexibility of running express services both V/Line and Metro. A dedicated pair for Cranbourne would be pretty wasted especially during the off peak.
  Mr. Lane Chief Commissioner

The Network Development Plan has the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Rowville lines sharing the double track from Huntingdale through to Sunshine to branch out to Sunbury, Melton and the Airport, all with 9 car trains. Any electrified Geelong line would travel via the RRL.
712M
I personally think that Geelong electrification or at least RRL electrification will happen before a line to Melbourne Airport gets done. With the land being developed out in the south west more rapidly than any other part of the city its only a matter of time before more stations on RRL are needed and the Geelong V/Lines get overloaded and even slower. At the same time, I don't think there is much impetus at all behind a Melbourne Airport line (and I seriously question the true demand...It would have to make several other useful stops along the way at least, but it does not travel though many suburban areas).

Also, wouldn't it be more useful for an airport train to run direct to Southern Cross?

All of this of course it still a long way off. The tunnel has to be built first.
  ChoooChoo Chief Train Controller

Pardon my lack of knowledge in the workings of the separate groups and the city loop as it operates now, and thank you for your detailed response, but don't the capacity problems experienced on the Caulfield Group emanate at Dandenong? I'm not suggesting that the Metro tunnel portal be located there, but I still cannot understand why the tunnel portal (or in effect, a new pair of lines) would be placed at a point where the capacity problems have already become apparent?

Let us consider the hypothetical scenario where a line to Cranborne never existed, and the government tripped over Scrooge McDuck's money bin and for some strange reason decided to spend it on public transport. Let us also suppose that the concept of a true Metro system, which is to say dedicated end-to-end lines, became a topic that was far more widely supported than what it is now, and actually happened.

Wouldn't the obvious solution be to provide Cranbourne with its own pair of lines, eliminating any possible congestion along whatever corridor those lines might share along its route?
DirtyBallast
Yes and no.

the Pakenham line is generally near capacity because it contends with freight, Vline (not as many as the western/northern suburbs though) and an increasing number of metro services.

Yet it does not have 3 tracks like the Burnley group does.

Dandenong line also has a lot of express services, all squeezing capacity out of 2 tracks.

Yep, the metro tunnel would help increase capacity in the loop, but in terms of your wider concerns over capacity problems from Dandenong, that would be solved (for the short term) by longer trains and upgraded signalling which is already being planned.

This should apparently increase capacity by 50%, after this you would eventually need 3 and 4 tracks.
  Edith Chief Commissioner

Location: Line 1 from Porte de Vincennes bound for Bastille station
The challenge is how to improve line capacity, without adding to the number of trains on the line in the peak period.  This government does not want to upset motorists.  Already the level crossings East of Caulfield are closed about half the time in the peak hours.  Longer trains will help and if trains can be allowed to follow more closely, then booms down for six or more minutes (2 or 3 trains in each direction) will not be worse than now.  Grade separation is the only language the government understands, but their priority to do this speedily is not there.  At two or three crossings per electoral cycle on this line, it could take 10 years or so.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Yes and no.

the Pakenham line is generally near capacity because it contends with freight, Vline (not as many as the western/northern suburbs though) and an increasing number of metro services.

Yet it does not have 3 tracks like the Burnley group does.

Dandenong line also has a lot of express services, all squeezing capacity out of 2 tracks.

Yep, the metro tunnel would help increase capacity in the loop, but in terms of your wider concerns over capacity problems from Dandenong, that would be solved (for the short term) by longer trains and upgraded signalling which is already being planned.

This should apparently increase capacity by 50%, after this you would eventually need 3 and 4 tracks.
ChoooChoo
What about getting rid of express trains? I know it would piss off a lot of people but if you did this would you be able to slot more trains in?

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