Priorities for major rail infrastructure projects?

 
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
There's a long queue of worthy rail and road projects. but we can't build them all at once, both because (despite the opinion of some people), the government doesn't have infinite money AND there just aren't enough workers with the right skills (and specialised equipment) to build them all at once.

In recent decades state governments (of both persuasions) have pretty much alternated between major rail and major road projects, with occasional diversions into other infrastructure projects such as the Wonthaggi desal plant and the pipeline from the Goulburn River to the Yarra.

Even if rail projects get more than the half share they have got for the past 30+ years, the projects can't all be built at once. So what priority should we give them? Here's a list of possible big rail projects in the coming decades:

1. Finish off RRL.
2. Airport train
3. Rail tunnel thingy from Kensington to South Yarra
4. Dandenong rail corridor capacity expansion with a new line from near Cranbourne to Port of Hastings
5. Rowville train (can't be built without Dandenong corridor upgrade due to limited capacity on existing tracks)
6. Melton duplication and electrification.
7. Doncaster train
8. Limited track reduplication from Kyneton to bendigo.
9. Passenger service: Geelong - ballarat - Maryborough - Castlemaine - bendigo. (Can be done in stages)

Further suggestions:
10. Upgrade line to Shepparton and possibly convert the rest of the north east to standard gauge.
11. Extend South Morang line to... Doreen?
12. Upgrade and partly duplicate the ballarat line.
13. Eliminate single track sections on mostly double track lines in the north east and Gippsland.

Any other sensible and feasible projects?

Without reducing the subject to tiresome party politics, what priority should they have and what order should they be built in?

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  packa Junior Train Controller

No offense, but everything you have listed is within 100km of Melbourne.  There should be listed standardising regional lines, upgrading Sheparton line, Mildura possibly.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Yep, fair call, at least for Shep (and beyond?). Add that to the list.

Which one should be done next after the Tulla airport line?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

10. Any other sensible and feasible project

Without reducing the subject to tiresome party politics, what priority should they have and what order should they be built in?
Bogong

I'm not biting...
  wobert Chief Commissioner

Location: Half way between Propodolla and Kinimakatka
Snigger snigger:)
  BigShunter Chief Commissioner

Location: St Clair. S.A.
Would the South Morang line need any extension ?
At a regional level, axle load increases to all freight lines, V'los to Shep and Warrnambool ? as well as a couple more loops on the Warrnambool line.
Not sure if this would come under the infrastructure list, but how about increasing the capacity of Portland with grain to take some load off Geelong and of course that would mean some rail standardising.

BigShunter.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
I think it's a given that RRL will be completed by the end of the year, so lets leave that to one side.

For me if I was waving the magic wand, or had the endless pot of gold to build whatever, this is the order I think it should be built:

Metropolitan:

1. Airport Line, via Sunshine, including the construction of dedicated Airport line rollingstock.

2. Melbourne Metro Tunnel, from Kensington to Caulfield (yes I know the plans have been ammended to go only as far as Sth Yarra, but I would go further)

3. Dandenong Line Amplification, from Caulfield to Dandenong, including unwired second set of tracks (Dual Guage) for V/Line and freight (also including new line to Port of Hastings)

4. Melton Duplication and Electrification, include new stabling facilities at Melton, new Premium station at Caroline Springs. Through route all Melton and Sunbury trains through Metro tunnel (see no.2) with Pakenham and Cranbourne trains.

Rural:

1. Upgrade Ballarat line, New loop to be built at/ near Gordon, abandon old Bungaree alignment and install turnouts at Warrenheip, Warrenheip to East Ballarat to become dual track, rather than two seperate parallell lines.

2. Further upgrade Ballarat and Bendigo lines, Progressivly duplicate both lines where practical, limiting use of single track to only short sections of line where dual track is too cost prohibitive.

3. Geelong to Ballarat Passenger service, introduce regular passenger service between the two centres with intermediate stops at Bannockburn and Meredith. Long term view to extend to Bendigo via Maryborough, Newstead and Castlemaine.

4. Standardise Lines north of Seymour, including Tocumwal line, Toolamba - Echuca line and Deniliquin line north of Echuca. Section between Echuca Junction and northern yard limits of Echuca station to be Dual Guage so Broad guage from Bendigo can remain. Project would also include duplicating remaining single sections of North East line between Broadmeadows and Mangalore. Seymour Pass would then use existing BG tracks.

All of the above should be acheivable within 15 years.

(This is easy when you don't have a real budget to consider)
  mickamious Junior Train Controller

Hi speed signalling would free up lines that have full capacity on them but your looking at mega bucks for this to happen...
Wont for another 15+ years at least.
Melton Electrification will be announced not long after the RRL is finished, you watch.
Airport & Avalon link is touch & go.
Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel is pointless reason being is because the network itself is 30+ years behind. All repairs the say they are doing are only band-aids to fix problems for a brief period of time. You'll have one great section of track but the rest of the network will be struggling? Big dollars being spent but the bigger problem still lurks outside.
Doncaster & Rowville Rail will be a while coming.. The next election at least if Liberal remains in power

East-West Link is the major part of the puzzle and MUST be built before anything else. The Melbourne Metro tunnel isn't functional without hi-speed signalling and a full functioning rail network
  gippslander Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland, Vic
I would also add a couple of other items:
- upgrade axle loading on VL pass lines where there is ongoing or potential freight;
- duplicate the Bunyip-Longwarry single track section which is reportedly an operational headache on the busy eastern corridor, and likely to pick up more freight in the future (coal products and minerals from East Gippsland).
This would also allow for commuter services to originate from Warragul, a periurban centre which is
experiencing major population growth.
From a Gippsland point of view, anything which will improve the lengthy metro corridor to Pakenham is a bonus.
I tire of crawling along people's back yards in the metro area because of the congestion. The benefits that may accrue to the Gippsland line with the recently announced Metro Dandenong corridor project havent been highlighted locally at all.
  damooops Junior Train Controller

Location: The Revenue Raising State
"Snip"

East-West Link is the major part of the puzzle and MUST be built before anything else. The Melbourne Metro tunnel isn't functional without hi-speed signalling and a full functioning rail network
Grosso

G'day Grosso.
Please enlighten me as to how a road tunnel, "The East West link" would be the magic bullet for the future of our rail investment? I'd be curious to know, as I always understood that creating more roads leads to more congestion.
As for my two bobs worth, I would actually start with a third line from Caulfield to Pakenham, DG to Dandenong which would then continue to Hastings including duplication of the Cranbourne line. Then work on duplication of the remaining single line sections where passenger trains run. SG the Mildura, Pinaroo and Kulwin lines with a connection to Broken Hill. Only I would have Victoria keep control of these SG lines.
Cheers.
  frezno Junior Train Controller

Hi gippslander.

If you look at the comments from ZH836301 in the " Thoughts on what should the new High capacity trains should be like" thread, you get an insight into what the wider population of Melbourne/Victoria thinks of Eastern Region V/Line services (or one morons opinion at least). Just. Don't. Care.

I agree with your proposed improvements, I would even go so far to say reelectrify to Warragul - in a perfect world,

You say, "The benefits that may accrue to the Gippsland line with the recently announced Metro Dandenong corridor project havent been highlighted locally at all."
This is the scary bit, the bit that I'm hoping the local media outlets click onto soon.

Gippsland has been told that this Holy Grail High Capacity Signalling which will benefit PAKENHAM & CRANBOURNE suburban lines users, will benefit them too. The problem is, is that it won't. In any way, shape or form. And the people of Gippsland are none the wiser so is understandable they will believe what they're told. Maybe I'm cynical but this could all be part of a bigger plan to terminate Traralgon line trains at Pakenham and turf everyone on to suburban services for the rest of their journey.

There will be NO benefit from HCS for V/Line users. How could there be when HSC will be encouraging more trains to run at a higher frequency than what is already operating, and you and I obviously regularly experience how well that currently works. As it stands, a delay of 3-4 minutes can be enough to lose a path and cause a 25 minute delay to a V/Line service. How do you think that will become any better when there is less gap between trains, resulting in less flexibility for loss of path. More trains with less gap will also mean a lower average speed for V/Line trains meaning a longer trip through the suburban area. If you think 60 minutes now is bad, wait until that blows out to 80 for the same distance. All for the benefit of people who already get a fantastic service frequency.

Be concerned gippslander, I see nothing good about this project.
  gomer Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
My two bobs worth. Metro tried to stop non peak and B/dale trains at Pakenham in the past to free up more paths for sparks but the Labour party said no, can't see Liberals caring as much. Other faults with this line are Vline trains are timetable to cross near Pakenham while having only one platform vacant with a spark in the other and also crosses near the single line Bunyip /Longwarry section thus late trains causing further delays. Pakenham station should be rebuilt with three platforms west of Main St level crossing.Give up on Garfeild as a bad joke (must be a politician living there). A new tunnel to Caulfield is a waste of time until they fix Caulfield to Oakliegh and the only way they can do that is to cut and cover from Caulfield to Hughesdale eliminating all crossings and placing 3 or 4 lines in and then 4 lines to Dandenong.
The major problem with the Ballarat line is Bacchus Marsh and when Melton becomes electrified a new platform where 3 rd is will fix most problems. I cannot see the purpose of any Bacchus Marsh trains once  Melton is complete with all Ballarat trains stopping there. Cheers.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I would electrify to Bacchus Marsh and not to Melton.  Double track from Melton to Deer Park West?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
You say, "The benefits that may accrue to the Gippsland line with the recently announced Metro Dandenong corridor project havent been highlighted locally at all."
This is the scary bit, the bit that I'm hoping the local media outlets click onto soon.

Gippsland has been told that this Holy Grail High Capacity Signalling which will benefit PAKENHAM & CRANBOURNE suburban lines users, will benefit them too. The problem is, is that it won't. In any way, shape or form. And the people of Gippsland are none the wiser so is understandable they will believe what they're told. Maybe I'm cynical but this could all be part of a bigger plan to terminate Traralgon line trains at Pakenham and turf everyone on to suburban services for the rest of their journey.

There will be NO benefit from HCS for V/Line users. How could there be when HSC will be encouraging more trains to run at a higher frequency than what is already operating, and you and I obviously regularly experience how well that currently works. As it stands, a delay of 3-4 minutes can be enough to lose a path and cause a 25 minute delay to a V/Line service. How do you think that will become any better when there is less gap between trains, resulting in less flexibility for loss of path. More trains with less gap will also mean a lower average speed for V/Line trains meaning a longer trip through the suburban area. If you think 60 minutes now is bad, wait until that blows out to 80 for the same distance. All for the benefit of people who already get a fantastic service frequency.

I see nothing good about this project.
frezno

This Is so true, the best wiz bang signalling system In the world would let more train run on the line at any given time (compared to today) but would not be able to provide a quicker path between Caulfield and Pakenham.

A V/Line train may get a reliable peak period path (as a result of HCS) but the train would have an average speed of about 50 km/h, because there Is a stop all stations suburban train ahead of It.

High Capacity Signalling would need to be set up with extra tracks, like start with quading the line from Oakleigh to Sandown Park to provide express mainline tracks (for express trains) and local tracks (for stop all station trains)

With suburban train service frequencies on the Increase between Dandenong and Pakenham, the arising problem Is the running times for express V/Line trains over that section, one  ambitious proposal could be to quad the line between Narre Warren and Officer providing an overtaking section.
  gomer Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
I would electrify to Bacchus Marsh and not to Melton. Double track from Melton to Deer Park West?
bevans

Ultimately Bacchus Marsh will get sparks but i think in the near future Melton will be done first.
When RFR was being built to Melton they completely ripped up the old line when they had a chance to lay the new line next to the old one thus duplicating it. Now the issue with new lines are it must be grade separated adding big $ to all projects.
Just to let you know Bacchus Marsh yard is getting a make over with car cleaning equipment being placed in all roads which seems odd to me if they are thinking about electrifying to Melton.
But an old railway saying is if something gets painted one week, they will pull it down next week.
Cheers.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Ultimately Bacchus Marsh will get sparks but i think in the near future Melton will be done first.
When RFR was being built to Melton they completely ripped up the old line when they had a chance to lay the new line next to the old one thus duplicating it. Now the issue with new lines are it must be grade separated adding big $ to all projects.
Just to let you know Bacchus Marsh yard is getting a make over with car cleaning equipment being placed in all roads which seems odd to me if they are thinking about electrifying to Melton.
But an old railway saying is if something gets painted one week, they will pull it down next week.
Cheers.
gomer


Victoria needs to start working smarter. Just get it done to Bacchus Marsh and then it is done. We waste a lot of money going things in a lot of stages when money can be saved doing it in 1 stage.

As for the duplication, this must be on the radar surely?
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
This Is so true, the best wiz bang signalling system In the world would let more train run on the line at any given time (compared to today) but would not be able to provide a quicker path between Caulfield and Pakenham.

A V/Line train may get a reliable peak period path (as a result of HCS) but the train would have an average speed of about 50 km/h, because there Is a stop all stations suburban train ahead of It.

High Capacity Signalling would need to be set up with extra tracks, like start with quading the line from Oakleigh to Sandown Park to provide express mainline tracks (for express trains) and local tracks (for stop all station trains)

With suburban train service frequencies on the Increase between Dandenong and Pakenham, the arising problem Is the running times for express V/Line trains over that section, one ambitious proposal could be to quad the line between Narre Warren and Officer providing an overtaking section.
Nightfire

Whilst it's true extra tracks will be needed for V/Lines to have a shorter journey time, I can't see how HCS would not provide a higher average line speed?
  gomer Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Victoria needs to start working smarter. Just get it done to Bacchus Marsh and then it is done. We waste a lot of money going things in a lot of stages when money can be saved doing it in 1 stage.

As for the duplication, this must be on the radar surely?
bevans

The problem with going all the way to Bacchus Marsh is the bridge over the weir, which I doubt very much they will duplicate so thus it leaves single line sections. So just leaving it to V/line from Melton would be less congested. But duplication to Melton will come with  the sparks as well as a Caroline Springs station I presume. Then when that happens I doubt they will have Bacchus marsh locals for one stop. I presume they will run more Ballarats of 6 car lengths to cater for them.
Cheers.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The problem with going all the way to Bacchus Marsh is the bridge over the weir, which I doubt very much they will duplicate so thus it leaves single line sections. So just leaving it to V/line from Melton would be less congested. But duplication to Melton will come with the sparks as well as a Caroline Springs station I presume. Then when that happens I doubt they will have Bacchus marsh locals for one stop. I presume they will run more Ballarats of 6 car lengths to cater for them.
Cheers.
gomer

So your saying sparks can not run on single track sections !

Yes the bridge over the reservoir Is single track, and would be one of the last sections of the Ballarat line to be duplicated, so what's wrong with leaving the section of track from Melton West to Exford/Parwan single until funds can be found to build a second bridge over the reservoir.

I can't see Bacchus Marsh losing It's local trains.
  mickamious Junior Train Controller

G'day Grosso.
Please enlighten me as to how a road tunnel, "The East West link" would be the magic bullet for the future of our rail investment? I'd be curious to know, as I always understood that creating more roads leads to more congestion.
As for my two bobs worth, I would actually start with a third line from Caulfield to Pakenham, DG to Dandenong which would then continue to Hastings including duplication of the Cranbourne line. Then work on duplication of the remaining single line sections where passenger trains run. SG the Mildura, Pinaroo and Kulwin lines with a connection to Broken Hill. Only I would have Victoria keep control of these SG lines.
Cheers.
damooops


Hey mate.
I wasn't meaning to say it's a rail investment but i was just putting my foot forward that it's more needed then any other key infrastructure to do with rail in the Metropolitan area.
If you actually look at the report about the East West Link it will show that it will dramatically reduce congestion and it really is the missing link in Melbourne's Road map.
I do agree we need a massive amount of rail investment but when the network is at full operational capacity with a network that works efficiently.
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
The tunnel through Heidelberg is also single track, as with the section between Upwey and Belgrave (where it is seemingly too narrow to fit a second track; the off side at Tecoma is someone's backyard I believe). No excuse to why Bacchus Marsh can't be electrified, or Stony Point for that matter (which is also single track). When sparks start running to and from Bacchus Marsh, the H cars commonly used on that trip can be retired, being that the earliest cars are close to 60 years old (some date back to 1956, others mid-1960s). Ultimately, what should happen is that all regional track should be pulled up entirely and made standard gauge, leaving only the broad gauge sections for suburban rail until the next generation or three of trains replace the then-rusted-out X'Traps our government is currently so happy with. Also, why do suburban electric trains have to be towed all the way to Ballarat by diesel to be repaired? Can't Alstom et.al. build a little closer to the city? Plenty of wasted space beyond Lilydale waiting for some use...
  blowfish Junior Train Controller

Would the South Morang line need any extension ?
BigShunter

Considering the area is the top growth areas in the country, providing adequate rail access seems appropriate.

The project should be done to Mernda initially, they'll have to tunnel bore under McDonalds Rd and the inadequate car park now (expensive).

Not to mention the Aurora housing estate (Epping north) which is marketed as environmentally friendly (recycled water etc.) yet has minor bus services, even to the point where there are stops, with no bus to service it.
  gomer Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
So your saying sparks can not run on single track sections !

Yes the bridge over the reservoir Is single track, and would be one of the last sections of the Ballarat line to be duplicated, so what's wrong with leaving the section of track from Melton West to Exford/Parwan single until funds can be found to build a second bridge over the reservoir.

I can't see Bacchus Marsh losing It's local trains.
Nightfire

That is not what i'm saying, Ballarat could end up with a 20 min or 30 min service very soon when the RRL is finished and they get their extra V/locity's , that would more than compensate for Bacchus Marsh and if you add 20 min sparks into those single line sections it would cause delays.
No doubt when they build another very expensive bridge ( I wont be here) they would look at electrifying all the way.
Remember Sunbury was done in stages.
The RRL has probably saved Geelong from getting sparks for another 10 years at least.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Hey mate.
I wasn't meaning to say it's a rail investment but i was just putting my foot forward that it's more needed then any other key infrastructure to do with rail in the Metropolitan area.
If you actually look at the report about the East West Link it will show that it will dramatically reduce congestion and it really is the missing link in Melbourne's Road map.
I do agree we need a massive amount of rail investment but when the network is at full operational capacity with a network that works efficiently.
Grosso

That report is designed to ensure the East-West truck sewer goes ahead. My betting is that the government has not actually considered what Melbourne will look like without this, but with a massive investment in public transport instead. Or, if they have, they are deliberately not telling us so this project can go ahead.
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
Hey mate.
....
If you actually look at the report about the East West Link it will show that it will dramatically reduce congestion and it really is the missing link in Melbourne's Road map.
....
Grosso


The problem is - it won't do that.  It's been seen again and again and again over many decades that roads beget traffic.

When the hell is it ever going to stop?

We've already got extremely high quality roads - more than enough.  It's now time to invest in mobility instead of creating more congestion.

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