NEW Crossing Loop for Ballarat Line

 
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The Government has announced the provision of a new passing loop on the Ballarat line at  Rowsley.

This is most likely on the Vicrail proposed sight for a passing loop at around  54 to 55ks post before the Horsehoe Bend rail over/road bridge.  Sort of behind the Timbrock factory on the Down side of Bacchus Marsh .

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  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Your hunch on location is spot on. There were a lot of modelling scenarios developed and this location will help enable 30 minute frequencies in the longer term.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
The Libs were going to build a loop at Ballan (announced at the same time as plans for the new Talbot station)

Is this Ballan loop still going ahead, or has It fallen off the radar ?

Is It possible to build a short cut line, to cut off the horseshoe bend ?
Or Is there not much to be gained (time wise) because of lower diesel train operating speeds on steeper grades.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking

Is It possible to build a short cut line, to cut off the horseshoe bend ?
Or Is there not much to be gained (time wise) because of lower diesel train operating speeds on steeper grades.
Nightfire

Short answer - NO.

Apart from the grade of around 1 in 300 for about 2km around Rowsley, the rest is 1 in 48, starting as soon as you leave Bacchus Marsh. Any short cut would be extremely steep.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The Libs were going to build a loop at Ballan (announced at the same time as plans for the new Talbot station)

Is this Ballan loop still going ahead, or has It fallen off the radar ?

Is It possible to build a short cut line, to cut off the horseshoe bend ?
Or Is there not much to be gained (time wise) because of lower diesel train operating speeds on steeper grades.
Nightfire

As for the issues at Ballan .  Originally when in Opposition they promised a second platform on a loop at Ballan station based on some thought bubble .

In Government they would have been advised that Ballan does not need a second platform and that the issues with the single Ballarat line are  1.  Progressive duplication Melton - Rockbank - Deer Park West  2.  An additional crossing loop between Parwan Loop & Bank Box Loop (in that Bacchus Marsh is not really practical for passenger crosses)  3. Restoration of double track running between Warrenheip and Ballarat by installation of a single 80kmh crossover at Warrenheip  and eventually 4. replacement of the circuitous North line route via Wallace with a new long passing lane near Gordon .

So it has become a new loop at Rowsley long identified  by Vicrail as the best site for an additional loop, plus 40 extra car spaces at Ballan to keep the natives happy .
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
We in Ballan were adamant in correspondence with Minister Mulder that an extra platform and inevitable DDA compliant over-bridge were a waste of money as a crossing loop outside of Ballan would be much cheaper.

Again..the devil is in the detail.

Is the funding for Rowsley loop available now or in the 15/16 budget AND does this announcement complement the 'pre-announcement' in the Ballarat Courier a fortnight ago about a crossing loop for near Ballan?

Mike.
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
Here is the direct link - bypasses the en-route stop at Farcebook station:

http://www.thecourier.com.au/story/2256365/143m-rail-upgrade-near-ballan-expected-to-speed-up-train-trips/?cs=62
  Simbera Train Controller

Can anyone explain to me why this place was chosen as a priority? Or link to PTV/Vicrail's rationale? It seems to me to be totally useless at the moment, though I'm sure it will help in the longer term.

If you are going to do something around Bacchus Marsh it needs to be a second platform and accompanying second route through the station itself. This would perform the same job as a loop at Rowsley, but would also allow through trains to cross Bacchus Marsh short-stoppers/starters, which (in my experience) tend to be the ones that actually cause the most delays, and which a Rowsley loop will do nothing to fix.

Seems to me that a Loop somewhere between Gordon and Ballan would be much better value than one in Rowsley.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Can anyone explain to me why this place was chosen as a priority? Or link to PTV/Vicrail's rationale? It seems to me to be totally useless at the moment, though I'm sure it will help in the longer term.

If you are going to do something around Bacchus Marsh it needs to be a second platform and accompanying second route through the station itself. This would perform the same job as a loop at Rowsley, but would also allow through trains to cross Bacchus Marsh short-stoppers/starters, which (in my experience) tend to be the ones that actually cause the most delays, and which a Rowsley loop will do nothing to fix.

Seems to me that a Loop somewhere between Gordon and Ballan would be much better value than one in Rowsley.
Simbera


The "Ballarat  Courier" pre-announcement and the official announcement are the same thing - a new crossing loop at Rowsley and 45 extra car parking spaces at Ballan station .

The funding will be allocated in next Tuesday budget  ( “As part of the Victorian Budget $14.3 million will be provided for a new passing loop at Rowsley, to help more trains run on time, and for an upgrade of Ballan station,” Mr Mulder said.)

Rowsley has long been identified as the best place for an additional crossing place in the Parwan Loop - Bank Box Loop section .  The gradient eases to 1 in 300 over a distance of 2kms where the loop will be built .  Building the new crossing point at Rowsley is much more cost effective than building it at Bacchus Marsh which would cost a lot more  .  (In future a dead end back platform can be provided at Bacchus Marsh for terminating DMU services as an affordable add on .)

The crossing loop at Rowsley is also required to support a 30 minute off peak frequency to Ballarat .

So those are the reasons why  Rowsley was chosen as the site .

Yes an extra loop is required as a long passing lane somewhere near Gordon ,  potentially to replace the circuitous North Line route via Wallace . The next needs on the Ballarat line as explained before is to restore double line running for VLP from Warrenheip into Ballarat  (only requires one 80kmh crossover at Warrenheip), and to get cracking on duplicating the relatively short section of single track between Melton and  Deer Park West .
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
In future a dead end back platform can be provided at Bacchus Marsh for terminating DMU services as an affordable add on.
kuldalai

As far as I can see there Is not enough room to build a dead end back platform at Bacchus Marsh, that would fit a 6 car train ! (without the platform becoming one long spit)

A new platform should be built on the mainline through Bacchus Marsh station (the crossing loop Is effectively already there today, though greatly underused other than shunting)

The train stabling yard could be re configured with trains stabled between the old goods shed and Fisken Street.

The area adjacent to the new platform would be developed Into parkway carpark and have an underpass (like Morwell) connect It to the existing station platform.

And change the position of the down end points for the existing platform track onto the mainline to near Parwan Road level crossing, so the full length of the original platform can be used.  

The existing platform would mostly be used for local trains In the peak times, leaving the mainline platform clear for Ballarat trains to use, the Rowsley loop would come Into good use here.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

As far as I can see there Is not enough room to build a dead end back platform at Bacchus Marsh, that would fit a 6 car train ! (without the platform becoming one long spit)
Nightfire


There nearly is enough room, the distance from the east wall of the old signal box to the Melbourne end of the platfrom is just under 140 metres. The 1982 signalling diagram of Baccus Marsh shows a car dock platform just stopping short of the wall of the signal box. If VLIne extended the main platform another 20 metres towards Melbourne there would be room for a 6 car VLocity on this back platform.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The double track proposal between Deer Park and Melton needs to be completed sooner than later.  These works announced if I read them right are more about  normalising the timetable rather than adding wholesale capacity to the route?
  woodford Chief Commissioner

These works announced if I read them right are more about normalising the timetable rather than adding wholesale capacity to the route?
bevans


I would say that would be correct, from my travelling to Ballarat the up and down services cross at the Parwan or Bankbox loop and on the loop of the old line and the new diversion. The proposed Rowsley loop is just about in the right place for the first cross.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
Yes an extra loop is required as a long passing lane somewhere near Gordon , potentially to replace the circuitous North Line route via Wallace . The next needs on the Ballarat line as explained before is to restore double line running for VLP from Warrenheip into Ballarat (only requires one 80kmh crossover at Warrenheip), and to get cracking on duplicating the relatively short section of single track between Melton and Deer Park West .
kuldalai


when was the junction at warrenheip taken out of service?  this seemed odd and short sighted to me.  people making decisions about removal not understanding how to run trains to a timetable?
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
There nearly is enough room, the distance from the east wall of the old signal box to the Melbourne end of the platfrom is just under 140 metres. The 1982 signalling diagram of Baccus Marsh shows a car dock platform just stopping short of the wall of the signal box. If VLIne extended the main platform another 20 metres towards Melbourne there would be room for a 6 car VLocity on this back platform.
woodford

The whole centreline of main the platform was shifted towards Melbourne, In a silly move that has left the station building (with awning) with no useable/accessible platform In front of It (looks so dumb for a busy station)

Because the centreline has changed and a large car park added to the Up end of the station, a new foot access path has cut across the former dock platform pit and turntable access track and onto the newer part of the main platform.

Removing this access path so a new dock platform could be built right back to the signal box would cerate a long platform spit with limited access to the very end (people would quickly call the end Siberia)

Plus the former dock platform needed a setback move to access It.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
when was the junction at warrenheip taken out of service? this seemed odd and short sighted to me. people making decisions about removal not understanding how to run trains to a timetable?
JimYarin

1995

Though removal was done so Ballarat - Melbourne trains didn't have to slow down to go though the turnouts (and crossover on a down)
  woodford Chief Commissioner

The whole centreline of main the platform was shifted towards Melbourne, In a silly move that has left the station building (with awning) with no useable/accessible platform In front of It (looks so dumb for a busy station)

Because the centreline has changed and a large car park added to the Up end of the station, a new foot access path has cut across the former dock platform pit and turntable access track and onto the newer part of the main platform.

Removing this access path so a new dock platform could be built right back to the signal box would cerate a long platform spit with limited access to the very end (people would quickly call the end Siberia)

Plus the former dock platform needed a setback move to access It.
Nightfire


First of all I agree the current track layout for Baccus Marsh defies any logic........... The problem is while providing a second platform on the current No. 2 road (the mainline) would be the ideal solution (the current up/down train crossing pattern absolutely begs for this) it would be an extremely expensive undertaking one therefore cannot see it occuring for a long while.

The idea is to provide a second Dock platform for minimum cost. Having a platform having its access only from one end I do not consider an issue. I can think half a dozen or more around the network with such access (Heatherdale, Merlynston, Violet Town etc).
Consider this (refer sig diagram 102/12), replace the set of points at the Melbourne end of No. 1 road with a double compound.  Continue the new exit of this switch onto the path of the old Dock platform. Looking at Google earth shows there is enough room for this and to fit a 6 car Vlocity. Such a rearrangement would need only a minimum of trackwork and alteration to the signalling plus a new platform without the need for a bridge or underpass.

Such an arrangement would not cost the earth.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

All the options for Bacchus Marsh have been looked at over the years, with the stabling and lx at both ends adding further complications .  After many  asessments the best place for a proper crossing loop is identified as at Rowsley, and in the medium term provision of a back platform on the Up side at Bacchus Marsh so local trains can terminate clear of the main line at peak hours leaving the main platform free for through Ballarat trains .

The other alternatives involve major alterations at Bacchus Marsh which cost far too much , when a much more cost effective option is to cross just on the Down side of Bacchus Marsh, and in due course a back platform for terminating local trains.

As other have explained Rowsley is the ideal location with the existing timetable, and essential for a 30 minute Off Peak frequency to be introduced to Ballarat ,
  woodford Chief Commissioner

All the options for Bacchus Marsh have been looked at over the years, with the stabling and lx at both ends adding further complications . After many asessments the best place for a proper crossing loop is identified as at Rowsley, and in the medium term provision of a back platform on the Up side at Bacchus Marsh so local trains can terminate clear of the main line at peak hours leaving the main platform free for through Ballarat trains .

The other alternatives involve major alterations at Bacchus Marsh which cost far too much , when a much more cost effective option is to cross just on the Down side of Bacchus Marsh, and in due course a back platform for terminating local trains.

As other have explained Rowsley is the ideal location with the existing timetable, and essential for a 30 minute Off Peak frequency to be introduced to Ballarat ,
kuldalai


In fact Rowsley is the ONLY decent length of remotely level section of track outside of Baccus Marsh between Parwen and the Bankbox loop, so it would seem its the only place one could put a loop.

woodford
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Any future plans for Bacchus Marsh should include those for electrification.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Further to my earlier advice I was fortunate in being directlyinvolved in the modelling for Rowsley loop as outlined by Kuldalai.  It has both short and long term benefits
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Further to my earlier advice I was fortunate in being directlyinvolved in the modelling for Rowsley loop as outlined by Kuldalai. It has both short and long term benefits
Trainplanner


Appreciate you sharing this information TP.  Once this loop is completed, what may we ask would be the next improvement on the Ballarat line?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
This new crossing loop is virtually useless. Now that the proposed Ballan crossing loop has been cancelled, the yawning gap of single line between Millbrook and Bank Box loops is apparently to remain.

All the new Rowsley loop will achieve is to eliminate the reversing from the Bacchus Marsh platform of the first down Ballarat that crosses with an up Ballarat on Mondays to Fridays.

Mike.
  bayside1 Station Master

Could a staged approach be considered.

- Install a cross over at Warrenheip this would give the capacity to run on any line up or down
- Duplicate Rockbank to Melton
- A crossing loop between Bank Box and Bungaree

I am not sure if Rowsley was selected to avoid building a second platform at either Ballan or Bacchus Marsh

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