Bring back the Wonthaggi train

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 08 May 2014 13:59
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
THIRTY-SIX years since the last train rolled out of Wonthaggi, a group of locals are starting to dream of returning the railway service to Bass Coast’s regional centre.

The residents, who want people to start talking about the possibility, say a train service would be the focal point of any future growth in Wonthaggi with benefits spreading around the Bass Coast.

They believe the train would not only benefit local commuters travelling to and from Melbourne, but would also attract people, business, tourism and infrastructure to the area and creating many jobs.

In June last year, Wonthaggi was identified as one of four regional growth centres by the Victorian government.

The Regional Growth Plan estimates that Gippsland’s population could grow by almost 200,000 by 2041 and acknowledges that Bass Coast and Baw Baw, more specifically Wonthaggi and Warragul-Drouin, are expected to grow fastest over the next 30 years.
Bring back the Wonthaggi train


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Nice idea, but it's in the same boat (or is that wagon?) as Leongatha - not practical and cannot justify the funds required, and probably insufficient patronage anyway.  The residents really need to look at all sides of the coin.

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  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
This could be a proposal worth considering. The population grow down that way has been steady.

Could this eventually get up ?
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
No chance.

Whatsoever!

When there are towns of equal size with an open and operating rail line in place, yet still no passenger train. Then what chance does Wonthaggi have?

Wonthaggi's chances of a new passenger train service died when the tracks were ripped up in 1988.
  Rodo Chief Commissioner

Location: Southern Riverina
Yes, maybe a very faint chance of trains as far as Lang Lang to a bus connection.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
When there are towns of equal size with an open and operating rail line in place, yet still no passenger train. Then what chance does Wonthaggi have?
Gman_86

Care to name these towns

Remember Wonthaggi Is about 130 km from Melbourne (loads of commuters travel towards the suburbs via car on a daily basis)

A new coastal route from Lang Lang to Anderson would be needed to tap Into the coastal development towns.

Could happen with the expected population growth of Bass Coast Shire, though not for many many years. the proposed SERL would need to be all up and running first.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Haha not a chance in hell.
  The_Fly Station Staff

Pure fantasy lol! Anything east of east Cranbourne is fantasy, at least in our lifetime.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
The thing that most of these advocates miss completely is that passenger rail is a massive loss making deal. And it has been that way since the inception of rail. The only reasons many of the myriad of railways sprung up was because there were no roads to service the areas. As soon as roads were made into remote areas, the railways began to die back.

If there is a viable freight requirement for the route, then that changes things, but in these modern times, that only works if there is a large industry that demands a number of big unit trains on a regular basis. General goods or small industries simply don't cut it.

And it is made doubly difficult if the track has been ripped up and removed, or simply lies vacant for many years, because to relay the track to modern standards is vastly more expensive than maintaining existing track.

'tell im e's dreamin'
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
The thing that most of these advocates miss completely is that passenger rail is a massive loss making deal. And it has been that way since the inception of rail. The only reasons many of the myriad of railways sprung up was because there were no roads to service the areas. As soon as roads were made into remote areas, the railways began to die back.

If there is a viable freight requirement for the route, then that changes things, but in these modern times, that only works if there is a large industry that demands a number of big unit trains on a regular basis. General goods or small industries simply don't cut it.

And it is made doubly difficult if the track has been ripped up and removed, or simply lies vacant for many years, because to relay the track to modern standards is vastly more expensive than maintaining existing track.

'tell im e's dreamin'
TheBlacksmith

Could not agree more.  The passenger service to Wonthaggi was only ever an add-on;  the main purpose of the line was the coal traffic, and when that dried up, so did the line.  If there had been no coal, it's doubtful if the line would ever have been built.  If the purpose was other than coal, then surely the line would have gone to Inverloch, only another 12 kms further.

The time for the local residents to do something was when the line was still in place (maybe they did?).  But it's a waste of time now.   If they want to attract tourists and holiday makers then they should push for a better bus service, but the fact remains that most such people would prefer to drive their own cars anyway.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Could not agree more. The passenger service to Wonthaggi was only ever an add-on; the main purpose of the line was the coal traffic, and when that dried up, so did the line. If there had been no coal, it's doubtful if the line would ever have been built. If the purpose was other than coal, then surely the line would have gone to Inverloch, only another 12 kms further.

The time for the local residents to do something was when the line was still in place (maybe they did?). But it's a waste of time now. If they want to attract tourists and holiday makers then they should push for a better bus service, but the fact remains that most such people would prefer to drive their own cars anyway.
Lad_Porter

Little history lesson

The railway branch as built from Nyora towards San Remo to serve the agricultural land development In the Bass Valley and fishing port of San Remo.

Then there was a false claim of "Maitland" grade bituminous coal to be won In the Powlett coal field.

Facing a coal strike In NSW, the Government of the day moved quickly and set up the State Coal Mine, mined coal was Initially hauled to Inverloch by bullock team.

The branch line from Nyora had reached Woolamai at this time, the Government ordered that the railway be re-routed to the Powlett coal fields (the place was called Powlett than and was a tent city)
The railway from Woolamai to Powlett (Wonthaggi) was planed, built and opened In about 2 weeks (line planed and built on a cheap, though some bridges were replaced by better engineered structures In the fowling years (Powlett River Bridge Is on of them, remains of the firs bridge still can be seen at low water levels) Earthworks around Anderson were also regraded.

The motor vehicle came Into popular use In the 1920's killing off any plans for a railway to Inverloch.

Railway plans for Inverloch would of seen the line come from Bena, but those plans like the Whitelaw - Warragul proposal died with the Introduction of the motor vehicle and all weather roads.

The time for the local residents to do something was when the line was still in place (maybe they did?). But it's a waste of time now. If they want to attract tourists and holiday makers then they should push for a better bus service, but the fact remains that most such people would prefer to drive their own cars anyway.
Lad_Porter

Yes It's a wast of time now, due to no extra rail capacity available through the Melbourne Urban network.

But who knows what may happen In the future, as Bass Coast Shire Council Is expecting huge population growth In the coming future (the size on Inverloch's urban area has been capped, due to unsustainable growth)
Many people from Bass Coast and Phillip Island commute to the Urban area (Dandenong, Casey, Cardinia) they M1 Princes/ Monash Freeway Is becoming hopeless during peak travel times (that are ever Increasing) feeder roads onto the M1 are choked with traffic (there are plans to build a Freeway from Pakenham to Lang Lang costing upwards to a Billion dollars)

If / when the South East Regional Rail Link connects Dandenong to Melbourne, this would open up the opportunity to extend rail services to South Gippsland to relive cronic road congestion on the Highway M420.

Forget about resurrecting to Nyora - Anderson railway, few people live a long It, the population boom towns are along the Bass Highway / Westernport Bay shoreline.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
If / when the South East Regional Rail Link connects Dandenong to Melbourne, this would open up the opportunity to extend rail services to South Gippsland to relive cronic road congestion on the Highway M420.
Nightfire

This statement has me puzzled. There is no (sic) 'cronic road congestion' on the M420 from Cranbourne onwards. Most times of the day you could fire a cannonball down the road and not hit anything. The only section where traffic is heavy is between Cranbourne and Dandenong, and that section is already serviced by a railway.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Not a snowflakes chance in hell of any rail service returning to the South East beyond Cranbourne area .

Before closure  the Leongatha train which fed bus connections at  Leongatha, and Lang Lang in total was poorest patronized of the Inter City routes with only 100,000 pax per annum .

In this corridor  rail is fastest between Melbourne and Lang Lang, but beyond Lang Lang road coaches are much faster . That opportunity was there in 1990 s but Korumburra and Leongatha were quite happy to go along with faster and more frequent road coach services direct to Dandenong or Melbourne.

So the best option in the 1990's would have been to cut the South East line back to Lang Lang and operate  3 - 4 return trips by Sprinter as far as Lang Lang with coach connections beyond to all points in the South East .

Closure of the Leongatha line , lack of any freight traffic and subsequent track removal beyond Cranbourne East make any return of rail services even as far as Lang Lang far too costly . On top of this scarce paths between Dandenong and Flinders Street are more deservingly needed for extra Metro peak services.

Pink pigs seen recently flying over both Wonthaggi and Mildura .  Any slight noises of dis interest from Government are simply to pacify the National Party  local natives .
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
This statement has me puzzled. There is no (sic) 'cronic road congestion' on the M420 from Cranbourne onwards. Most times of the day you could fire a cannonball down the road and not hit anything. The only section where traffic is heavy is between Cranbourne and Dandenong, and that section is already serviced by a railway.
TheBlacksmith

Well I guess you don't know this Highway very well ! and the growth of traffic that has occurred In the last 10 years Is very noticeable.

"cronic road congestion" Is a future prediction.

Todays traffic reports state the M1 builds heavily at Clyde Road all the way through to what they call the "South Gippsland merge" (though It's not a bottle neck because 4 lanes go Into 4 lanes)

Heavy traffic (the stop start crap) Is known to stretch way back to Pakenham.

Cranbourne to Dandenong South on the M420 has become hopelessly slow, red traffic everywhere, many people cut across to the M1 via C class roads riddled with traffic hazards.  

Many roundabouts are planed In the M420 Highway to slow through traffic down at busy Intersections.
(VicRoads has a love affair with roundabouts on M class Highways)

"try turning left out of Clyde - Fiveways Road at Fiveways In the afternoon"
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Before closure the Leongatha train which fed bus connections at Leongatha, and Lang Lang in total was poorest patronized of the Inter City routes with only 100,000 pax per annum .

In this corridor rail is fastest between Melbourne and Lang Lang, but beyond Lang Lang road coaches are much faster . That opportunity was there in 1990 s but Korumburra and Leongatha were quite happy to go along with faster and more frequent road coach services direct to Dandenong or Melbourne.

So the best option in the 1990's would have been to cut the South East line back to Lang Lang and operate 3 - 4 return trips by Sprinter as far as Lang Lang with coach connections beyond to all points in the South East .
kuldalai

The 2020's or so will be very different to the 1990's

There was no urban sprawl back In the 1990's places like Berwick and Cranbourne where West Gippsland country towns, they are more or less In filled now and Irreplaceable high value market garden land Is been cleared and paved over the top by a concrete jungle of houses and roads (they are popping up like weeds In the Cranbourne - Clyde - Berwick - Officer - Pakenham area.
Each house adds 2 or more cars to the road system !

M420 South Gippsland Highway (former Highway 180) travel times have blown out big time since the 1990's and will continue to blow out due to expected population growth.

Note. the population of South Gippsland Shire Council has not grown that much since the 1990's (clueless the council the reject just about every development proposal, so the developers go the Bass Coast or Baw Baw where their council's welcome developers with open arms)

On the other hand populations In Baw Baw & Bass Coast Shire Council's have gone gangbusters.

Anyone got a crystal ball ?
  lkernan Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Well I guess you don't know this Highway very well ! and the growth of traffic that has occurred In the last 10 years Is very noticeable.
Nightfire


Which you then prove by referring to other roads in the south east suburbs that aren't the one in question.

(VicRoads has a love affair with roundabouts on M class Highways)


Because they put a couple on the Westernport highway?  
Which wasn't even M class when they were added (there are still some signs calling it an A road round there, I passed one this morning)
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Which you then prove by referring to other roads in the south east suburbs that aren't the one in question.
lkernan

Referring to M420 South Gippsland Highway and other North South roads such as Cranbourne - Narre Warren Road, Fiveways - Clyde - Berwick Road, Dalmore / Cardinia Road and Koo Wee Rup - Pakenham Road.

Because they put a couple on the Westernport highway?
Which wasn't even M class when they were added (there are still some signs calling it an A road round there, I passed one this morning)

Take a drive from Traralgon to Sale and count the number of new roundabouts (a few years ago there was just one at Rosedale) than look at the plans to see how many more roundabouts are to be built as part of the Princes Highway duplication project (A1 upgraded to M1)

Some people think this Highway Is to be upgraded to a freeway with a 110 km/h speed limit ! the speed limit won't change and traveling time will mostly be Increased due to the so many roundabouts.

Queensland has their Sunshine Coast Motorway Is riddled with roundabouts (I can't see just how they call It a motorway, given that most of It Is only 2 lanes)
  B 67 Chief Commissioner

Location: Central Gippsland
Take a drive from Traralgon to Sale and count the number of new roundabouts (a few years ago there was just one at Rosedale) than look at the plans to see how many more roundabouts are to be built as part of the Princes Highway duplication project (A1 upgraded to M1)

Some people think this Highway Is to be upgraded to a freeway with a 110 km/h speed limit ! the speed limit won't change and traveling time will mostly be Increased due to the so many roundabouts.
Nightfir

Getting off topic, but yes, Traralgon - Sale travel times have already increased. I recall the political spin on the duplication and realignment at Wurruk (Sale) and how it would "result in improved safety and travel times". Looking at the plans and knowing what they did at Traralgon, I knew this was BS. And that has proven to be the case.

Previously there was a 2-lane single carriageway with 100 and 90km/h speed limits - and no roundabouts, with 80 through Wurruk and over the Sale Causeway. Now there's an 80 limit starting 5km out of Sale before the start of the duplication (and not in a built-up area). Then three roundabouts with such poor alignment that it's unsafe to travel much over 40 on them (at least one truck has overturned). And they're close enough that the 2-lane dual carriageways are practically useless.

Of course this doesn't include the lengths of roadwork speed zones on the existing carriageway where works for the new ones are underway, despite those works not infringing on the existing road at all.

On topic. Err, Wonthaggi rail services returning? Would be nice, but yes, very difficult to see anything happening with that idea when lines like Leongatha would be much easier and cheaper to reinstate - and few of us can realistically see that occurring anytime soon. Or later.
  dr_jazz Locomotive Fireman

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Nice idea, but it's in the same boat (or is that wagon?) as Leongatha - not practical and cannot justify the funds required, and probably insufficient patronage anyway. The residents really need to look at all sides of the coin.
Lad_Porter

I'm a giant fan of this idea and if it were to be I'm also pretty damn crazed about the idea of the line being extended/re-built to Inverloch or even a freight service as far as Venus Bay!

The reality is though, such a proposed project like this would cost hundreds of millions of dollars (or even billions) to rebuild the track and other infrastructure and feel pretty damn sure this is never going to happen or at least not prior to the 22nd century perhaps.

Other major cons comprise many questioning of finding appropriate sitings for the proposed train line at some points when much of the land has been sold off as private residential and also re-building it in conjunction to the rail trail - it would may have to divert from that and/or would cost a lot of money should it become necessary to relocate the rail trail due to new rail tracks having to be constructed over current one.

Please convince be other wise if seeing the res-erection of the Bass Coast railway could be a dream-come-true during my life time as otherwise, I'm feeling quite confident it's nothing more than a pie in the sky.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
So does it make sense to pull up the lines we have already removed in hindsight ?
  waynes Junior Train Controller

Location: Victoria
Haha not a chance in hell.
ZH836301


This group have been very quite compared to the Rail Revival group which are consistently in the news and published on this site.

Are they still keen on returning trains?
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
The Rail Revival Alliance exist to pressure the government to fulfil a promise they made before the last state election (4 years ago now) to introduce a cross country service between Geelong and Bendigo, via Ballarat, Maryborough and Castlemaine. These lines are already there, do not require any significant construction (just some flood damage repairs and crossing upgrades) and for the most part see regular freight.

This group however, really are coming out of nowhere (metaphorically speaking of course, I'm not actually suggesting Wonthaggi is 'nowhere'), and have no real prospects to base their demands on. Without significant freight, it's hard to imagine any new rail line would be built anywhere.

I would suggest they have come to the obvious realisation that heavy rail to Wonthaggi isn't going to happen any time soon.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
This statement has me puzzled. There is no (sic) 'cronic road congestion' on the M420 from Cranbourne onwards. Most times of the day you could fire a cannonball down the road and not hit anything. The only section where traffic is heavy is between Cranbourne and Dandenong, and that section is already serviced by a railway.
TheBlacksmith

This highway is very busy. It is the road to Phillip Island. I don't see the railway coming back anytime soon though. Passenger railway services are not too convenient. They run to a time table, or are supposed to, and if you own a car, you just jump in it and are on your way.
  Barrington Womble Photo Nazi

Location: Banned
What a load of rubbish this proposal is. The line from Nyora to Wonthaggi doesn't exist anymore, and is a railtrail. The line from Crimebourne to Nyora is also shagged, and won't see trains again. You have to wonder how people can come up with such tripe.
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Nightfire and others; thanks for the interesting running commentary and history lessons on this topic. I'm not very familiar with that part of Victoria so it's interesting reading.

Just with regards to any restoration of services, the point about congestion on the rail network once you hit the urban area is a really salient one. There's no sense in trying to introduce another country service to that part of the network when the existing V/Line services are incredibly slow - the whole point of reintroducing a train service being that it's either faster or more reliable than using the road network.
  JimYarin Chief Commissioner

Location: Adelaide, South Australia
why the sudden push for a service anyhow?  are there issues with growth in the shire coupled with a need for better public transport services?  Victoria does have these larger satellite towns or cities more than sat south australia (with some exceptions).

it seems clear any return of passenger services needs to be aligned with freight opportunities to ensure the line has multiple sources of traffic to fund maintenance.  also reading about the history of the line it was costly to maintain as the track was laid on sand which shifts. is this correct?

i think the line to mount gambier from heywood was similiar?

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