Diversion of the Upfield line

 
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
If double-track were available throughout from North Melbourne - Coolaroo via Upfield and if the junctions at either end were grade-separated to minimise conflicting moves (which is easier to achieve at Somerton than at North Melbourne) then some Craigieburn trains could come via Upfield and others on those lines be started from / terminated at Broadmeadows and Coburg or Upfield.  

That way you offer much the same service to Craigieburn as it currently has and can offer some improvements to capacity at intermediate stations.  Stations Broadmeadows - Kensington would benefit through having a little more space with some passengers for Coolaroo, Roxburgh Park and Craigieburn routed via Upfield and stations Upfield - Macaulay would gain a more frequent service possibly as much as Metro's stated every 10 minutes "metro service" aim.

Issues remain at the City end.  There is nowhere to put these trains in the City Loop and no additional platform capacity at Flinders Street at peak times.  The only option I can see is to through-route Upfield line trains to Alamein or Blackburn via platform 4 and back via platform 5 though I'm still not convinced there is sufficient capacity.

As I understand things V/Line would relinquish platform 8 at Southern Cross in return for gaining use of the new platforms on the western side of the station and that would become the dedicated Upfield line turnback facility capable of handling a train every 10 minutes subject to other conflicting moves; probably every 15 minutes in reality.  The present hourly (or thereabouts) Seymour service would come via Upfield as would the Albury and XPT services if the route were dual-gauged.  That frees capacity elsewhere, critically on the Broadmeadows route where more suburban trains are needed, and the regional trains can be accommodated via Upfield even with a 10-minute suburban headway on the line.  Signalling should permit a train every 5 minutes or so but there would likely be no saving in travel time by the shorter route.

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  topher1976 Train Controller

Location: Mill Park, Vic
If double-track were available throughout from North Melbourne - Coolaroo via Upfield and if the junctions at either end were grade-separated to minimise conflicting moves (which is easier to achieve at Somerton than at North Melbourne) then some Craigieburn trains could come via Upfield and others on those lines be started from / terminated at Broadmeadows and Coburg or Upfield.  

That way you offer much the same service to Craigieburn as it currently has and can offer some improvements to capacity at intermediate stations.  Stations Broadmeadows - Kensington would benefit through having a little more space with some passengers for Coolaroo, Roxburgh Park and Craigieburn routed via Upfield and stations Upfield - Macaulay would gain a more frequent service possibly as much as Metro's stated every 10 minutes "metro service" aim.

Issues remain at the City end.  There is nowhere to put these trains in the City Loop and no additional platform capacity at Flinders Street at peak times.  The only option I can see is to through-route Upfield line trains to Alamein or Blackburn via platform 4 and back via platform 5 though I'm still not convinced there is sufficient capacity.

As I understand things V/Line would relinquish platform 8 at Southern Cross in return for gaining use of the new platforms on the western side of the station and that would become the dedicated Upfield line turnback facility capable of handling a train every 10 minutes subject to other conflicting moves; probably every 15 minutes in reality.  The present hourly (or thereabouts) Seymour service would come via Upfield as would the Albury and XPT services if the route were dual-gauged.  That frees capacity elsewhere, critically on the Broadmeadows route where more suburban trains are needed, and the regional trains can be accommodated via Upfield even with a 10-minute suburban headway on the line.  Signalling should permit a train every 5 minutes or so but there would likely be no saving in travel time by the shorter route.
Gwiwer
That would be great to duplicate between UFD and GOW.  Can't see that happening anytime soon or at least until they grade separate Bell St.  With current single track they are limited to about a 15 minute service (including enough time for driver changeover etc.)

Agree 100% with you though Smile  At least without V/Line going thru they can increase services on the CGB line, and that could also allow for electrification to Wallan, (which is likely to be feasible in the future with the way Wallan and Beveridge are growing!)
  topher1976 Train Controller

Location: Mill Park, Vic
Could additional services to and from Upfield be provided by using the line north of Upfield into Craigieburn?  Running Craigieburn trains south via the Upfield line to create additional capacity straight into SCS?
bevans

That would be great if they duplicate UFD to GOW.  More capacity for both lines Smile
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The biggest issue by far on the Upfield line is the Bell Street crossing and that is already on the radar for grade separation.

The volume of road traffic at all the others, many though there are, is hardly sufficient to warrant the cost of burying the line wholesale.  Even if twice the present number of trains were to run.
Gwiwer


But that grade separation would already need exensive earthworks, why do those exensive earthworks if you just divert part of the line south of Batman? My idea if for this to be part of the MMRT project, not as a separate project from it.

There are other limiting factors which prevent a more frequent Metro trains service being run than is offered now.  The single track north of Gowrie limits the number of trains which can run the full length of the line although this could be doubled.  The City Loop is already running at full capacity for the Northern Group and cannot accommodate more trains from the Upfield line or any others.  The improved service to Craigieburn only became possible when Werribee / Williamstown trains were removed from the loop and became part of the Cross-City group.
Gwiwer


With this diversion, since the Upfield line would branch off the MMRT, it would no longer be part of the Northern group.

Royal Park station is busy with visitors to the zoo for much of the year and needs to stay where it is.  Flemington Bridge serves an area not otherwise well served by the rail network.
Gwiwer


Surely sereving Melbourne Uni is more important then serving the zoo. I'm not sure what we're going to do about Royal Park, as I said, Flemington Bridge is pretty close to Haymarket station on the Broadmeadows line.

Did you know that the Zoo used to be by the river?

Others have noted the long-term and eminently sensible intention to re-join Upfield and Somerton to route regional trains that way.  Apart from placing a speed restriction on the line if it were dual gauged - which is unlikely to affect the existing service anyway - the only major works would be relocation of Upfield sidings (other land is available nearby or Craigieburn depot could be used) and the ARTC's insistence that any grade separation at Somerton is built for double-stack clearance which is not an insuperable problem by any means though adds to the cost of such a project.
Gwiwer


But then we may as well run a portion of suburban trains to Craigiburn via Upfield and keep Vline trains on the more direct line, which also already has fewer level crossings.

Could additional services to and from Upfield be provided by using the line north of Upfield into Craigieburn?  Running Craigieburn trains south via the Upfield line to create additional capacity straight into SCS?
bevans
Surely not with those 14 level crossings between Royal Park and Batman and the indirectness of the current alignment. If we divert the line, that becomes more realistic.

That would be great to duplicate between UFD and GOW.  Can't see that happening anytime soon or at least until they grade separate Bell St.  With current single track they are limited to about a 15 minute service (including enough time for driver changeover etc.)

Agree 100% with you though Smile  At least without V/Line going thru they can increase services on the CGB line, and that could also allow for electrification to Wallan, (which is likely to be feasible in the future with the way Wallan and Beveridge are growing!)
topher1976
Again, I'm not sure the Upfield line is that suitable for VLine services. The limit to about a 15 minute service seems justifiable with all those level crossings, sorry.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][quote]Surely sereving Melbourne Uni is more important then serving the zoo. I'm not sure what we're going to do about Royal Park[/quote][/font][/size][/color]
[color=#000000][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]They are equally important but to different sectors of the market. [/font][/size][/color][color=#000000][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, Segoe UI, Segoe, Segoe WP, Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][size=2]Melbourne Uni is already well served by trams including the 1, 8 and 19 from the suburbs broadly served by the Upfield line and by many more from the south. Then there is the 401 bus link from North Melbourne already well established. It will also benefit from a Parkville station when the Metro rail tunnel is built.[/size][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, Segoe UI, Segoe, Segoe WP, Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, Segoe UI, Segoe, Segoe WP, Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][size=2]Royal Park is also served by tram 55 though that runs via William Street through the City a little distance from the rail hub at Flinders Street station. Some passengers use the tram, others use the train. Some take advantage of our multimodal ticketing to ride one way on each mode. There is no reason to do anything at Royal Park other than perhaps staff the station on summer weekends and for special events to manage crowds such as Zoo Twilight nights when both platforms can become very crowded after the event closes and with only a half-hourly train service.[/size][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, Segoe UI, Segoe, Segoe WP, Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, Segoe UI, Segoe, Segoe WP, Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][size=2]All the rest of your arguments I shall simply disagree with. We can all form our own opinions and don't have to reach a consensus. But I suggest you think about the number of "Disagree" feedbacks attached to two posts above.[/size][/font][/color]
[color=#000000][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, Segoe UI, Segoe, Segoe WP, Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif][/font][/color]
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Issues remain at the City end.  There is nowhere to put these trains in the City Loop and no additional platform capacity at Flinders Street at peak times.  The only option I can see is to through-route Upfield line trains to Alamein or Blackburn via platform 4 and back via platform 5 though I'm still not convinced there is sufficient capacity.
Gwiwer


The best option would be to through route it through the MMRT, which, as planned does come quite close to the existing Upfield line, hence my idea of diverting the Upfield line.

As I understand things V/Line would relinquish platform 8 at Southern Cross in return for gaining use of the new platforms on the western side of the station and that would become the dedicated Upfield line turnback facility capable of handling a train every 10 minutes subject to other conflicting moves; probably every 15 minutes in reality.  The present hourly (or thereabouts) Seymour service would come via Upfield as would the Albury and XPT services if the route were dual-gauged.  That frees capacity elsewhere, critically on the Broadmeadows route where more suburban trains are needed, and the regional trains can be accommodated via Upfield even with a 10-minute suburban headway on the line.  Signalling should permit a train every 5 minutes or so but there would likely be no saving in travel time by the shorter route.
Gwiwer


I'm not sure that the frequent level crossings on the current alingment would go very well with 5 minute frequencies.


They are equally important but to different sectors of the market.  Melbourne Uni is already well served by trams including the 1, 8 and 19 from the suburbs broadly served by the Upfield line and by many more from the south.  Then there is the 401 bus link from North Melbourne already well established.  It will also benefit from a Parkville station when the Metro rail tunnel is built.
Gwiwer


Consider how busy the tramline along Swanston can get, and the trams on Royal Parade also share the road with other vehicles. While Parkville station is close enough to the Upfield line that some diversion would seem worth considering, espcially given that many students and staff live in the Northern suburbs.

Royal Park is also served by tram 55 though that runs via William Street through the City a little distance from the rail hub at Flinders Street station.  Some passengers use the tram, others use the train.  Some take advantage of our multimodal ticketing to ride one way on each mode.  There is no reason to do anything at Royal Park other than perhaps staff the station on summer weekends and for special events to manage crowds such as Zoo Twilight nights when both platforms can become very crowded after the event closes and with only a half-hourly train service.
Gwiwer


And the tram also runs off street through Royal Park, and the line along Flemington road and Peel street is segregated too. Comapre with Sydney road where trams often wait behind a line of cars.

EDIT: One idea would be to divert part of the Royal park tramway into part of the aligment of the Upfield line, taking over the bridges over Alexander Parade and Flemington road.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Another factor in the benefit to cost ratio is the value of the strip between Royal Park and Batman once the line is diverted, as that land would be sold. It may well be very valuable.
  toastywarmhamster Station Master

Location: Space and Time
Two of the level crossings, at Park street and Brunswick road, are unusually close together, and Brunswick station is probably the only railway station in Victoria, and the only suburban railway station in the entire country with level crossings immediately to both sides.
Myrtone
You need to travel the Frankston line.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I've used that line before and couldn't recall any level crossings that close together, not like the Upfield line. And on a related note, I believe there was an oppotunity to remove many swing gate level crossings on that line in 1987 when a third track was added, but instead the gates were simply replaced by boom barriers in spite of the increase in rail traffic.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Trams still ran along LaTrobe street when the City Loop was built, as the tunnel was bored, not cut and covered. The low-frequency, low-patronised railway linewould become a higher frequency higher patronised railway. If this tunnel is also bored, such disruption would not occur. Some answers to the above questions:

*I think the cost is worth it if the patronage is likely to sore, especially after some of the Craigiburn trains now run via Upfield.
*You shouldn't have to run VLine trains along the Upfield line anyway, especially after some Craigiburn trains now run via Upfield instead of Broadmeadows.
*The latter two stations are very near to the Kensington and Haymarket stations on the Broadmeadows lines. Both Macauley and Royal Park are right next to level crossings.
*Can you tell me how many tracks the metro tunnel will have?
Myrtone
Not entirely correct .  Melbourne Central station between Elizabeth &  Swanston Streets was built by cut and cover and IIRC the La Trobe Street trams were diverted onto the land where melbourne Central now is during construction .
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

If double-track were available throughout from North Melbourne - Coolaroo via Upfield and if the junctions at either end were grade-separated to minimise conflicting moves (which is easier to achieve at Somerton than at North Melbourne) then some Craigieburn trains could come via Upfield and others on those lines be started from / terminated at Broadmeadows and Coburg or Upfield.  

That way you offer much the same service to Craigieburn as it currently has and can offer some improvements to capacity at intermediate stations.  Stations Broadmeadows - Kensington would benefit through having a little more space with some passengers for Coolaroo, Roxburgh Park and Craigieburn routed via Upfield and stations Upfield - Macaulay would gain a more frequent service possibly as much as Metro's stated every 10 minutes "metro service" aim.

Issues remain at the City end.  There is nowhere to put these trains in the City Loop and no additional platform capacity at Flinders Street at peak times.  The only option I can see is to through-route Upfield line trains to Alamein or Blackburn via platform 4 and back via platform 5 though I'm still not convinced there is sufficient capacity.

As I understand things V/Line would relinquish platform 8 at Southern Cross in return for gaining use of the new platforms on the western side of the station and that would become the dedicated Upfield line turnback facility capable of handling a train every 10 minutes subject to other conflicting moves; probably every 15 minutes in reality.  The present hourly (or thereabouts) Seymour service would come via Upfield as would the Albury and XPT services if the route were dual-gauged.  That frees capacity elsewhere, critically on the Broadmeadows route where more suburban trains are needed, and the regional trains can be accommodated via Upfield even with a 10-minute suburban headway on the line.  Signalling should permit a train every 5 minutes or so but there would likely be no saving in travel time by the shorter route.
Gwiwer
The intention is only to route  broad gauge VLP trains in future via Upfield and Somerton .  Standard gauge  VLP and Countrylink would continue as now via Jacana and Albion .  Ultimate ARTC intention is to duplicate the sg track as necessary South of Seymour with  Jacana - Albion alraedy two tracks becoming probably one as sg and one as dg . Also duplication of sg from Maribyrnong River to  Dynon end of North Melbourne flyover .
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
As noted before, it really seems like there are too many level crossings on the current alignment to run more frequent trains, if we want more frequent trains, we need to remove many of them, and that's what this diversion would do. The Broadmeadows line is also a more direct route to places like Seymour.
  topher1976 Train Controller

Location: Mill Park, Vic
As noted before, it really seems like there are too many level crossings on the current alignment to run more frequent trains, if we want more frequent trains, we need to remove many of them, and that's what this diversion would do. The Broadmeadows line is also a more direct route to places like Seymour.
Myrtone
It is not the level crossings preventing further trains from running, as I mentioned earlier.  It is the fact there is single track between Gowrie and Upfield!  (6 minutes either way, then driver changeover at Upfield).

As for integration of Upfield line in the MMRT, you are aware of where the line is going to start and finish right?  It is going to sink between Footscray and South Kensington, and then come up just past South Yarra.

Grade separating Moreland Rd, Bell St and Camp Rd are going to be far cheaper than sinking the whole line.  And also, if the whole line is underground, there is no way they would be able to run diesels thru there, which as others have mentioned, is possible from Upfield via Somerton.  And if you look at a map of the line, the Upfield line is more direct than the Craigieburn line.
  torrens5022 Junior Train Controller

It's 4mins Gowrie to Upfield, you can terminate trains at Gowrie - eg Upfield 20min frequency everything south of Gowrie 10mins. So the single track is not much of an issue.  Coolaroo station is only 2km from Upfield and has a much better frequency anyway.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
It is not the level crossings preventing further trains from running, as I mentioned earlier.  It is the fact there is single track between Gowrie and Upfield!  (6 minutes either way, then driver changeover at Upfield).
topher1976


I know what prevents further trains from running, I didn't say it was the level crossings, what I meant is that there seems to be too many level crossings, including a few busy ones, for more ferquent trains to be worth considering on the current alignment, because the crossings would come down more often.

As for integration of Upfield line in the MMRT, you are aware of where the line is going to start and finish right?  It is going to sink between Footscray and South Kensington, and then come up just past South Yarra.
topher1976


I know that, but I know Parkville station is close enough to the nothern suburbs that a diversion of the Upfield line might well be a good thing to integrate into the project so that one of the routes serving Parkville station would also serve the northern suburbs where a great deal of students and staff reside.

Grade separating Moreland Rd, Bell St and Camp Rd are going to be far cheaper than sinking the whole line.  And also, if the whole line is underground, there is no way they would be able to run diesels thru there, which as others have mentioned, is possible from Upfield via Somerton.  And if you look at a map of the line, the Upfield line is more direct than the Craigieburn line.
topher1976


It wouldn't be the whole line that is sunk, only the portion south of Batman, the line emerging just north of Batman as far as I can see.
Diesels don't currently run on the line, nor should they need to if the extra Craigiburn services can run via Upfield.

Also, think of that big S-bend between Macauley station and the Park street level crossing, I don't recall anything like that on the Broadmeadows line.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I know what prevents further trains from running, I didn't say it was the level crossings, what I meant is that there seems to be too many level crossings, including a few busy ones, for more ferquent trains to be worth considering on the current alignment, because the crossings would come down more often.
Myrtone


So just grade separate them. No point moving the alignment 200m east to under Sydney Road when the rails can just move up or down where they are currently.


I know that, but I know Parkville station is close enough to the nothern suburbs that a diversion of the Upfield line might well be a good thing to integrate into the project so that one of the routes serving Parkville station would also serve the northern suburbs where a great deal of students and staff reside.
Myrtone


Staff and students live there because there is already fantastic public transport to the area. The 55, 19, 1 and 8 all service the area. Swanston Street Trams will benefit from increased metro capacity to Parkville, which will have flow on effects for those services.

It wouldn't be the whole line that is sunk, only the portion south of Batman, the line emerging just north of Batman as far as I can see.
Diesels don't currently run on the line, nor should they need to if the extra Craigiburn services can run via Upfield.
Myrtone


But Density will be increasing closer to the city, so more services will be needed from Broadmeadows and Essendon inwards. More people from Craigieburn moving via Upfield won't help that.

Also, think of that big S-bend between Macauley station and the Park street level crossing, I don't recall anything like that on the Broadmeadows line.
Myrtone


If you are referring to the lengths of the line, you're almost right. The difference between the distance to the junction at Somerton is something like 20 metres. Upfield is the shorter one though.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
So just grade separate them. No point moving the alignment 200m east to under Sydney Road when the rails can just move up or down where they are currently.
TOQ-1


This diversion would eliminate most of the level crossings with less extensive, at least all of the ones south of Batman. The Macauley road, Macauley crossing cannot be grade separated because there isn't enough clearance under the expressway, and grade separating all the rest up to Batman would mean digging a very long cutting, probably no shorter than this tunnel would be. The diversion would eliminate all of these crossings and also:

*Mean that the trains serving the northern suburbs also serve the Melbourne University.
*Diverts these trains away from the current city loop.
*Eliminates many more level crossings than extensive earthworks in only a few locations.
*Frees up valuable land for housing and businesses in Moreland, Coburg and Brunswick and allow expansion of a sporting facility on the inside of the curve in Royal Park.

Staff and students live there because there is already fantastic public transport to the area. The 55, 19, 1 and 8 all service the area. Swanston Street Trams will benefit from increased metro capacity to Parkville, which will have flow on effects for those services.
TOQ-1


Students and staff live there because it's only one to three suburbs away. There may be a lot of street transit in the area, but I believe that the number of students and staff living in the area is enough to be served by off street transit, with larger vehicles than buses or trams.
  nagel1989 Beginner

Okay, I’ve never posted on here before but I wanted to chip in considering this is about a line I live on.


*

Your original question was: With the construction of the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel, might there be an opportunity to divert the Upfield railway line away from Royal Park and Flemington? And even run a considerable portion (Brunswick to North Coburg) right under Sydney road.


There’s always opportunity in anything, but the question is one of rationality. Let me explain my thoughts as I do agree with you on some points you raised in the thread.


As for my stake in this: I’m directly between Cragieburn and Upfield lines. I live about a kilometre or two from the end of the 55 tram route, and I catch the 19 tram on a very regular basis. I catch all of these four lines regularly as any one of these can get me home to Coburg with a short walk. I catch the Upfield line regularly though, and although the trains can get busy, these journeys are exclusively heading into the CBD as the load empties out at Flagstaff and Melbourne Central. So I can understand why you’d consider a direct link to the north, as most passengers get off/on at Jewell while the later three stations are pretty much deserted at most hours.


But what you are suggesting is extremely cost prohibitive and has a limited scope. Your proposal, and future posts, rely on a number of things, but the first thing:


The Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel.


The tunnel, as it is planned now, is a double track tunnel that will route Sunbury, Pakenham, Cranbourne, Rowville, Melton and Airport lines, three trains going one way, three the other way. The tunnel is designed to add an additional cross city link (CROSS CITY) for these lines, which are extremely busy, South Eastern suburbs in particular and the growth areas of Melton and Sunshine.


If Upfield lines join this tunnel in peak hour, where exactly are we putting these trains? Consider how busy all of the above lines are in peak hour right now and now also consider this: if the Upfield line is re-rerouted through the Melbourne Metro, where does it now go? Does it become a Pakenham train? Does it go to Rowville? I know you say traffic on the Melbourne Metro will justify more than two tracks, and I agree with that, the tunnel should have provisions for expansion to quad track, but as of right now it is two planned tracks. Those two tracks in the Melbourne Metro are not intended for use in Upfield, they are intended for lines with heavy patronage and struggling with crush capacity.


Craigieburn Capacity


Both TOQ-1 and Jamesadams 7 wrote some very good points which need to be considered again and their points are well put.


Your definition of the Northern Suburbs is limited to Broadmeadows, Roxburgh Park and Craigieburn and assumes that passengers only need access to Melbourne Uni and eliminates cross city travel. How many people on the Craigieburn line are going to ONLY to and from Craigieburn/Far North? And how many people from Craigieburn are going ONLY to the city? Those trains are packed until Essendon and Pascoe Vale in the evening and vice versa in the morning; when a train reaches Essendon, the platform is literally shoulder-to-shoulder. How would a Craigieburn train running via Upfield increase patronage or increase frequency?


“...But Density will be increasing closer to the city, so more services will be needed from Broadmeadows and Essendon inwards. More people from Craigieburn moving via Upfield won't help that.” - TOQ-1


You keep saying that trains from the northern suburbs will serve Melbourne University. But your suggestion looks at people from the far northern suburbs and it also disregards the insane amount of passengers at Essendon, Moonee Ponds, Kensington, Newmarket.  You keep mentioning that your tunnel is under Sydney Road or closer but there's also the fact that the majority of the Upfield line is less than 500 meters from a well-functioning tram line. The Craigieburn line covers areas with no tram coverage (everywhere NORTH of Essendon) and marginal bus services. The Upfield line is only marginally faster than a tram at the moment due to issues with lack of duplication [more on that later]. There’s also the fact that the route 19 tram already links in with the city at frequent intervals and is now served by low floor trams at a very regular rate, almost 8 minutes headway I think in peak hours and has clearway along Royal Parade.


Tunneling Costs


So someone else explained this earlier in the thread but the cost of building a tunnel is expensive.  It’s very expensive and we seem to underestimate that. Billions of dollars is still billions of dollars, it’s more money than any of us will ever see or imagine. If we’re proposing to spend that money on a line that is, at the moment, under capacity and we’re also expecting that the construction of tunnel will all of a sudden make this line explode with passengers, we’re presuming a lot on something with no proof.


Let’s take one of your proposals: build a tunnel under Sydney Road/Royal Parade. Cut and Cover means the road and tram lines are out of commission for years, businesses suffer, traffic is a mess now. But we have a direct line into the city…now what? We can run services that are more frequent to Melbourne Uni and Melbourne Central. All right, but we spent a billion something dollars on a tunnel that increases journey time by a few minutes to an area already served by public transport and links to an already busy Melbourne Metro tunnel


If you were REALLY intent on a tunnel, it would be a much smarter thing to sink the Upfield line into an embankment through cut and cover with a third track for passing, express services, future growth and capacity, etc. This could be from Royal Park to Merlynston thanks to the elevation of the land as the track rises from Royal Park and the hill just after Batman Station. This would result in a grade separated line from Royal Park to Merlynston, letting traffic move quicker for both trains and cars. And given that it is an embankment, cut and COVERED, after covering the line you could build an expanded Upfield bike path, public facilities, inner city green belt, conversion of old stations into cafes or public spaces, etc. This could get you a significant amount of the public vote in the inner city too. However, there are still obvious costs associated with this but the cost is less due to owning the land the track is on and cut and cover is much cheaper due it just being: dig a trench, cover it.


The other plan now: let’s say we did cut and cover the entirety of the Upfield line from Batman Station to Jewell. We have to not only build track, but ventilation, underground stations. And then we start boring a tunnel from Jewell to Melbourne Central? The cost immediately ramps up. Boring a tunnel is expensive while cut and cover is a lot cheaper to do. You may well be right, that a tunnel pays for itself in the long term and I can understand that, the City Loop has done pretty decently, but what does building a tunnel from Jewell to Melbourne Central do for anyone? It doesn't serve as a vital link to anything, doesn't alleviate capacity problems on either Craigieburn or Upfield lines and serves a small minority of people.


And if the Melbourne Metro includes the interchange with Melbourne Central, which I can’t imagine it wouldn’t at this point (Future Platform 5+6?), people will change at Melbourne Central for either a tram on Swanston Street or a train on the Metro link to go to the University. The choice of two options means higher capacity (theoretically) and frequency, given the fact that many peak hour services would be coming through these tunnels from both Western and South Eastern suburbs.



Some other points:

  1. The portion of the line south from Jewell is an indirect link to the city, yes, but it is serving an area that is marked for redevelopment and Macaulay station, along with the future Arden station, will be important in making sure the area has a transport link. As that area increases in size, transport links are vitally important
  2. One of the major throttles on the Upfield line at this point is the fact that it is single track to Upfield from Gowrie and it limits the capacity of the line. This is the major problem here. Delays can have huge effects, considering the current gap between trains is 20 minutes, even in peak hour. If the track was duplicate, more trains could run. Until that line can achieve a reliability, people won’t catch it at all and as trains get later and later, people will look for an alternative.
  3. On the idea that expanding the Royal Park Netball Centre is a plus, that thing, like the Upfield line, is not even close to being at capacity. It’s hard to justify spending billions of dollars so an underused netball centre can be expanded, considering the fact it can expand on the huge amount of land to the south. Also Royal Park Station being next to a level crossing is literally not an issue, considering the fact that the road you’re talking about sees hardly any traffic. A majority of the level crossings on the Upfield line are not issues although the Bell Street one is literally strangling the road around that area, traffic is backed up for a kilometre or two in peak hour.
  4. Why does the university needs such connections to transport? There are at least seven trams terminating at the university, the route 19, 55, 1 and 8 provide through traffic, a number of bus services and a future Melbourne Metro. Melbourne University is a busy place, but we we willing to spend over a billion dollars on a huge tunnel?


-----

The issue here is NOT the route the Upfield line takes BUT rather the capacity. This is a line that is single tracked from Gowrie to Upfield, that has two premium stations, that is running peak hour services at 20 minute intervals. Trains that arrive in the city are packed due to a long wait between trains. This is a line where a single late train can result in cancellations and short running’s and a single cancellation can mean a forty minute increase in your trip. V/Line trains could run on it now due to its low capacity.


Look after all that, I do agree that areas immediately north of Melbourne are lacking in direct connection to facilities and the CBD by TRAIN but they are served by frequent tram services and many people in the inner city know this, riding bikes or catching trams. But what you’re suggesting is building something that could take years, billions of dollars and serve a very small minority of people with very little tangible results.
  Chidda Bang Locomotive Driver

Location: Banned
I've used that line before and couldn't recall any level crossings that close together, not like the Upfield line. And on a related note, I believe there was an oppotunity to remove many swing gate level crossings on that line in 1987 when a third track was added, but instead the gates were simply replaced by boom barriers in spite of the increase in rail traffic.
Myrtone
Mordialloc and Cheltenham u forgot
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
the route 19, 55, 1 and 8 provide through traffic, a number of bus services and a future Melbourne Metro. Melbourne University is a busy place, but we we willing to spend over a billion dollars on a huge tunnel?
nagel1989
55? Are you sure you're not thinking of the 57/59?
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
So it seems that the stations taken off the line by this diversion are indeed not that busy after all, at least most of the time.

Re:The Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel.


I'm puzzled that a tunnel is planed with only two tracks when six very busy lines will share it. I haven't thought about where the Upfield line would go if routed through the tunnel.

Re:Craigieburn Capacity


"You keep mentioning that your tunnel is under Sydney Road or closer but there's also the fact that the majority of the Upfield line is less than 500 meters from a well-functioning tram line."

The tram line less than 500 metres away is on a narrow road, sharing lanes with lines of cars, and lots of light controlled intersections. While the Craigiburn line does indeed serve areas not served by trams, I should note that the diversion of the Upfield line would mean an extenison of the Moreland road tramline further west would become a real possibility.

And all those level crossings are also part of the reason the Upfield line is as slow as it is. The train signals in that area practically never display a clear signal, and typically turn caution after the barriers at crossings close. Duplication of the section from Gowrie to Upfield would only be realistic if many crossings are eliminated, and this diversion would be very effective at that, as well as making many more tips more direct.

Re:Tunneling Costs


The tunnel might cost billions per mile, but I see plenty of evidence that patronage will indeed sore with this diversion.

Diverting the line directly under Sydney road would bring all the stations closer to businesses along Sydney road, and I imagine the tunnel would be mostly bored.

Also, as I have mentioned before the land currently occupied by the track would become very valuable once the line is diverted, such that the sale of the land would significantly offset construction costs.

And that incline just north of Batman station is exactly why I imagine that being the northern end of the tunnel.

Replies to some other points:


1. The indirectness of the line between Jewel and the City loop seems like a big reason for low patronage.
2. Level crossings (more of them between Royal Park and Batman than the entire Broadmeadows line) are probably the biggest obstable to increasing train frequencies, trains can't proceed at line speed because of them.
3. It wouldn't just be the Royal Park Netball Centre that's expanded, lots of other properties futher north would too, consider those apartments on Union street just north of Jewel.
Also Royal Park Station being next to a level crossing might not be much of an issued on it's own, but the large number of closely spaced level crossings futher north is. And Royal Park station is also quite deserted most of the time.
4. Since the University is a very busy place, it would indeed be very well served by a connection to heavy suburban rail.

If we first dig the stations and start digging each section of tunnel from where they will be, which I believe is how the city loop was built, it should take a reasonable amount of time.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Re:The Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel.


I'm puzzled that a tunnel is planed with only two tracks when six very busy lines will share it. I haven't thought about where the Upfield line would go if routed through the tunnel.
Myrtone
MMRT will take 3 lines initially - Cranbourne, Dandenong and Sunbury. After Melton is electrified, it will be added. Through-routing and depots/stabling at the extremities of each line will result in effectively two 'lines' going through the tunnel. Plenty of capacity in those two tracks - 24 trains per hour from the get-go (2.5 minute headways) and 30+ trains per hour with automated trains (using CBTC).

Upfield will not be routed through MMRT and was never planned to. For starters, the MMRT northern portal is near South Kensington, not on the Up from North Melbourne which is where it would have to be for Upfield or Craigieburn services to enter it.

If memory serves me right, Upfield/Wallan services are planned be through-routed to Sandringham via Flinders St viaduct tracks only. This will be enabled by routing Baxter (Frankston) and Craigieburn services through the City Loop by making the Caulfield and Northern tunnels unidirectional, effectively creating a duplicated tunnel track similar to MMRT for those lines. Infrastructure works required will be a new southern, Down-facing portal for the Northern Loop tunnel and a northern, Down-facing portal for the Caulfield Loop tunnel.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The idea would be to dig a second tunnel, branching off the MMRT tunnel with a portal just north of Batman.

The routing of the Upfield line though MMRT was my idea, similar to Phin's idea, and will pave way for through routing to Sandringham.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
An extra set of tunnels from Batman to Parkville? Well, that's either:
  • A TBM job, requiring two new TBMs or a very expensive refurb and relocation (on top of the 2 TBMs that MMRT will have ordered for it)
  • Cut-and-cover until you get near Royal Park + Princes Park, where the distance to Parkville would probably only justify NATM for the dive to the TBM-bored MMRT tunnels.

In any case, through-routing Sandringham via MMRT wouldn't work without re-designing the southern portals at South Yarra.

If you want people from a couple of suburbs away to reach Melbourne University better, upgrade the bus network or extend + upgrade the tram lines. Suburban commuter rail works better for longer distance point-to-point portions of public transport journeys.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Yep, redesiging the portals at South Yarra may well be the way to go. I really think this diversion would be a better alternative to upgrading and/or extending any street transit.

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