Now the funding of $ 420m + seems all tied down, all that remains is to fine tune the project and get it right . Get it right in terms of fully converting the North West to sg and getting rid of the totally unnecessary dual gauge sections insisted on by former VLP management in :
- Just convert to standard gauge (NO dual gauge complications ) Maryborough - Ballarat Workshops.& Warrenheip - Gheringhap.
- Dual gauge only Warrenheip - Ballarat - Wendouree
- PLUS standardize Wendouree to Ararat
The money saved on NOT dg Gheringhap to Maryborough will more than pay to covert the Wendouree - Ararat line to sg .
Then have a small sg V/Locity fleet based at Ballarat running initially Ballarat - Ararat (& potentially Horsham) and Ballarat - Maryborough, and ultimately Ballarat - Geelong .
Same platform interchange at Ballarat with bg V/Locity services to/from Melbourne . Simple, clean efficient and minimizes dual gauge trackage . Saves initially on capex on dual gauge is avoided totally, and on going track maintenance costs are less with single gauge track than dual gauge . Also avoids / minimizes 80kmh running for bg VLP on dg track sections .
VLP & Metro broad gauge placements to Ballarat East & Workshops can take place still via Ballan at Off Peak times or overnight .
One wonders why PTV, Government ever even entertained the luxury dicates of VLP in requiring dg from Maryborough to Gheringhap, and the lack of vision at VLP in not including coversion of Wendouree to Ararat to sg . Hopefully a new CEO and management structure at VLP will be more flexible in their thinking on this any many other issues where VLP have previously had a broad gauge ONLY train set mentality .
Like it or not VLP need to UNDERSTAND & ACCEPT that increasingly more of the Country network is going to have to go sg to survive particularly from a freight viewpoint .
The more of the freight network that goes sg just brings closer the standardization especially of the freight only lines. Nostrildamus points to Goulburn Valley next for standardization Mangalore - Tocumwal, & Toolamba - Echuca - Deniliquin .; leaving Seymour VLP on bg .