The RNDP was launched today with pretty minimal fanfare.
Seems very light on specifics compared to the metropolitan one from a couple of years ago. Certainly less technically focused.
Remember this end product after 12 months is pretty pathetic albeit it has been dumbed down no doubt by VLP, then PTV then Dept of Transport, and finally by the Ministry as no one wants anything to be too specific that they could be nailed on in future . So after 12 months we end up with the usual motherhood statements, lots of glossy pictures but no real commitments or planning time lines to do anything . Lots of investigate and review statements . Thats what should have happened over the last 12 months .
- We talk in the preamble about the need to use school buses to provide local services at off peak times, then it does not get another mention .in the document
- To be politically correct we indicate a vague wish list for similar service frequencies to all longer distance destinations and commuter destinations when in reality it is case of horses for courses. Five trains a day to Swan Hill & Bairnsdale will never happen and 3 - 4 max is all they would ever support . Ararat does not get a mention bat all but can support 4. Shepparton gets suggested 5 but really deserves and could support more like 6 - 8 . Commuter Zone Seymour and Traralgon will not need or support 40 minute frequency if ever .
- No mention is made of addressing track quadruplication between Dandenong & Caulfield to support the increased frequencies.
- Submissions made by the public that do not fit the agenda are just ignored and not even listed . Like restoration of passenger services between Geelong and Ballarat, and beyond Ararat to Horsham .
- Logical low cost suggestions like running the Apollo Bay coach service via Freshwater Creek and via Waurn Ponds Shopping Centre to Geelong station are just totally ignored .
- Probably based on incorrect advice from VLP potential enhancements such as crossing loops between Traralgon and Sale and Sale and Bairnsdale are listed, when the real need is for two platforms at Traralgon, not more crossing loops . Meanwhile on the Shepparton leg, an additional loop will be required but is not mentioned.
The whole thing is really a dissapointment and is really just more of the same . No where are we told how we are going to address the chronic overcrowding on VLP peak services by extending the length of existing VL trains, (and NOT by acquiring more 3 car train sets as 9 car consists are excessively expensive to run and come with lots of operational constraints. Again because of VLP flat refusal to run 4 car VL consists ) . No where after 5 years of apalling service delivery are we told how the North East sg service is going to be delivered reliably . (other than making 3 x 5 car sets into 4 x 4 car sets ).
The task of refreshing the plan in 4 years time will therefore not be too onerous, and in that time the three agencies involved Dept of Transport, PTV and VLP will no doubt continue pursuing their own little agendas, and being as dysfunctional as ever . Rather sad .