where exactly ARE the v/locities allowed to travel at 160? I went to SCS from Echuca and back on Friday, I think they need to consider changing stopping patterns for 6-Car V/Lo's travelling long distance. I just think the long distance trains don't NEED to stop at every single station (Macedon-Sunbury for example) I think that V/Line should give the 1520 Echuca and 0720 Southern Cross from Echuca the same stopping patterns as the Swan Hill services.
Before the last few timetable changes, the 1515 Down Echuca train used to stop all stations because every second train did, and that was just the pattern. The 1600 (or its it 1601?) seemed to be introduced to allow it to run express, however this didn't change.
The problem seems to be it runs through Sunbury and the Macedon Ranges at school finishing time, so it needs to stop to pick up students who would otherwise crowd peak services. Up until 2015 Swan Hill trains used to stop all stations, changing them to limited express (and maybe smarter loop scheduling as a result) has saved them about 10-15 minutes between Southern Cross and Bendigo.
But yes, it's absolutely ridiculous that Echuca (and Ararat and Maryborough) trains aren't formed from express runs.