Ballarat Line upgrades underway

 
Topic moved from News by dthead on 20 Nov 2017 12:49
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

I don’t know it’s entirely fair to blame the Spion Kop - Sunshine area for the problems. Footscray certainly suffers from the 40km/h TSR due to the tunnel retaining wall beneath the platform collaps.....ooops, sorry, needing repair. Main problem is partly the ghastly cheap and nasty use of existing alignments to curve around to get to the old loco flyover. 30km/h curves...seriously? On supposedly a new fast track?

Then the timings are so wrong around there. SX to FSY is scheduled for 7 or 8 minutes, no-one knows why. It takes 5 minutes from platforms 15/16, but 9-10 minutes from 1-8. A 17:15 departure from platform 15 has to wait for the 17:13 from platform 1 to precede it. The design of the layout will always make things bad

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  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

I don’t know it’s entirely fair to blame the Spion Kop - Sunshine area for the problems. Footscray certainly suffers from the 40km/h TSR due to the tunnel retaining wall beneath the platform collaps.....ooops, sorry, needing repair. Main problem is partly the ghastly cheap and nasty use of existing alignments to curve around to get to the old loco flyover. 30km/h curves...seriously? On supposedly a new fast track?

Then the timings are so wrong around there. SX to FSY is scheduled for 7 or 8 minutes, no-one knows why. It takes 5 minutes from platforms 15/16, but 9-10 minutes from 1-8. A 17:15 departure from platform 15 has to wait for the 17:13 from platform 1 to precede it. The design of the layout will always make things bad
hbedriver
The achievable running times Sxs to Footscray are 9 mins via Flyover and 7 mins direct from 15/16 plus margin on the Up.
So VLP persist in 8 mins via Flyover so bult in lat running for the majority of trains on the Down from the start  !!!
  Jordy33 Locomotive Fireman

In the short term a new flyover should be built and sharp curves removed near Southern Cross, it’s simply a painfully slow section of track that should have been changed with RRL. It would save a few minutes because trains wouldn’t have to slow down early and crawl to the platforms.

Quad-tracking between Sunshine and Deer Park Junction (which will become a well designed junction, not a flat junction). This means an Express track pair and Local track pair. Saves travel time and makes timetables and services generally smoother and reliable.

After Metro Tunnel opens, the existing tracks (Melton-Sunshine) are electrified to become the Metro tracks, while a new track pair is built for the Ballarat trains. The Ballarat express services don’t have to stop anywhere between Melton and Sunshine, which will certainly save travel time.

These improvements would potentially save 10-15 minutes or more.

Also IMO the new Ballarat tracks between Sunshine and Melton should be 200Kph if possible, and Vlocity trains certified in 200Kph running. Makes sense if there’s going to be new tracks.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
The 25km to Melton at 200 km/h vs 160 km/h (remembering there will be some form of junction at Deer Park) would be a saving of about 2-5 minutes? Probably not worth it unless you are already buying rolling stock that can accelerate to 200 km/h almost instantly to make use of it.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Crossing loops and removal of the bungaree loop option provided a much slower service for Ballarat passengers. What trackwork was done to speed up the network ?

A couple of new platforms and now a slower timetable. Something is amiss.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

The two stupidities here in the Ballarat line upgrade that were NOT included , talk about "spoil the ship for a hapence of tar" :

- Failure to put in an 80kmh crossover at Warrenheip on the Down side of the road overbridge so as realize the benefits of existing dupilcated track from Warrenheip to Ballarat station.

Now with new 40 min Off Peak service all Off Peak trains cross at Ballarat so any late running on the Down will delay the Ups. So easily preventable with a crossover at Warrenheip and making best use of the existing double track.

- A silly 1.2kms of single track between Maddingley Junction and the Up end of Rowsley loop.
As such this now renders the $ 10m spent on Rowsley Loop a "white elephant" until such time as the missing 1.2kms is duplicated. Would have actually saved two 80 kmh turnouts (at Maddingley Junction & Up end of Rowsley Loop) , plus extended the double track section through The Marsh. Nobody MANAGES, Nobody oversees, Nobody cares ; everyone sits in their silos  - so these stupid situations exist.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
The two stupidities here in the Ballarat line upgrade that were NOT included , talk about "spoil the ship for a hapence of tar" :

- Failure to put in an 80kmh crossover at Warrenheip on the Down side of the road overbridge so as realize the benefits of existing dupilcated track from Warrenheip to Ballarat station.
kuldalai

This would have been such an easy thing to do really and provide such benefit.  I like to think of it as V/Line "smeg"
  richter170 Locomotive Driver

Problems that I have noticed so far. I may also be wrong on some of the track layout. Only going off what others have told me.

Most Ballarat bound down trains will use the 'new' platform at Bacchus Marsh which is okay as it's straight in from SCS with no diversion.

Then going past Maddinley the Ballarat trains will have to slow to 80kph to get back onto the main line for the climb up the hill to Ballan.

Then before arriving into Ballan the service will have to slow to 80kph to divert into the new platform at Ballan. Depart and then stick to 80kph until the train leaves the loop on the down side of Ballan.

Increase back to 160kph to the former junction at Millbrook, cross the bridge then back to 80kph to divert into the 'new' loop replacing the Bungaree North line.

Stick to 80kph while crossing the UP pass if its running on time, then divert back onto the main at 80kph then increase back to 160 between the former junction at Torpys Rd before slamming the brakes back on for the 80kph speed limit down the Warrenheip bank.

Get through all the 40kph through the Ballarat yard, then after departing Ballarat stick to the new speed limit of 80kph to Wendouree which was 95kph.

Why the new loop at Millbrook through to Dunnstown couldn't have been duplicated as far as Warrenheip and then the Geelong line upgraded to concrete down the hill to Ballarat I have no answers. The Geelong track leads straight into platform 1 at Ballarat with no crossovers and won't delay a Melbourne service now using platform 2 all day.
It would have given them 19km of double track with little effort.

A dead end siding off the main at Wendouree is stupid. The second former down line Ballarat to Wendouree could have been reinstated with little work. It's all mostly there with only 1km removed. A poor mans solution to reinstate the pointwork at Doveton St (while we wait for SG to go through the area) would be straight forward the signals allow for it. A crossover could have been installed near Wendouree to allow Ararat trains to get from the down line to the Ararat platform at Wendouree.

Trains could go up and down from Wendouree to Ballarat with the only bottleneck between Lydiard and Doveton St.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Problems that I have noticed so far. I may also be wrong on some of the track layout. Only going off what others have told me.

Most Ballarat bound down trains will use the 'new' platform at Bacchus Marsh which is okay as it's straight in from SCS with no diversion.

Then going past Maddinley the Ballarat trains will have to slow to 80kph to get back onto the main line for the climb up the hill to Ballan.

Then before arriving into Ballan the service will have to slow to 80kph to divert into the new platform at Ballan. Depart and then stick to 80kph until the train leaves the loop on the down side of Ballan.

Increase back to 160kph to the former junction at Millbrook, cross the bridge then back to 80kph to divert into the 'new' loop replacing the Bungaree North line.

Stick to 80kph while crossing the UP pass if its running on time, then divert back onto the main at 80kph then increase back to 160 between the former junction at Torpys Rd before slamming the brakes back on for the 80kph speed limit down the Warrenheip bank.

Get through all the 40kph through the Ballarat yard, then after departing Ballarat stick to the new speed limit of 80kph to Wendouree which was 95kph.

Why the new loop at Millbrook through to Dunnstown couldn't have been duplicated as far as Warrenheip and then the Geelong line upgraded to concrete down the hill to Ballarat I have no answers. The Geelong track leads straight into platform 1 at Ballarat with no crossovers and won't delay a Melbourne service now using platform 2 all day.
It would have given them 19km of double track with little effort.

A dead end siding off the main at Wendouree is stupid. The second former down line Ballarat to Wendouree could have been reinstated with little work. It's all mostly there with only 1km removed. A poor mans solution to reinstate the pointwork at Doveton St (while we wait for SG to go through the area) would be straight forward the signals allow for it. A crossover could have been installed near Wendouree to allow Ararat trains to get from the down line to the Ararat platform at Wendouree.

Trains could go up and down from Wendouree to Ballarat with the only bottleneck between Lydiard and Doveton St.
richter170
Not as bad as you make out in that at Off Peak times on Weekdays with 40 minute frequency the crosses will be at Ballarat station, on the 6km Ballan Loop, and on the long double track section through the Marsh and then on double track around Cobblebank.  At the location where these crosses take place other than at Bacchus Marsh  160kmh applies at Millbrook and Ballan for the other train on the straight.  Also with no Weekday Off peak crosses at Parwan Loop and Bank Box we have effectively replaced even lower speed running crosses for both trains with higher speed crosses for both trains on the three longer loops.

Wendouree is designed to refuge a local train so an Ararat can run through. The need to cross Ararat trains at Wendouree cannot be justified when Ballarat is just 4 minutes away. However the signalling at Wendouree now allows for attaches and detaches at that location. Like first am Up Ararat will attach its second set now at Wendouree saving travellers from Wendouree 10 mins on the trip to Melbourne.  

Very short sighted not to put in an 80kmh crossover under the road overbridge at Warrenheip and use both tracks down the hill into Ballarat to absorb any late running. In that case the Down trains would use the North Line and Up trains the South line. This is the weak link in BLU in that any late arrival into Ballarat on the Down will immediately result in the Up also being late, when it was so easily avoidable.

Restoration of double track between Ballarat North & Wendouree  nice to have longer term, but NOT essential at the moment.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Any reason for the slowing of trains on the western side of Ballarat with the new timetable?
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Any reason for the slowing of trains on the western side of Ballarat with the new timetable?
bevans
Improve the on time figures, perhaps!
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Any reason for the slowing of trains on the western side of Ballarat with the new timetable?
bevans
Simply VLP building more fat into the timetables to protect the timekeeping.  It is an on-going fact that VLP continues to extend schedules to protect the timekeeping. All VLP Commuter and Inter City routes are getting slower, and VLP Infrastructure shows little effort in removing a plethora of long standing speed restrictions on the passenger network . Secondly VLP wrongly still claim timekeeping of Inter-Urban as within 5 minutes of schedule, and Inter City within 10 minutes of schedule when in reality it is within 6 and 11 minutes  !!!!

Within 5 mins 59 seconds is within 6 minutes NOT 5, and ditto 10 mins 59 secs is within 11 minutes NOT 10.

Finally VLP has come up with a new trick to protect the timekeeping as well, if the Down trip is late then they terminate it short so that the returning Up trip departs on time, and thus they only have one late train instead of two !!!!  Not very good for hundreds of pax South of Geelong terminating at Geelong and saying wait for the next train in 40 mins  !!!

Government removed these loopholes with Metro Trains and Yarra Trams, yet VLP is allowed still to exploitthese loopholes.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Why the new loop at Millbrook through to Dunnstown couldn't have been duplicated as far as Warrenheip and then the Geelong line upgraded to concrete down the hill to Ballarat I have no answers. The Geelong track leads straight into platform 1 at Ballarat with no crossovers and won't delay a Melbourne service now using platform 2 all day.
It would have given them 19km of double track with little effort.
richter170

Originally it was the plan to use both lines into Ballarat. However, the first few stages of the Murray Basin Standardisation then started off, and someone realised that there was no solution about what to do with SG around Ballarat. We then got told there would be a 'Ballarat Freight-Passenger Rail Separation Project' that would fix this.

https://www.thecourier.com.au/story/5493470/state-to-splash-130-million-to-separate-passenger-and-freight-trains-in-town/

Of course, with the Murray Basin project being an absolute mess, that has disappeared and is a long way from ever seeing the light of day.

The reactivation of Warrenheip - Ballarat was replaced by 3 additional km of duplication at the down end of Bacchus Marsh and the second platform at Wendouree.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Why the new loop at Millbrook through to Dunnstown couldn't have been duplicated as far as Warrenheip
richter170
The large high viaduct over the Lal Lal Creek, poses a very expensive problem.

The very reason the Millbrook loop was built between the Moorabool River West Branch viaduct and the Lal Lal Creek viaduct
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, Victoria
Any reason for the slowing of trains on the western side of Ballarat with the new timetable?
Simply VLP building more fat into the timetables to protect the timekeeping.  It is an on-going fact that VLP continues to extend schedules to protect the timekeeping. All VLP Commuter and Inter City routes are getting slower, and VLP Infrastructure shows little effort in removing a plethora of long standing speed restrictions on the passenger network . Secondly VLP wrongly still claim timekeeping of Inter-Urban as within 5 minutes of schedule, and Inter City within 10 minutes of schedule when in reality it is within 6 and 11 minutes  !!!!

Within 5 mins 59 seconds is within 6 minutes NOT 5, and ditto 10 mins 59 secs is within 11 minutes NOT 10.

Finally VLP has come up with a new trick to protect the timekeeping as well, if the Down trip is late then they terminate it short so that the returning Up trip departs on time, and thus they only have one late train instead of two !!!!  Not very good for hundreds of pax South of Geelong terminating at Geelong and saying wait for the next train in 40 mins  !!!

Government removed these loopholes with Metro Trains and Yarra Trams, yet VLP is allowed still to exploitthese loopholes.
kuldalai
As a regular commuter to/from South Geelong I've fallen victim to this a few times. It's not a matter of one late train instead of two, it's more like one late train instead of ten if they let a late train go into the single track section in the peak. The paths are already pretty tightly used when everything is running on time, so it easily snowballs. This is one measure I can agree with despite its negative effect on me.

I know my reply was getting off topic for this thread, but I'm sure there are examples of this all across the commuter network.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Yesterday afternoon whilst doing some work at the station a V'Locity whistle could be heard approaching on the DOWN. The recently completed and powered signals at Ballan had a 'top green' on the new platform 2 loop track and sure enough a single set powered through Ballan on the new track.

Signs of life in the system once more.

Mike.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

At one stage Friday they had five locos and two V’locity trains running doing driver training. Things earlier didn’t quite go to plan, with late hand back of the occo, then signal wiring faults caused training to be suspended. Thankfully things got back to normal about lunchtime.

Opening day will be fun; hope they don’t have WOLO’s with the new timetable putting crosses everywhere. That easy duplication to Warrenheip from Ballarat would have been so good for getting Up trains starting on time, reducing the delays to down trains...
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line

Opening day will be fun; hope they don’t have WOLO’s with the new timetable putting crosses everywhere. That easy duplication to Warrenheip from Ballarat would have been so good for getting Up trains starting on time, reducing the delays to down trains...
hbedriver

Penny wise...Pound foolish. Smile

It's good to hear N Classes going through town and the blasts of their horns at the crossings...it's like the good old days of the loco hauled pass.

Mike.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

At one stage Friday they had five locos and two V’locity trains running doing driver training. Things earlier didn’t quite go to plan, with late hand back of the occo, then signal wiring faults caused training to be suspended. Thankfully things got back to normal about lunchtime.

Opening day will be fun; hope they don’t have WOLO’s with the new timetable putting crosses everywhere. That easy duplication to Warrenheip from Ballarat would have been so good for getting Up trains starting on time, reducing the delays to down trains...
hbedriver
Yes the scope changed to second platform at Wendouree with all the huge capex of the overengineered pedestrian bridge lifts etc, which came at the expense of NOT re-activating the duplicated track in from Warrenheip. In reality we didnt need a second platform at Wendouree at all - what we needed really was two refuge sidings at the down end would have achieved the same benefits at much lower cost.  Anyway when they find out the late Downs are delaying the Ups wait line at Ballarat we have the ammunition to press again for an 80kmh crossover at Warrenheip just under the road overbridge.  With the new tt and 40 min Weekday Off Peak frequency the crosses are all on long double track sections at  Cobblebank, through Bacchus Marsh, through Ballan; with only the cross at Ballarat requiring Downs to be reliabye on time into Ballarat.  Turnarounds OP at Wendouree are typically 25 - 27 mins, so Ups should be reliably away on time from Wendouree.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Given the way the timetable is set out I think the line needs a Stage 2 upgrade. Install high-speed turnout at Warrenheip. Upgrade second track between Warrenheip - Ballarat, Sunshine - Deer Park (if not done already) and all older crossing loops to 160km/h running. Duplicate between Melton Weir (current Down end of double track) and Up end of Rowsley Loop (or at least build stabling at Melton and duplicate between down end of Parwan Loop and Up end of Rowsley Loop). That would allow much more reliable running and Melton trains will not have to wait for a path on the single track before proceeding to Bacchus Marsh for stabling.
  themetptc Train Controller

Location: Ballarat
Yesterday there was an N class loco going back and forth to Wendouree and also somewhere on the Northern line as well. At one stage I saw a Vlocity at Wendouree platform 2. Today been lots of N class horns and a few Vlocity ones heard. All doing testing and training no doubt.
Sim
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Yesterday there was an N class loco going back and forth to Wendouree and also somewhere on the Northern line as well. At one stage I saw a Vlocity at Wendouree platform 2. Today been lots of N class horns and a few Vlocity ones heard. All doing testing and training no doubt.
Sim
themetptc
5x N classes and 2x Vlocity sets
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Given the way the timetable is set out I think the line needs a Stage 2 upgrade. Install high-speed turnout at Warrenheip. Upgrade second track between Warrenheip - Ballarat, Sunshine - Deer Park (if not done already) and all older crossing loops to 160km/h running. Duplicate between Melton Weir (current Down end of double track) and Up end of Rowsley Loop (or at least build stabling at Melton and duplicate between down end of Parwan Loop and Up end of Rowsley Loop). That would allow much more reliable running and Melton trains will not have to wait for a path on the single track before proceeding to Bacchus Marsh for stabling.
railblogger

Not sure about how needed full duplication between Melton and Bacchus Marsh would be. We are yet to see the working timetables, but it looks like between the peaks Melton trains will turn back straight away and return to Melbourne, so only Ballarat trains will be using those tracks during the day.

The Melton trains waiting appears to affect only 3 trains in the evening peak, and pax for Bacchus Marsh actually get a quicker journey by taking the following Ballarat train.
  whoistheg Station Master

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Anyone use the trains today to go into work ?

How did the first morning go with the upgraded timetable and new track works completed ?

Im not due into the office until next week..
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

Yesterday there was an N class loco going back and forth to Wendouree and also somewhere on the Northern line as well. At one stage I saw a Vlocity at Wendouree platform 2. Today been lots of N class horns and a few Vlocity ones heard. All doing testing and training no doubt.
Sim
5x N classes and 2x Vlocity sets
speedemon08
I wonder what the N's were doing there? Vlocities I can understand. But N's don't work that route any more.

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