Proposed suburban lines 109 years ago

 
  ninthnotch Dr Beeching

Location: Not here. Try another castle.
What would the Melbourne network have been like if these lines, surveyed in 1897, had have been built?

I recently obtained a list of surveys made in 1897, listing the origination and destination station and the mileage, They do not list the route to have been taken, just the origination and destination.  I've listed them in alphabetical order of theonesthat didn't make it:

Albert Park-Elwood: 4 1/4 miles
Barker-Doncaster: 2 1/4 miles
Bulleen Rd (Heidelberg?)-Templestowe
Coburg-Heidelberg-Lilydale
Canterbury-Doncaster: 5 1/2 miles
Cheltenham-Sandringham: 3 miles
Cranbourne-Tyabb: 8 1/2 miles
Cranbourne-Somerton and Clyde-Tyabb
Dandenong to Ferntree Gully: 11 1/2 miles
Dandenong-Mordialloc/Mentone/Cheltenham: 21 1/2 miles
Dandenong-Nunawading
Epping-Wallan: 16 3/4 miles
Epping-Beveridge (partial) : 5 miles
Eltham-Christmas Hills: 11 1/2 miles
Essendon-Bulla: 10 1/4 miles
Epsom Rd-Moonee Ponds:
Flemington Bridge-Pascoe Vale: 3 /12 miles
Frankston Cemetery line: 2 3/4 miles
Heidelberg-Whittlesea: 8 3/4miles
Heidelberg-Kerrisdale: 56 miles
Heidelberg-Templestowe: 2 1/2 miles
Hartwell-Glen Waverley (including a survey from Glen Iris, with an inspection to a Gembrook extension) : 10 miles
Keilor-Daylesford
Kensington-Brunswick-Coburg: 4 1/4 miles
Kew-Healesville
Kew-Doncaster-Warrandyte: 5 miles
Kew-Templestowe: 4 1/2 miles
Kew to Outer Circle: 1 mile
Mornington-Portsea: 30 miles
Newmarket-Essendon-Niddrie: 4 1/2 miles
Oakleigh-Ferntree Gully
Oakleigh-Gembrook
Port Melbourne-Newport (partial) 1 mile
Portsea-Flinders-Bittern: 30 miles
Richmond-Alphington
Richmond-Coburg: 8 1/2 miles
Richmond-Yan Yean: 4 1/2 miles (partial)
Somerville-Portsea and Flinders (partial): 9 miles
Templestowe-Eltham
Werribee-Bacchus Marsh (probably via Tarneit) : 20 miles


Funny thing is, a lot of people would agree that they would be necessary even now and that some (such as the lines surveyed to Doncaster) were recent inventions.

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  Mickelaar The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: At the layout, tinkering.
Thanks for sharing that info there. Much appreciated. Its amazing how different and pro-pt governments were in years gone by, compated to today.

Melbourne's roads sure would be a different place, if even 50% of those lines went ahead, getting around would have been much easier. but as they say - coulda-shoulda-woulda.

Cheers

Mick
  John of Melbourne The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Melbourne suburbs
What would the Melbourne network have been like if these lines, surveyed in 1897, had have been built?

I recently obtained a list of surveys made in 1897, listing the origination and destination station and the mileage, They do not list the route to have been taken, just the origination and destination.  I've listed them in alphabetical order of theonesthat didn't make it:
"ninthnotch"
This list—to my mind—supports my belief that many surveys were done 'on spec', just to see if a proposal had any merit at all.  Most of them were probably not serious plans.  See for instance that there were two surveys to Gembrook in that year alone (and there were also, I believe, surveys from Narre Warren and/or Beaconsfield to Gembrook as well as the line that got built).

Cranbourne-Somerton and Clyde-Tyabb
"ninthnotch"
Should that be Somerville?


  ninthnotch Dr Beeching

Location: Not here. Try another castle.
I think it lists some going back a lot further than 1897, but that's not indicated on the document.

Yes, it should be Somerville, I was trying to hold a foolscap document and type with one hand.

(And yes, I know what a whole bunch of you are thinking... Dirty buggers.)
  Metro Transit Minister for Railways

Location: Error.
Thats amazing to think that if all these lines had of gone through Melbourne's train network would be alot better to travel on. Especially for people that live in areas where trains dont go, but over 100 years ago a train could have gone right past!

And its interesting to see that some of the proposals/surveys made then are still being made proposals now! Huh different government same lies.
  Jason R Chief Commissioner

Location: Socialist People's Republic of Yarra.
Back in 1897, I believe the only way to get from the city from Heidelberg was a train to Collingwood which shunted and headed back towards Clifton Hill then entered the city via the Inner Circle. The Collingwood - Princes Bridge section opened in 1901, so it might have been already under construction in 1897 - but the survey of a Richmond - Alphington line would indicate thoughts about providing an alternate route for a line that hadn't even been completed! Interesting.

Though, I would say that even if these lines were built, with the exception of the Doncaster lines, we wouldn't be in a much different position than we are today. We'd just have more 'rail trails', 'linear parks' and sites for VicRoads headquarters  Sad
  Byrnesy Minister for Railways

Location: Gone
Back in 1897, I believe the only way to get from the city from Heidelberg was a train to Collingwood which shunted and headed back towards Clifton Hill then entered the city via the Inner Circle. The Collingwood - Princes Bridge section opened in 1901, so it might have been already under construction in 1897 - but the survey of a Richmond - Alphington line would indicate thoughts about providing an alternate route for a line that hadn't even been completed! Interesting.

Though, I would say that even if these lines were built, with the exception of the Doncaster lines, we wouldn't be in a much different position than we are today. We'd just have more 'rail trails', 'linear parks' and sites for VicRoads headquarters  Sad
"Jason R"


All true.

Havind said that, it is my fervent belief that the ripping up of both the inner circle and outer circle lines was an act of state vandalism- for example, we would be in a much more flexible position if we had Epping able to go via Royal Park today, wouldn't we?
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
The defence at the time was 'competition' from trams. This was criminal for 2 reasons

-the trams were another govt body. Govt bodies have no business competitng with each other

-trams may well have been as quick as indirect trains from North Carlton or Kew in the 50s - they aren't now. It seems that because of singletrack and other limitations, the rail lines in these areas had limited services. Whereas tram frequencies were better.

If these lines were around today they would get good use. A commuter from North Fitzroy might complain about a 25 minute journey time to FSS by rail. They would, however, at least be reasonably assured of the journey time, get a seat and travel in a bit more comfort than tram travellers on these routes.

And rail would not make tram unviable - if anything the overloaded 112, 96 and so on to the north could accommodate even more people who are still some distance from the former stations.

Some of the lines that never really got off the ground eg St K to Windsor, the Rosstown line, Mont Park would be veyr useful now. A station at Poath Rd might have influenced the builders of Chadstone to move the development closer to such station.

It would also be nice to have kept the Princes Pier line from Graham - as tramway now would have penetrated well into Beacon Cove
  station street Chief Commissioner

Naah - I don't think these were necessaary - well, not all of them anyway

  -   Station   Street
  John of Melbourne The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Melbourne suburbs
Back in 1897, I believe the only way to get from the city from Heidelberg was a train to Collingwood which shunted and headed back towards Clifton Hill then entered the city via the Inner Circle.
"Jason R"
I have never really known if the train (a) reversed at Collingwood (now Victoria Park), (b) reversed at Clifton Hill, or (c) connected at Clifton Hill with a Collingwood train.

The Collingwood - Princes Bridge section opened in 1901, so it might have been already under construction in 1897 - but the survey of a Richmond - Alphington line would indicate thoughts about providing an alternate route for a line that hadn't even been completed! Interesting.
"Jason R"
Ninthnotch added that the list might well include surveys from before 1897, which would explain the Richmond - Alphington line.  The Australian newspaper in 1889 said that the contract was let in 1886 for construction of portion of the Richmond to Alphington line.  A few months later, another contract was let for Alphington to Heidelberg.  Collingwood to Heidelberg officially opened in 1888.
  John of Melbourne The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Melbourne suburbs
The defence at the time was 'competition' from trams. This was criminal for 2 reasons

-the trams were another govt body. Govt bodies have no business competitng with each other
"Riccardo"
Even if they weren't trying to compete, they were still effectively competition.  Just like public transport and road traffic (both controlled by government departments) compete with each other today.

-trams may well have been as quick as indirect trains from North Carlton or Kew in the 50s - they aren't now. It seems that because of singletrack and other limitations, the rail lines in these areas had limited services. Whereas tram frequencies were better.
"Riccardo"
The Inner Circle was double track.


  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
The defence at the time was 'competition' from trams. This was criminal for 2 reasons

-the trams were another govt body. Govt bodies have no business competitng with each other
"Riccardo"
Even if they weren't trying to compete, they were still effectively competition.  Just like public transport and road traffic (both controlled by government departments) compete with each other today.

"John of Melbourne"


That's the point. Road (in all its guises) competing with rail when transport has so many points of market failure that it does need coordinating.

And roads should not be being built with no view on their impacts on rail (or v.v.). Comprehensive transport planning, what has been missing from this country.

Re the Inner Circle - wasn't sure about this. The others including Deepdene and Kew definitely weren't. And the end of the Alamein line still isn't.

JoM - would you agree the 50s was a period of lack of foresight?
  ninthnotch Dr Beeching

Location: Not here. Try another castle.
Macaualy-North Carlton: http://www.railzone.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1563

North Fitzroy-Merri:
http://www.railzone.org/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=1704

Didn't these used to be on Railpage?
  savethehumans Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne 3004
The Inner Circle was in fact at one point near North Fitzroy triplicated.
"ninthnotch"


That was the Fitzroy Branch, was it not (which left the inner circle and headed south across a separate level crossing over St Georges Road, through a park, to what's now a redevelopment site)?

The defence at the time was 'competition' from trams. This was criminal for 2 reasons

-the trams were another govt body. Govt bodies have no business competitng with each other
"Riccardo"


Competition from electric trams?  (Note the cable system was not expanding at all at the time).  

Well, the trains were state run.  However, the electric trams were municipal or private.  The state didn't take on the electric tramways until 1919.  So, yes, there was competition between local government and state government.
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
Competition from electric trams?  (Note the cable system was not expanding at all at the time).  

Well, the trains were state run.  However, the electric trams were municipal or private.  The state didn't take on the electric tramways until 1919.  So, yes, there was competition between local government and state government.
"savethehumans"


And this was the problem

Competition manifested via

-lack of through fares. A passenger catching a tram down from the North who wanted to get an Inner Circle line train, would need to buy an additional ticket, and probably more than the cost of the ticket if they had stayed on the tram

-lack of promotion and information between modes

-lack of street or station infrastructure to support changing modes

-lack of coordinated planning or timetabling. Much could be made of the East Kew bus or the Upfield afterhours tram/bus service - yet these were the exceptions not the rule (and still are today). Bach touting the Vermont South Knox connection - yet ignoring a 1000 other opportunities to provide these connections elsewhere.

We know plenty of these - Vermont tram and Hartwell train, going south from route 72 to Caulfield by bus, etc etc

-lack of coodinated infrastructure planning and funding, for example, wanting to build a tramway to South Morang before building a railway. I would accept this outcome if it was justified by a properly conducted study. But just on Ministerial whim is unacceptable.
  savethehumans Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne 3004
The competition was actually far more open than that.  

For example, most of the trams in the South East were put in with no reference to the railways.  Tram lines stopped a few hundred metres or a few kilometres short of a rail station (particularly on the GWY line) so that they could capture the same passengers and deliver them all the way into town (using section-based fares) rather than connect with the railway and risk getting less revenue per passenger carried by only having them pay a small fare to the rail station and giving most of their money to the railways.

Other opportunities were missed or avoided to integrate services.  Both sides were particularly unhappy at the prospect of people transferring, even well into the era when both operations were owned by the state government.  

No rail connection was ever provided under the Preston Hump (nor was there ever an attempt made to replace the hump with something closer to a rail station) so that people from the East Preston/Bundoora/Bundoora RMIT route are encouraged to take the tram all the way into town instead of connecting to a faster train.  Heck, they even went so far as to reopen a long since closed tram route between Clifton Hill and the Hump in 1956 (well, from further in, but the importance of the tram continuing north of Clifton Hill was never evident unless it's to support the local shopping strip there).  Essentially you have a 1km corridor from Clifton Hill to Preston with three parallel services (three running at good frequencies, one not so good) but all the intersecting services running East-West feeding people into the corridor are all crap (even the 508 doesn't quite reach the 10 minute "good" threshold on weekdays, and it only runs every 70 minutes for a few hours on Sundays).  Had half the effort been put into the East-West services as was done in the reopening of the High Street tram route, that area would have been a whole lot better off.  

Heck, a number of the rail lines in the list above could be counted as cross-suburban.  Since the motor bus hadn't been invented let alone perfected then it's fair to say that rail would have been appropriate at the time.  However, a properly planned tram network would have been a tad smarter.  They'd just finished the cable tram system (not properly planned, radial) and municipalities were just starting to build effective extensions to it, or feeders to it, rather than feeders to the rail lines.  If you want to find the tipping point of transport planning failure in Melbourne's history, that's it IMHO.
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
No need for IMHO - very perceptive actually

For example, most of the trams in the South East were put in with no reference to the railways. Tram lines stopped a few hundred metres or a few kilometres short of a rail station (particularly on the GWY line) so that they could capture the same passengers and deliver them all the way into town (using section-based fares) rather than connect with the railway and risk getting less revenue per passenger carried by only having them pay a small fare to the rail station and giving most of their money to the railways.


I know the Glen Waverley line was not past East Malvern till 1930, so the effect was both tram and rail to the approximate suburban boundary, both running intensive services in competition.

A reminder to our debating opponents. PT was profitable in those days, which drove some of the competition (although it didn't justify the competition - I'd rather the 'economic rent' had gone into system expansion)

Other opportunities were missed or avoided to integrate services. Both sides were particularly unhappy at the prospect of people transferring, even well into the era when both operations were owned by the state government.


The bureaucracies were jealous. This is in an era when the political arm of government was a less effective check on the bureaucracies. It frustrates me reading some of the counter posts on this board who do not understand the historical and political context of decisions, even to the extent of forgiving bad decisions because they don't know the context of them.

Essentially you have a 1km corridor from Clifton Hill to Preston with three parallel services (three running at good frequencies, one not so good)...


Well we did have the inner circle, but as I posted elsewhere, the cross country rail lines didn't take people to where they wanted to go, eg not from Dandenong to Ringwood, or Box Hill to Oakleigh, or somewhere useful. And the junctions too fiddly.

Heck, a number of the rail lines in the list above could be counted as cross-suburban. Since the motor bus hadn't been invented let alone perfected then it's fair to say that rail would have been appropriate at the time. However, a properly planned tram network would have been a tad smarter. They'd just finished the cable tram system (not properly planned, radial) and municipalities were just starting to build effective extensions to it, or feeders to it, rather than feeders to the rail lines. If you want to find the tipping point of transport planning failure in Melbourne's history, that's it IMHO.


Good to see your grasp of tipping point and path dependent outcomes, I'm not sure many other posters have this grasp, apparently. You can't just snap your fingers and say to the pollie "Make better decisions" - there is too much history to turn around. We need to get that history out in the open, root and branch.
  John of Melbourne The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Melbourne suburbs
Good to see your grasp of tipping point and path dependent outcomes, I'm not sure many other posters have this grasp, apparently.
"Riccardo"

Instead of having a dig at other posters for not grasping the concepts, perhaps you could enlighten all of us as to what those obscure terms mean (or point me to a post where you have done this if you have explained them in my absence).
  John of Melbourne The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Melbourne suburbs
JoM - would you agree the 50s was a period of lack of foresight?
"Riccardo"

I'm sure that there is a lack of foresight in all eras.  Whether or not this was particularly the case in the 1950s I couldn't say.
  sueglossy Deputy Commissioner

Location: Preston

Very Happy
Awesome!
I guess in those days they actually cared about rail ways.
How did you find them?

I can imagine that some of them will be built, although not with bracksy Arrow
  ninthnotch Dr Beeching

Location: Not here. Try another castle.
Very Happy
Awesome!
I guess in those days they actually cared about rail ways.
How did you find them?
"sueglossy"
eBay - there was some other more detailed documents on a Doncaster extension to the Kew line in 1925 that I wanted, but got outbid.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

A station at Poath Rd might have influenced the builders of Chadstone to move the development closer to such station.
"Riccardo"

Hughesdale station is on Poath Road, and was there well before Chadstone was developed.  That shopping centre was built where it is because the land was effectively vacant - paddocks - whereas at the time suburban houses filled the space between Dandenong Road and the railway line.  The cost of building Chadstone closer to Hughesdale wold have been astronomical.  Or have I missed something, maybe some other proposed railway line which crossed Poath Road.  The Rosstown line crossed near the corner of Kangaroo Road, but that's the opposite side of the current raillway line to Chadstone.  Do you mean the Glen Waverley line perhaps?  Chadstone Road (the northern extension of Poath Road beyond Dandenong Road) doesn't make it as far as that line, running into Waverley Road.

Well we did have the inner circle, but as I posted elsewhere, the cross country rail lines didn't take people to where they wanted to go, eg not from Dandenong to Ringwood, or Box Hill to Oakleigh, or somewhere useful. And the junctions too fiddly.
"Riccardo"

I'm not certain that there was an awful lot of traffic demand between Dandenong and Ringwood, or Box Hill and Oakleigh, prior to (say) 1930.
  ninthnotch Dr Beeching

Location: Not here. Try another castle.
Good to see your grasp of tipping point and path dependent outcomes, I'm not sure many other posters have this grasp, apparently.
"Riccardo"

Instead of having a dig at other posters for not grasping the concepts, perhaps you could enlighten all of us as to what those obscure terms mean (or point me to a post where you have done this if you have explained them in my absence).
"John of Melbourne"
I'd also point out that these tipping points seem to depend on the structure of something (in this case the population/social strcuture/density/total area of Melbourne) not evolving* - and Riccardo, I think you've missed that point completely.  



*Not that kind of evolving, JoM.
  Riccardo Minister for Railways

Location: Gone. Don't bother PMing here.
Good to see your grasp of tipping point and path dependent outcomes, I'm not sure many other posters have this grasp, apparently.
"Riccardo"

Instead of having a dig at other posters for not grasping the concepts, perhaps you could enlighten all of us as to what those obscure terms mean (or point me to a post where you have done this if you have explained them in my absence).
"John of Melbourne"
I'd also point out that these tipping points seem to depend on the structure of something (in this case the population/social strcuture/density/total area of Melbourne) not evolving* - and Riccardo, I think you've missed that point completely.  
"ninthnotch"


Without getting into a slanging match over it Notch, lets go through it bit by bit and see what we can agree.

1. 1850s to 1880s - rail routes seemed reasonable choices but probably overengineered for what a small colony could afford. Seem to have been predicated in a couple of cases by gold revenues. Engineering may have been influenced by UK engineers who could already count on substantial passenger flows in their home country. In this period and others, coastal shipping appears to have been regarded as a reason why rail didn't need to be provided to coastal settlements. Needs of road users not considered.

2. 1880s-1920s - poor choice of rail routes, expansion motivated by speculation and rural lobbying. Less focus on cost-effectiveness. Some routes laid down to poor standard which affected viability in later periods. Needs of road users not considered.

3. 1920s - peak of system. Template for Melbourne available with 'finger' development along radial rail system. Effectively 'interurban routes' by todays standards of urbanisation, but provided people with continuous land development possibilities connected to city by electric rail, especially in verdant Eastern and Southern sides. Needs of road users not considered. In the US, sentiment already turning against trams and towards road.

4. 1930s and 40s - Great depression and war. Capital 'consumed' ie decayed by use and non-investment. System began to fray and managers began to look at savings that were short-term (eg closing the Inner Circle) because of short-term problems, rather than look to longer term.

5. 1950s and 60s. the momentum in the system towards rail-based transport network was still considerable but road transport offered developers the opportunity to fill in many of the gaps between the fingers. People being offered the choice of cheap land in places like Doncaster (no rail, but not far from the city) or Croydon (on rail, but far from the city) in the absence of specific govt direction, latter begins to develop a life of its own.

It was also expected that bus services would fill the gaps but these generally not developed. Federal government refuses to fund land transport despite precedents overseas. Global sentiment turned against trams.

We can assume hell for rail-based planning from here on in, despite noises to the contrary from time to time. For example, based on 1920s experience, Melton whould have been electrified sometime in the 1980s if comparable urbanisation was the criteria.

The tipping point? When the momentum from the past for rail-based town planning faded enough that the seductive calls of Chadstone and Doncaster were heard. Probably some time in the 60s.

Of course it evolved - but who was in the chair and was able to discern these trends. The 1920s appeared quite enlightened and I don't blame the 30s and 40s managers who had bigger problems to deal with. The rot appears to have started in the 50s but could have been arrested in the 70s. It wasn't, and the mess has advanced considerably since then.

It isn't a 'static equilibrium' at all. The model will not reset itself.

I also suspect town planning failure has interacted with social failure - I doubt the emergence of a fringe-urban underclass is coincidental (especially as the literature from the US has the underclass living in the inner city). Rail transport efficiency has been capitalised into people's house values here.
  ninthnotch Dr Beeching

Location: Not here. Try another castle.
Without getting into a slanging match over it Notch, lets go through it bit by bit and see what we can agree.
"Riccardo"
There was no intention to - you should know that I'm much more direct when I want to play at slanging matches.

I'll have a better look tonight, but quickly, 1880's-1920's needs to be split into three parts allowing for the Octopus Act-1890's Depression/1890's Depression-Tait era begins/Tait era begins-(WW1)-wires spring up.

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