The issue with Melbourne's loop capacity is largely the signalling system, and to a lesser degree the finite capacity of Flinders Street being used as a terminus with trains standing typically for 5 or more minutes at each platform.
I still like my idea of running the system, with more trains terminating at Southern Cross (or at least more of them), running direct Clifton hill and Caulfield Group to Flinders, and run super-frequent shuttles between Richmond - North Melbourne, and another super-frequent shuttle purely around the Loop - not that my idea is over generalised - AND - HAS been discussed threads far away from this, and needs no more further discussion.
To my understanding - Sydney had a problem whereby drivers changed trains at a heap of different sttions - whereas in Melbourne it mainly
occurs at Flinders Street.
Next - lets compare Melbourne to Sydney in terms of reliability etc... - who wins?
Although I like the idea of terminating at Southern Cross - I think that it would just create problems.
Instead - I would re-do the platform arrangement at Flinders Street and Southern Cross.
Firstly though- Williamstown trains and Sandringham trains.
EVERY Williamstown train should be an extension of a Sandringham train, as both lines are relatively short and don'ttake that long end to end, I think that they should use platform 10 at Flinders Street, and have only 1 minute recovery there.
Next - every second Sandringham train that does not form a Williamstown - will terminate in Platform 13 before turning around and forming another Sandringham.
From this - we have effectively used platforms 10 and 13. Platform 12 will remain a multi-use platform,
Platforms 8 and 9 will become Caulfield Loop platforms. Trains from Pakenham, Frankston and Cranbourne will arrive here, wait 5 minutes then operate to an alternate location, via the City Loop,
Platforms 6 and 7 will receive Direct Richmond traffic. To look in advance - about 7 Caulfield and 10 Burnley trains should run direct in the peak periods. These trains will arrive, turn around in the space of 7-12 minutes, then form another Richmond Direct train.
Platforms 4 and 5 will become wholly Northenr Loop trains. Trains will still have Recovery time at Flinders Street - each train should wait 3 minutes before continuing through the loop.
Platforms 2 and 3 will remain Burnley Loop trains only - with the same 3 minute recovery period.
Platform 1 will also remain Clifton Hill group only - however more sue should be stretched to platform 14.
Southern Cross is where the Northern Group can potentially gain mroe robustability.
Platforms 9 and 10 will remain as now.
Platforms 11 and 12 will BOTH become Northern Loop platforms - however I am still undecided whether it should also take over the Caulfield viaduct or not - subseuently shoving Daulfield over one, onto the new viaduct. However it would have to be bi-directionalised.
Platform 13 will then become the Caulfield platform
Platform 14 will become Williamstown and V/Line trains
Platforms 15 and 16 will also become Williamstown and V/Line trains.
This however creates a bottleneck - if the Northenr Group consumes 2 viaducts. If the Caulfield loop is tobecome high-frequency every 2 minutes tyle of loop - then we really only get one track for Northern Direct trains (With the other new viaduct track being bi-directionalised aswell) - this leavs us with 2 options.
1) Using The New Viaduct plus the two Southern-most Viaduct tracks as 4 bi-directional lines for use by 2 loops and 1 direct service. By consistant alternation we can probably acheive a slightly higher capacity - however our robustability goes down as Caulfield and Northenr Group trains will become interlocked.
2) Leaving the viaduct configuration as is - however with congestion still gaining on the Northern Group Tracks
3) Constructing 1 more viaduct between Flinders Street ad Southern Cross - or 2 to get maximum benefit. The 3 existing loops that run Clockwise would then get a train about every 2 minutes, makign them locked out
The existing 5 would go to:
2 to the Northern Loop
3 to Northern Direct trains
Northern Direct trains include V/Line trains
This would also provide enough capacity for an AirPort rail link - offcourse running direct...
Just my 2 cents worth...
- Station Street