Rail Revival Study: Geelong - Ballarat - Bendigo

 

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
http://www.transport.vic.gov.au/projects/pt/planning-study-into-a-geelong-ballarat-bendigo-rail-link
"julesmwatson"


This work is underway. My information suggests the Geelong to Ballarat and Maryborough section will most likely get up.  The Maryborough to Castlemaine is unlikely at this stage and the Castleimaine to Bendigo upgrade (putting the double track back) will most likely be considered.

Regards
Brian 
  TedHanson Junior Train Controller

$2 million down the drain. The study will tell us that work will definitely start some time in the second half of the next century. Then again, if we can find $200 million for a 5km monorail for 100 people a day, a billion or two won't be hard to find to run trains for a few dozen. I suggest people look at the bus loadings between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo (2 daily services on weekdays).
  Ads Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I suggest people look at the bus loadings between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo (2 daily services on weekdays).
"TedHanson"

Very true, the current bus loads could not justify reopening the Geelong-Ballarat line.

However what I hope will come from these 'studies' undertaken by 'professionals', is whether or not patronage would increase if these services were operated by train rather then bus and how much faster (and therefore more attractive) rail would be compared to bus between Ballarat and Geelong.....or Ballarat and North Shore.

     
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Let's just wait and see shall we?

I mean what really needs to happen?  The track between Gheringhap and Ballarat is in quite good condition.  I would however re-install points at point where the line meets the Ballarat to Ballan railway line for additional flexibility.

 The railway stations should not cost billions to being back into service

Any new loop work is required anyhow,

Regards
Brian 
  Simbera Train Controller

Given that the Geelong-Ballarat line is used very regularly for freight you'd think there would be almost zero trackwork required to get a passenger service running, but the real question is what kind of speed would you get?  Is the line (both in level of maintenance and in curves etc) capable of running a VLo at top speed?

You might get a decent share of trips away from those who go by car but only if it's faster than (or at least as fast as) going by car.  Half-assing it and introducing a slow service because they couldn't be bothered upgrading the track would be a complete waste of time and money.

Would it be particularly difficult to bring the old stations back into service?  I know a few are private residences of one sort or other (I think one's a B&B?) but were they sold or just leased?  If they have to build stations from scratch it will bump up the price tag considerably, you'd assume.
  Greensleeves Chief Commissioner

Location: If it isn't obvious by now, it should be.
Given that the Geelong-Ballarat line is used very regularly for freight you'd think there would be almost zero trackwork required to get a passenger service running, but the real question is what kind of speed would you get?  Is the line (both in level of maintenance and in curves etc) capable of running a VLo at top speed?

You might get a decent share of trips away from those who go by car but only if it's faster than (or at least as fast as) going by car.  Half-assing it and introducing a slow service because they couldn't be bothered upgrading the track would be a complete waste of time and money.

Would it be particularly difficult to bring the old stations back into service?  I know a few are private residences of one sort or other (I think one's a B&B?) but were they sold or just leased?  If they have to build stations from scratch it will bump up the price tag considerably, you'd assume.
"Simbera"


To get a Vlo at full speed, they'd have to do some serious work, like what was done during the RFR works on other lines- TPWS etc. They'd be more likely to go with line speed around 100Kph I'd think.

Geelong to Gheringhap would be a real thorn in the side though with the dual gauge.
  alstom_888m Chief Commissioner

Location:
I think the best rolling stock for the line would be Sprinters. The track should be right for 100kmh running as it is Class 3 track. No point wasting a VLocity when expected patronage is low.

Bannockburn, Merideth, and Leftbridge station are all intact, but privately owned. They are also the stations most likely to be reopened. I assume new stations will need to be built.
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
My information suggests the Geelong to Ballarat and Maryborough section will most likely get up.  The Maryborough to Castlemaine is unlikely at this stage and the Castleimaine to Bendigo upgrade (putting the double track back) will most likely be considered.

Regards
Brian 
"bevans"


My gut feel is that you're probably on the mark there.

Geelong-Maryborough the easier part of the route as the track is all there.  State coffers are running low so an excuse to scale back any project will be appreciated.  Also more likely to be done before next State election than the whole shebang so again more likely.  Northern section (Ballarat to Bendigo) also less direct than southern section (Geelong to Ballarat) so less likely to be viable, and population catchment is less.

All in all, Southern part will go, northern wont. 

My guess is that Vlocities might be used - maybe 2 car jobs.  Probably could interwork with services to/from Melbourne thereby simplifying operations.  Eg Sprinters dont get to Ballarat these days so any sprinter service there would complicate operations, driver training etc.  If the service is Vlocity run then a morning service from Maryborough to Ballarat and Geelong could then run to Melbourne if necessary, and part of a set from Melbourne to Geelong could run to Ballarat - ie it would give more flexibility in timetabling rather than having a set running up and down between Maryborough and Geelong at times that are convenient for the railway rather than the commuters.  For instance i could imagine a demand for a 5:30pm departure from Geelong to Ballarat and also a 5:30 departure from Ballarat to Maryborough (both for commuters returning home after business hours) - but this would demand two sets.  Possibly also demand for a 5:30pm departure from Ballarat to Geelong - but that would require a crossing loop half way between Ballarat and Geelong.  These services could ALL be formed by sets arriving at Geelong or Ballarat from Melbourne that would otherwise probably have just stabled - no dedicated stock required
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Do you think the services will be Geelong-Ballarat-Maryborough and return to Geelong.  Passengers for Warrnambool and Melbourne could change at Geelong.  Geelong to Ararat could also change at Ballarat.

I think Castlemaine to Maryborough will go ahead but not in the same timeframe and not driven by passenger.  It will be freight driven.

Also, expect an increase in Warrnambool passenger services and at least 1 additional freight train on the Warrnambool line on the coming period.

Regards
Brian
  MelbourneCity Chief Commissioner

I really can't see this project getting up. There are other priorities. At the very least I think a few return services between Geelong and Ballarat will run, but nothing beyond Maryborough. There just isnt the $$$.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I think the best rolling stock for the line would be Sprinters. The track should be right for 100kmh running as it is Class 3 track. No point wasting a VLocity when expected patronage is low.

Bannockburn, Merideth, and Leftbridge station are all intact, but privately owned. They are also the stations most likely to be reopened. I assume new stations will need to be built.
"alstom_888m"


IIRC when a sprinter service did run between via Geelong to Ballarat in the early 1990's the patronage was very good.  As I recall it may have been the ararat service?

Regards
Brian 
  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
I can't see it happening full-stop.  We've had some major challenges budget-wise in the last twelve months here in Victoria - stamp duty revenues have gone into reverse thanks to declining house sale volumes and prices.  Surging house prices allowed Labor to spend big on things in the last decade but Ted is now facing some hard decisions because of our contracting economy.  I feel that any big ticket items like rail reinstatement, new tracks/trains and new services will all be put on hold indefinitely due to the problems with the budget.  Added to that is the fact that Ted has folded to public service demands for increased wages - first the cops, now the nurses.  The ambos and the teachers will probably be next.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against any of those public servants being paid more - God knows how the average person manages to get by in Melbourne on an average public service wage anyway - but all these pay rises cost BIG money and someone has to pay. 
  Galron Deputy Commissioner

Location: Werribee, Vic

I think Castlemaine to Maryborough will go ahead but not in the same timeframe and not driven by passenger.  It will be freight driven.


Regards
Brian
"bevans"


wouldent getting the inglwood-bendigo section be a better option for freight? or does the annoyance of having to run around for stuff from echuca way present problems - or is it simply a case of it being shorter for the passenger traffic so thats what they will do. I dont know what the castlemaine-marybough track section is like, but found the inglewood section, asside from some '10 flood damaged section, in prety resonable condition. In both cases its probably irrelevant, with near 100% sleeper replacement likaly required.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Guys there is already a long established thread on the project :

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11356046.htm

Perhaps the Moderators could combine the latest offerings in this thread into the original theread so as to achieve a more complete record in chronological order .
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
My information suggests the Geelong to Ballarat and Maryborough section will most likely get up.  The Maryborough to Castlemaine is unlikely at this stage and the Castleimaine to Bendigo upgrade (putting the double track back) will most likely be considered.

Regards
Brian 
"bevans"


My gut feel is that you're probably on the mark there.

Geelong-Maryborough the easier part of the route as the track is all there.  State coffers are running low so an excuse to scale back any project will be appreciated.  Also more likely to be done before next State election than the whole shebang so again more likely.  Northern section (Ballarat to Bendigo) also less direct than southern section (Geelong to Ballarat) so less likely to be viable, and population catchment is less.

All in all, Southern part will go, northern wont. 

My guess is that Vlocities might be used - maybe 2 car jobs.  Probably could interwork with services to/from Melbourne thereby simplifying operations.  Eg Sprinters dont get to Ballarat these days so any sprinter service there would complicate operations, driver training etc.  If the service is Vlocity run then a morning service from Maryborough to Ballarat and Geelong could then run to Melbourne if necessary, and part of a set from Melbourne to Geelong could run to Ballarat - ie it would give more flexibility in timetabling rather than having a set running up and down between Maryborough and Geelong at times that are convenient for the railway rather than the commuters.  For instance i could imagine a demand for a 5:30pm departure from Geelong to Ballarat and also a 5:30 departure from Ballarat to Maryborough (both for commuters returning home after business hours) - but this would demand two sets.  Possibly also demand for a 5:30pm departure from Ballarat to Geelong - but that would require a crossing loop half way between Ballarat and Geelong.  These services could ALL be formed by sets arriving at Geelong or Ballarat from Melbourne that would otherwise probably have just stabled - no dedicated stock required
"Calgully"


And another thread here on possible timetabling...

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11365977.htm

I even had your 5.30pm trips out of Geelong and Ballarat!
  woodford Chief Commissioner

I think the best rolling stock for the line would be Sprinters. The track should be right for 100kmh running as it is Class 3 track. No point wasting a VLocity when expected patronage is low.

Bannockburn, Merideth, and Leftbridge station are all intact, but privately owned. They are also the stations most likely to be reopened. I assume new stations will need to be built.
"alstom_888m"


IIRC when a sprinter service did run between via Geelong to Ballarat in the early 1990's the patronage was very good.  As I recall it may have been the ararat service?

Regards
Brian 
"bevans"


I recently spoke to a bloke travelling between Geelong and Bendigo on a regular bassis and he said the bus was always packed. I am not sure which direction he was travelling in though, Hearsay evidence of course................

Woodford
  TedHanson Junior Train Controller

...I recently spoke to a bloke travelling between Geelong and Bendigo on a regular bassis and he said the bus was always packed. I am not sure which direction he was travelling in though, Hearsay evidence of course...
"woodford"

Here are some actual numbers from today. The 6.45am service from Bendigo (run by Christians) has six passengers. Along the way, it picked up 10 passengers, 4 in Castlemaine and 5 in Daylesford. All sixteen alighted in Ballarat i.e. no through passengers to Geelong. The same bus upon return from Geelong at 11.40am, began the journey with 11 passengers. Six were still on board when the bus arrived at Ballarat and none were to be through passengers on the 13.50pm to Bendigo. The 13.50pm service was the most popular service in or out of Ballarat for the day with 18 passengers. The 12.25pm from Bendigo deposited 4 passengers at Ballarat. None were through passengers on the 14.35pm to Geelong, which had 8 passengers. So, less than 100 riding the corridor on a Monday. The coaches were at least 45 seaters. The numbers are logged each day. It doesn't cost $2 million to retrieve them.
  Carnot Chief Commissioner

Talking of bus services in the area:
http://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/news/local/news/general/central-victorian-bus-routes-scrapped/2494316.aspx

"REGIONAL bus routes servicing central Victoria will stop running and more could be cut under a review from the state government.
The Lockington to Rochester Station and Trentham to Kyneton services are among 30 bus routes that will be scrapped around the state.

The changes to the Transport Connections Program - running buses in regional Victoria - were announced by the government today.

Other services in central Victoria that are in danger of being removed in the latest review include:

-Raywood to Eaglehawk;

-Castlemaine to Maldon - Sunday service;

-Tarnagulla to Maryborough;

-Tarnagulla to Inglewood.

Shadow Minister for Transport Fiona Richardson said the lack of bus services would be strongly felt in the region.

“Access to public transport is a significant concern for people in regional Victoria, and this callous move by the Baillieu Government to scrap these bus services could isolate residents,” she said."

  Ads Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
It doesn't cost $2 million to retrieve them.
"TedHanson"


Exactly. Great point.

Is this study not the 2nd or 3rd of its kind since the  Geelong-Ballarat  line closed to passenger trains in the early 90s?
Such a waste of money.


Instead of spending money on studies, why not trial the service in a physical sense. Why not re-instate the pass service on the Geelong-Ballarat line, using the line in its current state?
80kph sprinter service will be fine to run. Run the service for 6 months and then after looking over the passenger numbers, then re-evaulate the scenario.  Surely this could be done at a similar cost as the $2million study?

Admittedly there would only need to be station stops at Bell Post Hill/Lovely Banks, Bannockburn and to a lesser extent, Meredith. Lethbridge does not currently have the population to justify a station, although maybe in 10 years time as Bannockburn continues to grow in size and its population building towards Lethbridge. 

Passengers from Bell Post Hill and Bannockburn would mainly use the service to travel to/from Melbourne and Geelong rather then Ballarat.    
     


  ppiglet Chief Train Controller

I don't think its such a waste of $2mil.

The company I work for has been contacted to price level crossing upgrades etc, so all that came out of the study.

To re-introduce the service, then the quotes just need orders placed against them.  The hard work is done.

 

Regarding cutting the bus services, I really hope they're doing the right thing.

I have no problem with them cutting services that aren't really used, but they really need to introduce MORE services.  It's the connecting bus services that make the train system work.  They provide the catchment.

It was one of the critical features of the Mildura Rail Study, that all those towns which would have the train stop required much more comprehensive bus services, whether the train was reinstated or not.  It is critical to the lifeblood of the regional areas.


  Colonial boy Junior Train Controller

Location: Central Victorian goldfields
If the Castlemaine - Maryborough section was to reopen what would happen to VGR? (I live in Castlemaine not too far from the Mborough Maldon turn out). 
The line seems in poor condition around Guildford-Newstead and I think it has been damaged by flooding, so I think it would need a lot of work to reinstate
  hidden Chief Train Controller

  Eg Sprinters dont get to Ballarat these days
"Calgully"
True.
so any sprinter service there would complicate operations, driver training etc. 
"Calgully"
Crap.
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
so any sprinter service there would complicate operations, driver training etc. 
"Calgully"
Crap.
"hidden"


It would you know.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
so any sprinter service there would complicate operations, driver training etc. 
"Calgully"
Crap.
"hidden"


It would you know.
"Calgully"
How? You made the claim - provide actual reasons.

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