Maryborough numbers

 
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
Knowing that public trasnport runs at, in the main, a loss, then those who manage it have to decide what services are viable.
And that means looking at ticket sales (and conseqently, passenger loadings).

Each rail service to Maryborough, in terms of passenger numbers, hardly compares with any other rail service that V/lines runs.

Now for something shocking....I actually think the Maryborough trains are a positive step in the right direction, as they do get, albeit 40 or so, people off the road and into trains. And I wish more Maryborough-ians would start using the limited services that are on offer. Though at the moment, it does not encourage local travel between Maryborough and Ballarat, and all stations inbetween. Otherwise, if there were at least 3 return services to Melbourne via Ballarat, (AM, lunchtime, PM), more people would be encourgaed to use the train and visit Ballarat for shopping, entertainment etc.

At the moment, if V/line suddenly wanted to save some money, they would only have to look at their worst performing services where to prune, and I am sure the Ballarat to Maryborough sevice would make it to the top of the list Crying or Very sad

As someone posted somewhere here lately....Use it or lose it.

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  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
At the moment, if V/line suddenly wanted to save some money, they would only have to look at their worst performing services where to prune, and I am sure the Ballarat to Maryborough sevice would make it to the top of the list Crying or Very sad

As someone posted somewhere here lately....Use it or lose it.
xxxxlbear

Yes agree.  Although I would also say that the service should be reviewed so that it gets the best possible chance to be successful ie:
Rationalise bus services so that the train is the trunk service and bus connections to and from the Northwest are into and out of the train at Maryborough - then reduce parallel running of buses Ballarat to Maryborough.  Perhaps the Donald to Ballarat and Maryborough to Castlemaine bus services could be combined - giving patrons from Donald/Birchip/St Arnaud the option of changing at Maryborough for train to Melbourne via Ballarat - or continuing to Castlemaine for train to Melbourne via Kyneton.
Use a 2 car Vlo rather than 3 car - that will normally be sufficient and presumably cost a bit less to run.
Review the timetable to see whether it runs at the optimal time for Maryborough pax (it might already be - but its time to confirm that)
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

Its not simple, I have traveled on the early morning bus to Castlemaine many many times..Every day for several years and I can say that half a dozen passengers would be exceptional, two or thee usual and me (one) not uncommon  But that bus runs because it returns as a Vline sponsored school run  at 0755 with a full bus of Catholic school students. The 0640 from Maryborough is much the same

The 0945  bus from Mayborough to Castlemaine is well patronised with probably 20+ most trips.

The train is certainly (in my experience) better patronised than any other service

It should be remembered that the bus to Castlemaine connects to Bendigo and I see many of the pax going not to Melbourne but to Bendigo.

The public transport planners are trying to meet three markets   from maryborough...Ballarat, Bendigo and Melbourne and  they all have different timetable requirements.

In the short term, I   would have two suggestions

1. The Saturday and Sunday evening down train should leave later than around 4pm as most of the weekend travellers in my experience go to Melbourne rather than Ballarat. Current the down leaves at 1608 which is too early for many travellers who go to the city for an outing such as football cricket or an afternoon show

2. A day return should be put on from Melbourne (as is  currently on the Echuca service) so people can travel
from Melbourne for the day and return the same evening.

I was on the very late train to Bendigo the other day   (2145 or similar) and on that pariculsr Friday there was less than ten people actually travelling all the way to Bendigo I ask should that service be cut? It is very likely that it would be "uneconomic". My view is NOT but where do the "only paying services should remain advocates" stand?
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

Yes agree.  Although I would also say that the service should be reviewed so that it gets the best possible chance to be successful ie:
Rationalise bus services so that the train is the trunk service and bus connections to and from the Northwest are into and out of the train at Maryborough - then reduce parallel running of buses Ballarat to Maryborough.  Perhaps the Donald to Ballarat and Maryborough to Castlemaine bus services could be combined - giving patrons from Donald/Birchip/St Arnaud the option of changing at Maryborough for train to Melbourne via Ballarat - or continuing to Castlemaine for train to Melbourne via Kyneton.
Use a 2 car Vlo rather than 3 car - that will normally be sufficient and presumably cost a bit less to run.
Review the timetable to see whether it runs at the optimal time for Maryborough pax (it might already be - but its time to confirm that)
Calgully
I understand all this and don't disagree. I have been told that VLINe is happy to run the 3 car VLocity service to Maryborough as the they have limited stabling facilities in Ballarat overnight and so leaving the 3 car in Maryborough suits them.
  xxxxlbear Token Booking Clerk

Location: Geelong
I was on the very late train to Bendigo the other day   (2145 or similar) and on that pariculsr Friday there was less than ten people actually travelling all the way to Bendigo I ask should that service be cut? It is very likely that it would be "uneconomic". My view is NOT but where do the "only paying services should remain advocates" stand?
Blinkey

You need to look at the total fares sold for a particular service, and where people are getting on and off. Not just how many people travel right to the very end.
Sure, there might be only 10 people who got off at Bendigo, but there might have been, for example, 50 people who got off a Kyneton, another, say, 35 at Castlemaine, and whatever figure you can come up with getting off at all other stations. You need to look at the total number of passengers who use a particular service to decide whether that rail service is viable or not, not just the number who get off at the end of the line. That is where Myki will come in handy once V/Line comes online. Presuming all passengers boarding have a valid Myki, and scan on and off, you can get a total passenger loading figure for a particular service, and exactly where people are boarding, and disembarking rather than just relying on conductors observations, and how many tickets they have sold to people boarding from unstaffed stations.

At the moment, people here have said here that 40-50 people in total use the Maryborough - Ballarat section irrespective of where they have boarded or where they have disembarked. The night train you were on, Blinkey, may have carried 100+ people who may or may not have boarded at Southern Cross, and who may or may not have travelled al the way to the end.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
You need to look at the total fares sold for a particular service, and where people are getting on and off. Not just how many people travel right to the very end.
Sure, there might be only 10 people who got off at Bendigo, but there might have been, for example, 50 people who got off a Kyneton, another, say, 35 at Castlemaine, and whatever figure you can come up with getting off at all other stations. You need to look at the total number of passengers who use a particular service to decide whether that rail service is viable or not, not just the number who get off at the end of the line. That is where Myki will come in handy once V/Line comes online. Presuming all passengers boarding have a valid Myki, and scan on and off, you can get a total passenger loading figure for a particular service, and exactly where people are boarding, and disembarking rather than just relying on conductors observations, and how many tickets they have sold to people boarding from unstaffed stations.

At the moment, people here have said here that 40-50 people in total use the Maryborough - Ballarat section irrespective of where they have boarded or where they have disembarked. The night train you were on, Blinkey, may have carried 100+ people who may or may not have boarded at Southern Cross, and who may or may not have travelled al the way to the end.
xxxxlbear
Another advantahe to the introduction of myki is that it will calculate the number of unique users of the service. 40 passengers per day is a lot less of a service if it is the same 40 people per day using the service, compared to 210 different people in a week. From a political perspective, cutting the service only p!$$es off 40 people in the first instance, compared to p!$$ing off 210 in the second.

Dave
  mm42 Chief Train Controller

A rail service between regional cities is serves a different purpose to a metropolitan area.  In the case of Maryborough, the local economy is not strong, a rail service can provide a boost because it allows more people to commute to Ballarat for work or study.  Most of these people would already have family connections in Maryborough.  There are typically about 20 cars in the Maryborough station car park on weekdays, indicating a core group of commuters.  They could drive, but I expect prefer the comfort of a train, and are unlikely to be wooed to a bus.  With time, the number of commuters is likely to increase as the availability of the service encourages more Maryborough residents access the  Ballarat employment market.  This in turn stimulates the Maryborough economy through multiplier effects of more teachers, nurses, shop assistants etc..

As local member for Maryborough and Ararat, Joe Helper did the right thing by his electorate in bringing the passenger service back.  I sincerely hope it gets used enough to justify its retention in more challenging economic times.
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic


As local member for Maryborough and Ararat, Joe Helper did the right thing by his electorate in bringing the passenger service back.  I sincerely hope it gets used enough to justify its retention in more challenging economic times.
mm42

Could be argued that local members in many other electorates lobbied a great deal for their members - only difference being that their seats weren't as marginal!
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Could be argued that local members in many other electorates lobbied a great deal for their members - only difference being that their seats weren't as marginal!
Ballast_Plough
Marginal seats are where all the action happens.  As you imply, Ballast Plough, if you don't live in a marginal seat then forget about it.

I have family in Horsham and that place has been completely ignored by State Governments for decades.  It was said to me recently that the only growth industry in Horsham is Centrelink - the cheap housing is attracting the generational unemployed from Melbourne, thus exacerbating the poverty and disadvantage.  

The need for a train service to Stawell and Horsham would probably be greater than Maryborough but nobody is talking about that.  The break-of-gauge at Ararat is an issue but apart from that it's one of the safest conservative seats in the state and there's simply no interest from either side because a win for Hugh Delahunty (the local Nats member) is a certainty so why bother?

I compare that to the metro seat I live in at the moment which is less than 4 percent - I have an avalanche of stuff from my local member at the moment wanting to know what's important to me and how they can make me happy.  The problem is it's all along the lines of "...more police, more jails, longer sentences."
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

I do have to say that there was a very substantial community campaign to get the rail service back to Maryborough. The local council backed the campaign, there were petition, deputations to politicians and Ministers, letters to the local paper etc.As has been said above, this will only work in a marginal seat but withe reference to Horsham, nothing will just happen without a lot of community agitation and the role of the local council is crucial. But Delahunty feeling secure in his seat certainly won't  help
  Simbera Train Controller

No - my point is that the service has been running for something like 2 years and this thread has mentioned figures for about 10 days which is hardly a representative sample.
Ballast_Plough
Well, fair point. We are trying to establish the current patronage, which anecdotally seems higher than the early patronage, so using figures from 2 years ago would be no help - but I agree you can't draw conclusions from such a small data set.  Still, while it's not enough to definitively point to an answer it does waggle its eyebrows suggestively while looking pointedly at one.

I have said for a long time that extending the Ararat service to Stawell and Horsham would be worthwhile, but given the break-of-gauge and the fact that the whole area is in incredibly safe conservative seats, I don't see it happening any time soon.
  Flygon Train Controller

Location: Australia
I have said for a long time that extending the Ararat service to Stawell and Horsham would be worthwhile, but given the break-of-gauge and the fact that the whole area is in incredibly safe conservative seats, I don't see it happening any time soon.
Simbera
Wouldn't the quick and dirty solution for that, to be to convert some existing rollingstock to Standard Gauge and just run via Geelong?
  woodford Chief Commissioner


I have said for a long time that extending the Ararat service to Stawell and Horsham would be worthwhile, but given the break-of-gauge and the fact that the whole area is in incredibly safe conservative seats, I don't see it happening any time soon.
Simber
Comparing Ararat to Horsham, Ballarat to Ararat, Ballarat to Marybourgh and Bendigo to Echuca cannot really be done.

The latter three Ararat, Marybourgh and Echuce are not really new services but extensions to existing services. Ararat to Horsham as its effectively on an isolated gauge would be a new service. A large percentage of the costs of running a trains service is fixed (Note 1), the actual running cost, fuel and staff wages is comparatively small, so extending services does not bleed as much as one would think. Where as Ararat to Horsham WOULD be a new service, at this stage there will be almost no hope of establishing a true new service

Note 1: this info comes from two sources one a senior railway manager, the second a railway Board member. Another point these two made is that a passenger travelling a longer distance, Say Maryborough to Melbourne returns more money to the running of a service than from someone who gets on at say Baccus Marsh. Both people said they would way prefer more long distance passengers.

Another point I will make although I assume few will believe it is that heavy road transport is subsidised to a great extent. Such vehicles do great damage to roads whose repair has to come out of general revinue so comparing road transport to rail is not a fair comparison.

Woodford
  VRfan Moderator

Location: In front of my computer :-p
Wouldn't the quick and dirty solution for that, to be to convert some existing rollingstock to Standard Gauge and just run via Geelong?
Flygon

And add about another hour onto the trip...

IMHO the best option is to have a pair of 3 car Vlocities on SG (one in service, one backup) and run a shuttle from Ararat to Horsham, connecting with the BG train at Ararat. There's more than enough space on railway land around Ararat to build a refuelling and minor servicing depot and they could be transferred back to Melbourne for major overhauls or repair.
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
In relation to a SG pass service to Horsham via Cressy, it would be interesting to know the path availability with respect to all the interstate goods between Melb - Adelaide. Freight schedules can be a little more fluid than passenger timetables and if the passenger service got priority pathing, freights could be locked up in loops a bit more than they are now. Extended travel times are not ideal when rail is trying to snatch as much traffic off the roads as they can.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Aw geez, Ballast_Plough, all we have to do is make it all double line - problem solved!
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
servicing depot and they could be transferred back to Melbourne for major overhauls or repair.
VRfan
I believe they go to Dandenong for repair.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

I know it's getting off-topic a bit, but IMO Horsham & Stawell deserve (and have the population for) a daily Up & Down service.  And given the distance a Standard Gauge N-Set would be best.  Problem: There ain't many carriages going around to convert to SG, especially with the Z-car dramas atm.

One option could include converting Ararat-Ballarat to SG and running a Ballarat - Horsham Velocity shuttle.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
I know it's getting off-topic a bit, but IMO Horsham & Stawell deserve (and have the population for) a daily Up & Down service.  And given the distance a Standard Gauge N-Set would be best.  Problem: There ain't many carriages going around to convert to SG, especially with the Z-car dramas atm.

One option could include converting Ararat-Ballarat to SG and running a Ballarat - Horsham Velocity shuttle.
Carnot
That could provide an alternative interstate standard gauge route if the Geelong - Ballarat line was also standardised.

In my opinion, a return of the Horsham service is highly unlikely.  You have a safe local member on the Nationals team who has expressed little to no interest in advocating for the return of the rail service unlike Joe Helper in Maryborough.  Hugh Delehunty hasn't said anything about wanting to return the train service to Horsham so that's your first obstacle; I believe there's also a lot of apathy in the community towards the return of the train service too.  Although Horsham is twice the size of Maryborough it's also going to be an entirely new service as Woodford pointed out earlier. It's not simply a matter of extending an existing train service; even a shuttle from Ararat would be at a huge cost, requiring specially converted rolling stock and stabling facilities separate from the broad gauge Vlocity yard.

All in all, too many obstacles and a state budget under lots of pressure with shrinking GST and stamp duty receipts.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

All in all, too many obstacles and a state budget under lots of pressure with shrinking GST and stamp duty receipts.
don_dunstan
And you add to that a Federal Government going bankrupt:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-29/gillard-flags-spending-cuts-tax-hikes/4657712
  Ballast_Plough Chief Commissioner

Location: Lilydale, Vic
I know it's getting off-topic a bit, but IMO Horsham & Stawell deserve (and have the population for) a daily Up & Down service.  And given the distance a Standard Gauge N-Set would be best.  Problem: There ain't many carriages going around to convert to SG, especially with the Z-car dramas atm.

One option could include converting Ararat-Ballarat to SG and running a Ballarat - Horsham Velocity shuttle.
Carnot

Yes - probably almost worth the mods splitting this part off into it's own thread.

The Horsham scenario is an interesting one as you don't want to say "let's re-instate the passenger service" without understanding what's driving it. i.e. Is it to allow people from Melbourne to do a day return to Horsham? (One of the negatives about the current Maryborough timetable). Or is it to allow Horsham residents to commute to Ararat (or even Ballarat) for the day?

You state a daily up & down service but do you mean morning up / evening down (like Maryborough) or morning down / evening up? Or both? The latter would actually make the Overland almost redundant because you would imagine it having a very similar schedule.

It then begs the question about Dimboola. They might have begrudgingly flown the white flag when the passenger service was lost and resigned themselves to a future on a bus. If a Horsham service was brought in would Dimboola suddenly situp and want some of the action too?
  Calgully Deputy Commissioner

Location:
Yes - probably almost worth the mods splitting this part off into it's own thread.

The Horsham scenario is an interesting one as you don't want to say "let's re-instate the passenger service" without understanding what's driving it. i.e. Is it to allow people from Melbourne to do a day return to Horsham? (One of the negatives about the current Maryborough timetable). Or is it to allow Horsham residents to commute to Ararat (or even Ballarat) for the day?

You state a daily up & down service but do you mean morning up / evening down (like Maryborough) or morning down / evening up? Or both? The latter would actually make the Overland almost redundant because you would imagine it having a very similar schedule.

It then begs the question about Dimboola. They might have begrudgingly flown the white flag when the passenger service was lost and resigned themselves to a future on a bus. If a Horsham service was brought in would Dimboola suddenly situp and want some of the action too?
Ballast_Plough

There are many more deserving candidates than Horsham and Dimboola for rail extension - even putting aside the logistical difficulties related to break of gauge and even considering the lack of available funds.

1.  Extend all Marshall services to/from Grovedale
2.  Extend one peak hour Marshall/Grovedale service to/from Colac  
3.  Extend one peak hour Traralgon service to/from Sale
4.  Extend one peak hour Seymour service to/from Shepparton
5.  (Re)open stations at Talbot, Harcourt, Epsom, Lake Boga, Moriac, Gordon
6.  Extend more Bendigo services to/from Eaglehawk and/or Epsom
7.  Re-introduce Geelong to Ballarat services including stops at Bannockburn and Meredith
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

There are many more deserving candidates than Horsham and Dimboola for rail extension - even putting aside the logistical difficulties related to break of gauge and even considering the lack of available funds.

1.  Extend all Marshall services to/from Grovedale
2.  Extend one peak hour Marshall/Grovedale service to/from Colac  
3.  Extend one peak hour Traralgon service to/from Sale
4.  Extend one peak hour Seymour service to/from Shepparton
5.  (Re)open stations at Talbot, Harcourt, Epsom, Lake Boga, Moriac, Gordon
6.  Extend more Bendigo services to/from Eaglehawk and/or Epsom
7.  Re-introduce Geelong to Ballarat services including stops at Bannockburn and Meredith
Calgully
Just a quick bit of  goss, they appear to be starting the earthworks at the site of the Talbot station. Excavator working there today.
  x42 Junior Train Controller

Location: NSW
Near the former loop Blinkey ? Or station side ?
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

Near the former loop Blinkey ? Or station side ?
x42
It was on the other side from the station and close to the crossing  toward Melbourne. Didn't get much of a look mind you from the train but definitely some activity

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