Talbot station (Maryborough line) is now on track

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
It may surprise some but at one stage Department of Transport did have a very good regional transport planning and services group who were proactive in developing initiatives to maximise the investment of the Regional Fast Rail Project and delivered the new reginal train and road coach timetable through 2006. They even undertook numerous workshops with users and the community across regional Victoria. From this 2 hours travel was considered the upper end of daily commuting potential to Melbourne and about 1 hour travel time for daily commuting travel into regional centres such as Ballarat, Bendigo etc. some rail pagers will recall the new commuter timed trips added into Ballarat and Bendigo and as referred to earlier the revamped Echuca service which has loads of daily commuters out of Echuca , Elmore and Rochester. This was part of the thinking for the Maryborough service. If you look closely you'll see similar services operated by road coach and/or train out of Colac to Geelong and wan garrotte into Albury/Wodonga plus several others.

Sadly that unit has effectively gone under PTV and the current Government doesn't appear to have the appetite to want to pursue this. So at 2 hours as a guide establishing commuter timed trips from Maryborough to Melbourne is really not going to happen. Spend about 35 to 40 million on level crossing upgrades and some associated minor track upgrade on the Shepparton Corridor for 130km per hour VLocity operations to deliver a trip time of 2 hours and 5 minutes and a whole new corridor for commuting to Melbourne from Shep, Nagambie and even Murchison East and associated communities has very significant potential.
Trainplanner

Totally agree with the above statement...

I well know the former Unit within the old DOT, the head of that Unit is now working elsewhere where his talents are recognised on the International rail scene and I was the former volunteer community rep for Ballan.
In effect I was the liaison between the Ballan community and V/Line during the RFR development stages. There were several community workshops with each station the RFR serves having a community rep and meetings to discuss and receive feedback at the various developmental stages of the RFR.

The head of that now defunct Unit has become a friend of mine.

Part of the reason the Napthine government isn't pursuing the extra commuter services on the Maryborough line is to do with setting up of the extra crews and the acquisition of rolling stock to operate the service.
Strangely enough with the first of the new VLocity cars scheduled to be delivered somewhere around the middle of the year, I'd not be surprised to see a push from the government to implement another Maryborough service, including a weekend return just in time for the November election.


Mike.

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  Mr. Lane Chief Commissioner

Regional Fast Rail and now Regional Rail Link will probably spur this on further because they've effectively turned those regions into a commuter belt; getting a train from Ballarat is comparable to a journey from the Outer East so why pay $600,000 for an average house around Ringwood or Berwick when you can get the same house for $300,000 in Ballarat?
don_dunstan

This just points out exactly how ridiculous the situation has become. Why in 2014 should it take so long to travel from say Pakenham to Melbourne? The Metro network is not only too infrequent, but it is also TOO SLOW, yet we seem to accept this, but demand faster V/Line services.

I am not against RFR or RRL (though I believe Metro expresses should be able to use RRL in the future) but if the net effect is to encourage more people to live further away because the metro service is so bad and V/Line is actually becoming good by comparison then something is wrong. I am sure more people would be happy to pay more to live in Melbourne if their journey times and time spent waiting on the platforms were halved...

We need some real express services in Melbourne that go right to the middle and outer suburbs, and do so at 130kph

The fact that housing itself costs so much when there is loads of vacant land in the existing boundaries of Melbourne is another issue not related to railways.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Mr Lane:

There's a lot interesting points in what you say. Firstly that both land and housing in the Melbourne metro area has become so hard for many people that they've effectively given up and decided to relocate to places like Ballarat (or Drouin, Wallan, Melton etc). In my opinion there's probably something wrong with the tax treatment of housing that's helped fuel this situation, in concert with record low interest rates and easy money - but that's an argument for another time.

The point about poor urban planning is a very penitent one in my opinion - I worked in North Melbourne a few years ago in a job where I had a co-worker commuting in my train every day from Cranbourne and it took her over two hours to get there by train (driving would have been slightly quicker). There's been no consideration given to the somewhat elongated urban boundaries that our city has taken... no planning or forethought for those residents in the outer east or south-east who may need to get to the city quicker. Not just for work options but also to access the airport or other parts of the state. The recent state government suggestion of a third airport on the Gippsland fringes is a really silly diversion of precious resources if you ask me - we have a perfectly good airport at Tullamarine with room to expand but it's the accessibility of that facility from the rest of Melbourne that's hampering it's growth and longer term prospects.

Its probably also not the best use of resources to use V/Line and the freeway/tollway network as a defacto means to expand the commuter belt ever-outwards.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
I couldn't agree more that long distance commuting whether it be by car or public transport is not ideal and good planning and policy should promote collocation of job opportunities, education and general living. However long distance commuting from the Macedonia Ranges, Ballarat/Bacchus, Geelong etc has been taking place for well near on 50 years. Given then that it has existed so long and people continue to do so means we have to manage that and providing high quality public transport versus adding more lanes to freeways that effectively are in place to all those centres and very soon Shepparton is the way to do. Just the investment in construction of the recent stages of upgrading the highway through to Shepparton at hundreds of millions versus a very modest upgrade of the Sheparton Rail Corridor for around 35 to 40 million is a case in point and running around 8 to 9 services per day is a case in point.

In addition the relatively recent introduction of commuter timed services from Bendigo, Echuca and Maryborough has a benefit in keeping people in those centres and intermediate points rather than people uprooting themselves and moving to outer Melbourne instead.

I believe on completion of RRL that V/Line for the first time has the opportunity to finally deliver a highly reliable service and we can hope that they'll go and review their operations to take significant padding that has been added for so called metro reliability reasons.  For example in the first week of the RFR timetable in 2006 when Connex were directed to provide absolute priority, the flagship service of 64 minutes consistently logged 59 minutes actual run time to Southern Cross. Whilst I'm not advocating a return necessarily to flagship type services I'm definitely advocating that we need maximise the RFR project and now the RRL as it comes on line to operate fast reliable regional services.
  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Trainplanner: Are you saying that the Ballarat train regularly ran under an hour when RFR first came into operation? It would be interesting to see if that could be regularly scheduled once RRL is completed.

There is certainly scope to keep building faster rail services into the regions to facilitate commuting to the city for work purposes - Seymour to Shepparton is probably a good logical progression. As you rightly point out, rural commuting has been happening for decades anyway and lots of people who live in the regions (like Kyneton, Ballan) really love their lifestyles so why not provide people with more living options should they want them?
  feralmet Station Master

Location: Carisbrook 3464, Vic
Just to keep this thread alive, and inspire the troops a bit, here's a vid from the first train to Talbot:



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bH7OIJc5VXI
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
I admire the ambition of those platform signs that read "Talbot. 1 ".

Presumably that means they expect traffic to build up over the next few years to the extent that they will have to put in a second platform labeled "Talbot. 2 " ? Question
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Thanks for sharing the video.  You have to hand it to the Rail Revival Alliance.  They have managed to sucessfully place Talbot back onto the rail map which is good.  Let's keep an eye on the numbers.  

Was the re-opening of Talbot a deal done by the now Liberal Government or the previous Labour Government?  I noticed Mulder in the video happy to take the credit.  Was this his doing?
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Yes. The Ballarat flagship as it was then was able to do 59 minutes regularly in those early days bearing in mind Connex had to provide absolute priority. Accordingly whilst I am not advocating a return of flagship services I am advocating all the padded VLine schedules be refreshed and use international benchmarks of around 6 per cent recovery time only being added to the core run time.  As I said RRL and the RFR project now afford VLine the opportunity to run a robust reliable consistently fast service on the Ballarat and Geelong Corridor where there is complete segregation.
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

Thanks for sharing the video. You have to hand it to the Rail Revival Alliance. They have managed to sucessfully place Talbot back onto the rail map which is good. Let's keep an eye on the numbers.

Was the re-opening of Talbot a deal done by the now Liberal Government or the previous Labour Government? I noticed Mulder in the video happy to take the credit. Was this his doing?
bevans

Rail Revival Alliance does not claim any  credit for the Talbot  station. It was announced by Mulder just before the 2010 election and as you know carried out three years later. RRA was happy to attend the opening and confront one and all withe the simple message that the current Minister promised Rail revival between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo and all we expect him to do honour his commitment. No more, no less.One small and dare I say highly overpriced station is only the first step in a very much longer march.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Rail Revival Alliance does not claim any credit for the Talbot station. It was announced by Mulder just before the 2010 election and as you know carried out three years later. RRA was happy to attend the opening and confront one and all withe the simple message that the current Minister promised Rail revival between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo and all we expect him to do honour his commitment. No more, no less.One small and dare I say highly overpriced station is only the first step in a very much longer march.
Blinkey

The current transport minister promised a study ! and he followed through on the promis.

The RRA has a very valid point that the study outcome was a joke and designed to fail, but the current transport minister would never acknowledge that.
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

The current transport minister promised a study ! and he followed through on the promis.

The RRA has a very valid point that the study outcome was a joke and designed to fail, but the current transport minister would never acknowledge that.
Nightfire

He actually said a bit more than tha. He has said in a press statement on the 10th April 2011 that and I quote

“The Coalition Government is also planning for the return of passenger rail between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo on a cross-country route via Meredith, Maryborough and Castlemaine,” Mr Mulder said

He further said in the Ballarat Courier on the 14th of November that

The Coalition government calls the Geelong-Ballarat-Bendigo restoration of passenger trains the 'Rail Revival' for good reason.
We are continuing to assess this project and in particular how it can be delivered at an affordable cost.
No-one is more committed to rail in regional and rural Victoria than the Coalition government.

Of course why would he just say he was going to spend $2M of tax payers money on a study if it was leading nowhere. He might well have saved the $2M if he knew it was not going to ever be implemented.

At this stage Rail Revival alliance is holding him at his word.

We have provided an alternative engineering study to say that it would cost approximately $90M for Rail revival (and the study was at no cost to the government).

It is now up to the Minister to come up with the program to bring about Rail Revival in Central Victoria. If he does, I will be the first to take my hat off to him. If he does not, then his assurances as to his commitment to Regional Rail will be in tatters. This may well be something that the electors in a number crucial Regional seats at the forthcoming State election may not take kindly to.

Rail Revival Alliance is not going away
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
He actually said a bit more than tha. He has said in a press statement on the 10th April 2011 that and I quote

“The Coalition Government is also planning for the return of passenger rail between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo on a cross-country route via Meredith, Maryborough and Castlemaine,” Mr Mulder said

He further said in the Ballarat Courier on the 14th of November that

The Coalition government calls the Geelong-Ballarat-Bendigo restoration of passenger trains the 'Rail Revival' for good reason.
We are continuing to assess this project and in particular how it can be delivered at an affordable cost.
No-one is more committed to rail in regional and rural Victoria than the Coalition government.

Of course why would he just say he was going to spend $2M of tax payers money on a study if it was leading nowhere. He might well have saved the $2M if he knew it was not going to ever be implemented.

At this stage Rail Revival alliance is holding him at his word.

We have provided an alternative engineering study to say that it would cost approximately $90M for Rail revival (and the study was at no cost to the government).

It is now up to the Minister to come up with the program to bring about Rail Revival in Central Victoria. If he does, I will be the first to take my hat off to him. If he does not, then his assurances as to his commitment to Regional Rail will be in tatters. This may well be something that the electors in a number crucial Regional seats at the forthcoming State election may not take kindly to.

Rail Revival Alliance is not going away
Blinkey

I think Neal Laidlaw may have managed to get Minister Mulder's ear...but how far that goes, only time will tell.

Mike.
  Some rail man Junior Train Controller

Location: CIA Headquarters in Washington D.C
I admire the ambition of those platform signs that read "Talbot. 1 ".

Presumably that means they expect traffic to build up over the next few years to the extent that they will have to put in a second platform labeled "Talbot. 2 " ? Question
Bogong

Many other stations in Victoria like Hurstbridge, Hastings and Ballan have this as well but they have no plans to put in a second platform at Talbot.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
He actually said a bit more than tha. He has said in a press statement on the 10th April 2011 that and I quote

“The Coalition Government is also planning for the return of passenger rail between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo on a cross-country route via Meredith, Maryborough and Castlemaine,” Mr Mulder said

He further said in the Ballarat Courier on the 14th of November that

The Coalition government calls the Geelong-Ballarat-Bendigo restoration of passenger trains the 'Rail Revival' for good reason.
We are continuing to assess this project and in particular how it can be delivered at an affordable cost.
No-one is more committed to rail in regional and rural Victoria than the Coalition government.

Of course why would he just say he was going to spend $2M of tax payers money on a study if it was leading nowhere. He might well have saved the $2M if he knew it was not going to ever be implemented.

At this stage Rail Revival alliance is holding him at his word.

We have provided an alternative engineering study to say that it would cost approximately $90M for Rail revival (and the study was at no cost to the government).

It is now up to the Minister to come up with the program to bring about Rail Revival in Central Victoria. If he does, I will be the first to take my hat off to him. If he does not, then his assurances as to his commitment to Regional Rail will be in tatters. This may well be something that the electors in a number crucial Regional seats at the forthcoming State election may not take kindly to.

Rail Revival Alliance is not going away
Blinkey

That may be all very well what the transport minister said about planning for the proposed service, but he never said that he was going to deliver the project, only plan and assess the proposed project.

The former Government made many promises that had funding allocated to them In their budgets, the promised projects were put on the back burner.

This proposed project has had no funding allocated to It (other then the study)    

RRA need to keen to do some lobbing In the lead up to the State election and see If a Government will come riding In an knight In shining armour and promis funding for their rail service.
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

That may be all very well what the transport minister said about planning for the proposed service, but he never said that he was going to deliver the project, only plan and assess the proposed project.

The former Government made many promises that had funding allocated to them In their budgets, the promised projects were put on the back burner.

This proposed project has had no funding allocated to It (other then the study)

RRA need to keen to do some lobbing In the lead up to the State election and see If a Government will come riding In an knight In shining armour and promis funding for their rail service.
Nightfire

I don't really believe much in knights in shining armor riding in, it will be a bit grubbier than that
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I think Neal Laidlaw may have managed to get Minister Mulder's ear...but how far that goes, only time will tell.

Mike.
The Vinelander


Mike there is a Noel Laidlaw on the committee for the RRA.  

Regards
Brian
  mickamious Junior Train Controller

Those who are saying the station was over priced have no idea. The station cost $1.2 million to the tax payer. We missed this job to one of our competitors (no names) as they had no work, still don't and went in below cost . We came second with another company and we basically got told in evaluation that VLine couldn't refuse the price that was given as it was so cheap.

Don't believe everything the media tells you guys unless you know what really goes on in the construction game!
  Blinkey Junior Train Controller

Those who are saying the station was over priced have no idea. The station cost $1.2 million to the tax payer. We missed this job to one of our competitors (no names) as they had no work, still don't and went in below cost . We came second with another company and we basically got told in evaluation that VLine couldn't refuse the price that was given as it was so cheap.

Don't believe everything the media tells you guys unless you know what really goes on in the construction game!
Grosso

That's very interesting. The Minister said in excess of $2M. The thing is that they  book internal time with Dept of Transport out against each individual project. ON the regional Rail  stuff ten years ago they booked out hundreds of millions of dollars of public servants time against the project.

If the Talbot station cost a little over $1M in actual work, then we can say that about the same again  was written off against D of T public servants to administer the project. It strikes me as being a bit of a rip off actually.

Anyway thanks for the story, it says a lot about how transport is run in this State

Blinkey
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Mike there is a Noel Laidlaw on the committee for the RRA.

Regards
Brian
bevans

Sorry my error.

Apologies also to Noel Laidlaw who I know reads these pages.

Mike.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

Geelong via Bendigo Castlemaine Maryborough, you lot are kidding yourselves, it will never happen...............
  mickamious Junior Train Controller

That's very interesting. The Minister said in excess of $2M. The thing is that they book internal time with Dept of Transport out against each individual project. ON the regional Rail stuff ten years ago they booked out hundreds of millions of dollars of public servants time against the project.

If the Talbot station cost a little over $1M in actual work, then we can say that about the same again was written off against D of T public servants to administer the project. It strikes me as being a bit of a rip off actually.

Anyway thanks for the story, it says a lot about how transport is run in this State

Blinkey
Blinkey


What they said was they allocated $2.5 million to the project. Construction of a new station with no overpass, small car park and a simple design should cost less than $2 million EASILY. By the way, that price included doing track works (sleepers, re-railment aswell etc)

Don't know how the government gets there bloody figures cause it's quite disturbing to be honest..

The minister could be referring to others works that might of been completed with the extra money that was left over but generally that money isn't spent, it's rolled over into the new budget.. The money can be spent but would of needed to be spent at Talbot..
  Simbera Train Controller

We have provided an alternative engineering study to say that it would cost approximately $90M for Rail revival (and the study was at no cost to the government).
Blinkey

Is this publicly available? I would love to have a look at it, and compare it with the government-funded one.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Geelong via Bendigo Castlemaine Maryborough, you lot are kidding yourselves, it will never happen...............
trainbrain

That's the spirit.

Seriously though, If the original gov't funded study wasn't set up to fail, the study was conducted by some very incompetent people. You just need to take a look at the style of stations designed for small towns like Lethbridge and Meredith. They weren't exactly modest little stations like we've just seen opened at Talbot. Add to that the inclusions of the costs of re-duplication between Castlemaine and Bendigo (something that is irrelevant to Regional Rail Revival), and the complete failure to investigate the possibility of an alternative (and much cheaper) route via Inglewood. There was clearly no intention to show a way to build it in an affordable manner.
  Trainplanner Chief Commissioner

Location: Along the Line
Totally Agree with you Gman

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