Clifton Hill group musings

 
  AndyChee Station Master

Sitting on the train between Rushall and Clifton Hill waiting for a Hurstbridge train to pass, my mind wanders....

What are the current and/or future constraints on the Clifton Hill group lines?  Hoping someone more knowledgeable than I can give some insight into the daily issues unique to that line encounters.

Using the Clifton Hill junction delay as one example, how much of a problem is this overall?  Will it become a bigger issue with increasing growth in Mernda and surrounding suburbs?  The only way I can envisage solving this problem is to skyrail the Rushall/Clifton Hill section over the top of Heidelberg Rd into 2 new upper tier platforms (kind of like the arrangement of the underground loop stations), and move the junction to the up end of Clifton Hill.

Another issue is duplication between Greensborough and Hurstbridge.  Is this really a problem though?  Unlike Mernda, the population growth in this area is not nearly as exponential....in fact I'm of the understanding that population is already at capacity beyond Greensborough.  So is the duplication meant to serve the population in that area?  Or is it more for timetable logistics and access to the Eltham stables?

And lastly for now, what effect, if any, would the proposed Metro outer rail loop have on Clifton Hill group patronage?  Would it serve to reduce the load, such that line separation and 2 new Clifton Hill platforms I mentioned above, would not be necessary? Or perhaps the Eltham stables are required to feed the loop and necessitate the duplication mentioned above?

Are there any other issues? (grade separation of Ramsden St was discussed sometime ago in another thread)

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  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Good Morning Andy, I hope your commute went well, I don't miss my time commuting Vic Park > Southern Cross that is for sure!

Clifton Hill untangling is certainly on the radar, we were discussing it here https://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11398060-0-asc-s0.htm last year following a government press release which included a tidbit of information.

I reckon in the longer term PTV/VicGov will be pinning their hopes on Metro 2 to finally solve the problem of the Clifton Hill > Jolimont section.

Future works on the Hurstbridge line are probably more about efficiency than capacity with not much growth in population expected up there, it is South Morang and beyond where all the problems will occur if something isn't done and done soon.

BG
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Andy have you been noticing the high amount of wheel squeal on the bend to Rushall on both the down and up from Clifton Hill.  I have noticed this also on the down side of Clifton Hill for the Hurstbridge Line.

It is a lot worse than I have every experienced in the 20 years I have been riding the Hurstbridge line.
  LeroyW Junior Train Controller

Location: Awaiting MM2
Sitting on the train between Rushall and Clifton Hill waiting for a Hurstbridge train to pass, my mind wanders....
AndyChee
Heh join the club... the bane of all Mernda passengers everywhere Very Happy!

What are the current and/or future constraints on the Clifton Hill group lines?  Hoping someone more knowledgeable than I can give some insight into the daily issues unique to that line encounters.

Using the Clifton Hill junction delay as one example, how much of a problem is this overall?  Will it become a bigger issue with increasing growth in Mernda and surrounding suburbs?  The only way I can envisage solving this problem is to skyrail the Rushall/Clifton Hill section over the top of Heidelberg Rd into 2 new upper tier platforms (kind of like the arrangement of the underground loop stations), and move the junction to the up end of Clifton Hill.
AndyChee
To reference what Brenton was referring to, the press release from the Premier is here:
https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/more-trains-and-fewer-delays-on-the-hurstbridge-line/

With this paragraph being what all our hopes and dreams hang on for now:
"Locals on the Labor Government’s new Mernda line will also get five extra train services during the morning peak, with a major upgrade of the Clifton Hill junction where the Mernda and Hurstbridge lines connect."

Given it's only a $530m project for all the duplication, the new bridge at Eltham and the Clifton Hill "upgrade" I've struggled to work out exactly what they're planning.  A flyover of any description seems to be too expensive, given Heidelberg Rd sits nicely in the way but perhaps there is an idea.  Maybe Platform 1 is moved and becomes an island platform so that services arriving from Mernda/Hurstbridge don't have to wait outside the station as much (there is room where the 3rd track used to be)?

Metro 2 is the long term solution for sure but given how far it is away, and how quickly patronage is growing out Mernda way I don't think they play to wait that long before doing something at least.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Grade separation at Ramsden Street would be the ultimate example of throwing money away.

The area of Clifton Hill accessible by Ramsden Street is not an issue. The "boundaries" are Hoddle Street, The Eastern Freeway, Merri Creek, and Heidelberg Road. The area itself is very lightly trafficked and if anyone wants to avoid a level crossing, go in via Roseneath Street, Fenwick Street, John Street, Trenerry Crescent, Dwyer Street or the Esplanade. I can speak from local knowledge - I lived first in John Street, and then Fenwick Street for 15 years, and still live in the general area.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Grade separation at Ramsden Street would be the ultimate example of throwing money away.

The area of Clifton Hill accessable by Ramsden Street is not an issue. The "boundaries' are Hoddle Street, The Eastern Freeway, Merri Creek, and Heidelberg Road. The area itself is very lightly trafficked and if anyone wants to avoid a level crossing, go in via Roseneath Street, Fenwick Street, John Street, Trenerry Crescent, Dwyer Street or the Esplanade. I can speak from local knowledge - I lived first in John Street, and then Fenwick Street for 15 years, and still live in the general area.
Valvegear
Yep, just close it. Many of those who use it are rat runners anyway.

BG
  davesvline Chief Commissioner

Location: 1983-1998
On this topic. The Clifton Hill loop direction became non changing as a mitigation due to having to cross the down track at the portal entrance near MCG. Seemingly this caused delays, so they fixed its direction to all day. However, does anyone feel that this has made traffic flow through for this group worse???

My question then, is should a slightly different approach have been taken when the city loop was deceloped, such that the portal came out further east, and also between the up/dn tracks. IMHO, this would have prevented the dilemma in needing to cross the down track since it would've  never a problem in the first place.
I'm unsure exactly of whether space was/is available to have allowed a deconfliction, but it's always fascinated me travelling through there as to why not??

Happy for suggestions and insight.

Regards
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
On this topic. The Clifton Hill loop direction became non changing as a mitigation due to having to cross the down track at the portal entrance near MCG. Seemingly this caused delays, so they fixed its direction to all day. However, does anyone feel that this has made traffic flow through for this group worse???

My question then, is should a slightly different approach have been taken when the city loop was deceloped, such that the portal came out further east, and also between the up/dn tracks. IMHO, this would have prevented the dilemma in needing to cross the down track since it would've  never a problem in the first place.
I'm unsure exactly of whether space was/is available to have allowed a deconfliction, but it's always fascinated me travelling through there as to why not??

Happy for suggestions and insight.

Regards
davesvline
Agreed, was it lack of space or low patronage that caused it to built that way I wonder? Or some other. As mentioned elsewhere I think it is a blessing as trains still run in the Clifton group during the time that the others stop to reverse direction.

BG
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
There would not be enough room for the City Loop portal to pass both under the down line, then come back up to level in time for the Jolimont Road bridge, hence the offset compromise.

Passenger flows should get better over time as people get used to those trains always continuing around the loop, and driver changeovers being moved away from Flinders St to minimise dwell times.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
When you think about it, there have been enormous improvements to the Hurstbridge line over the years.  When I lived in Diamond Creek in the 70s, and took the train to the City each day, there were
-
  • Manual semaphores and points everywhere
  • Single track sections across Merri Creek, at Heidelberg, and beyond Macleod
  • Manual shunting operations to allow trains to pass at Diamond Creek (no second platform)

The last of these was a real event, as the Down train in the morning would reverse across the level crossing and remain stationary across it while the points were changed and the driver given permission to proceed into the siding, but the real bottleneck was the Merri Creek bridge.

Today there are still constraints, but nothing like that.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

Any other solution would have been rather complicated. From Parliament, the Clifton Group crosses over the Caulfield Group. From there it would not only have to cross under the Flinders Street – Clifton Hill Down line but under Jolimont Road as well. Perhaps some sort of flyover, Wellington Parade South bridge notwithstanding.
  AndyChee Station Master

A flyover of any description seems to be too expensive, given Heidelberg Rd sits nicely in the way but perhaps there is an idea.  Maybe Platform 1 is moved and becomes an island platform so that services arriving from Mernda/Hurstbridge don't have to wait outside the station as much (there is room where the 3rd track used to be)?
LeroyW

My quick cut & paste of VicSig's track diagram notwithstanding, was this what you were thinking?


https://i.imgur.com/4C25Qzi.gif

If so, I do like it (if only wishes could come true).

Andy have you been noticing the high amount of wheel squeal on the bend to Rushall on both the down and up from Clifton Hill.  I have noticed this also on the down side of Clifton Hill for the Hurstbridge Line.

It is a lot worse than I have every experienced in the 20 years I have been riding the Hurstbridge line.
bevans


The wheel squeal definitely seems more frequent, as opposed to louder (I'm not sure which one you mean).  I assume there's been a change in grade of steel composition in either or both the rail and the wheels.  I can't imagine the track radius changing that significantly.
  Madjikthise Assistant Commissioner

Quite likely they have removed the grease pots to save on short term maintenance at the cost of higher wear.
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
The revamped track diagram doesn't really work, if I understand it correctly, because it just moves the at-grade conflict (Up from Mernda/Down to Hurstbridge) to the other end of the station.  Under that arrangement, either Down trains to Hurstbridge may have to wait short of the station, or Up trains from Mernda may be delayed at the platform.

What about the level crossing?

Is there enough room between the railway and Hoddle St for the new platform 4?
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

The revamped track diagram doesn't really work, if I understand it correctly, because it just moves the at-grade conflict (Up from Mernda/Down to Hurstbridge) to the other end of the station.  Under that arrangement, either Down trains to Hurstbridge may have to wait short of the station, or Up trains from Mernda may be delayed at the platform.

What about the level crossing?

Is there enough room between the railway and Hoddle St for the new platform 4?
Lad_Porter
I think the idea is that having the Up from Mernda standing at the platform is a better outcome than having either train delayed short of the station because the overall delay is reduced. (That is, your up Mernda can head off as soon as the down Hursty is clear instead of having to then pull into the station for passengers.)

It's a fair bit of money to spend for relatively minimal benefit but I do agree it's probably the best solution in an overall very difficult situation.
  Lockie91 Train Controller

Is there enough room between Clifton Hill Andy Victoria Park for four tracks? Could a fly over be built in the old Victoria Park Sidding? You would still need four platforms at Clifton Hill.
  LeroyW Junior Train Controller

Location: Awaiting MM2
Is there enough room between Clifton Hill and Victoria Park for four tracks? Could a fly over be built in the old Victoria Park Siding? You would still need four platforms at Clifton Hill.
Lockie91
There's room for 3 - four might require acquisitions close to Clifton Hill to fit them in however.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
A quick look says you'd need a lot of acquisitions; just about all the way from Ramsden Street to the Eastern Freeway, and then more on the approach to Victoria Park.
Then, if you need only one extra platform at Clifton Hill, it will be encroaching into either Hoddle Street or John Street. The former is impossible; the latter would mean a row of houses in John Street would go because there'd be no way to access them. As for two extra platforms, call in your fairy Godmother to wave her magic wand.
After that, there would undoubtedly be track changes needed at the Down end of the station, and how they'd be done with the Helidelberg Road overpass straddling it all is anybody's guess.
  Lockie91 Train Controller

Ultimately it’s all just hypothetical discussion. With Metro 2 quietly waiting for announcement I can’t see any substantial amount of money being spent here.

The government is not going to spend hundreds of millions for a small increase in services. Remember that both these lines are limited by the city loop.

Some minor alterations to track layout is all that might come out of the few million the government has allocated here.
  Bullucked Assistant Commissioner

On this topic. The Clifton Hill loop direction became non changing as a mitigation due to having to cross the down track at the portal entrance near MCG. Seemingly this caused delays, so they fixed its direction to all day. However, does anyone feel that this has made traffic flow through for this group worse???

My question then, is should a slightly different approach have been taken when the city loop was deceloped, such that the portal came out further east, and also between the up/dn tracks. IMHO, this would have prevented the dilemma in needing to cross the down track since it would've  never a problem in the first place.
I'm unsure exactly of whether space was/is available to have allowed a deconfliction, but it's always fascinated me travelling through there as to why not??

Happy for suggestions and insight.

Regards
davesvline
I have read somewhere in one of the old enthusiast publications of the sixties, I think Green Over Red, Divisional Diary or something similar, something about the original plans for Jolimont having three platforms and the loop portal coming out between the Up and Down lines. I don't know about the sense of three platforms at Jolimont but having the portal between the Up and Down lines was the most important trick that has been missed.
The MURLA annual reports are a bit of an interesting read and the last page of the 1971 report, see here  https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1971-72No24.pdf, shows two city circle loop lines back in to Flinders Street. Don't know about the necessity of that idea (thought bubble?)
  Bullucked Assistant Commissioner

On this topic. The Clifton Hill loop direction became non changing as a mitigation due to having to cross the down track at the portal entrance near MCG. Seemingly this caused delays, so they fixed its direction to all day. However, does anyone feel that this has made traffic flow through for this group worse???

My question then, is should a slightly different approach have been taken when the city loop was deceloped, such that the portal came out further east, and also between the up/dn tracks. IMHO, this would have prevented the dilemma in needing to cross the down track since it would've  never a problem in the first place.
I'm unsure exactly of whether space was/is available to have allowed a deconfliction, but it's always fascinated me travelling through there as to why not??

Happy for suggestions and insight.

Regards
I have read somewhere in one of the old enthusiast publications of the sixties, I think Green Over Red, Divisional Diary or something similar, something about the original plans for Jolimont having three platforms and the loop portal coming out between the Up and Down lines. I don't know about the sense of three platforms at Jolimont but having the portal between the Up and Down lines was the most important trick that has been missed.
The MURLA annual reports are a bit of an interesting read and the last page of the 1971 report, see here
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1971-72No24.pdf
shows two city circle loop lines back in to Flinders Street. Don't know about the necessity of that idea (thought bubble?)
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

............................................

The MURLA annual reports are a bit of an interesting read and the last page of the 1971 report, see here
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1971-72No24.pdf
shows two city circle loop lines back in to Flinders Street. Don't know about the necessity of that idea (thought bubble?)
Bullucked
The second line was for the now defunct City Circle service (it comes off the Clifton Group Loop). It's still there and gets occasional use. Probably deserves its own thread.
  Bullucked Assistant Commissioner

............................................

The MURLA annual reports are a bit of an interesting read and the last page of the 1971 report, see here
https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/papers/govpub/VPARL1971-72No24.pdf
shows two city circle loop lines back in to Flinders Street. Don't know about the necessity of that idea (thought bubble?)
The second line was for the now defunct City Circle service (it comes off the Clifton Group Loop). It's still there and gets occasional use. Probably deserves its own thread.
kitchgp
The City Circle line is still there and trains run through it regularly, not normally with passengers, although with shutdowns a few weeks ago timetabled passenger services did run through it. There is one tunnel only, not the two shown in the drawing (sketch). Later editions of the annual reports only showed the one line.
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

There are two tunnels. One is for the North Melbourne loop. The other is the City Circle tunnel which joins the Clifton loop just south of Parliament. The Clifton loop is directly above the North Melbourne loop at Parliament, both being on the 'inside' of the other two loops.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
A photo of the new displays operating at Parliament platform 1.  If by design the plan was to prevent anyone knowing which trains was leaving the platform at the time then it was achieved.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/62346766@N07/47684246741

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