Why on earth would you need to regauge any section of the suburban network? It's not as if you're going to run a train from Adelaide to Hurstbridge or Shepparton to Pakenham.So we aren't stuck in the 19th century. Victorian broad gauge belongs with tiny steam engines (e.g. Z526), wooden carriages, screw couplings and gas-lit semaphore signals.
Besides, the Pakenham line could easily end up as a route all the way to New South Wales if anyone could be bothered actually building anything outside Melbourne. What is stopping somewhere like Bairnsdale from suddenly becoming part of a major city of six million people like Melbourne is fast reaching? Gippsland is every bit as habitable as Melbourne (unlike the Pilbara region, for example), it's just that no-one has bothered trying. Population: A quarter of a million.
Edited 29 Sep 2016 13:43, 4 years ago, edited by Heihachi_73
Why on earth would you need to regauge any section of the suburban network? It's not as if you're going to run a train from Adelaide to Hurstbridge or Shepparton to Pakenham.Are you saying that the whole network would be regauged during a period where it is all shut down? That would mean no suburban train services anywhere in the metropolitan area for months.Buses replacing trains over the section of track being upgraded. When the track is done and re-gauged trains are running, move to the next part. Start with the outer sections and move slowly towards the city, making each broad gauge section of track shorter and shorter until the entire line is done.
For example, Hurstbridge to Diamond Creek would be converted first, with buses replacing trains until the tracks are laid and test trains have been running (assuming it's possible to convert any of our current suburban trains to standard gauge), then work starts on Diamond Creek to Eltham or Greensborough while the new standard gauge train(s) are doing revenue service at the extremities, and so on. A temporary maintenance yard may have to be built at Hurstbridge in order to cater for the standard gauge trains, due to them not being able to be moved anywhere else unless the bogies were swapped or the carriages moved by road.
Of course, once the standard gauge gets to Clifton Hill, it would be time to start on the South Morang line, if the same work wasn't done simultaneously with the Hurstbridge line. The only stations which would require dual gauge after the conversion of the Clifton Hill group would be Southern Cross and Flinders Street, unless the tracks can be isolated to those services only - the Clifton Hill Loop would not need dual gauge.
The reason I gave the Clifton Hill group as an example is that it is mostly isolated from the rest of the network - the line doesn't connect with large stations such as North Melbourne, Richmond or South Yarra, which would be an order of magnitude harder to work with due to the need to share platforms, not only with suburban trains, but passenger (e.g. V/Line) and freight as well (Frankston would be an interesting one, given the Long Island steel train and the Stony Point Sprinters beyond the wires).
Sandringham could be done in a similar way since the southern platforms at Richmond and South Yarra are isolated from the Caulfield lines, but the line would lose loop access, and other trains would lose access to platform 13 at Flinders Street, if not 10 and 12 as well unless 10/12 were dual-gauged.
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