Regional V/line services unacceptable say Greens

 

News article: Regional V/line services unacceptable say Greens

VICTORIAN Greens leader Greg Barber says the performance of regional V/Line train services remains unacceptable.

  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
VICTORIAN Greens leader Greg Barber says the performance of regional V/Line train services remains unacceptable.

Mr Barber said V/Line again failed to come up to scratch last month with 87.4 per cent of regional services across the state running on-time.

Only two of the 11 regional train lines met the 92 per cent on-time performance target — Shepparton (95 per cent) and Albury (94.2 per cent).
Regional V/line services unacceptable say Greens


Punctuality is a problem on many services as evidenced by the very many posts and news items which flow through this site.

The RRL will not help the Shepparton services.  How could this issue be addressed?

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  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
The RRL will not help the Shepparton services. How could this issue be addressed?
bevans

Use the Albion-Jacana freight line?
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
How would the Green Party know about rural rail services? Question

The only time they ever leave their trendy stronghold in the inner northern suburbs is when they jump in their fashionably retro convertible Saabs for their once a year trek down to St Kilda to see how people live in the "distant" south.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
If you believe Napthine and who does the jacana freight line will become a joint freight and airport line.

Barber is right in as much as vline do need to lift their game. Services on the north east to here hae been terrible since the move to SG.

We had a better service on the broad gauge.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
vline do need to lift their game. Services on the north east to here hae been terrible since the move to SG.

We had a better service on the broad gauge.
freightgate

Comparatively I've heard the track condition is much better under ARTC than what V/line had (pretty sure the wooden sleepers had a little more bounce but were nearly rotten through, and jointed track they had is so 1950's). And that's saying something.
  boromisa Junior Train Controller

They obviously haven't been on NSWFailLink.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Comparatively I've heard the track condition is much better under ARTC than what V/line had (pretty sure the wooden sleepers had a little more bounce but were nearly rotten through, and jointed track they had is so 1950's). And that's saying something.
speedemon08

Its FAR WORSE under ARTC Exclamation

Check this timetable courtesy of Mark Bau's website of the VR timetable.
Scroll down till the Albury timetable comes up...

http://www.victorianrailways.net/timetables/tt1967/tt1975/pubtt1975.pdf

The times from 1975 are actually faster than today because today's trains have fewer stops, yet today's services have the same running time to travel Melbourne to Albury as they did 40 years ago Exclamation

Compare with the latest V/Line timetable below...

http://www.vline.com.au/pdf/timetables/albury.pdf/albury

Mike.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Its FAR WORSE under ARTC Exclamation
The Vinelander

Because ARTC have to fix up the years of lack on maintenance done by V/line...

Under latter years the sleepers were reported as terrible and riddled with rot..

A 1975 timetable is still where the track condition is only 13 years old, and probably used the slightly straighter route via Essendon.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Because ARTC have to fix up the years of lack on maintenance done by V/line...

Under latter years the sleepers were reported as terrible and riddled with rot..

A 1975 timetable is still where the track condition is only 13 years old, and probably used the slightly straighter route via Essendon.
speedemon08

Yes the BG trains ran via Essendon and saved about 8 mins, however the Intercapital Daylight express and the XPT both travel the SG route.

Despite ARTC 'fixing up' the track to such a shocking standard that there are still speed restrictions over long lengths of the tracks due to the reappearances of the never ending mud holes.

Mike.
  ab123 Chief Train Controller

Yes the BG trains ran via Essendon and saved about 8 mins, however the Intercapital Daylight express and the XPT both travel the SG route.

Despite ARTC 'fixing up' the track to such a shocking standard that there are still speed restrictions over long lengths of the tracks due to the reappearances of the never ending mud holes.

Mike.
The Vinelander

Actually for the Albury V/Line service at least, line speed is now 115kph the whole way through. Alot of the long speed restrictions are now gone.

(Everyone seems to be of the opinion the only place in the state with mud issues is the NE SG, but this is far from the truth. Metro and V/Lines track standards are not anything to write home about and it is a state wide issue.)
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
We know there are problems. We know some of those stem from historic issues. The point being what can be done now and into the future to address those problems?

There is no "quick win" which can be implemented tomorrow. Or next week or next month. But there are some areas where I would ask questions.

1. Are the combined VLP / Metro / freight path timetables as efficient as they can be or could some judicious tweaking result in better pathing and improved reliability if not shorter journey times?

2. Are there any alternative routings available which could be used to reduce conflicts at pressure points? The option exists to dual-gauge the Upfield line for instance which while it does limit speeds might not do so to the detriment of the overall service and opens the way to have Seymour / Shepparton / Albury trains use this route.

3. Is the overall timetable sufficiently robust in terms of rolling stock rostering? Is the best use being made of through-routing via Southern Cross or are there more options here? Are some services not allowed sufficient stand time here and therefore a late arrival results in a late departure?

4. Would it be more operationally satisfactory to combine certain trains where practicable to use fewer pathways? It may result in reduced departure options but is one reliable trip better than two unreliable ones? Two VLs or Sprinters coupled together provide the same accommodation for fewer pathways.

5. Is the overall timetable robust in terms of stopping patterns contributing to delays? Are there some VLP trains which are too close behind a Metro stopper for example and which could have their timing adjusted slightly to improve pathing and reliability?

6. Is platform supervision of boarding and alighting adequate or are there delays caused at the platforms through poor regulation which then contribute to a wider system issue?

Other than dual-gauging via Upfield and a need to then relocate a few sidings these issues can be resolved and written into the next available timetable change. That gives a reasonably quick and modest level of improvement.

Alongside that we can look at long-term options which might include metropolitan tunnels and a removal to them of some surface-level suburban trains. That in turn would create more space more often for more country trains.

Rolling stock procurement is also an ongoing issue. The N-sets won't last forever and are not the oldest rolling stock in service either. Likewise the locomotive fleet where some routes still rely on small and quite elderly mixed-traffic P-class locos. Procurement should factor in projected traffic growth allowing for what can be determined today such as the sharply rising costs of private motoring and a potential for further rail traffic growth if services gain the reputation for being quick and reliable.

The do-nothing option will only result in the rail system grinding to a halt very swiftly and the road network likewise not long afterwards.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
2. Are there any alternative routings available which could be used to reduce conflicts at pressure points? The option exists to dual-gauge the Upfield line for instance which while it does limit speeds might not do so to the detriment of the overall service and opens the way to have Seymour / Shepparton / Albury trains use this route.

Other than dual-gauging via Upfield and a need to then relocate a few sidings these issues can be resolved and written into the next available timetable change. That gives a reasonably quick and modest level of improvement.
Gwiwer


I am quite surprised the Upfield line has not been extended to Craigieburn including electrification.  This really does make a lot of sense and also permits routing alternatives for Shepparton and Seymour services.

Regards
Brian
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
I am quite surprised the Upfield line has not been extended to Craigieburn including electrification. This really does make a lot of sense and also permits routing alternatives for Shepparton and Seymour services.

Regards
Brian
bevans

Other threads over the years here have suggested a significant reason for this omission has been a requirement by ARTC that any electrification allows for double-stacked freight and that there is grade separation of the "suburban" and "country" tracks at Somerton to avoid a flat crossing and introduce as many conflicts as are cancelled at the City end.

None of the above are technically or financially insuperable.  All of them seem to be in someone too-hard basket.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Oh, and another thing. A V/line driver friend of mine said that N classes are slower with anything over 3 cars, combine this with nearly 30 years of service.... I think they are past their prime.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Upfield to the airport makes more sense - Craigieburn would only carry air.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
The n class hve hauled a lot more than 3 coaches on services.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
The n class hve hauled a lot more than 3 coaches on services.
freightgate

Yes but not to a really tight timetable. And they were closer to new then, so everything on them would be 95-100%, not like the 75-50% they are now
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
Also the more weight you add behind a locomotive - any locomotive - the slower it will be able to accelerate and the longer it requires to brake the train to a safe stop. In other words for locomotive-hauled trains where power is finite the longer the train the slower it becomes and that has an effect upon track capacity.

The same is not true for multiple-unit trains where each adds its own power and braking to the train but the acceleration and braking curves remain - for practical purposes - the same.

We might prefer locomotive-hauled trains out of a sense of tradition but the multiple-unit has many advantages over them on a crowded railway where seconds really count.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Actually for the Albury V/Line service at least, line speed is now 115kph the whole way through. Alot of the long speed restrictions are now gone.

(Everyone seems to be of the opinion the only place in the state with mud issues is the NE SG, but this is far from the truth. Metro and V/Lines track standards are not anything to write home about and it is a state wide issue.)
ab123

I stand corrected...Embarassed


After speaking with my V/Line driver friend of over 40 years experience, he advises that both tracks are up to line speed (115KPH), with some short sections which have speed restrictions. He was non-committal when I asked about the likelihood of the mud holes returning.

Recently, due to the T/T not having been changed since the removal of most of the speed restrictions, his train arrived at SCS 29" early.

Mike.
  Clarke Hudswell Junior Train Controller

Gwiwer, adding carriages to a loco hauled set does not reduce braking performance (increase stopping distances), even with an air propagated signal (I assume you are thinking that it takes longer for the air brake to apply on a longer train?) In fact, adding carriages increases the brake performance (reduces stopping distances) because carriages have a higher brake percentage than the (heavy) loco up front, and so the greater percentage weight of the (passenger) train behind the loco increases the overall train brake percentage and therefore reduces stopping distances.

speedemon08, there is no reason why the N class locos are operating at significantly reduced power compared to new condition. All machines tend to drop off in performance a little with wear, but can be restored to full power at each overhaul. Diesel electric locomotives are "load box tested" and adjusted to full power during scheduled maintenance. EMD 2 stroke diesels can run 1,000,000 km plus with no noticeable drop in power. The smaller high speed diesel engines in DMUs will fall away (slightly) in performance more frequently than a locomotive engine, and may need 3 overhauls to restore them to peak condition in the same total distance run as the locomotive for one overhaul.
  richter170 Locomotive Driver

Lets get a few things straight here - there is a lot of bull crap flying around!

First about the Albury line. The working timetable has the service arriving at 2150 into Southern Cross each weeknight. This no longer happens since the new Tullamarine passing loop was commissioned two months ago. The timetable hasn't been adjusted to suit as yet. It generally arrives sometime around 2125.

N class locos - there are no performance issues in the fleet. I'm not sure what garden path speedemon is getting lead up! Most sets are at least four cars, and others five and the Albury six. The locos are able to maintain the current timetable with ease. The main thing which seems to have been fixed was the constant failure of HEP in certain N class locos. They would leave just to fail on route straight from repairs.

The crews do perfer the A class on short hauls because of their get up and go. But they are almost consigned to history.

Al.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
N class locos - there are no performance issues in the fleet. I'm not sure what garden path speedemon is getting lead up! Most sets are at least four cars, and others five and the Albury six.
richter170

I thought the Albury trains were cars and the commuter sets six?

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