[quote=bevans]That is a low bar to measure the success of a service don;t you think? We have an opportunity in Victoria to solicit public input into a new series of services being planned. This is the perfect opportunity to share the vision with the public and from feedback change/alter "re-imagine" what a better and more publically acceptable service looks like and should be delivered.[/bevans]
The actual passenger experience of the train is pretty much the last thing you’d want to design in this, er, “vision”. A “publicly acceptable service” begins with trains that are a) frequent and reliable to the urban fringe, b) regular, fast and reliable to the commuter belt cities, and c) fast and reliable to the rest of the state. So you plan the service patterns to be developed – suburban stopping trains to Wyndham Vale and Melton, express to Geelong and Ballarat, and so on and so on. Then look at the infrastructure required: pretty obviously 1500V DC to integrate into the suburban network; maybe electrified to G/B to save running costs, and the rest as is. [i]Then[/i] and only then do you start thinking about trains.
Since the fleet needs to keep growing over the next decade while these infrastructure works take place, it makes good sense to adapt existing stock types to keep the rollout fast and cheap. VLos are workhorses, flexible because of their redundancy, and even the oldest units have another 20 years in them. So again, it’s sensible to cascade them with interior modifications onto services currently operated by older stock, when you’re running EMUs to Geelong or whatever.
As I’ve written previously, 100 or so 3-car VLos with a dozen or so 4-car buffet sets (which seems to be roughly the government plan) would be what’s required to operate 20/40/5 on the remaining network once WV and Melton are suburban and Geelong and Ballarat are intercity sparked.