North East line improvements

 
  woodford Chief Commissioner

A thing to keep in mind on the Upfield/Somerton route is the the area is WELL served by rail based public transport, there being in a 3 kilometre wide strip 3 tram lines (routes 55, 19 and 1) and a rail line (Upfield), with the rail line being in the middle. So its very likely the rail line does not have as much pressure on it as Craigeburn.

woodford

Sponsored advertisement

  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Here are some links for the WIFT, which will be near Truganina

http://economicdevelopment.vic.gov.au/transport/freight/intermodal-terminals/western-interstate-freight-terminal

There is a map of the Western Orbital (or whatever it is called) - ill track this down later.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
There has been a lot of work to develop and protect an alignment for a take off of the SG near Beveridge (flyovers etc similar to Manor) t enable a rail link to the Outer Ring Corridor that then plugs into WIFT etc on the Altona side of the City.   That takes some pressure of the current SG that is then taken up again by port rail Shuttles from the proposed Wallan/Beveridge Modal Hub and the Somerton Intermodal site.   Hence the need to still get SG passenger services off the network at Somerton as per the Masterplan that you referred to.   Returning to Nightfire's point that suggestion doesn't address the saturation of train traffic through the tunnel and across the river and Sims Street is part of that complexity of freight lines you really want to get passenger trains well away from.
Trainplanner
What about thinking laterally about inner-city SG/DG capacity... instead of putting in DG on the Upfield line or building another SG Maribyrnong crossing, how about moving non-port related freight movements out of the Port Of Melbourne precinct?

The eventual establishment of the port-rail intermodal hubs (WIFT, DBIRT and Lyndhurst) should hopefully take a lot of the shunting movements out of the Dynon area and hopefully most of the purely domestic freight movements too. South Dynon is gone and North Dynon loco may be going to SG only soon. How about the State Govt starts talking to the operators in North Dynon about moving loco fuelling, servicing and stabling out to facilities outside that area? If a multi-user facility is preferable, VicTrack could sort something out.

Tottenham Yard might be a good site to set up a proper depot, for instance.

And for reducing the number of movements over the flyover, how about getting V/Line to start using the brand new Southern Cross Platforms 15/16 they got built specifically to alleviate RRL congestion?
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Sounds to me like there needs to be a proper review done of non metro use rail infrastructure within the Melbourne Metro area.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Sounds to me like there needs to be a proper review done of non metro use rail infrastructure within the Melbourne Metro area.
james.au
Such a review was done a couple of years ago where trip trains from the Port would run to satellite intermodal terminals in the Dandenong, Somerton and Werribee general areas. These trains were to be high performance trains capable of mixing it with sparks on proper schedules. (Schedules = Melbourne ha bloody ha).
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
And for reducing the number of movements over the flyover, how about getting V/Line to start using the brand new Southern Cross Platforms 15/16 they got built specifically to alleviate RRL congestion?
LancedDendrite

You're obviously not using Southern Cross station much.

Platforms 15 & 16 are getting constant use. Very busy in particular in the morning peak when my train and many others arrive and depart from Platform 16.

Mike.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
ARTC have just awarded John Holland more work to fix the North East Line.

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/john-holland-wins-north-east-rail-line-upgrade-main-works-contract

Now for the new SG Vlocities?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
ARTC have just awarded John Holland more work to fix the North East Line.

https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/john-holland-wins-north-east-rail-line-upgrade-main-works-contract

Now for the new SG Vlocities?
bevans

One step at a time.

John Holland won't be getting the NE sorted out in 20 minutes Exclamation

Moreover as the NE is currently a basket case, it's really putting its reputation on the line in hoping to rectify and bring the track to a fit for purpose operating standard to enable reliable V/Line services to operate...and ultimately to try and bring back the good will lost due to the current unreliable and slow services to/from Albury.

Mike.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
"Infrastructure Australia knocks back North East Rail line upgrade"
https://www.railexpress.com.au/infrastructure-australia-north-east-rail

The lack of benefit to freight services was one reason that Infrastructure Australia turned down the project, along with the lack of new rail services, new rolling stock, or faster travel times.
Rail Express
My god, I'd be amazed if the people involved in writing the business case and reviewing it over at Infrastructure Australia knew how to tie their shoelaces. You can't commit to new services and rolling stock until you fix the line, and apparently getting rid of TSRs and increasing ride quality so that it doesn't shake trains to bits don't reduce travel times because only timetabled travel times count.
  Upven Locomotive Driver

"Infrastructure Australia knocks back North East Rail line upgrade"
https://www.railexpress.com.au/infrastructure-australia-north-east-rail

The lack of benefit to freight services was one reason that Infrastructure Australia turned down the project, along with the lack of new rail services, new rolling stock, or faster travel times.
My god, I'd be amazed if the people involved in writing the business case and reviewing it over at Infrastructure Australia knew how to tie their shoelaces. You can't commit to new services and rolling stock until you fix the line, and apparently getting rid of TSRs and increasing ride quality so that it doesn't shake trains to bits don't reduce travel times because only timetabled travel times count.
LancedDendrite
"We know compared to other regional Victorian passenger lines, there is relatively poor punctuality, and reliability on the North East Rail Line. However, based on the current evidence available, the cost of the project would significantly outweigh its benefits.”

This was funny to me, which regional Victorian passenger line doesn't have poor punctuality, or poor reliability? What was the benchmark for this assessment?

Full report for anyone interested: https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-01/north_east_rail_link_evaluation_summary_0.pdf
  TheMeddlingMonk Deputy Commissioner

Location: The Time Vortex near Melbourne, Australia
"Infrastructure Australia knocks back North East Rail line upgrade"
https://www.railexpress.com.au/infrastructure-australia-north-east-rail

The lack of benefit to freight services was one reason that Infrastructure Australia turned down the project, along with the lack of new rail services, new rolling stock, or faster travel times.
My god, I'd be amazed if the people involved in writing the business case and reviewing it over at Infrastructure Australia knew how to tie their shoelaces. You can't commit to new services and rolling stock until you fix the line, and apparently getting rid of TSRs and increasing ride quality so that it doesn't shake trains to bits don't reduce travel times because only timetabled travel times count.
"We know compared to other regional Victorian passenger lines, there is relatively poor punctuality, and reliability on the North East Rail Line. However, based on the current evidence available, the cost of the project would significantly outweigh its benefits.”

This was funny to me, which regional Victorian passenger line doesn't have poor punctuality, or poor reliability? What was the benchmark for this assessment?

Full report for anyone interested: https://www.infrastructureaustralia.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-01/north_east_rail_link_evaluation_summary_0.pdf
Upven

The key word there is "relatively". Basically saying that if you compare the other regional lines to the North East, they're punctual and reliable!
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
"Infrastructure Australia knocks back North East Rail line upgrade"
https://www.railexpress.com.au/infrastructure-australia-north-east-rail

The lack of benefit to freight services was one reason that Infrastructure Australia turned down the project, along with the lack of new rail services, new rolling stock, or faster travel times.
My god, I'd be amazed if the people involved in writing the business case and reviewing it over at Infrastructure Australia knew how to tie their shoelaces. You can't commit to new services and rolling stock until you fix the line, and apparently getting rid of TSRs and increasing ride quality so that it doesn't shake trains to bits don't reduce travel times because only timetabled travel times count.
LancedDendrite
Its pretty damning that the business case shows that it is not worth doing though.  Ill caveat that by saying that its unclear what benefits it included, and that benefits identification (let alone quantification) for regional benefits is very much embryonic (eg the value of connectivity of Albury to Melbourne in this case).

I give IA a bit of credit here, their role is to evaluate and report on business cases so that the governments who want federal funding cant push rubbish through and get money where they shouldn't.

We all know passenger rail is politics in Victoria.  And given these works are not going to benefit the freight traffic all that much, i get where theyre coming from.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
...I'll caveat that by saying that its unclear what benefits it included, and that benefits identification (let alone quantification) for regional benefits is very much embryonic (e.g. the value of connectivity of Albury to Melbourne in this case).
james.au
The main claim is that the NELU would induce a projected 40% increase in passenger traffic. There is suppressed demand on the corridor at the moment - the quote from Infrastructure Australia's assessment is:

Due to the poor condition of the track, passengers on the North East Rail Line experience issues with the ride quality, comfort and reliability of V/Line services, which has contributed to an 11.8% per annum decline in demand from 2013 to 2018.
Infrastructure Australia
That's an >40% accumulated drop in demand over that period. Logic dictates that improving the ride quality and increasing service reliability would regain that market share to a similar degree. Infrastructure Australia challenged that reasonable assumption by saying that they wanted a modelling study to back it up - which is to say, they needed to dump $500K on some extra consultants to punch out the right stat tables to make IA happy. It's sheer madness.

But perhaps what Infrastructure Australia was really looking for with the business case was to include some CGI renders of some shiny new trains. They said as much in their response.

I'll give IA a bit of credit here, their role is to evaluate and report on business cases so that the governments who want federal funding cant push rubbish through and get money where they shouldn't.
james.au
That never seems to be an issue for the cavalcade of boondoggle road projects though, despite decades of real-world experience showing that increasing road capacity only ever increases congestion instead of the congestion reducing benefits they put in their business cases to Infrastructure Australia. Doesn't matter - "Look, this new bypass saves 20 seconds of travel time per person! If we assume everyone's value of time is $40/hour it adds up to millions of dollars in economic benefits!"

Ferchrissakes, the useless and hideously destructive East-West Link toll-road is still an Infrastructure Australia priority project! It is listed as a "High Priority Initiative" under "Improve the connection between the Eastern Freeway and CityLink" in the 2019 IA priority list.

But as soon as a "marginal" rail upgrade project uses the same nonsense assumptions for its business case, it's shot down.

We all know passenger rail is politics in Victoria. And given these works are not going to benefit the freight traffic all that much, I get where they're coming from.
james.au
Heaven help us if we want to move people with our interstate railways instead of freight. That's what we spent billions of dollars on highways for!

Everything is political and claiming otherwise is perversely ideological in and of itself.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
At least Infrastructure Australia and Infrastructure Victoria are both singing from the same hymn book...of becoming increasingly irrelevant and draconian in their thinking IE Economics above all else.

Infrastructure Victoria still claims in its now 12+ months old report that the Airport railway would not be needed until around 2030 Exclamation

Shades of ABC's 'Utopia' here.

Mike.
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Rob Stitch has had current affairs and Gov Depts in Australia covered as well as the  Poms did in Yes, (Prime) Minister.
  Rossco T Chief Train Controller

Location: Camberwell, Victoria
"Infrastructure Australia knocks back North East Rail line upgrade"
https://www.railexpress.com.au/infrastructure-australia-north-east-rail

The lack of benefit to freight services was one reason that Infrastructure Australia turned down the project, along with the lack of new rail services, new rolling stock, or faster travel times.
My god, I'd be amazed if the people involved in writing the business case and reviewing it over at Infrastructure Australia knew how to tie their shoelaces. You can't commit to new services and rolling stock until you fix the line, and apparently getting rid of TSRs and increasing ride quality so that it doesn't shake trains to bits don't reduce travel times because only timetabled travel times count.
LancedDendrite
So what is the point of this IA assessment then, haven't the upgrades to the NE corridor already been funded?

https://regionalrailrevival.vic.gov.au/northeast

https://www.artc.com.au/projects/northeast/

The ARTC website says that the Federal Government has already allocated $235M to the project (which is more than the capital cost quoted in the IA report.

How about we save the Government some money and scrap IA (and IV for that matter)?

Ross
  Upven Locomotive Driver

"Infrastructure Australia knocks back North East Rail line upgrade"
https://www.railexpress.com.au/infrastructure-australia-north-east-rail

The lack of benefit to freight services was one reason that Infrastructure Australia turned down the project, along with the lack of new rail services, new rolling stock, or faster travel times.
My god, I'd be amazed if the people involved in writing the business case and reviewing it over at Infrastructure Australia knew how to tie their shoelaces. You can't commit to new services and rolling stock until you fix the line, and apparently getting rid of TSRs and increasing ride quality so that it doesn't shake trains to bits don't reduce travel times because only timetabled travel times count.
So what is the point of this IA assessment then, haven't the upgrades to the NE corridor already been funded?

https://regionalrailrevival.vic.gov.au/northeast

https://www.artc.com.au/projects/northeast/

The ARTC website says that the Federal Government has already allocated $235M to the project (which is more than the capital cost quoted in the IA report.

How about we save the Government some money and scrap IA (and IV for that matter)?

Ross
Rossco T
From their latest publication they state;

The Infrastructure Australia Act 2008 defines nationally significant infrastructure as infrastructure ‘in which investment or further investment will materially improve national productivity’.

The Infrastructure Australia Board expects the investment to have a material impact on national output by:
  1. addressing a problem that would otherwise impose economic, social and/or environmental costs; or
  2. providing an opportunity for realising economic, social or environmental benefits; or
  3. both addressing a problem and providing an opportunity.


Based on the above, I assume the reason this project didn't receive their blessing is the lack of scope in the business case regarding improvements to additional services on the line, travel time improvements, etc.

Edit: Accidentally broke the code? Oops
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
@LancedDendrite, I agree with you on many of those things, but IA isnt the problem here, theyre just doing an assessment against best practice project evaluation principles.

The assumption that pax rates will go back to 40% is probably reasonable, but there have been cases elsewhere where mode shares have not returned to pre issue rates, and given the importance of this to the benefit cost calc, i get where theyre coming from.  

Totally agree with you on road projects, and one of the issues they covered over is that the highway upgrades have been done without a skerrick of a business case.  But that is a sunk cost and so we cannot go back on that now.  Fact is the road lobby has been far more successful with the politics than the rail lobby has  (because rail is more concentrated and the big bears in the room like the status quo where they can rake out monopoly rents - tho thats a whole other conversation) and in some cases may have permanently changed the traffic flows that if rail as an industry and been more sharp about it would have been more successful.

Also, an overall comment on why this isnt on the NATIONAL priority list.  Quite simply its not a national piece of infrastructure.  The line as is does the freight task which is a national effect, however upgrading for pax is only going to impact the NE community, not the national one.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

@LancedDendrite, I agree with you on many of those things, but IA isnt the problem here, theyre just doing an assessment against best practice project evaluation principles.

“Best practice” developed in a market which privileges highways above pretty much everything else, perpetuated by governments, engineering firms and financiers hooked on road building, and still blithely pointed to as a “fair” method of determining which projects get the go ahead despite 50 years of the stuff resulting only in one of the most broken long-distance transport systems in the world (and that’s without even thinking about urban areas).

No, IA very much are part of the problem, because they continue to lend legitimacy to this ridiculous situation. Even the most hawkish road advocate’s dog would be hard pressed to say this project or the South Geelong duplication wouldn’t have significant benefits for the relevant corridor as a whole. Hell, the IA reports say as much. But put them through the mysterious black box of externalities and WEBs, chuck in a few stupid assertions that could only come from someone who doesn’t know one end of a train from the other (“duplication will have little impact on reliability” and “new trains are needed before the tracks can run them well enough”), and hey presto, it’s time to fire up the old trommel screen and tar truck.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Also, an overall comment on why this isnt on the NATIONAL priority list.  Quite simply its not a national piece of infrastructure.  The line as is does the freight task which is a national effect, however upgrading for pax is only going to impact the NE community, not the national one.
While I’m fired up James, at a quick calculation, nearly 10km of the line on the Victorian side is under TSRs of 60 or 80, and most have been sitting there for inordinate lengths of time. That hurts freights too. And if 10km of the Hume south of the river was similarly speed-restricted because of poor surface quality and no work was being done to fix it, there’d be calls for the Premier and Prime Minister’s head.
  C2 Junior Train Controller

Front end loader , sleeper hi rail and little dump truck at entrance to old Seymour loop. Must be for S.G as B.G works finished a few months previous.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Also, an overall comment on why this isnt on the NATIONAL priority list.  Quite simply its not a national piece of infrastructure.  The line as is does the freight task which is a national effect, however upgrading for pax is only going to impact the NE community, not the national one.
While I’m fired up James, at a quick calculation, nearly 10km of the line on the Victorian side is under TSRs of 60 or 80, and most have been sitting there for inordinate lengths of time. That hurts freights too. And if 10km of the Hume south of the river was similarly speed-restricted because of poor surface quality and no work was being done to fix it, there’d be calls for the Premier and Prime Minister’s head.
potatoinmymouth
Per the IA report:

However, the business case does not propose additional rail services, new rolling stock or faster timetabled travel times, and the project will not benefit freight services.
Infra Australia
and

V/Line has self-imposed speed restrictions of up to 35 km/h on some sections of the North East Rail Line, and 15 km/h restrictions along the entire 82 km section between Broadmeadows and Seymour due to poor track quality. These restrictions are due to mud holes and tight rail alignments, and apply to over 60% of the rail line. Together, these impact on travel times and ride quality. However, these issues do not impact on the performance of freight rail services.
Infra Australia

Now the business case is either shoddy, and forgot to include them, or is truthful.  I dont know which, it could genuinely be either.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
@LancedDendrite, I agree with you on many of those things, but IA isnt the problem here, theyre just doing an assessment against best practice project evaluation principles.

“Best practice” developed in a market which privileges highways above pretty much everything else, perpetuated by governments, engineering firms and financiers hooked on road building, and still blithely pointed to as a “fair” method of determining which projects get the go ahead despite 50 years of the stuff resulting only in one of the most broken long-distance transport systems in the world (and that’s without even thinking about urban areas).

No, IA very much are part of the problem, because they continue to lend legitimacy to this ridiculous situation. Even the most hawkish road advocate’s dog would be hard pressed to say this project or the South Geelong duplication wouldn’t have significant benefits for the relevant corridor as a whole. Hell, the IA reports say as much. But put them through the mysterious black box of externalities and WEBs, chuck in a few stupid assertions that could only come from someone who doesn’t know one end of a train from the other (“duplication will have little impact on reliability” and “new trains are needed before the tracks can run them well enough”), and hey presto, it’s time to fire up the old trommel screen and tar truck.
potatoinmymouth
I dont know what would you prefer, no check and assessment at all and a corrupt system existing across all infrastructure classes?  Its not a perfect body, and it is intentionally made that way, but see through it and blame the real actors, the policticans who manipulate transport projects for their own ends, the departments that do the same* and the companies that go along with it all in their own self interest.

*im hoping that with RMS and VicRoads absorbed into the transport departments instead of being separate agencies that the fortress mentality/road primacy of the RMS is somewhat reduced.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Also, an overall comment on why this isnt on the NATIONAL priority list.  Quite simply its not a national piece of infrastructure.  The line as is does the freight task which is a national effect, however upgrading for pax is only going to impact the NE community, not the national one.
While I’m fired up James, at a quick calculation, nearly 10km of the line on the Victorian side is under TSRs of 60 or 80, and most have been sitting there for inordinate lengths of time. That hurts freights too. And if 10km of the Hume south of the river was similarly speed-restricted because of poor surface quality and no work was being done to fix it, there’d be calls for the Premier and Prime Minister’s head.
Per the IA report:

However, the business case does not propose additional rail services, new rolling stock or faster timetabled travel times, and the project will not benefit freight services.
and

V/Line has self-imposed speed restrictions of up to 35 km/h on some sections of the North East Rail Line, and 15 km/h restrictions along the entire 82 km section between Broadmeadows and Seymour due to poor track quality. These restrictions are due to mud holes and tight rail alignments, and apply to over 60% of the rail line. Together, these impact on travel times and ride quality. However, these issues do not impact on the performance of freight rail services.

Now the business case is either shoddy, and forgot to include them, or is truthful.  I dont know which, it could genuinely be either.
james.au
That second quote in particular shows they're prepared to deploy flat-out BS to sink this project. Again, there are at least 10km of formal, ARTC-imposed TSRs of 60 or 80 km/h south of the border, which IA have conveniently failed to mention. Instead, they've decided to blame V/Line for not wanting their trains to fall apart. Not to mention "the entire 82 km section", which ridiculously suggests trains are taking 5 hours to traverse this section, only explainable by an incompetent report drafter or a further cynical attempt to paint this as V/Line's problem. Frankly, I don't know what's worse. There is a lot V/Line are to blame for, but this ain't it.

Let's extend my hypothetical from above: the Hume has 10km in Victoria speed-restricted for all traffic. Nothing is being done to fix it. IA actually denies the problem exists. Firefly and Greyhound have announced they think the situation is worse than VicRoads will admit and have applied 15-35km/h restrictions for their drivers across 60% of the road. IA blame them for being cautious and say since B-doubles are not running off the road yet the project is not of national significance.

I dont know what would you prefer, no check and assessment at all and a corrupt system existing across all infrastructure classes? Its not a perfect body, and it is intentionally made that way, but see through it and blame the real actors, the policticans who manipulate transport projects for their own ends, the departments that do the same* and the companies that go along with it all in their own self interest.

*im hoping that with RMS and VicRoads absorbed into the transport departments instead of being separate agencies that the fortress mentality/road primacy of the RMS is somewhat reduced.
james.au
No need to engage in such bad faith. I said IA are part of the problem, not that the solution is a free-for-all. But at some point we have to admit the "models" are broken, fundamentally in service of the road industry, and their role needs to be radicallt reconsidered.

As to your second point, the idea that 3000 VicRoads staff could somehow be tamed by 600 PTV staff under 500-odd Transport types and ministers mostly in love with the next big freeway is... not a sound one. I can't speak for NSW but can't imagine it's all that much better.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

How about we save the Government some money and scrap IA (and IV for that matter)?

Ross
Rossco T

Either that or get someone competent involved.

Sponsored advertisement

Display from:   

Quick Reply

We've disabled Quick Reply for this thread as it was last updated more than six months ago.