State Govt's Regional Rail Revival

 
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I would also like to see the duplication restored. But then there may not be enough space for the overhead catenary required for any future electrification through the two tunnels, Big Hill and Elphiston, on the way to Bendigo. So I would start with upgrading the existing track and then look at electrification. BEVANS has finally convinced me of the case for electrification.

Based on a drivers cab You Tube video that is used for training purposes, which gives us a great view of the track layout the driver is going through, I would prefer to see the following upgrades to the Kyneton to Bendigo section:

  1. Expand the passing loop on the down line approach into Castlemaine. The original bridges are still there and only one track path is in use. That track was not moved when the RFR was constructed, so the extra line can be re laid in the approach to Castlemaine, thus extending the passing loop by up to 3 kms.
  2. There are two tracks coming into the down side at Kangaroo Flat (so an identical set up to what I suggest for Castlemaine) which is a very good passing loop. But the problem is that the line then singles into Bendigo station. There is ample space to run the second track all the way from KF into Bendigo. So an instant extra passing loop.
  3. Then expand the 160 kph sections between Castlemaine into Bendigo. There are some sections that have a mash up of timber and low profile concrete sleepers, no doubt with 47 kg rail under them. This needs to go to 60kg rail and mainline concrete sleepers asap. I am very confident that some (if not all) of these 130 kph sections can at least go up to 145 kph, and then up to 160 kph in some areas.

These upgrades can be done quickly and at reasonable cost. Train speeds and overall performance would benefit immediately.
After which we can look at electrification, which cuts the travel time even further as EMUS accelerate faster than DMUS and being lighter in axle load on the track, can travel faster for longer. Even if we stay at the 160kph speed limit, we get substantial improvements in performance. Of course with EMUS, speeds of 180 - 200kph are now achievable.

Duncs

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  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
I would also like to see the duplication restored. But then there may not be enough space for the overhead catenary required for any future electrification through the two tunnels, Big Hill and Elphiston, on the way to Bendigo. So I would start with upgrading the existing track and then look at electrification. BEVANS has finally convinced me of the case for electrification.
Duncs
Tunnel floors can be lowered to allow for that.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

I would also like to see the duplication restored. But then there may not be enough space for the overhead catenary required for any future electrification through the two tunnels, Big Hill and Elphiston, on the way to Bendigo. So I would start with upgrading the existing track and then look at electrification. BEVANS has finally convinced me of the case for electrification.
Tunnel floors can be lowered to allow for that.
Dangersdan707
Good to know. So long at this does not become too complex an exercise. But given we are dealing with only two relatively short tunnels, that should not be a problem.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

The extra funding announced for the Bendigo and Echuca Line Upgrade will help to deliver a modernised electronic train ordering system – the first of its kind in Victoria
Carnot
"Train Ordering System": - a means of placing an order for new trains; or,
                                    - a means of maintaining discipline amongst trains; or,
                                    - a means of ensuring trains are in their correct order?

At least I got a giggle out of it. Smile
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
The extra funding announced for the Bendigo and Echuca Line Upgrade will help to deliver a modernised electronic train ordering system – the first of its kind in Victoria
"Train Ordering System": - a means of placing an order for new trains; or,
                                    - a means of maintaining discipline amongst trains; or,
                                    - a means of ensuring trains are in their correct order?

At least I got a giggle out of it. Smile
Lockspike
Just as well! If you didn't laugh you'd cry.
  tayser Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I would also like to see the duplication restored. But then there may not be enough space for the overhead catenary required for any future electrification through the two tunnels, Big Hill and Elphiston, on the way to Bendigo. So I would start with upgrading the existing track and then look at electrification. BEVANS has finally convinced me of the case for electrification.

Based on a drivers cab You Tube video that is used for training purposes, which gives us a great view of the track layout the driver is going through, I would prefer to see the following upgrades to the Kyneton to Bendigo section:

  1. Expand the passing loop on the down line approach into Castlemaine. The original bridges are still there and only one track path is in use. That track was not moved when the RFR was constructed, so the extra line can be re laid in the approach to Castlemaine, thus extending the passing loop by up to 3 kms.
  2. There are two tracks coming into the down side at Kangaroo Flat (so an identical set up to what I suggest for Castlemaine) which is a very good passing loop. But the problem is that the line then singles into Bendigo station. There is ample space to run the second track all the way from KF into Bendigo. So an instant extra passing loop.
  3. Then expand the 160 kph sections between Castlemaine into Bendigo. There are some sections that have a mash up of timber and low profile concrete sleepers, no doubt with 47 kg rail under them. This needs to go to 60kg rail and mainline concrete sleepers asap. I am very confident that some (if not all) of these 130 kph sections can at least go up to 145 kph, and then up to 160 kph in some areas.

These upgrades can be done quickly and at reasonable cost. Train speeds and overall performance would benefit immediately.
After which we can look at electrification, which cuts the travel time even further as EMUS accelerate faster than DMUS and being lighter in axle load on the track, can travel faster for longer. Even if we stay at the 160kph speed limit, we get substantial improvements in performance. Of course with EMUS, speeds of 180 - 200kph are now achievable.

Duncs
Duncs
All this, or I'll just put it simply: reduplicate to Castlemaine except for the Elphinstone tunnel and bring both tracks up to Calss 1 / 160kph standards from Sunbury to Castlemaine.  (As a second project down the track, duplicate and ease some of the curves to boost speed between Castlemaine & Bendigo).

But also & more importantly, there needs to be a commitment to run faster services throughout weekday and weekends.  Like at least two "proper" express in each direction on the weekends + same plus maybe more during the week... SX-Sunshine-Sunbury-Castlemaine-Bendigo - not every damn station between Sunbury and Castlemaine!
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
These upgrades can be done quickly and at reasonable cost. Train speeds and overall performance would benefit immediately.
After which we can look at electrification, which cuts the travel time even further as EMUS accelerate faster than DMUS and being lighter in axle load on the track, can travel faster for longer. Even if we stay at the 160kph speed limit, we get substantial improvements in performance. Of course with EMUS, speeds of 180 - 200kph are now achievable.

Duncs
Duncs
Good post Duncs but are you sure some of this hasn't already been done with the recent sleeper replacement program on the Bendigo line? 48000 of them apparently. Having caught the afternoon Up limited express on Friday which uses the East or old Up main (the slow track) due to being a counter peak service the line speed felt quicker and we seemed to arrive around 5 or so minutes early into Sunbury. Of course we lost all that time and some on the run from Sunbury to Albion but that is par for the course on that (and most other) Up services.
  Duncs Chief Commissioner

These upgrades can be done quickly and at reasonable cost. Train speeds and overall performance would benefit immediately.
After which we can look at electrification, which cuts the travel time even further as EMUS accelerate faster than DMUS and being lighter in axle load on the track, can travel faster for longer. Even if we stay at the 160kph speed limit, we get substantial improvements in performance. Of course with EMUS, speeds of 180 - 200kph are now achievable.

Duncs
Good post Duncs but are you sure some of this hasn't already been done with the recent sleeper replacement program on the Bendigo line? 48000 of them apparently. Having caught the afternoon Up limited express on Friday which uses the East or old Up main (the slow track) due to being a counter peak service the line speed felt quicker and we seemed to arrive around 5 or so minutes early into Sunbury. Of course we lost all that time and some on the run from Sunbury to Albion but that is par for the course on that (and most other) Up services.
BrentonGolding
Thanks Brenton

The you tube video I referred to is from 2016, so it would have been before the extra 48,000 sleepers you refer to. Also my post covered the section between Kyneton and Bendigo. Your comment appears to refer to the section between Sunbury and Kyneton. Would that be where most of the sleepers were replaced? Or was resleepering also done all the way to Bendigo?

To fix the suburban train congestion is actually quite simple. On the outside of each track from Sunshine to Sunbury there is ample space for an extra track. So from Sunshine to Sunbury the two inner tracks are for the suburban trains, and the two outer tracks are for V Line trains. With some crossover points at regular intervals to allow trains to go past each other in the same direction, when a train on one of the tracks has a breakdown.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Nearly all of the recent re-sleepering was to replace timber with concrete on the main West line (not slower East line) that is still Class 2/2M (130 km/h running).  In particular:
- Macedon to Calder Hwy (Woodend)
- Elphinstone to Castlemaine (i.e. Chewton Bank)
- Castlemaine to Porcupine Hill
- A few km on the North side of Big Hill tunnel.
- Oak St Golden Square to Bendigo Station.

In other words, sections that should've been all concrete back in 2006...  Whether any of this goes to Class 1 remains to be seen.  (I would think that Chewton Bank and Macedon Bank should go to 160 km/h).

The East line is still Class 2 and limited to 115 km/h.  They did a few bits and pieces this year on that.  But it's still mostly timber.
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
These upgrades can be done quickly and at reasonable cost. Train speeds and overall performance would benefit immediately.
After which we can look at electrification, which cuts the travel time even further as EMUS accelerate faster than DMUS and being lighter in axle load on the track, can travel faster for longer. Even if we stay at the 160kph speed limit, we get substantial improvements in performance. Of course with EMUS, speeds of 180 - 200kph are now achievable.

Duncs
Good post Duncs but are you sure some of this hasn't already been done with the recent sleeper replacement program on the Bendigo line? 48000 of them apparently. Having caught the afternoon Up limited express on Friday which uses the East or old Up main (the slow track) due to being a counter peak service the line speed felt quicker and we seemed to arrive around 5 or so minutes early into Sunbury. Of course we lost all that time and some on the run from Sunbury to Albion but that is par for the course on that (and most other) Up services.
Thanks Brenton

The you tube video I referred to is from 2016, so it would have been before the extra 48,000 sleepers you refer to. Also my post covered the section between Kyneton and Bendigo. Your comment appears to refer to the section between Sunbury and Kyneton. Would that be where most of the sleepers were replaced? Or was resleepering also done all the way to Bendigo?

To fix the suburban train congestion is actually quite simple. On the outside of each track from Sunshine to Sunbury there is ample space for an extra track. So from Sunshine to Sunbury the two inner tracks are for the suburban trains, and the two outer tracks are for V Line trains. With some crossover points at regular intervals to allow trains to go past each other in the same direction, when a train on one of the tracks has a breakdown.
Duncs
Even cheaper option: Make the stations 4 tracks wide so a train following can pass another train while it's stopped.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Thanks Brenton

The you tube video I referred to is from 2016, so it would have been before the extra 48,000 sleepers you refer to. Also my post covered the section between Kyneton and Bendigo. Your comment appears to refer to the section between Sunbury and Kyneton. Would that be where most of the sleepers were replaced? Or was resleepering also done all the way to Bendigo?

To fix the suburban train congestion is actually quite simple. On the outside of each track from Sunshine to Sunbury there is ample space for an extra track. So from Sunshine to Sunbury the two inner tracks are for the suburban trains, and the two outer tracks are for V Line trains. With some crossover points at regular intervals to allow trains to go past each other in the same direction, when a train on one of the tracks has a breakdown.
Duncs
As per Carnot's post above it was all the way between Sunbury and Bendigo although some sections received more attention than others. From the drop outs that I saw I believe that there might have been more done on the East track than you might think but who knows.

As for Sunshine > Sunbury there are a heap of impediments to quadding. Ginifer and St Albans station trenches for one (I bet the locals wish they had been done Rail over now!) plus the bridge between Keilor Plains and WG (although this wouldn't bee too expensive to fix)

The low hanging fruit would be to add one or 2 new tracks from Down end of St Albans to either Keilor Plains or over the road and beyond to WG. From there there is plenty of space to run right up to the Up end of Diggers Rest and that would be more than enough to provide the overtaking lane needed.

For those who don't know it is basically impossible for an Up service to get a clear run from Sunbury to the RRL diverge at Albion, even if you manage to get in front of one spark at Sunshine you slow, sometimes stop, between Diggers and Albion. Doing the crawl from Calder Park all the way to the Western Ring Rd is not uncommon as you are stuck behind a late running SAS spark.
  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria
Thanks Brenton

The you tube video I referred to is from 2016, so it would have been before the extra 48,000 sleepers you refer to. Also my post covered the section between Kyneton and Bendigo. Your comment appears to refer to the section between Sunbury and Kyneton. Would that be where most of the sleepers were replaced? Or was resleepering also done all the way to Bendigo?

To fix the suburban train congestion is actually quite simple. On the outside of each track from Sunshine to Sunbury there is ample space for an extra track. So from Sunshine to Sunbury the two inner tracks are for the suburban trains, and the two outer tracks are for V Line trains. With some crossover points at regular intervals to allow trains to go past each other in the same direction, when a train on one of the tracks has a breakdown.
As per Carnot's post above it was all the way between Sunbury and Bendigo although some sections received more attention than others. From the drop outs that I saw I believe that there might have been more done on the East track than you might think but who knows.

As for Sunshine > Sunbury there are a heap of impediments to quadding. Ginifer and St Albans station trenches for one (I bet the locals wish they had been done Rail over now!) plus the bridge between Keilor Plains and WG (although this wouldn't bee too expensive to fix)

The low hanging fruit would be to add one or 2 new tracks from Down end of St Albans to either Keilor Plains or over the road and beyond to WG. From there there is plenty of space to run right up to the Up end of Diggers Rest and that would be more than enough to provide the overtaking lane needed.

For those who don't know it is basically impossible for an Up service to get a clear run from Sunbury to the RRL diverge at Albion, even if you manage to get in front of one spark at Sunshine you slow, sometimes stop, between Diggers and Albion. Doing the crawl from Calder Park all the way to the Western Ring Rd is not uncommon as you are stuck behind a late running SAS spark.
BrentonGolding
I am a local and am very happy that the rails were lowered except for the fact that that the trench is only double track in width .
  Lockie91 Assistant Commissioner

Thanks Brenton

The you tube video I referred to is from 2016, so it would have been before the extra 48,000 sleepers you refer to. Also my post covered the section between Kyneton and Bendigo. Your comment appears to refer to the section between Sunbury and Kyneton. Would that be where most of the sleepers were replaced? Or was resleepering also done all the way to Bendigo?

To fix the suburban train congestion is actually quite simple. On the outside of each track from Sunshine to Sunbury there is ample space for an extra track. So from Sunshine to Sunbury the two inner tracks are for the suburban trains, and the two outer tracks are for V Line trains. With some crossover points at regular intervals to allow trains to go past each other in the same direction, when a train on one of the tracks has a breakdown.
As per Carnot's post above it was all the way between Sunbury and Bendigo although some sections received more attention than others. From the drop outs that I saw I believe that there might have been more done on the East track than you might think but who knows.

As for Sunshine > Sunbury there are a heap of impediments to quadding. Ginifer and St Albans station trenches for one (I bet the locals wish they had been done Rail over now!) plus the bridge between Keilor Plains and WG (although this wouldn't bee too expensive to fix)

The low hanging fruit would be to add one or 2 new tracks from Down end of St Albans to either Keilor Plains or over the road and beyond to WG. From there there is plenty of space to run right up to the Up end of Diggers Rest and that would be more than enough to provide the overtaking lane needed.

For those who don't know it is basically impossible for an Up service to get a clear run from Sunbury to the RRL diverge at Albion, even if you manage to get in front of one spark at Sunshine you slow, sometimes stop, between Diggers and Albion. Doing the crawl from Calder Park all the way to the Western Ring Rd is not uncommon as you are stuck behind a late running SAS spark.
BrentonGolding
You could add additional track between St Albans and Watergardens. though I'm not quite sure what benefit this would be. You still need to squeeze the same amount of trains through St Albans - Sunshine.

It is quite nice catching a late night Vline and doing line speed all the way from Sunshine to Sunbury. Shows the poor commuter what might have been possible with a dedicated track.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
I am a local and am very happy that the rails were lowered except for the fact that that the trench is only double track in width
Crossover
That surprises me Crossover, I would have thought that the plaza-type spaces created under Skyrail as evidenced elsewhere and the improved access from one side of the burb to the next would be far more attractive than a trench but each to their own i guess.

I know which I would prefer if it was going through my area.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

My thoughts when anyone in Victoria says first of its kind it usually ends up being a disaster of a project.




What is the business case for track upgrades more duplication?
bevans
To run a 40 minute off peak service reliably on Bendigo would require as an absolute minimum something like -
- restoration of second track at the Down end of Kyneton for around 2.5 kms
- extension of track at the Down end of Castlemaine Loop for a distance from 2.5 kms to 5kms
- restoration of the second track between Bendigo platforms and Golden Sqaure, so as to create a longer double track section immediately on the Up side of Bendigo.
- plus ideally extension of Ravenswood loop probably in the Up direction
  jakar Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Then expand the 160 kph sections between Castlemaine into Bendigo.  
Duncs
There's no point unless you do some major track realignment to ease the curves which is why it is only 130km/h in the first place. There's 12 130km/h curves between Castlemaine and Ravenswood with some such as the one through Harcourt already having been eased using the entire space available. Then you need to factor in the gradient, a vlocity is flatout in notch 6 on the down at Harcourt just to maintain 130km/h up the 1 in 55 to Porcupine Hill.

Elphinstone to Castlemaine is similar in that you're pretty much flat out on the up towards the tunnel doing 130km/h, on the down if you're doing a cross at Castlemaine you're slowing down to 100km/h for the timing board half way down the hill anyway.

Macedon to Woodend upgraded to 160km/h might see a minor time reduction for the couple of express trains per day assuming the curves could be somewhere around 145km/h+ in the section. Any down train that stops at Macedon gets to 130km/h exactly where the line speed increases to 160km/h just over the top of the hill so there would be no benefit at all for them.

Just a word of advice for anyone watching the V/Line cab view videos on youtube is that the commentary and graphics that pop up are littered with errors and shouldn't be relied upon to heavily.
  NimbleJack Locomotive Fireman

The low hanging fruit would be to add one or 2 new tracks from Down end of St Albans to either Keilor Plains or over the road and beyond to WG. From there there is plenty of space to run right up to the Up end of Diggers Rest and that would be more than enough to provide the overtaking lane needed.
BrentonGolding

I think the lowest-hanging of the low-hanging fruit is to simply terminate most or all up V/Line services at Sunbury once suburban trains there are running at a 10-minute frequency. That's what will probably happen to Gippsland in a few years once the Metro tunnel is finished. We'll likely see only Bairnsdale and a few peak-hour Traralgon services go beyond Pakenham to Southern Cross.

The main benefit of such an arrangement is that the country service can enjoy greater frequency and reliability, since V/Line trains won't have to scrap with Metro ones for paths.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Terminating all Bendigo v/line trains at Sunbury for all-change to Metro would be as popular as tooth extraction without anaesthetic.

Logistically a nightmare to extract several hundred punters and dump them all at once on to a Metro twain... It would also add significant time to the journey in reality.
  Lachlan's Train Channel Junior Train Controller

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
These upgrades can be done quickly and at reasonable cost. Train speeds and overall performance would benefit immediately.
After which we can look at electrification, which cuts the travel time even further as EMUS accelerate faster than DMUS and being lighter in axle load on the track, can travel faster for longer. Even if we stay at the 160kph speed limit, we get substantial improvements in performance. Of course with EMUS, speeds of 180 - 200kph are now achievable.

Duncs
Good post Duncs but are you sure some of this hasn't already been done with the recent sleeper replacement program on the Bendigo line? 48000 of them apparently. Having caught the afternoon Up limited express on Friday which uses the East or old Up main (the slow track) due to being a counter peak service the line speed felt quicker and we seemed to arrive around 5 or so minutes early into Sunbury. Of course we lost all that time and some on the run from Sunbury to Albion but that is par for the course on that (and most other) Up services.
BrentonGolding
I spoke to a VLP conductor about it and he confirmed that concrete sleepers were going in between Taradale and Ravenswood.
if they weren't going to upgrade that section of track the should have just left it as a double line...
  Lachlan's Train Channel Junior Train Controller

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
Nearly all of the recent re-sleepering was to replace timber with concrete on the main West line (not slower East line) that is still Class 2/2M (130 km/h running).  In particular:
- Macedon to Calder Hwy (Woodend)
- Elphinstone to Castlemaine (i.e. Chewton Bank)
- Castlemaine to Porcupine Hill
- A few km on the North side of Big Hill tunnel.
- Oak St Golden Square to Bendigo Station.

In other words, sections that should've been all concrete back in 2006...  Whether any of this goes to Class 1 remains to be seen.  (I would think that Chewton Bank and Macedon Bank should go to 160 km/h).

The East line is still Class 2 and limited to 115 km/h.  They did a few bits and pieces this year on that.  But it's still mostly timber.
Carnot
the East line from Sunbury-Kyneton is actually 130kph for Vlocities and Sprinters whereas loco hauled services are obviously limited to 115kph and below.
  NimbleJack Locomotive Fireman

"the East line from Sunbury-Kyneton is actually 130kph for Vlocities and Sprinters whereas loco hauled services are obviously limited to 115kph and below"
Incorrect.

Sprinters are authorised to run at 130 km/h on the East line. VLocitys are restricted to 115 km/h.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Yep, for the past 11 months the East line has had a 115 km/h limit for V/locities wacked on it. Same deal on Gippsland (North line) and the Seymour line.

I believe it's got something to do with VLos being heavier than they were. Along with Class 2 tracks not being up to it...
  Lachlan's Train Channel Junior Train Controller

Location: probably taking a photo of 7901V
Yep, for the past 11 months the East line has had a 115 km/h limit for V/locities wacked on it. Same deal on Gippsland (North line) and the Seymour line.

I believe it's got something to do with VLos being heavier than they were. Along with Class 2 tracks not being up to it...
Carnot
Cheers for that.
  NimbleJack Locomotive Fireman

"Same deal on Gippsland (North line) and the Seymour line.'
The North line is back to 130 km/h for VLocitys.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
I am a local and am very happy that the rails were lowered except for the fact that that the trench is only double track in width
That surprises me Crossover, I would have thought that the plaza-type spaces created under Skyrail as evidenced elsewhere and the improved access from one side of the burb to the next would be far more attractive than a trench but each to their own i guess.

I know which I would prefer if it was going through my area.
BrentonGolding
St Albans is a slightly different case to most of the areas out east, the town centre came much later than the railway line, and thus was already set back away from it with a bit of open space already provided. The station forecourt does as much for the area as a plaza would.
The LXRA also provided pedestrian bridges at the south end of the station, and further north to preserve access to a primary school.

Not saying it is better, just saying that it wasn't a terrible outcome.

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