Melbournes underground rail network comparatively to Sydney

 
  wxtre Chief Train Controller

Sydney has constructed:

  • The City Circle (1920/30s) - Town Hall, St James and Museum.

  • The Eastern Suburbs line (1979)- Redfern, Central, Town Hall, Martin Place, Kings Cross, Edgecliff and Bondi Junction.

  • The Airport Line (2000) - Green Square, Mascot, Domestic Airport, International Airport.

  • The Epping to Chatswood rail link (2009) - Epping, Macquarie University, Macquarie Park and North Ryde.

  • The NWRW (2019) - Castle Hill, Showground and Norwest.


Melbourne has constructed

  • The City Loop (1981) - Flagstaff, Melbourne Central and Parliament.


Considering both cities have a similar population size, Melbourne only has 400,000 less people. What is the reason for this disparity in underground railway investment?

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  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Best guess is the political will (or lack thereof).
  speedemon08 Mary

Location: I think by now you should have figured it out
Best guess is the political will (or lack thereof).
railblogger

And most likely topography and geography of the two cities is not similar
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
One is a progressive international city. The other a struggling car enforced police state. Smile
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Sydney has constructed:

  • The City Circle (1920/30s) - Town Hall, St James and Museum.

  • The Eastern Suburbs line (1979)- Redfern, Central, Town Hall, Martin Place, Kings Cross, Edgecliff and Bondi Junction.

  • The Airport Line (2000) - Green Square, Mascot, Domestic Airport, International Airport.

  • The Epping to Chatswood rail link (2009) - Epping, Macquarie University, Macquarie Park and North Ryde.

  • The NWRW (2019) - Castle Hill, Showground and Norwest.


Melbourne has constructed

  • The City Loop (1981) - Flagstaff, Melbourne Central and Parliament.


Considering both cities have a similar population size, Melbourne only has 400,000 less people. What is the reason for this disparity in underground railway investment?
wxtre

The Sydney  City Circle was not completed till the mid 1950's .  Initially  two dead ended legs  Central to Wynyard and also onto Harbour Bridge and Central to  Museum in the 1920/30 s .  In the mid 1950's the section between Museum and Wynyard via Circular Quay was completed to create the City Circle.  The engineer Bradfield who designed the Harbour Bridge also had tremendous vision and allowed in his designs at Town Hall  and towards Martin place for the future Eastern Suburbs line built in the late 1970's .

Sydney has always had a far more aggressive attitude towards rail system improvement both underground and track amplification, new links etc .
  pawanoro Deputy Commissioner

Topography may be an issue. But Melbourne has not constructed any rail-lines above or below ground. In a news article recently I read Melbourne had not constructed a suburban rail-line since 1930 until the Regional Rail Link which is two new railway stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit. There have only been re-openings of raillines along old alignments: Werribee, Sunbury, Craigieburn, Cranbourne and the city-loop as mentioned above.
wxtre

How is the City Loop not new?

There's been some track amplification as well, and some other electrifications/extensions you don't mention.


Melbourne has extended its tram network. Such as the Box Hill 109 extension (2003), the Docklands Drive extension (2005), the Vermont South 75 extension (2005). But Sydney has also added a light-rail transport network in this time. For example: The Dulwich Hill Line has been extended in (1997, 2000 and 2014). They are also constructing the CBD and South East light-rail line which will be open in 2019/2020. And they are planning a Western Sydney light-rail network.
wxtre

It's a bit of a stretch calling one tram line a network. Sydney did pull out a tram network though.
  HardSleeper Junior Train Controller

Location: Route 48
I'd say the fact that we still have the tram network soaked up pretty much all of the inner city travel demand which may otherwise have needed an underground network. Which has worked alright for a while until we got to the point we're at now where most if not all tram lines are at saturation point in the inner city / CBD, during peak hour at least. And this is still why I think the Swanston St / St Kilda Road Metro needs to happen to at least relieve those tram lines.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Why do you even bother? There is no comparison. As a Melburnian I hate to say it but Sydney is a country mile ( sorry; a country 1.6093 kilometres ) in front.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Personally I'll take Melbourne's tram network (the world's biggest) over a few more train stations any day.

There are few places in the inner suburbs more than a 10 minute walk from a tram line, even in the middle suburbs they are pretty close to most places I go to. Okay, people will whinge that it's not quite perfect, but the frequency and the closeness of trams to almost everywhere makes living in inner Melbourne a wonderfully unique experience. I live in a pretty wealthy suburb, but I and many of my neighbours don't bother with owning a car, simply because trams (and the occasional taxi) are cheaper and far more convenient than bothering with city traffic and the hassle of finding somewhere to park.
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Also in comparison. Melbourne may have added some token extensions but lest we forget the decision to remove approximately 200
Kms of overhead on the gippsland line.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Why do you even bother? There is no comparison. As a Melburnian I hate to say it but Sydney is a country mile ( sorry; a country 1.6093 kilometres ) in front.
Valvegear


With the exception of the NSW (country) interurban and regional network which were never very good for point-to-point times due to little or no straight rail alignments whereas in Victoria there are long stretches of track with gentle curves which are taken at speed.

Newcastle or Katoomba are prime examples where NSW fastest services take almost 30 minutes longer to cover the distance an equivalent services takes in Victoria.

As we all know now, the NSW regional network is but a shadow of its former self and the Victorian inter-urban and inter-city network wins hands down in both point-to-point times and frequency of services.

Mike.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Said removal of overheads was absolutely the right decision. It was installed to enable electric loco consists for briquette traffic to Melbourne. That went away when they found plentiful natural gas in Bass Strait, replacing briquette-fired boilers in local industry. 1500Vdc is uneconomical to maintain for those sorts of long distances and low traffic frequencies.
  Gauntlet Chief Commissioner

Location:
I was surprised to read that Melbourne's railway network was much more advanced in the 1890s.
There's not much that I can add besides the overwhelming case for a railway across the Harbour Bridge.
The construction of freeways in Melbourne (especially to the airport) from the mid 60s to the 80s would have hindered the growth of the railwat network.
I believe Sydney is a much hillier city than Melbourne, this might make freeway construction easier.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Said removal of overheads was absolutely the right decision. It was installed to enable electric loco consists for briquette traffic to Melbourne. That went away when they found plentiful natural gas in Bass Strait, replacing briquette-fired boilers in local industry. 1500Vdc is uneconomical to maintain for those sorts of long distances and low traffic frequencies.
LancedDendrite

The Gippsland electrification was decommissioned for the simple reason that it was worn out and needed total renewl in the late 1980's.  Given the briquette traffic it was built for had evaporated, and that the  L class required replacement it would have cost a lot of scarce capital funds .  On the other hand  VLine could handle the entire  passenger and freight task with the existing locomotive fleet .  Also removing the overhead also eliminated maintenance of overhead and substations in future.
  Comeng552M Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Sydney "Fixing the trains"
As kuldalai has said the Sydney rail network has more duplicated track. Much of the network is quadruple track unlike Melbourne. For example the Main Western Railway Line in Sydney is six railway tracks between Central and Strathfield. Melbourne only has small sections of the network that are duplicated.

Melbournes tram network is quite comprehensive in the inner suburbs of Melbourne.
wxtre

Although that corridor you mentioned (Central - Redfern) takes the bulk of 6 different rail services, the Inner West line to Homebush, South line services to Campbelltown, Western line services to Richmond and Penrith, and the Blue Mountains & Central Coast intercity services. The best comparison to this in Melbourne would be North Melbourne - Footscray which is also 6 tracks and takes Metro Sunbury, Werribee and Williamstown services and V/Line Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong services. That said I do understand the point you are trying to make, there are a number of sections on the Sydney Trains network where services on one line can take advantage of faster express running due to triplication or quadruplication including sections of the Western line, the Illawara line and the Airport & East Hills line (with the latter between Kingsgrove and Revesby completed quite recently).

I do agree that Sydney's rail network has had a lot more investment compared to Melbourne's over the years and as a consequence of this, Sydney has more underground railway stations. Some new lines constructed such as the Eastern Suburbs & the Airport line were built through already populated areas which would have made building sections of the line built at or above ground undesirable. I believe the original plans for the Epping - Chatswood line was to have a bridge over the Lane Cove River but was dumped due to community pressure which is why that entire line is underground.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
And what exactly is your point? Oh, that's right, you just want to build it because Sydney has it. Whether or not it is required doesn't seem to matter to you. This thread is pointless.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
Also in comparison. Melbourne may have added some token extensions but lest we forget the decision to remove approximately 200
Kms of overhead on the gippsland line.
freightgate

I would be interested in hearing how you came up with the figure of 200 kms, the track distance from Pakenham to Traralgon is almost exactly 100 kms.
  Comeng552M Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Sydney "Fixing the trains"
In Sydney the rail system has a separate network of freight lines, in Melbourne some tracks are shared with freight trains and V/Line regional services. Also in Sydney many of the railway stations are 4 platforms or more whereas in Melbourne this is limited.
wxtre

Ballarat services are completely separate from Metro services due to the RRL, same with Bendigo as far as Sunshine and it will be the same with Geelong once the next stage of the link opens. That leaves only the Seymour & Traralgon line sharing tracks with Metro services. As for freight, there are only a handful of broad gauge freight trains in Victoria and these do not normally interfere with Metro trains. Much of our freight activity is on the standard gauge. Although Sydney does have freight lines it's still a fairly common for freight trains to interfere with passenger operations, particularly on the Central Coast line . http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-06/priority-for-freight-trains-delaying-sydney-train-commuters/5870730

That all said, I really don't see what this has to do with underground stations. Unless you're going to build new railway lines (which isn't likely to happen anyway) there isn't likely going to be anymore underground stations in Melbourne (the closest we'd get would be grade separated stations with a large undercover section, such as Springvale).
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Melbourne is constructing dedicated tracks for regional trains within inner Melbourne, why is Sydney not doing this? Why doesn't NSW have regular 160 kph services to its major regional cities? Why doesn't Sydney have a massive tram network?

Sydney had a monorail, why doesn't Melbourne build one and then tear it down immediately?
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
I would be interested in hearing how you came up with the figure of 200 kms, the track distance from Pakenham to Traralgon is almost exactly 100 kms.
TheBlacksmith

Two tracks a lot of the way. Almost 200k's of actual overhead Smile.
  Camster Chief Commissioner

Location: Geelong
Personally I'll take Melbourne's tram network (the world's biggest) over a few more train stations any day.

There are few places in the inner suburbs more than a 10 minute walk from a tram line, even in the middle suburbs they are pretty close to most places I go to. Okay, people will whinge that it's not quite perfect, but the frequency and the closeness of trams to almost everywhere makes living in inner Melbourne a wonderfully unique experience. I live in a pretty wealthy suburb, but I and many of my neighbours don't bother with owning a car, simply because trams (and the occasional taxi) are cheaper and far more convenient than bothering with city traffic and the hassle of finding somewhere to park.
Bogong

When did our tram network become the biggest in the world? I last heard it was 10th. I personally find trams to be cramped and uncomfortable, but I agree that it is better than contending with the traffic.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
For instance Sydney is constructing the 'North West Rail Link' at present. An underground line similar to the 'north west rail link' in Sydney could be built to Doncaster and beyond. To service suburbs such as Doncaster East, Donvale, Park Orchards and Warrandyte. It is needed as Manningham is one of the only areas in metropolitan Melbourne without a train line, private car ownership is relatively high across the Eastern Region compared to the metropolitan Melbourne average. Which is a similar make-up to the North West region in Sydney.
wxtre

This in itself is not a legititmate reason for building a railway, underground or not. The fact is, there is little growth in this area of Melbourne, this is why other areas are seen as having a higher priority.

While I do agree with you that more new infrastructure will be needed, I believe your argument is fundamentaly flawed as you are using simple comparisons with Sydney and suggesting "They have it, why don't we?".

If Melbourne was to do everything that Sydney does, than would we have pulled all of our tram network up? Would we have built a massive Monorail only to then pull it back down?

Sydney isn't perfect, neither is Melbourne, but the solutions to Melbourne's problems do not lie with a basic comparison to Sydney. They are within well thought out planning, similar to what we have seen with the plans for the Melbourne Metro Rail tunnel, something I'm hoping gets built in the near future.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
Correct me If I'm wrong but, Sydney has far easier sandstone rock to dig tunnels through.

Melbourne the rock Is very hard and troublesome.
  Comeng552M Assistant Commissioner

Location: In Sydney "Fixing the trains"
There is no real need for a rail line to Doncaster. As already pointed out Manningham isn't a growth area. In 2012-13, The Australian Bureau of Statistics (3218.0 Regional Population Growth, Australia) estimated that Manningham only grew its population by 0.4%, which equivalates to an additional 501 people. In contrast our fastest outer growth area Wyndham grew about 6% which equivalates to 10,759 additional people, followed by Whittlesea which grew 5.5% (additional 9,306 people) and Cardinia at 4.8% (additional 3877 people). These among with other growth areas such as Casey and Melton is where our future infrastructure needs lie.

Manningham already has an extensive bus network with frequent peak hour buses to the city along the Eastern Freeway, including the DART Smartbuses which already do a good job serving much of the area. Can it be improved? Yes, there are some crowding issues and bus priority in some areas can be better, but these would be relatively cheap compared to building a new railway line to Doncaster which is expected to cost in the billions of dollars. It doesn't seem worth it to me, there are much better things we can spend on to improve transport throughout the state.
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Comeng is right, the future of Melbourne's population growth lies in:

  1. The developing outer suburbs

  2. High rise in the City, Southbank, Docklands and soon, Fisherman's Bend.

  3. Mid rise developments in the inner suburbs on existing tram and rail lines.

  4. Mid rise developments near major centres on established rail lines, Box Hill, Ringwood, Caulfield, Moorabbin, Franga, etc.


Since categories 2, 3 and 4 are already served by railed transport, we should concentrate on improving things in the population growth areas of the outer suburbs, even if that's only reserving new rail corridors without building anything for a decade. In the next decade we should be improving capacity on existing rail lines and thankfully, both political parties are committed to doing that.

P.S. Camster, Melbourne became the city with the biggest tram network around the turn of the century. We added a few extensions (Vermont, Box Hill, a couple in Docklands, etc.), while about the same time, St. Petersburg and the other contender for the title (I forget where), closed down a few lines.

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