Geelong high speed rail and electrification

 
  Riain Locomotive Fireman

Total reliability is more important than shaving a minute or two here and there to please those to whom every second counts towards their ideological fantasies and their blood pressure. This, of course, includes the fanatics driving high(er) speed Geelong who believe that they can get from Geelong to Spencer Street in total comfort faster than the rest of us can get from Frankston in a Metro pig pen.

Why some seek fantasyland when reasonable reliable reality can be had for a fraction of the cost albeit with the sacrifice of a theoretical few minutes in time and great potential loss of service reliability.

How many people in Victoria who must be somewhere at a given time have to plan on at least one earlier Vline or Metro service than necessary to be reasonably assured of making that appointment.

Reliability is far more important than lightning speed. This applies to both passenger in all its forms and freight as well.

We're not talking about a minute or two, we're talking ~15 minutes. It's the difference between travelling on a vlo and a loco train. This might not seem like much for someone wanting to make the odd appointment, but for a commuter this is half an hour a day, 2 1/2 hours a week. That's time for a sleep in, and getting home during the daylight in winter.

I'm all for reliability, the SthG-WP duplication and WP stabling takes care of that, the faster Geelong route isn't detracting from reliability.

Perhaps the people in Frankston should start shouting for faster services.
I understand that your total focus is on Geelong as that is where you live and the train you catch daily. It is worth understanding what else is happening on the network be it regional or metro. This allows you to understand what other are facing, how it compares your line and gives you an idea of what can be done.

Its not as simple as build me a rail line so I can get a train whenever I want. The network needs to serve hundreds of thousand of people, with competing demands and the smell of an oily rag. Then you have to have a think about what the governments agenda is.

As for your comments, I'm not sure what you think this project is going to achieve in the short term at least. Initial media is that maybe one or two services will go via Newport with the rest still going via RRL. So if you're lucky enough to be able to catch the flagship express services, you might benefit. The majority will not. All this project has done in the short term is create a bottle neck at Newport which RRL resolved 10 years ago. So I'm not quite sure where reliability comes from. A hiccup on the Newport corridor and your express services crawls into Southern Cross, there goes your 15 minutes.

The idea that MM2 is low hanging fruit is fanciful. More than 16 billion dollars was the figure IV put out. Even they are trying to work out to make the cost benefit stack up to justify spending the money. Most of us will be dead and buried before that project see that light of day. So in the preceding 30 years, what have you got for $4 billion. Nothing.

The current upgrades at WP, though too Geelong will do more to improve the service reliability and travel times in the short term than Fast Rail will.

The reality is that most people don't care about the time. It is knowing that your train will turn up at the same time everyday and will take you to your destination on time every day of the year.

It is similar story for Ballarat, the project may have slowed trains by a minute or so, but reliability has dramatically increased.

As for Frankston, another big expenditure for little gain. Unless 100,000 people are travelling from Frankston everyday there is no justification to sink billions into an express track.

It sounds like your biggest concern is the 15 minutes you will save, maybe it's time to look at were you work. If those 2 hours a week are very important too you, maybe move closer to work or find work near where you live. A lot of people on the Metro network spend far more than you do commuting to work.

Lockie
Lockie91

I started a thread asking about the end state of the Geelong line in 2025 once the 3 projects: WP stabling, SthG-WP duplication and fast rail are complete. In this thread I'm talking strictly about the Geelong fast rail, the 11km 3rd track from Werribee station to just beyond Laverton station, which is funded and work has begun in the form of test hole boring. However as I talk about this project I'm also keeping in mind that the other 2 projects are also happening, indeed I think the fast rail project needs the other 2. I'm also not talking about MM2, or any other unfunded, unscheduled projects, only those that are funded and expected to finish by 2025.

For me the biggest reliability problem is coming home, I travel from SthG but a lack of paths and stabling past the tunnel means snarl ups have to be sorted out using the Geelong yards. This leaves me stranded frustratingly close to my destination. The duplication and stabling projects will mean the majority of snarl ups from 2025 will be sorted out past the tunnel, which suits me and others. That's the reliability improvements I'm talking about. I generally don't have huge reliability problems head into Melbourne in the mornings.

I'm not unaware of the problems on other parts of the network, but to me things don't appear stagnant in those areas at the expense of Geelong. Metro got new high capacity trains, 'skyrail' is a thing, level crossing removal is a big thing, Ballarat line got a major duplication, Warrnambool my old home town is getting service improvements among some $4 billion worth of project funding. In the midst of all this activity I fail to see why 11km of track attracts so much vitirol.

As for the results, I believe that when finished the plan is for every 2nd train will be routed via the direct route, 2 or 3 trains an hour during peak. I understand that congestion will occur from Newport, but unlike back in the day Werribee, Hoppers, Airport and Laverton won't be a cause of congestion so overall things won't be as bad.  Can Newport-Sth Cross handle 2 or 3 more trains an hour? Aren't there 4 tracks from there onwards?

Also, there is no doubt this is a political stunt, but since it's the pollies who vote for this sort of thing there is value in such stunts. In my other thread it was suggested that once Geelong trains get back into Newport there will be little choice but to proceed with MM2.

Sponsored advertisement

  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
As for the results, I believe that when finished the plan is for every 2nd train will be routed via the direct route, 2 or 3 trains an hour during peak. I understand that congestion will occur from Newport, but unlike back in the day Werribee, Hoppers, Airport and Laverton won't be a cause of congestion so overall things won't be as bad.  Can Newport-Sth Cross handle 2 or 3 more trains an hour? Aren't there 4 tracks from there onwards?

Also, there is no doubt this is a political stunt, but since it's the pollies who vote for this sort of thing there is value in such stunts. In my other thread it was suggested that once Geelong trains get back into Newport there will be little choice but to proceed with MM2.
"Riain"


Interesting and thoughtful comments Riain, however apart from your tunnel the other real bottleneck is Newport to Sth Kensington as there was significant discussion in these pages a few years ago about that section of track which I believe is saturated without any additional paths being available.

I know the Andrews government is working on Geelong High Speed rail, but the issue there is V'Locity's can only presently do 180Km/h flat out and it takes a few Km of flat track to get there. I know, I've been in a cab whilst doing this and we only got to 179km/h before we had to give up.

So that means re-gearing those trains or new rolling stock. Re-gearing will probably mean slower starts from platforms to enable a higher top end speed, so that aspect of the project will be interesting. My feeling is dedicated Geelong line rolling stock with more packed in seats like the newer hard seats V'Locity's you have probably already experienced.

Mike.
  Riain Locomotive Fireman

As for the results, I believe that when finished the plan is for every 2nd train will be routed via the direct route, 2 or 3 trains an hour during peak. I understand that congestion will occur from Newport, but unlike back in the day Werribee, Hoppers, Airport and Laverton won't be a cause of congestion so overall things won't be as bad.  Can Newport-Sth Cross handle 2 or 3 more trains an hour? Aren't there 4 tracks from there onwards?

Also, there is no doubt this is a political stunt, but since it's the pollies who vote for this sort of thing there is value in such stunts. In my other thread it was suggested that once Geelong trains get back into Newport there will be little choice but to proceed with MM2.


Interesting and thoughtful comments Riain, however apart from your tunnel the other real bottleneck is Newport to Sth Kensington as there was significant discussion in these pages a few years ago about that section of track which I believe is saturated without any additional paths being available.

I know the Andrews government is working on Geelong High Speed rail, but the issue there is V'Locity's can only presently do 180Km/h flat out and it takes a few Km of flat track to get there. I know, I've been in a cab whilst doing this and we only got to 179km/h before we had to give up.

So that means re-gearing those trains or new rolling stock. Re-gearing will probably mean slower starts from platforms to enable a higher top end speed, so that aspect of the project will be interesting. My feeling is dedicated Geelong line rolling stock with more packed in seats like the newer hard seats V'Locity's you have probably already experienced.

Mike.
The Vinelander

Thanks, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I don't know what can be done about Newport, Google maps appears to show a track going behind the station but it doesn't appear to join back with the main line. Perhaps that might be used to bypass Newport station itself and kick the congestion can closer to Southern Cross, but that's only my good idea fairy, I have no idea if it is remotely possible.

IIUC only 32km of the Geelong line, between Corio and Werribee, can be used for 160km/h, you can see the blue 160 signs from the road coming into Werribee from the west where the new rail overpass is. But I thought the value of vlos as DMUs is they can accelerate better than loco trains and this was as important as top speed for cutting journey times. In any case this fast rail is about a direct route without stops which is more important that top speeds on a short journey.
  Tony M. Junior Train Controller

As for the results, I believe that when finished the plan is for every 2nd train will be routed via the direct route, 2 or 3 trains an hour during peak. I understand that congestion will occur from Newport, but unlike back in the day Werribee, Hoppers, Airport and Laverton won't be a cause of congestion so overall things won't be as bad.  Can Newport-Sth Cross handle 2 or 3 more trains an hour? Aren't there 4 tracks from there onwards?

Also, there is no doubt this is a political stunt, but since it's the pollies who vote for this sort of thing there is value in such stunts. In my other thread it was suggested that once Geelong trains get back into Newport there will be little choice but to proceed with MM2.


Interesting and thoughtful comments Riain, however apart from your tunnel the other real bottleneck is Newport to Sth Kensington as there was significant discussion in these pages a few years ago about that section of track which I believe is saturated without any additional paths being available.

I know the Andrews government is working on Geelong High Speed rail, but the issue there is V'Locity's can only presently do 180Km/h flat out and it takes a few Km of flat track to get there. I know, I've been in a cab whilst doing this and we only got to 179km/h before we had to give up.

So that means re-gearing those trains or new rolling stock. Re-gearing will probably mean slower starts from platforms to enable a higher top end speed, so that aspect of the project will be interesting. My feeling is dedicated Geelong line rolling stock with more packed in seats like the newer hard seats V'Locity's you have probably already experienced.

Mike.

Thanks, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

I don't know what can be done about Newport, Google maps appears to show a track going behind the station but it doesn't appear to join back with the main line. Perhaps that might be used to bypass Newport station itself and kick the congestion can closer to Southern Cross, but that's only my good idea fairy, I have no idea if it is remotely possible.

IIUC only 32km of the Geelong line, between Corio and Werribee, can be used for 160km/h, you can see the blue 160 signs from the road coming into Werribee from the west where the new rail overpass is. But I thought the value of vlos as DMUs is they can accelerate better than loco trains and this was as important as top speed for cutting journey times. In any case this fast rail is about a direct route without stops which is more important that top speeds on a short journey.
Riain
That line behind Newport station is the standard gauge freight line to Adelaide, so sadly unavailable for bypass use.

In my (limited) experience, the big problem with reliability on the Geelong line is getting trains out of Southern Cross at peak times. V/Line's clearly stretched to the limit then, and once a train is out of service at any point the backups and passenger crowding cascades down through the rest of the services well into the evening.

No doubt that's the case with other V/Line (and Metro) services, but as Geelong is currently the busiest V/Line service, hold-ups there affect more passengers, which presumably translates into more pressure.

It's probably worth nothing at this point that the seat that holds Waurn Ponds and Marshall stations is currently somewhat marginal and has been fairly strongly contested the last few elections, which may have something to do with the Fed's being keen on Geelong fast rail.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Regarding regearing, would it be possible to just regear the third gear so the acceleration from standstill won't be affected?
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

Maybe it is time for all Geelong trains to originate at Flinders St using the spare Platform on the Yarra River side, then they do not have weave there way out of Southern Cross, a lot of the Tararlgon trains do not use this platform, its number escapes me at the moment.............
  John.Z Deputy Commissioner

Maybe it is time for all Geelong trains to originate at Flinders St using the spare Platform on the Yarra River side, then they do not have weave there way out of Southern Cross, a lot of the Tararlgon trains do not use this platform, its number escapes me at the moment.............
trainbrain
There's no spare platform on the yarra side, unless you're talking about platforms 12/13 which are used by Sandringham trains?

As for that, well the viaducts are at capacity in peak, just as hard to fit a VLine train in there (plus you'd have to stop at Platforms 15/16 at Spencer St anyway which means you could just terminate there).

Nothing about that proposal makes any logical sense to me.
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Maybe it is time for all Geelong trains to originate at Flinders St using the spare Platform on the Yarra River side, then they do not have weave there way out of Southern Cross, a lot of the Tararlgon trains do not use this platform, its number escapes me at the moment.............
There's no spare platform on the yarra side, unless you're talking about platforms 12/13 which are used by Sandringham trains?

As for that, well the viaducts are at capacity in peak, just as hard to fit a VLine train in there (plus you'd have to stop at Platforms 15/16 at Spencer St anyway which means you could just terminate there).

Nothing about that proposal makes any logical sense to me.
John.Z
Not today, but post MM1 and Geelong via Werribee (50% ??), it makes perfect sense.

Geelong sharing the track with Werribbe train, means SCS platforms 13/14 are the logical straight run. And NOT terminate.
Takes the pressure off 15/16 and RRL

Continue on the Werribee tracks over the viaduct.

After MM1 removes Dandenong trains, Flinders St platforms 6/7 are freed up. So terminate V/line Geelong and Gippsland there.

The only missing resource is fuel & water at FSS

cheers
John
  jakar Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
I'm not unaware of the problems on other parts of the network, but to me things don't appear stagnant in those areas at the expense of Geelong. Metro got new high capacity trains, 'skyrail' is a thing, level crossing removal is a big thing, Ballarat line got a major duplication, Warrnambool my old home town is getting service improvements among some $4 billion worth of project funding. In the midst of all this activity I fail to see why 11km of track attracts so much vitirol.
Riain
I'll try and give you another perspective using the Gippsland line. I've not long got off an UP Traralgon service that not once between Dandenong and Caulfield did I go above 50km/h. That's roughly 19 kilometers crawling along slower than what you can drive your car down a residential street. There were no signal failures or other issues that delayed me, this was just a regularly scheduled on time slow service that all Gippsland line users are subjected too along this new you beaut 'sky rail'. Add to that the descoping of the original upgrade plans for the Gippsland line, allegedly due to budget concerns, and its not hard to see why non Geelong line users take issue with spending millions making an already frequent and fast service faster.
  Riain Locomotive Fireman

I'm not unaware of the problems on other parts of the network, but to me things don't appear stagnant in those areas at the expense of Geelong. Metro got new high capacity trains, 'skyrail' is a thing, level crossing removal is a big thing, Ballarat line got a major duplication, Warrnambool my old home town is getting service improvements among some $4 billion worth of project funding. In the midst of all this activity I fail to see why 11km of track attracts so much vitirol.
I'll try and give you another perspective using the Gippsland line. I've not long got off an UP Traralgon service that not once between Dandenong and Caulfield did I go above 50km/h. That's roughly 19 kilometers crawling along slower than what you can drive your car down a residential street. There were no signal failures or other issues that delayed me, this was just a regularly scheduled on time slow service that all Gippsland line users are subjected too along this new you beaut 'sky rail'. Add to that the descoping of the original upgrade plans for the Gippsland line, allegedly due to budget concerns, and its not hard to see why non Geelong line users take issue with spending millions making an already frequent and fast service faster.
jakar

I have no doubt that is true and it obviously sucks, it sounds like the Geelong train before the RRL crawling behind Metros.

But the answer to that isn't to not build 11km of track between Werribee and Laverton, its to find solutions to that problem. However as has been pointed out recently in this thread Geelong is over 250,000 people, it has swinging Federal and State seats AND an easy, non controversial (in the sense that it won't generate local objections to construction) and cheap way of cutting 15 minutes off journey times.

I don't know about the politics of Gippsland, but IIUC the catchment area for the line is about 80,000 people/voters/riders, 1/3 of Geelongs. What low hanging fruit is there on the line to find similar 15 minute cuts in journey times? Is there somewhere that a 3rd track could be put in on an existing easement? Or is the solution to this problem expensive, difficult to sell to affected local communities (like those who objected to skyrail) and lacking the political impact of swinging seats?
  Riain Locomotive Fireman

Semi-related question, I've always wondered exactly how vline sorts out snarl ups? I understand (all too well) that it's about line capacity and stabling space; past the Geelong tunnel capacity is limited and stabling is virtually on existent. It seems that my train is the one that stops short at Geelong and the following one will go through to WP or SthG, but how do they decide that?

Do they look at Myki, see my name and say 'screw that guy'? Or do they have some computer programme with all inputs; line capacity, stabling, train position etc that offers options/solutions that vline schedulers take? Or is it really 'mandraulic'; the people down in Geelong know what's coming and going and make their own decision based on that starting requirements of the following day, or some aimed-for reset point in the case of morning problems?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat Line
I'm not unaware of the problems on other parts of the network, but to me things don't appear stagnant in those areas at the expense of Geelong. Metro got new high capacity trains, 'skyrail' is a thing, level crossing removal is a big thing, Ballarat line got a major duplication, Warrnambool my old home town is getting service improvements among some $4 billion worth of project funding. In the midst of all this activity I fail to see why 11km of track attracts so much vitirol.
I'll try and give you another perspective using the Gippsland line. I've not long got off an UP Traralgon service that not once between Dandenong and Caulfield did I go above 50km/h. That's roughly 19 kilometers crawling along slower than what you can drive your car down a residential street. There were no signal failures or other issues that delayed me, this was just a regularly scheduled on time slow service that all Gippsland line users are subjected too along this new you beaut 'sky rail'. Add to that the descoping of the original upgrade plans for the Gippsland line, allegedly due to budget concerns, and its not hard to see why non Geelong line users take issue with spending millions making an already frequent and fast service faster.
jakar

I earlier wrote about Dandenong to SCS for the Gippsland line being the same running time as Geelong to Melbourne. Jakar were you driving late night service as you said you were not long off an UP Traralgon and you posted at 23:22.

When I used to travel with TK in the cab, perhaps due to his time on the job he could call Metrol and have a spark held up to 4  mins at Pakenham if he was running a bit behind time on the UP, or even do a run through at Oakleigh.

He used to be very creative if he could to try and get the best outcome for his running times and the pax.

Mike.
  kuldalai Chief Commissioner

Semi-related question, I've always wondered exactly how vline sorts out snarl ups? I understand (all too well) that it's about line capacity and stabling space; past the Geelong tunnel capacity is limited and stabling is virtually on existent. It seems that my train is the one that stops short at Geelong and the following one will go through to WP or SthG, but how do they decide that?

Do they look at Myki, see my name and say 'screw that guy'? Or do they have some computer programme with all inputs; line capacity, stabling, train position etc that offers options/solutions that vline schedulers take? Or is it really 'mandraulic'; the people down in Geelong know what's coming and going and make their own decision based on that starting requirements of the following day, or some aimed-for reset point in the case of morning problems?
Riain
It is purely done to protect the timekeeping . Outlawed for MTM and Yarra Trams terminating short; BUT not at VLP who exploit the loophole.  Termiate short and instead of being late on the UP they are onlt late on the Down.  All so difficulat to run the railway on a double track Geelong line where OT is measured as within 6 minutes of schedule where recovery margins are already built into the schedules !!!!
  YM-Mundrabilla The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
I'm not unaware of the problems on other parts of the network, but to me things don't appear stagnant in those areas at the expense of Geelong. Metro got new high capacity trains, 'skyrail' is a thing, level crossing removal is a big thing, Ballarat line got a major duplication, Warrnambool my old home town is getting service improvements among some $4 billion worth of project funding. In the midst of all this activity I fail to see why 11km of track attracts so much vitirol.
I'll try and give you another perspective using the Gippsland line. I've not long got off an UP Traralgon service that not once between Dandenong and Caulfield did I go above 50km/h. That's roughly 19 kilometers crawling along slower than what you can drive your car down a residential street. There were no signal failures or other issues that delayed me, this was just a regularly scheduled on time slow service that all Gippsland line users are subjected too along this new you beaut 'sky rail'. Add to that the descoping of the original upgrade plans for the Gippsland line, allegedly due to budget concerns, and its not hard to see why non Geelong line users take issue with spending millions making an already frequent and fast service faster.

I earlier wrote about Dandenong to SCS for the Gippsland line being the same running time as Geelong to Melbourne. Jakar were you driving late night service as you said you were not long off an UP Traralgon and you posted at 23:22.

When I used to travel with TK in the cab, perhaps due to his time on the job he could call Metrol and have a spark held up to 4  mins at Pakenham if he was running a bit behind time on the UP, or even do a run through at Oakleigh.

He used to be very creative if he could to try and get the best outcome for his running times and the pax.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Sadly both 'creative' and TK are no longer .................... Crying or Very sad
  jakar Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Jakar were you driving late night service as you said you were not long off an UP Traralgon and you posted at 23:22.
The Vinelander
I was a bit delayed in posting that, plus I deliberately try and be a little bit vague about the services I run.

When I used to travel with TK in the cab, perhaps due to his time on the job he could call Metrol and have a spark held up to 4 mins at Pakenham if he was running a bit behind time on the UP, or even do a run through at Oakleigh.
The Vinelander
These days if you're fractionally late you can try your luck with the local signaller/Metrol but very rarely will they risk delaying their own service. They're more than happy to put their own late running trains and empty cars out in front of us though, something Geelong commuters will soon get to experience.

But the answer to that isn't to not build 11km of track between Werribee and Laverton, its to find solutions to that problem. However as has been pointed out recently in this thread Geelong is over 250,000 people, it has swinging Federal and State seats AND an easy, non controversial (in the sense that it won't generate local objections to construction) and cheap way of cutting 15 minutes off journey times.
Riain

You keep referring to this project as being cheap, what is your understanding of how much it is going to cost for this 11km of track?
  Riain Locomotive Fireman

Jakar were you driving late night service as you said you were not long off an UP Traralgon and you posted at 23:22.
I was a bit delayed in posting that, plus I deliberately try and be a little bit vague about the services I run.

When I used to travel with TK in the cab, perhaps due to his time on the job he could call Metrol and have a spark held up to 4 mins at Pakenham if he was running a bit behind time on the UP, or even do a run through at Oakleigh.
These days if you're fractionally late you can try your luck with the local signaller/Metrol but very rarely will they risk delaying their own service. They're more than happy to put their own late running trains and empty cars out in front of us though, something Geelong commuters will soon get to experience.

But the answer to that isn't to not build 11km of track between Werribee and Laverton, its to find solutions to that problem. However as has been pointed out recently in this thread Geelong is over 250,000 people, it has swinging Federal and State seats AND an easy, non controversial (in the sense that it won't generate local objections to construction) and cheap way of cutting 15 minutes off journey times.

You keep referring to this project as being cheap, what is your understanding of how much it is going to cost for this 11km of track?
jakar

$4 billion, cheap being a relative term. There is no need to buy land, demolish houses, fight court cases, dig tunnels or any of the other nightmarish stuff that makes other projects so expensive as to not be feasible.

Just for comparison the COGG income in 2020-21 was over $480 million and that State Government income was over $67 billion.

A while ago I read an article that stated increasing the speed limit to 110 on the Geelong Freeway, which had an annual travel value of $1,200 million, would save $80 million in travel costs and therefore increase productivity. I assume cutting an average of 15 minutes from the Geelong-Melbourne journey time would come with productivity increases that can help amortise the cost of the project in the longer term.

I imagine that other RFR lines wanting to lop 15 minutes off journey times would require investments greater than $4 billion and these investments would have to be amortised from a much smaller user base. But I'm happy to be corrected.
  Lockie91 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sunbury, Vic

But the answer to that isn't to not build 11km of track between Werribee and Laverton, its to find solutions to that problem. However as has been pointed out recently in this thread Geelong is over 250,000 people, it has swinging Federal and State seats AND an easy, non controversial (in the sense that it won't generate local objections to construction) and cheap way of cutting 15 minutes off journey times.

You keep referring to this project as being cheap, what is your understanding of how much it is going to cost for this 11km of track?
$4 billion, cheap being a relative term. There is no need to buy land, demolish houses, fight court cases, dig tunnels or any of the other nightmarish stuff that makes other projects so expensive as to not be feasible.

Just for comparison the COGG income in 2020-21 was over $480 million and that State Government income was over $67 billion.

A while ago I read an article that stated increasing the speed limit to 110 on the Geelong Freeway, which had an annual travel value of $1,200 million, would save $80 million in travel costs and therefore increase productivity. I assume cutting an average of 15 minutes from the Geelong-Melbourne journey time would come with productivity increases that can help amortise the cost of the project in the longer term.

I imagine that other RFR lines wanting to lop 15 minutes off journey times would require investments greater than $4 billion and these investments would have to be amortised from a much smaller user base. But I'm happy to be corrected.
Riain

Unsurprisingly you will find yourself the only person on RP to call this project cheap. This project includes all the 'nightmarish' stuff every other major project encounters. This is why in my previous post, I recommended having a look at other projects currently under construction and past to see what can be delivered, and give you an idea of what a dollar buys you.

Sunbury Electrification Project 2012 $270 Million ($311 Million today), 15 km of upgraded tracks, signalling, power and communications from Watergardens to Sunbury and refurbished stations.

Craigieburn Electrification Project 2007 $110 Million ($126 Million today), for 10 Km of upgrades, signalling, power and Communications, two new stations at Roxburgh Park & Cooloro. (Admittedly done as cheap and nasty as possible)

South Mornag Electrification Project 2012 $650 Million ($745 Million today) 5km of single line new track from Keon Park to Epping, 3.5 km of new dual track from Epping to South Morang. New stations at Epping & South Morang, upgraded signalling, coms and power with no level crossings.

Mernda Electrification Project 2018 $600 Million ($614 Million today) 8 Km of new dual track, three new stations, five grade separated crossings, two new substations and civic improvements and Mernda.

CD9 Project 2018 $1.6 Billion Nine level crossings removed, 5 new elevated stations, substations, signalling and a tone of civic works to keep the locals happy.

Now Geelong - $4 billion for stage 1. 11km single line 'express track' from Werribee too Laverton. Now all the nasty stuff. New/modified stations at Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and Laverton. Modifications / re-construction of serval road bridges and overpasses. The acquisition of land to accommodate the new track layout. Extensive track reconfiguration through the corridor, there is land available, but it is not all on one side. The tracks will need to be slewed to accomodate the additional SINGLE track.

$4 Billion and it doesn't even get you to Southern Cross. Trains will again mix with suburban stoppers from Newport to Southern Cross. This is the most congested part of the corridor and is already prone to delays.

I'd be okay with the project if it got you all the way to Southern Cross or allowed dual running. All the $4 billion is going to get Geelong is one or two peak directional services. No mention of new fleet so we are looking at less than a thousand people being able to take advantage of the $4 billion in investment.

In comparison $4 billion could have paid for High Capacity signalling on the Metropolitan Networks busiest lines, including Werribee. Doubling services and helping move an extra half a million people each day. Or upgraded the remainder of the regional passenger network that still runs on single lines. Allowing every region, not just Geelong to have a 20 minute all day frequency.

Cheap and Relative it is not.

Lockie
  John.Z Deputy Commissioner


Unsurprisingly you will find yourself the only person on RP to call this project cheap. This project includes all the 'nightmarish' stuff every other major project encounters. This is why in my previous post, I recommended having a look at other projects currently under construction and past to see what can be delivered, and give you an idea of what a dollar buys you.

Sunbury Electrification Project 2012 $270 Million ($311 Million today), 15 km of upgraded tracks, signalling, power and communications from Watergardens to Sunbury and refurbished stations.

Craigieburn Electrification Project 2007 $110 Million ($126 Million today), for 10 Km of upgrades, signalling, power and Communications, two new stations at Roxburgh Park & Cooloro. (Admittedly done as cheap and nasty as possible)

South Mornag Electrification Project 2012 $650 Million ($745 Million today) 5km of single line new track from Keon Park to Epping, 3.5 km of new dual track from Epping to South Morang. New stations at Epping & South Morang, upgraded signalling, coms and power with no level crossings.

Mernda Electrification Project 2018 $600 Million ($614 Million today) 8 Km of new dual track, three new stations, five grade separated crossings, two new substations and civic improvements and Mernda.

CD9 Project 2018 $1.6 Billion Nine level crossings removed, 5 new elevated stations, substations, signalling and a tone of civic works to keep the locals happy.

Now Geelong - $4 billion for stage 1. 11km single line 'express track' from Werribee too Laverton. Now all the nasty stuff. New/modified stations at Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and Laverton. Modifications / re-construction of serval road bridges and overpasses. The acquisition of land to accommodate the new track layout. Extensive track reconfiguration through the corridor, there is land available, but it is not all on one side. The tracks will need to be slewed to accomodate the additional SINGLE track.

$4 Billion and it doesn't even get you to Southern Cross. Trains will again mix with suburban stoppers from Newport to Southern Cross. This is the most congested part of the corridor and is already prone to delays.

I'd be okay with the project if it got you all the way to Southern Cross or allowed dual running. All the $4 billion is going to get Geelong is one or two peak directional services. No mention of new fleet so we are looking at less than a thousand people being able to take advantage of the $4 billion in investment.

In comparison $4 billion could have paid for High Capacity signalling on the Metropolitan Networks busiest lines, including Werribee. Doubling services and helping move an extra half a million people each day. Or upgraded the remainder of the regional passenger network that still runs on single lines. Allowing every region, not just Geelong to have a 20 minute all day frequency.

Cheap and Relative it is not.

Lockie
Lockie91
Until we see what we get for $4B (nothing is officially confirmed nor costed) I will hold my breath that it's not as bad as you predict. It really doesn't make any sense as a project if it is so scope limited and so expensive. At that point, you're better off quadding the WV detour or paying for electrification down to Geelong (and buying bi-mode trains).
  Tony M. Junior Train Controller

No doubt there are plenty of other, seemingly more worthy projects waiting to be funded across the V/Line network. The fact remains that the Geelong area - especially on the far side of the Barwon River - is an area that's politically "in play", which is increasingly rare in Victoria.

Geelong itself has a number of areas and issues that could do with government funding, but political parties like to give our money to high profile, big ticket items, which is why Geelong's Kardina Park (a suburban football ground that hosts maybe 10 AFL games a year and has a tenant in the GFC that actively discourages other uses) has had massive upgrades funded every single election for the last decade or more.

It's nice to imagine that rail projects are funded according to need. The real reason why $4 billion dollars is about to be spent on the Geelong rail line is that the local footy ground can't be upgraded any more, the Art Centre has just been torn down so they can rebuild it and there's nothing left for either side to throw money at to win over voters. If you want other rail lines to get the same treatment, they need to run through (or terminate in) marginal seats.
  John.Z Deputy Commissioner

Geelong itself has a number of areas and issues that could do with government funding, but political parties like to give our money to high profile, big ticket items, which is why Geelong's Kardina Park (a suburban football ground that hosts maybe 10 AFL games a year and has a tenant in the GFC that actively discourages other uses) has had massive upgrades funded every single election for the last decade or more.
Tony M.

GFC have no say who plays at KP. KP is run by the KP trust (same model as the MCG), with oversight from the Vic Gov. Over the summer it gets plenty of use from Cricket and Soccer (Geelong hopes to attract both a permanent ALeague and/or BBL team). Local GFL teams also play finals at the ground. GFC invited the Bulldogs to play home games at KP, but the AFL denied that hence their games in Ballarat. news link

It's nice to imagine that rail projects are funded according to need. The real reason why $4 billion dollars is about to be spent on the Geelong rail line is that the local footy ground can't be upgraded any more, the Art Centre has just been torn down so they can rebuild it and there's nothing left for either side to throw money at to win over voters. If you want other rail lines to get the same treatment, they need to run through (or terminate in) marginal seats.
Tony M.
This is the crux of it. Corrangamite (and to a lesser extend South Barwon and Bellarine in the Vic Parliament) are hotly contested seats that can make or break governments on election night. The norther suburbs of Geelong continue to be ignored and I'd expect outside of Lara, all stations to be skipped for any "fast" train. A local metro service would help counter that, might happen probably not.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Richmond Vic
It's nice to imagine that rail projects are funded according to need. The real reason why $4 billion dollars is about to be spent on the Geelong rail line is that the local footy ground can't be upgraded any more, the Art Centre has just been torn down so they can rebuild it and there's nothing left for either side to throw money at to win over voters.
TonyM
You wanna bet there's nothing to spend money on at the footy ground?

News item from the AFL on 12 August 2021:-
CONSTRUCTION on the final stage of the redevelopment that will increase Geelong's GMHBA Stadium capacity to 40,000 will begin at season's end.
The Victorian Government had previously announced funding of $142 million for the project in this year's state budget with a timeline confirmed on Thursday. The redevelopment is expected to be completed by mid-2023.
It will see the city-end Ford Stand and Ablett Terrace replaced by a two-tier stand that will house 14,000 people, taking the stadium's capacity from 36,000 to more than 40,000.
It follows previous stadium enhancements that has included new Brownlow, Players, Premiership and Reg Hickey stands.
The fifth and final upgrade will ensure a reduced capacity at the venue for 2022, however the Cats will hope to push a number of 2023 home games into the second half of that season.
"Continued investment has meant that Kardinia Park has not only kept abreast of global trends, but it is also setting the pace," Kardinia Park Stadium Trust chair Stephen Gough said.
"We can't wait for the final piece of the redevelopment jigsaw to fall into place so we can provide an even better experience for fans and other users of this highly adaptable stadium."
  Lockie91 Assistant Commissioner

Location: Sunbury, Vic

Unsurprisingly you will find yourself the only person on RP to call this project cheap. This project includes all the 'nightmarish' stuff every other major project encounters. This is why in my previous post, I recommended having a look at other projects currently under construction and past to see what can be delivered, and give you an idea of what a dollar buys you.

Sunbury Electrification Project 2012 $270 Million ($311 Million today), 15 km of upgraded tracks, signalling, power and communications from Watergardens to Sunbury and refurbished stations.

Craigieburn Electrification Project 2007 $110 Million ($126 Million today), for 10 Km of upgrades, signalling, power and Communications, two new stations at Roxburgh Park & Cooloro. (Admittedly done as cheap and nasty as possible)

South Mornag Electrification Project 2012 $650 Million ($745 Million today) 5km of single line new track from Keon Park to Epping, 3.5 km of new dual track from Epping to South Morang. New stations at Epping & South Morang, upgraded signalling, coms and power with no level crossings.

Mernda Electrification Project 2018 $600 Million ($614 Million today) 8 Km of new dual track, three new stations, five grade separated crossings, two new substations and civic improvements and Mernda.

CD9 Project 2018 $1.6 Billion Nine level crossings removed, 5 new elevated stations, substations, signalling and a tone of civic works to keep the locals happy.

Now Geelong - $4 billion for stage 1. 11km single line 'express track' from Werribee too Laverton. Now all the nasty stuff. New/modified stations at Werribee, Hoppers Crossing and Laverton. Modifications / re-construction of serval road bridges and overpasses. The acquisition of land to accommodate the new track layout. Extensive track reconfiguration through the corridor, there is land available, but it is not all on one side. The tracks will need to be slewed to accomodate the additional SINGLE track.

$4 Billion and it doesn't even get you to Southern Cross. Trains will again mix with suburban stoppers from Newport to Southern Cross. This is the most congested part of the corridor and is already prone to delays.

I'd be okay with the project if it got you all the way to Southern Cross or allowed dual running. All the $4 billion is going to get Geelong is one or two peak directional services. No mention of new fleet so we are looking at less than a thousand people being able to take advantage of the $4 billion in investment.

In comparison $4 billion could have paid for High Capacity signalling on the Metropolitan Networks busiest lines, including Werribee. Doubling services and helping move an extra half a million people each day. Or upgraded the remainder of the regional passenger network that still runs on single lines. Allowing every region, not just Geelong to have a 20 minute all day frequency.

Cheap and Relative it is not.

LockieUntil we see what we get for $4B (nothing is officially confirmed nor costed) I will hold my breath that it's not as bad as you predict. It really doesn't make any sense as a project if it is so scope limited and so expensive. At that point, you're better off quadding the WV detour or paying for electrification down to Geelong (and buying bi-mode trains).
John.Z
Here in lies the biggest issue, Even if it was gold plated dual line from Geelong all the way through to Newport, its still only half way.

Money would be better spent, as you have mentioned, quadding RRL through to Sunshine as it was always intended to be. Upgrading signalling to allow 24TPH from Sunshine to Southern Cross. Geelong would then have its own dedicated Class 1 track from Lara to Sunshine, easily shaving 10 or so minutes of the journey. This would free up plenty of capacity for Geelong as WV - Deer Park could also receive a 10 minute peak service with the increased train paths. Hell, it also shaves some time off Ballarat services that service Deer Park & Rockbank.

In years time when sparks make it WV and Melton, the current tracks can be upgraded and sparked; Ballarat & Geelong would still have a dedicated track through to Sunshine.

In even more years time when MM2 is maybe(?) constructed, then a dedicated fast line for Geelong comes into the mix. Right now its is very much putting the horse before the cart.

Politics is very much at play at a Federal Level, which is how this project came along in the first place. At a state level South Barwon is at 4.6% Geelong at 6.3% and Lara at 11+% it is not a real danger zone for the state on the transport front. The current   WP upgrades will deliver extra services and more reliability. At a Federal level is 51/49% to Labor, hence when the Feds have embarked on this project as it is within striking distance with enough pork barreling. Which cant be said for a lot of their seats.

I would very much suspect that if the Libs lost the 2021 election, this project may go quietly into the night for a decade. It was never on Andrew's agenda and the commitment to match the funding from the feds was only to neutralise the threat at a state and federal level.

The good folk of Waurn Ponds want a train every 20 minutes during the peak, that get them to Melbourne same time every day. An 80 minute journey on a regional train is far better than a slightly quicker journey on a train that only runs a few times a day.

Lockie
  jakar Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
$4 billion, cheap being a relative term.
Riain
Yeah, nup, that's not cheap, even in relative terms.

I look at that figure and think of everything that could be done around the network and just shake my head. V/Line struggles to get enough money to do even the basics such as trackside vegetation removal or fences along the track through known trespasser hot spots, there's freight lines in desperate need of maintenance and upgrades, heck there's even numerous stations on the commuter network that are still too short to fit and entire train. Then there's the long term TSR's and unprotected level crossings that have been waiting for funding for years, and on and on the list goes.

To rub salt into the wounds ongoing/recent projects like the duplication of the single line between Longwarry and Bunyip, which has long be a cause of delays and timetabling headaches, have been scrapped due to a lack of money. The cost of that project alone would have been chump change compared to this.

If you're happy with $4 billion being spent on just 11km of single track then so be it, the rest of us will continue to see it as blatant pork barreling and will continue to call it out as being a waste of money.

Until we see what we get for $4B (nothing is officially confirmed nor costed) I will hold my breath that it's not as bad as you predict.
John.Z
Others that like delving though government websites might have a better page for you, but the scope of works is listed here-
https://bigbuild.vic.gov.au/projects/geelong-fast-rail/about
I would have expected a lot more for the amount estimated.....
  Tony M. Junior Train Controller

It's nice to imagine that rail projects are funded according to need. The real reason why $4 billion dollars is about to be spent on the Geelong rail line is that the local footy ground can't be upgraded any more, the Art Centre has just been torn down so they can rebuild it and there's nothing left for either side to throw money at to win over voters.
You wanna bet there's nothing to spend money on at the footy ground?

News item from the AFL on 12 August 2021:-
CONSTRUCTION on the final stage of the redevelopment that will increase Geelong's GMHBA Stadium capacity to 40,000 will begin at season's end.
The Victorian Government had previously announced funding of $142 million for the project in this year's state budget with a timeline confirmed on Thursday. The redevelopment is expected to be completed by mid-2023.
It will see the city-end Ford Stand and Ablett Terrace replaced by a two-tier stand that will house 14,000 people, taking the stadium's capacity from 36,000 to more than 40,000.
It follows previous stadium enhancements that has included new Brownlow, Players, Premiership and Reg Hickey stands.
The fifth and final upgrade will ensure a reduced capacity at the venue for 2022, however the Cats will hope to push a number of 2023 home games into the second half of that season.
"Continued investment has meant that Kardinia Park has not only kept abreast of global trends, but it is also setting the pace," Kardinia Park Stadium Trust chair Stephen Gough said.
"We can't wait for the final piece of the redevelopment jigsaw to fall into place so we can provide an even better experience for fans and other users of this highly adaptable stadium."
Valvegear
Oh yeah, I saw that a few weeks ago - the important part is "final stage of the redevelopment". The politicians are really going to struggle with the handouts now... unless, of course, they start redeveloping the previous redevelopment.
  ngarner Deputy Commissioner

Location: Seville

To rub salt into the wounds ongoing/recent projects like the duplication of the single line between Longwarry and Bunyip, which has long be a cause of delays and timetabling headaches, have been scrapped due to a lack of money. The cost of that project alone would have been chump change compared to this.
jakar
Is this a case of duplicating close to but not actually bridging the river, similar to the Goulburn River between Dysart and Seymour? If so, then they've hidden that one well. The RRR website is no longer obvious on duplication of the whole section, compared to previously.

Neil

Sponsored advertisement

Display from: