Suburban Rail Loop (Election promise)

 
  Tony M. Junior Train Controller

It seems unlikely that there'll be any new stations added to the RRL before the Geelong "fast rail" is up and running - and by "running" I mean some Geelong trains are back running via Werribee, not that they're running any faster.

More stops on the RRL means a slower and more crowded trip for Geelong passengers, and it'll probably be another election cycle or two before everyone's sure the South Barwon (at the state level) / Corangamite (at the Federal level) region is locked in as a safe Labor seat and any complaints from there can be safely ignored. So any major action will probably be held over until 2026-ish.

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  Yappo Chief Train Controller
  Yappo Chief Train Controller

Not necessarily disregarding the project, just seemingly all the infrastructure projects are escalating in price dramatically over the past few years. Yes, major projects are bound to cost more than initially expected, but the cost per kilometre on the projects seems to get much higher each year. Whether it's a constraint in the industry and other factors like covid-19, I can understand. But a fair bit of it, is sticking with lots of major projects all at once, which might be not the optimal approach to getting infrastructure done.

Hopefully this means new projects will be smaller and less grandiose kind of projects to fill in the gaps and also doesn't break the budget. There's already too many major projects in the pipeline, I think it's enough to keep us going for a decade.
It has been known for a while now in various state govts. NSW stated 1 year ago that they had to start to consider a slow down and then this 3 months ago it was clear that future mega projects will be delayed given cost and budget issues. Two weeks ago they clearly stated that most projects would be deferred (except for Parra LR stage 2). Prior to the state budget the Vic Treasurer stated much the same, that there were too many projects inflating costs.

There have been so many large cost blow outs with NSW projects plus add in even more increased inflated material and labour costs beyond previous high levels, meant that there was little choice;

eg. L2&L3 cost $3.15B instead of $1.6B,
Sydney Metro budget is now $17B instead of original $12B,
West Metro already increased by $3B cost before work started,
Westconnex cost $21B from the original $14.8B budget!

That's $15B in blow outs. Enough to fund the WSA Metro!
Yappo
Need to update these clost blowouts since further revelations 10 days ago....
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-06-21/nsw-budget-reveals-metro-tunnel-cost-blowout/101171264

eg. L2&L3 cost $3.15B instead of $1.6B,
Parramatta light rail an extra $500m
Sydney Metro budget is now $18.5B instead of original $12B,
West Metro already increased by $3.6B cost before work started,
Westconnex cost $21B from the original $14.8B budget!

That's $17.6B in blow outs. Enough to fund the WSA Metro, Parra stage 2, 1st stage of Newcastle fast rail and a bunch of network upgrades!

  Yappo Chief Train Controller

In the lastest SRL news, as expected the project was added last week to the IA priority list. That will ensure more Fed funding beyond the initial  $2B for Stage 1- what most expect given the change of govt. Again, that might end up being close to 20%-25%% of the Stage 1 cost or upwards of around $11B-12B?

Interesting that the Hun article says
A government spokeswoman said that with Victoria’s population set to hit 10 million by mid-century, city-shaping projects needed to start now.
Hun
Not a  quote, but 10m is way beyond the ABS predicted 8.5m by 2050 and should have been corrected! Anyway, the point is valid that Melb is moving towards a 10m city in around 40 years time and the city needs major projects such as this one.
  Yappo Chief Train Controller

Terril from the Gratton Institute having yet another go at calling for SRL to be scrapped/paused following up the mayors article yesterday. The explicit message is that we should wait a few years and see what exactly the post Covid world looks like even though in many parts of the world train pax have returned to 90% of pre Covid levels (London, Parie, bangkok etc).

And now we’re facing a time of high uncertainty; we simply don’t know which of our new patterns of work and travel will become permanent, and it’s a brave person who would say all the projects conceived pre-COVID are the right ones for a changed world.

We don’t have a good process for cancelling projects that turn out to be less attractive than they might have once seemed, but the mayors are right in calling for, at a minimum, a pause and a rethink.
The Age
So while Melb grows to a 8m city in the next 3 decades,  it patently makes sense to waste another few years for a pause and to delay the project.......The point about policy choices is of course valid, but all govts make policy choices and we expect progress on Melton, WV & Clyde in the next few years.

Indeed, imho it is fairly safe to assume that one of the electrifcation projects (Melton) and Clyde will most likely proceed in the next election cycle.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
A few councils have raised some concerns about the design https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/mayors-demand-rethink-on-suburban-rail-loop-plans1 and not the project and I believe some of the concerns have been discussed on here.  Why does the government not listen to the changes required to make it an even better project?
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Terril from the Gratton Institute having yet another go at calling for SRL to be scrapped/paused following up the mayors article yesterday. The explicit message is that we should wait a few years and see what exactly the post Covid world looks like even though in many parts of the world train pax have returned to 90% of pre Covid levels (London, Parie, bangkok etc).

And now we’re facing a time of high uncertainty; we simply don’t know which of our new patterns of work and travel will become permanent, and it’s a brave person who would say all the projects conceived pre-COVID are the right ones for a changed world.

We don’t have a good process for cancelling projects that turn out to be less attractive than they might have once seemed, but the mayors are right in calling for, at a minimum, a pause and a rethink.
So while Melb grows to a 8m city in the next 3 decades,  it patently makes sense to waste another few years for a pause and to delay the project.......The point about policy choices is of course valid, but all govts make policy choices and we expect progress on Melton, WV & Clyde in the next few years.

Indeed, imho it is fairly safe to assume that one of the electrifcation projects (Melton) and Clyde will most likely proceed in the next election cycle.
Yappo
Yer, "the mayors". A reason the job of design is given to qualified engineers, instead of local politicians.

In each case they bemoan stations have to up to street level and cross to the existing stations.
The magic bullet is a pedestrian tunnel between the 2.

Well guess what, theSRL is underground, and the existing stations are ground level or above.

Guess they will make the rise with fairy dust.

Glen Waveley my favorite. An 80m walk that is promised to be undercover and inside the paid zone.
How else do they expect to arrive in the middle of the GW island platform, with doubtfull room for stairs/escallators oriented the wrong direction.

2nd favourite Box Hill. The SRL station box is only about 25m from the existing line.
Just punch a hole thru the back of platform 4, and your near enough to the mezzanine on the SRL station.
Minor issues.
   Platform 1is the least used. The island 2/3 would be nastry - go under and then up again.
   The wall at the back of the Platform 4 is holding up the whole shopping centres

cheers
John
  Yappo Chief Train Controller

The Age is really going all out against SRL this week with a 3rd critical article in as many days. And now they are just plucking numbers out of thin air - the only people using such numbers are the opposition.

The original government price tag of “up to $50 billion” when the project was announced in 2018 has now become the estimate just for construction of the first two eastern stages, connecting Cheltenham to Box Hill.

It was touted as part of the transformation of Melbourne into a polycentric city, with revitalised suburban precincts that would enable “value capture” and plough profits back into the loop itself. But in the south-eastern suburbs, where planning is a contested area, such proposals have quickly run into local trouble.
The Age Editorial
  Tony M. Junior Train Controller

Years ago a journo told me that various papers "own" various issues - AFL fans were always going to read the Herald Sun no matter how good the Age's coverage, and so on. Supposedly public transport was owned by The Age, which meant The Age believed they had the ability to set the agenda on how it was discussed.

Looks like they've decided that in the lead up to the state election Victorians need to see the SRL as a liability no matter what. I guess it's not their job to propose alternatives, but they do seem to be more supportive of road projects in recent years.
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Years ago a journo told me that various papers "own" various issues - AFL fans were always going to read the Herald Sun no matter how good the Age's coverage, and so on. Supposedly public transport was owned by The Age, which meant The Age believed they had the ability to set the agenda on how it was discussed.

Looks like they've decided that in the lead up to the state election Victorians need to see the SRL as a liability no matter what. I guess it's not their job to propose alternatives, but they do seem to be more supportive of road projects in recent years.
Tony M.
Strange how some papers have a predudice for/against individual projects.

Hun was long time fan of EastWest link. Gone mum on that since the Lib implosion last election.

The Age has been throwing crap at MM1 since it started.
MM1 reaching big milestones and looking good, so one last try at "cost blow out" last week that fell flat.
Now they move to another target SRL to keep themselves amused.

Its a wonder anybody reads their crap anymore.

PS.
I think I might just scream, if I hear one more time about the "secretive" origins of SRL.
Of course they turned to urban planners for advice about the urban future, knowing full well the imagination at DoT,  and railways in particular, was still stuck in the 1950s. The 2008 transport plan proved that.

cheers
John
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
Ironically, it's the urban planners who are stuck in the 1950s, building unwalkable maze-like suburbs miles from transport and shopping centres while providing nothing aside from basic services such as water and electricity. And then blame the government for the lack of trains and buses when there's physically nowhere to put them because every house is ten feet from the next house and the long winding (and footpath-less) roads are one-and-a-half car-widths wide so that anything larger than a Hiace struggles to go down them.
  Djebel Chief Train Controller

Ironically, it's the urban planners who are stuck in the 1950s, building unwalkable maze-like suburbs miles from transport and shopping centres while providing nothing aside from basic services such as water and electricity. And then blame the government for the lack of trains and buses when there's physically nowhere to put them because every house is ten feet from the next house and the long winding (and footpath-less) roads are one-and-a-half car-widths wide so that anything larger than a Hiace struggles to go down them.
Heihachi_73
Every house is 10 feet from the next house?  What leafy new luxury developments are you visiting?

The ones I see you'd be lucky to have 10 INCHES between most of the houses
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Ironically, it's the urban planners who are stuck in the 1950s, building unwalkable maze-like suburbs miles from transport and shopping centres while providing nothing aside from basic services such as water and electricity. And then blame the government for the lack of trains and buses when there's physically nowhere to put them because every house is ten feet from the next house and the long winding (and footpath-less) roads are one-and-a-half car-widths wide so that anything larger than a Hiace struggles to go down them.
Heihachi_73
That's  not urban planning. You just described property development.

Not only did the "secretive" SRL exclude transport dept,  also excluded property spivs.
And the celebrity professors in their thrall - boy are they pissed.
Just look toward Fishermens Bend when those 2 get together.

cheers
John
  Tony M. Junior Train Controller

I think I might just scream, if I hear one more time about the "secretive" origins of SRL.
Of course they turned to urban planners for advice about the urban future, knowing full well the imagination at DoT,  and railways in particular, was still stuck in the 1950s. The 2008 transport plan proved that.
justarider
It's interesting how "secretive" is often thrown around in these cases by the media as a synonym for "corruption", when what they really mean by secretive is that the usual shonks and dodgy types weren't given an early heads up so they could cash in.
  John E Locomotive Driver

Terril from the Gratton Institute having yet another go at calling for SRL to be scrapped/paused following up the mayors article yesterday. The explicit message is that we should wait a few years and see what exactly the post Covid world looks like even though in many parts of the world train pax have returned to 90% of pre Covid levels (London, Parie, bangkok etc).

And now we’re facing a time of high uncertainty; we simply don’t know which of our new patterns of work and travel will become permanent, and it’s a brave person who would say all the projects conceived pre-COVID are the right ones for a changed world.

We don’t have a good process for cancelling projects that turn out to be less attractive than they might have once seemed, but the mayors are right in calling for, at a minimum, a pause and a rethink.
So while Melb grows to a 8m city in the next 3 decades,  it patently makes sense to waste another few years for a pause and to delay the project.......The point about policy choices is of course valid, but all govts make policy choices and we expect progress on Melton, WV & Clyde in the next few years.

Indeed, imho it is fairly safe to assume that one of the electrifcation projects (Melton) and Clyde will most likely proceed in the next election cycle.
Yer, "the mayors". A reason the job of design is given to qualified engineers, instead of local politicians.

In each case they bemoan stations have to up to street level and cross to the existing stations.
The magic bullet is a pedestrian tunnel between the 2.

Well guess what, theSRL is underground, and the existing stations are ground level or above.

Guess they will make the rise with fairy dust.

Glen Waveley my favorite. An 80m walk that is promised to be undercover and inside the paid zone.
How else do they expect to arrive in the middle of the GW island platform, with doubtfull room for stairs/escallators oriented the wrong direction.

2nd favourite Box Hill. The SRL station box is only about 25m from the existing line.
Just punch a hole thru the back of platform 4, and your near enough to the mezzanine on the SRL station.
Minor issues.
   Platform 1is the least used. The island 2/3 would be nastry - go under and then up again.
   The wall at the back of the Platform 4 is holding up the whole shopping centres

cheers
John
justarider
Sorry John I disagree,

Quick and easy connections between existing stations and new SRL platforms are crucial for this project to succeed. Why are we spending a fortune on this project, then making passengers walk for 5 minutes to interchange? even Daniel Bowen agrees. I  would prefer a little bit more be spent to get this right, rather than take silly shortcuts or alternatively build something completely different and much cheaper. I am also concerned about trains being only 4 carriages long.

Melbourne metro will have underground connections between existing and Metro stations (Melbourne Central & State Library + Flinders Street and Town Hall). Why can't this be done for the SRL too? There's less infrastructure getting in the way in the suburbs compared to the city too. E.g. there is going to be disruption building an underground station at Fry Reserve. using the shopping centre carpark would only be marginally more disruptive?

Hindsight is a beautiful thing but some of the works could have been combined with recent level crossing removal works "killing 2 birds with one stone". Yes it would have taken a bit longer but overall cost would be less and net benefit higher.
  1) Clayton station could have been built at same time as SRL station box.
  2) New Southland Station maybe built closer to Fry reserve
  Tony M. Junior Train Controller

While obviously everyone wants the best possible version of the SRL, it's fairly clear that most people calling for things like "a pause and a rethink" want the pause to last long enough for the next LNP government to cancel the whole thing.

As MM1 has shown, it's perfectly possible to redesign station access well into implementation (see the alterations to the underground access to Flinders St). It's important to discuss these things and highlight where there may be issues, but at this early stage when platform design is entirely conceptual, calling for "taking a little more time to get things right" is really just calling for SRL to be put on hold until it can be cancelled.

(which is fair enough, but if that's what you want then say that)
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Sorry John I disagree,

Quick and easy connections between existing stations and new SRL platforms are crucial for this project to succeed. Why are we spending a fortune on this project, then making passengers walk for 5 minutes to interchange? even Daniel Bowen agrees. I  would prefer a little bit more be spent to get this right, rather than take silly shortcuts or alternatively build something completely different and much cheaper. I am also concerned about trains being only 4 carriages long.

Melbourne metro will have underground connections between existing and Metro stations (Melbourne Central & State Library + Flinders Street and Town Hall). Why can't this be done for the SRL too? There's less infrastructure getting in the way in the suburbs compared to the city too. E.g. there is going to be disruption building an underground station at Fry Reserve. using the shopping centre carpark would only be marginally more disruptive?

Hindsight is a beautiful thing but some of the works could have been combined with recent level crossing removal works "killing 2 birds with one stone". Yes it would have taken a bit longer but overall cost would be less and net benefit higher.
  1) Clayton station could have been built at same time as SRL station box.
  2) New Southland Station maybe built closer to Fry reserve
John E
Maybe we just wait for the real designs?

5minutes? That is overblown, yet the MM1 intechange at Town Hall wiil be close.

Melbourne metro will have underground connections between existing and Metro stations (Melbourne Central & State Library + Flinders Street and Town Hall). Why can't this be done for the SRL too?
John E

Did you pay attention to the $3B blowout because of those 2 caverns. It's little surprise that SRL avoids them, and has opted for boxes everywhere.

Clayton is the one I'm least concerned about. When the platform is extended for 10car HCMT, it will be directly above the SRL station box.

Southland merely highlights the existing station platforms are in the wrong place. Extend/move them to Bay Rd, and there is your interchange. The existing entrance will be fine as is, just now at platform end instead of middle.

Monash is the real disappointment.
But since there was never any way the Uni could allow a 3year construction site ripping out the heart at the centre of campus, there was just the 2nd choice.

And let's not forget rule 1 of tunnel building. Avoid foundations of overhead buildings at all times.
Especially, like the shopping centres and car parks, those built on closely spaced piers that only go down until solid ground. Dig around those at peril.
The tunnel under BoxHill Central will be very interesting.

cheers
John
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
Sorry John I disagree,

Quick and easy connections between existing stations and new SRL platforms are crucial for this project to succeed. Why are we spending a fortune on this project, then making passengers walk for 5 minutes to interchange? even Daniel Bowen agrees. I  would prefer a little bit more be spent to get this right, rather than take silly shortcuts or alternatively build something completely different and much cheaper. I am also concerned about trains being only 4 carriages long.

Melbourne metro will have underground connections between existing and Metro stations (Melbourne Central & State Library + Flinders Street and Town Hall). Why can't this be done for the SRL too? There's less infrastructure getting in the way in the suburbs compared to the city too. E.g. there is going to be disruption building an underground station at Fry Reserve. using the shopping centre carpark would only be marginally more disruptive?

Hindsight is a beautiful thing but some of the works could have been combined with recent level crossing removal works "killing 2 birds with one stone". Yes it would have taken a bit longer but overall cost would be less and net benefit higher.
  1) Clayton station could have been built at same time as SRL station box.
  2) New Southland Station maybe built closer to Fry reserve
"John E"
Maybe we just wait for the real designs?

5minutes? That is overblown, yet the MM1 intechange at Town Hall wiil be close.

Melbourne metro will have underground connections between existing and Metro stations (Melbourne Central & State Library + Flinders Street and Town Hall). Why can't this be done for the SRL too?
"JohnE"

Did you pay attention to the $3B blowout because of those 2 caverns. It's little surprise that SRL avoids them, and has opted for boxes everywhere.

Clayton is the one I'm least concerned about. When the platform is extended for 10car HCMT, it will be directly above the SRL station box.

Southland merely highlights the existing station platforms are in the wrong place. Extend/move them to Bay Rd, and there is your interchange. The existing entrance will be fine as is, just now at platform end instead of middle.

Monash is the real disappointment.
But since there was never any way the Uni could allow a 3year construction site ripping out the heart at the centre of campus, there was just the 2nd choice.

And let's not forget rule 1 of tunnel building. Avoid foundations of overhead buildings at all times.
Especially, like the shopping centres and car parks, those built on closely spaced piers that only go down until solid ground. Dig around those at peril.
The tunnel under BoxHill Central will be very interesting.

cheers
John
  Djebel Chief Train Controller

The layout and engineering of the whole section starting from the Box Hill SRL station and interchange, then heading up to Doncaster is going to be fascinating.
  justarider Chief Commissioner

Location: Released again, maybe for the last time??
The layout and engineering of the whole section starting from the Box Hill SRL station and interchange, then heading up to Doncaster is going to be fascinating.
Djebel
Following from how conservative the designs have been so far,
I am inclined to bet on rail over the freeway, rather than super deep/steep inclines.

Just waiting the right time to neuter the compliants of "skyrail".

cheers
John
  BaysideManny Assistant Commissioner

When you are talking about a extremely expensive project with a very long lead time the sensible thing to do is to pause and have a rethink . The Government is rushing through this project with alarming speed. Under state legislation passed in 2021, the Suburban Rail Loop Authority was given planning powers over the area 1.6km from each SRL station. This grants the authority the power to bypass local councils and rezone or develop land in the station precincts. And if I was a resident of Heatherton, I would not be happy at all.

And sorry, the argument that the Coalition will cancel the project is just such a weak excuse I am afraid if current polling are a guide.

The Melbourne Bus Network is an absolute car crash. The Smartbus infrastructure and branding is being actively dismantled - the labels are being scrubbed from stops and buses. Most Bus routes cease operating at 9.00 and most run to a maximum of a 30 minute schedule even in rush hours.  When you look at every other capital city in Australia, that would be considered unacceptable. Whlist the Government has revamped the Bus network in local areas such as Wyndham, in the main all the Government has done is to introduce a couple of dozen new Bus routes, in which, with the exception of the 202, are subject to the same minimum service quality requirement of 30/40 mins off peak Mon to Fri and Hourly on weekends, when the whole network needs to be rescoped. Fisherman's Bend is supposed to be Melbourne’s next new urban development precinct, but there are only 4 routes serving it and the CBD, resulting in overcrowding and people left behind in peak periods. And a 5th, route 606 to Elsternwick, again you've guessed it, operates to minimum service quality requirement of 30/40 mins off peak Mon to Fri and Hourly on weekends. The Government has also bought 100 buses. Very basic buses, purchased on the cheap.

All the Current government is bothered about are Capital work projects. The "Big Build". Anything that requires physical construction. The government reckons that will cost $30 to $34.5 billion and 13 years to complete SRL East. $30 to $34.5 billion and 13 years to build 26 kilometres of twin tunnels and six new underground stations when the Airport link is going to cost $10 Billion and 7 years for just 12 km of new track, including 6 km long section of elevated rail, 2 bridges and 1 station? I ain't buying that. Moreover, I think that the Western Rail Plan should take precedence over the SRL.  

So many will still suffer from poor transport options because the Government is seemingly only interested in Major Infrastructure Projects. I cant help feeling that it is a poor outcome.


Mannie
  Tii Chief Train Controller

I'm inclined to agree with Mannie on too much big build stuff. Yes we needed it to get things moving along, but as you say we need the small stuff too now on bus timetabling and routes, increased train frequency to complement all that big build stuff as a useful PT network. With MM1, LX works, RRR and Geelong upgrades finishing up by 2025, it's time this SmallBuild stuff was announced in the 2022 election (and the WRP) to start/coincide with the end of many BigBuild 2025 stuff. The MARL/SRL will chip away in the background.
  Djebel Chief Train Controller

I'm inclined to agree with Mannie on too much big build stuff. Yes we needed it to get things moving along, but as you say we need the small stuff too now on bus timetabling and routes, increased train frequency to complement all that big build stuff as a useful PT network. With MM1, LX works, RRR and Geelong upgrades finishing up by 2025, it's time this SmallBuild stuff was announced in the 2022 election (and the WRP) to start/coincide with the end of many BigBuild 2025 stuff. The MARL/SRL will chip away in the background.
Tii
Not enough photo opportunities.
  Tony M. Junior Train Controller

This may be out-of-date news, but wasn't a big problem with Melbourne buses (a few years ago at least) that the government was locked into old contracts that gave the bus companies the upper hand when it came to routes and timetabling so long as they met the minimum requirements? I dimly remember there was a push a while back for the government to either exert stronger controls or dump the bus companies entirely when and if the contracts finally expired.

They seem to have only just now negotiated new contracts for regional bus companies: https://www.busnews.com.au/industry-news/2207/victoria-finalises-regional-bus-network-contracts
  Tii Chief Train Controller

This may be out-of-date news, but wasn't a big problem with Melbourne buses (a few years ago at least) that the government was locked into old contracts that gave the bus companies the upper hand when it came to routes and timetabling so long as they met the minimum requirements? I dimly remember there was a push a while back for the government to either exert stronger controls or dump the bus companies entirely when and if the contracts finally expired.

They seem to have only just now negotiated new contracts for regional bus companies: https://www.busnews.com.au/industry-news/2207/victoria-finalises-regional-bus-network-contracts
Tony M.
Yes I recall a discussion about old contracts from prior franchise agreements or privatisations, restricting reform. The curse of privatisation everywhere whether energy, health or PT. Hopefully with a bit of political will these are being addressed as each contract comes up for renewal in the future. Bring it on so I can take PT to work/home.

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