Fast regional rail is the key to managing population growth

 

News article: Fast regional rail is the key to managing population growth

Victoria’s regional rail network deserves a rebuild.

  x31 Chief Commissioner

Location: gallifrey
Totally agree with the idea of upgrading the regional lines.

What is the next big speed upgrade for the regional network maybe it should be over 160 km/h or trains should at least be able to hold than speed for a good length of the journey.

We need a plan to have the v/line regional network run to a speed of this on the main regional lines such as Geelong (200 km/h would be even better) to be implemented by 2025 or earlier.  Victorians need the flexibility of living outside of Melbourne but still be able to hold a job in a regional area.

Add to that the ability to live outside a regional city and work in a regional city using public transport to get to and from work quickly.

Can the government please start to plan for this or has this work already started?

Fast regional rail is the key to managing population growth

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  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

There have been literally dozens of pages across several threads discussing this issue in the last 6 months.

If you’d read any of them you might know the answer to most of your questions.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
It's ironic that as I read this story, travelling home at 160 km/h on the 16:33 Ballarat, one of Australia's fastest point to point trains through the construction site that is Rockbank station I thought to myself, if the Age writer travelled on this service most nights they'd get a taste of what reasonably fast regional rail can be instead of trying to write a story watching trains coming and going across the road at SCS.

BTW 46 mins, 80km, 2 intermediate stops and ascending to 500 meters above sea level is impressive in any ones language.

Mike.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
That "news article" is in fact an opinion piece written by John Pessutto who now has enough time on his hands for such pursuits.

Reading the piece in its entirety is a little more rewarding than the RP snippet but overall it adds very little to any debate and is really just a rehashing of the major PT promises made in the lead up to the last election.

BG
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
It's ironic that as I read this story, travelling home at 160 km/h on the 16:33 Ballarat, one of Australia's fastest point to point trains through the construction site that is Rockbank station I thought to myself, if the Age writer travelled on this service most nights they'd get a taste of what reasonably fast regional rail can be instead of trying to write a story watching trains coming and going across the road at SCS.

BTW 46 mins, 80km, 2 intermediate stops and ascending to 500 meters above sea level is impressive in any ones language.

Mike.
The Vinelander
I really wish that everybody, RailPagers, Pollies, Journos (or what passes for them these days) etc would stop going on with this BS and realise that most of us who actually use regional public transport would far prefer the existing services that we have to be made punctual and reliable to some sort of bizarre RFR Mk 2 debate.

If I could actually rely on the fact that I could get the 16.25 train from Castlemaine each and every weekday and arrive into Southern Cross at 6PM I would be a very happy camper. But I cannot. Cancellations, late running, congestion, track faults, signal faults, train faults, staff sickness etc etc etc all mean that each trip is a lottery.

This sort of nonsense is actually counter productive as it takes attention away from the very real problems on the current network and replaces it with some sort of wistful sky gazing letting V/Line and the government get away with running an average at best interpretation of what is in fact a pretty good timetable.


Fix what we've got and then and only then look at making speed and timetable improvements. And if you have no skin in the game (ie you don't actually use or intend to use the service) then go and play trains somewhere else.

BG
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
It's ironic that as I read this story, travelling home at 160 km/h on the 16:33 Ballarat, one of Australia's fastest point to point trains through the construction site that is Rockbank station I thought to myself, if the Age writer travelled on this service most nights they'd get a taste of what reasonably fast regional rail can be instead of trying to write a story watching trains coming and going across the road at SCS.

BTW 46 mins, 80km, 2 intermediate stops and ascending to 500 meters above sea level is impressive in any ones language.

Mike.
I really wish that everybody, RailPagers, Pollies, Journos (or what passes for them these days) etc would stop going on with this BS and realise that most of us who actually use regional public transport would far prefer the existing services that we have to be made punctual and reliable to some sort of bizarre RFR Mk 2 debate.

If I could actually rely on the fact that I could get the 16.25 train from Castlemaine each and every weekday and arrive into Southern Cross at 6PM I would be a very happy camper. But I cannot. Cancellations, late running, congestion, track faults, signal faults, train faults, staff sickness etc etc etc all mean that each trip is a lottery.
BrentonGolding

Though we occasionally have issues with our line, overall I'd have to say the Ballarat line seems to be more reliable than the Bendigo line as you describe it Brenton.

Also, now that most 'Marsh locals are operated by V'Locity's the faster Ballarat's aren't caught behind them like they used to.
Also, once we leave Sunshine, there's no possibility of dragging our heels behind a SAS spark and though that may be problem down the track, it's not really on the radar at present.

I went into the Age to read who the journo was and was surprised it was John Pesutto who lost his safe seat of Hawthorn at the recent election. Surprised as I was that it was a conservative advocating for PT of any description in view of their performance under Baillieu/Napthine.

John impressed me on election night on the ABC panel by keeping his cool as a gentleman even though he could see his political future evaporating before his eyes

Mike.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
John impressed me on election night on the ABC panel by keeping his cool as a gentleman even though he could see his political future evaporating before his eyes

Mike.
The Vinelander
Agreed Mike, I don't think many could have done such a professional job under those circumstances.

And apologies, I shouldn't have quoted your post in my previous, I wasn't disagreeing with you, mine was supposed to follow on from yours but when I re-read it just then it didn't come across that way.

BG
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Mike's comments regarding the Ballarat Service from V/Line is comforting but I believe John was talking more about making the speeds across the network universal rather than attached to specific lines?
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

@BrentonGolding hear, hear. Take note those who think that we should spend vast amounts of money upgrading the Geelong line to 250km/h operation to save 10 minutes. Reliable frequent services is the key. NOT pie in the sky high speed to Geelong. Money would be better spent upgrading whay we have.

Michael
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Mike's comments regarding the Ballarat Service from V/Line is comforting but I believe John was talking more about making the speeds across the network universal rather than attached to specific lines?
bevans

I have no idea what you mean by this. Even on Railpage there seems to be a serious misunderstanding of what's going on here.

The four largest population centres outside of Melbourne - Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Melton - between them account for 400,000 residents, around a quarter of the state's regional population (even if Melton is arguably now an outer suburb). All four are comfortably within two hours of Melbourne by train, on current alignments at current speeds.

The challenges facing Victorian regional rail, as BG observed above, have nothing to do with speed. You can understand this simply by heading down to Southern Cross at 5 o'clock on a Friday. The trains are full. The problem is capacity.

The absolutely minuscule time savings offered by the policy the Liberal Opposition took to the election - upgrading existing Class 1 track (and I'll be kind and assume they meant entire corridors) - would have made no substantial difference to train travel as an attractive option for travel from Melbourne to the regions. In any case, it seems the train is already more than attractive enough: that's why peak services are crowded! That's why thousands of people are complaining! Because they want to catch the train!

It should be painfully obvious with even a cursory examination that resources are much better directed at increasing line capacity and reliability now, rather than headline-grabbing travel time targets. The fruit is low-hanging, but damn expensive. Suburban lines to Wyndham Vale and Melton; more capacity from Sunshine in; class 1 upgrades for the remainder of the Ballarat and Bendigo lines with additional (re)duplication in parts; South Geelong-Waurn Ponds duplication; ATC to the ends of the commuter corridor (not just the "main" station). These projects are not sexy but they are very good value, providing a 50-100% increase in capacity to the four main centres outside of Melbourne. As a bonus, by segregating different types of service and providing more resilient infrastructure, they increase punctuality and reliability.

Well, what about the fifth biggest centre, you say? Or the sixth? It has to be acknowledged that the remaining population centres are smaller and smaller, and spending bazillions can't be immediately justified. But at the same time, exisiting rail corridors can and should be leveraged by providing modest improvements to service - 130km/h DMU operation and buffet/first class facilities on the longest corridors will be more than sufficient to make journeys car-competitive, again without breaking the budget on expensive realignments or track upgrade overkill.

All of this can be achieved without "fast rail" or anything that looks like it. But it will increase rail passenger mode share in the regions to a creditable level. And the trains might finally run on time.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
John impressed me on election night on the ABC panel by keeping his cool as a gentleman even though he could see his political future evaporating before his eyes

Mike.
Agreed Mike, I don't think many could have done such a professional job under those circumstances.

And apologies, I shouldn't have quoted your post in my previous, I wasn't disagreeing with you, mine was supposed to follow on from yours but when I re-read it just then it didn't come across that way.

BG
BrentonGolding

Totally unnecessary to apologise Brenton...I know your intentions are honourable. It's like we are kindred spirits closely connected by the Castlemaine/ Maldon and the Harcourt districts...

Mike.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Mike's comments regarding the Ballarat Service from V/Line is comforting but I believe John was talking more about making the speeds across the network universal rather than attached to specific lines?
bevans

I agree entirely Bavans. I schedule my day, WOLO's notwithstanding around the 16:33 down Wendouree as it's a fast trip home when many pax in the suburbs are barely past Ringwood or Moorabbin and I'm home in the country with my quality of life I've built for myself over the years.

Not all trains are fast like mine and the weekend services are 20 mins slower with at least one cross to contend with...though the ever increasing patronage is pleasing to see.

Mike.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
John impressed me on election night on the ABC panel by keeping his cool as a gentleman even though he could see his political future evaporating before his eyes
The Vinelander
I think that his career was just delayed by 4 years....
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
What is the next big speed upgrade for the regional network maybe it should be over 160 km/h or trains should at least be able to hold than speed for a good length of the journey.
x31

We should be doing nothing until routing through suburbia is resolved.

And beyond that, nothing unless fares are raised to support any speed upgrades.


BTW 46 mins, 80km, 2 intermediate stops and ascending to 500 meters above sea level is impressive in any ones language.
Vinelander

Which third world language is that?
  RTT_Rules Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Dubai UAE
Totally agree with the idea of upgrading the regional lines.

What is the next big speed upgrade for the regional network maybe it should be over 160 km/h or trains should at least be able to hold than speed for a good length of the journey.

We need a plan to have the v/line regional network run to a speed of this on the main regional lines such as Geelong (200 km/h would be even better) to be implemented by 2025 or earlier.  Victorians need the flexibility of living outside of Melbourne but still be able to hold a job in a regional area.

Add to that the ability to live outside a regional city and work in a regional city using public transport to get to and from work quickly.

Can the government please start to plan for this or has this work already started?

Fast regional rail is the key to managing population growth
x31
I agree the govts of each of three eastern mainland states should be preserving up to 200km/h corridors for future expansion and I agree fast regional and interurban rail helps increase housing options for city commuters.

However as other have said, all three big cities suffer from the same issue, at capacity suburban corridors where expresses and all stoppers are mixing and both suffering. This needs fixing first before wasting too much increasing interurban line speeds, just to crawl the last 40km which is another issue. Australia's cities are so spread out compared to EU.

Side Note: I was in Helsinki recently and from the central station the train quickly hit and held 120km/h within 3km of the station. Track was like a glassy sea, smooth as a pool table.

A few examples of the problems
Brisbane:
Both NCL and GC trains have 140km/h approaches to the outer suburban stations, then crawl through slow curves and get caught behind a suburban.
It would be near impossible to commence a interurban express service to the west with the current western line timetable and such trains could not enter the city tunnels at all, termination at Roma Street would be required.

Sydney  
Has the express interurban lines from Straithfield, but getting through suburbia to that point is a nightmarefrom both north and west. The southern approach is worse off and the SW runs into the same bottle neck.
  reubstar6 Chief Train Controller

On that note, what would it take to increase line speeds out of Southern Cross? Would you have to rationalise most of the points, or is it impossible. The same goes for metropolitan services. There seems to be so much time wasted going slowly through seemingly straight sections of track, especially around Flinders Street.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Why bother with speed upgrades? All we need is upgrades to allow trains to reach their maximum speed for longer - much cheaper than upgrading the whole line to increase maximum line speed.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
What is the next big speed upgrade for the regional network maybe it should be over 160 km/h or trains should at least be able to hold than speed for a good length of the journey.

We should be doing nothing until routing through suburbia is resolved.

And beyond that, nothing unless fares are raised to support any speed upgrades.


BTW 46 mins, 80km, 2 intermediate stops and ascending to 500 meters above sea level is impressive in any ones language.

Which third world language is that?
ZH836301

Look up 'ascending' if you're unsure of its meaning...
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
We should be doing nothing until routing through suburbia is resolved.

And beyond that, nothing unless fares are raised to support any speed upgrades.
ZH836301
If you are going to recover the cost of infrastructure upgrades through the fare box then you may as well just abandon the railway and put people back in their cars, because no one could afford to use it.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
So why place fares so far below driving costs?

Look up 'ascending' if you're unsure of its meaning...
Vinelander

Look up some HSR examples, if you think a 100km/h average is impressive.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
So why place fares so far below driving costs?

Look up 'ascending' if you're unsure of its meaning...

Look up some HSR examples, if you think a 100km/h average is impressive.
ZH836301

A HSR between say...Brussels and Paris is of no use to me as I don't live in Europe.

We live with what we have and fortunately I travel on the best of what we have in Australia.

46 Mins from SCS to Ballan is an exceptional schedule and is actually 104 Km/h average speed, which is higher than is allowed on most roads and is around a 50% quicker journey than driving a car at the same time of the day. Yet you advocate increasing fares to castrate what the Victorian government has worked so hard to achieve thus far.

Admittedly my example stands alone in the mix of SAS trains in off peak and weekends and more could be done on ALL RFR lines to improve the infrastructure to allow for more express services outside of peak times...but turning pax away won't get the $$ spent on improving the infrastructure.

Mike.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
You claimed it to be impressive 'in anyone's language', yet clearly it is nothing special by world standards.

If you want such standards, then they have to be paid by someone, as they are overseas.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
You claimed it to be impressive 'in anyone's language', yet clearly it is nothing special by world standards.

If you want such standards, then they have to be paid by someone, as they are overseas.
ZH836301

I'm absolutely NOT looking for higher speeds on my line in particular as I well know the geography and you misquote my comments...as indeed you have others.
We live here and what we have created over the past 30 years is simply astounding. I've travelled on Eurostar and will again later this year, but that HSR cannot work in Victoria, except perhaps on a reconstructed Albury/Sydney line, which I'm sure you will interpret as my strong advocacy for HSR to Sydney...which in this thread I am not.

I'm merely suggesting more express trains between Melbourne and the regions at other times of the day to further increase the patronage which will further entrench extra funding to allow more trains to operate. This can be done on existing infrastructure. Why should Ararat trains be stopping at Rockbank or Echuca trains be stopping at Malmsbury when sweepers can do the same thing Question

Those who travel on off-peak trains on my line are many compared to 30 years ago and when I travel to Ballarat most Sunday afternoons, the numbers on the UP are very healthy, often exceeding 100 boardings in Ballarat alone.

I see similar at Bendigo and Castlemaine when I travel to that place I dare not mention...

Remember...Ballarat and Bendigo are NOT suburban stations.

Mike.
  ZH836301 Chief Commissioner

Location: BleakCity
Each new service loses money, they don't 'entrench extra funding to allow more trains to operate'.
  potatoinmymouth Chief Commissioner

Each new service loses money, they don't 'entrench extra funding to allow more trains to operate'.
ZH836301

ZH is right on this. If you’re talking about expanding public transport services anywhere in this state - train, tram, bus or flying pushbike - you have to accept you are doing so at a continuing cost to the taxpayer.

Now, the Victorian electorate have demonstrated pretty clearly at the ballot box over the last 20 years that they are prepared to accept this, but that doesn’t mean you have free rein to lumber the state with untrammeled ongoing expenses - any additional expenditure needs to be justified on economic and/or social grounds.

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