V/Line operations during COVID-19

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
So you're saying that the "record numbers" of trainees was nothing to crow about because it was actually only just better than replacement rate?
justapassenger

The average of V/Line drivers is well into their 50's. Therefore many drivers were deferring retirement.

If 30 drivers were deferring their retirement over the next number of months, definitely a realistic number and 40 new drivers are in the pipeline...do you understand Question

Mike.

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  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
I have not seen nor can I find on the internet any announcements from Vline on how they will handle social distancing obligations when people start travelling more and as more return to the office.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Can't do much I suppose.  Consists can't be expanded upfront upon demand.  The best thing to do is to keep trains reliable and minimize bustitution, I would say.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Can't do much I suppose.  Consists can't be expanded upfront upon demand.  The best thing to do is to keep trains reliable and minimize bustitution, I would say.
route14
I think it's being handled by limiting the number of people using the system.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Are people being left behind because of this?
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Last Friday was fun on the Geelong line when apparently a 3 car Vlo instead of the usual 6 car V/lo was packed like a sardine can in the evening peak.  

As for the Bendigo line - it's probably running at only 20-30% patronage compared to normal, so quite OK.
  DalyWaters Chief Commissioner

There is an internal "acknowledgement awards" regime at V/Line.  The staff newsletter has awards to people who have gone "above and beyond".

Of course, it is nonsense, in a "scratch my back and I'll scratch yours" style.  Occasionally some good work is awarded but it is a minority.  Recently, some planning staff were awarded for coming up with a plan to reduce services as the pandemic takes effect.
The reduction in services did not happen but the planning was done and the work was acknowledged.  Only V/Line would be so proactively keen to reduce services.

The challenge is to plan for some social distancing now that people are in the move again.  NSW Trainlink are backing up the XPT with coaches to ensure social distancing on the Melbourne service at least.  The coaches are running with a maximum of 12 passengers on a 50 seat coach.

The most urgent thing for V/Line to tackle is to have all Geelong trains as 6 cars.  There are some disgraceful cases of 3 car Velocities in the evening which are already filling up.  Evn in non pandemic times, there is no excuse for reducing train sizes as early as 7pm and having crush loads throughout the evening whilst so many cars sit idle.  

The fuelling and cleaning needs to move from the current 7pm to midnight at Geelong to 11pm to 4am so that trains can stay as 6 cars all evening.

Plan that and an award might be deserved.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Have the Melbourne XPTs been restored to full trip?  What's the punctuality like?
  NSWGR8022 Deputy Commissioner

Location: From the lands of Journalism and Free Speech
Have the Melbourne XPTs been restored to full trip?  What's the punctuality like?
route14

What do you mean by full trip?

On a different theme I checked the NSW Trainlink website today for a  booking and their services other than into Queensland are showing up as bookable and running again if they ever stopped.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

I thought for a period of time the journey couldn't be completed in 12 hours so they had to be terminated at Albury, or they wouldn't have enough trains.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
Have the Melbourne XPTs been restored to full trip?  What's the punctuality like?
route14
Not sure about the timetable in terms of departure and en route but I got a shock this morning while waiting on Footscray P4 for the AM Down Swanners - the XPT thundered under me on the Up towards Southern Cross pretty much bang on time for the old arrival time.

I didn't realise that it was running 'through' again.

And on a side note the Swan Hill service hasn't begun to recover any pax numbers yet as far as I can make out - I've got a whole carriage to myself again this morning.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Have the Melbourne XPTs been restored to full trip?  What's the punctuality like?
Not sure about the timetable in terms of departure and en route but I got a shock this morning while waiting on Footscray P4 for the AM Down Swanners - the XPT thundered under me on the Up towards Southern Cross pretty much bang on time for the old arrival time.

I didn't realise that it was running 'through' again.

And on a side note the Swan Hill service hasn't begun to recover any pax numbers yet as far as I can make out - I've got a whole carriage to myself again this morning.
BrentonGolding

I travelled in the first car behind the loco last Monday, 1 June. (4 car train)

Boarding at Watergardens I was one of 8 in the front car. Before arriving at Castlemaine I did a 'CANA' and there was 32 pax all up in the train. Arrival at Bendigo saw another 5 off from the front car and the remaining three, including myself went to Swan Hill.

Again around 35 off at Swan Hill (almost a normal day) and around 20 of those on to the Mildura bus connection and around 12 of those on the bus alighted at the busy Robinvale stop...not bad for the first (official) day of travel encouraged by the relaxation of the COVID-19 social distancing rules.

Mike.

PS. a CANA is like a WOLO... it's an old railway Telegraph Morse term to explain the numbers of pax on a certain service.
  whoistheg Station Master

Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
So are there any plans for back to work at all. ?

I usually get the 7:20 from Ballarat and normally its ok. I would probably call it socially distant enough with Wend and Ballarat pax.

Will this train express through Ballan/Bacchus into the city ?

Usually by time we hit Bacchus every seat is gone and few standing in doors.

Are VLine going to stop people getting on ?

BTW saw a 6 car velocity going out to Wend on Sunday Arvo. I reckon 1 person on board.
  YM-Mundrabilla Minister for Railways

Location: Mundrabilla but I'd rather be in Narvik
Have the Melbourne XPTs been restored to full trip?  What's the punctuality like?
Not sure about the timetable in terms of departure and en route but I got a shock this morning while waiting on Footscray P4 for the AM Down Swanners - the XPT thundered under me on the Up towards Southern Cross pretty much bang on time for the old arrival time.

I didn't realise that it was running 'through' again.

And on a side note the Swan Hill service hasn't begun to recover any pax numbers yet as far as I can make out - I've got a whole carriage to myself again this morning.

I travelled in the first car behind the loco last Monday, 1 June. (4 car train)

Boarding at Watergardens I was one of 8 in the front car. Before arriving at Castlemaine I did a 'CANA' and there was 32 pax all up in the train. Arrival at Bendigo saw another 5 off from the front car and the remaining three, including myself went to Swan Hill.

Again around 35 off at Swan Hill (almost a normal day) and around 20 of those on to the Mildura bus connection and around 12 of those on the bus alighted at the busy Robinvale stop...not bad for the first (official) day of travel encouraged by the relaxation of the COVID-19 social distancing rules.

Mike.

PS. a CANA is like a WOLO... it's an old railway Telegraph Morse term to explain the numbers of pax on a certain service.
The Vinelander
Four letter Telegraphic Codes (like AMBA, RULO, RYZU, BOBO, BYAD and AMEX etc etc - there are hundreds) are perfectly acceptable here*. PUCI.

* Edit: Unlike unexplained acronyms, of course.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
So are there any plans for back to work at all. ?

I usually get the 7:20 from Ballarat and normally its ok. I would probably call it socially distant enough with Wend and Ballarat pax.

Will this train express through Ballan/Bacchus into the city ?

Usually by time we hit Bacchus every seat is gone and few standing in doors.

Are VLine going to stop people getting on ?

BTW saw a 6 car velocity going out to Wend on Sunday Arvo. I reckon 1 person on board.
whoistheg

I'll be working from home for the next few weeks at least. Management has suggested I might like to eek out my remaining years working from home twice a week, which is great for getting into the garden even in mid Winter.

I wouldn't be expecting too much in the way of accelerated timetables or peak trains stopping at fewer stations and in any event Ballan will probably remain a part of Ballarat's mix of timetables for the foreseeable future...sorry...not sorry. Smile

However there will be an increase in overall service frequency later this year after the completion of the BLU.

Mike.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Have the Melbourne XPTs been restored to full trip?  What's the punctuality like?

And on a side note the Swan Hill service hasn't begun to recover any pax numbers yet as far as I can make out - I've got a whole carriage to myself again this morning.
BrentonGolding

BG Vline have come out and said they are at 17% passenger loading and no change in sight at the moment which fails to explain why they are running  car sets with all the cost involved including that of the environment.
  justarider Deputy Commissioner

Location: Bored at home
Have the Melbourne XPTs been restored to full trip?  What's the punctuality like?

And on a side note the Swan Hill service hasn't begun to recover any pax numbers yet as far as I can make out - I've got a whole carriage to myself again this morning.
BrentonGolding

BG Vline have come out and said they are at 17% passenger loading and no change in sight at the moment which fails to explain why they are running  car sets with all the cost involved including that of the environment.
"bevans"

So does that mean @bevans, that they should follow the lead of Borisland and cut services, packing trains to the gills. That really worked out well, not.

Target for social distancing on PT is 15%. V/line at 17%,  and all Aussie governments in general should be applauded.

cheers
John
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Apparently V/line are about to commence 9-car V/locity trials between SCS and Wyndham Vale.
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, Victoria
Apparently V/line are about to commence 9-car V/locity trials between SCS and Wyndham Vale.
Carnot
They ran a couple of weeks ago on a Sunday. Anyone manage to get any photographs?

In other news, all Albury line services suspended due to NSW border closure.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Cancelled completely or terminating at, say, Wodonga?  (Not sure about track configuration, though)
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Cancelled completely or terminating at, say, Wodonga?  (Not sure about track configuration, though)
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Cancelled completely or terminating at, say, Wodonga?  (Not sure about track configuration, though)
route14

This could be the status https://www.railpage.com.au/f-p2182938.htm#2182938

Why no turnback at Wodonga but is it a problem when the train could go empty to Albury yard to reverse the loco.
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

With Greater Melbourne and the Shire of Mitchell back in stage 3 lockdown, it would be reduced to a Euroa-Wodonga service.

Would that even be possible to run without on board staff located in Melbourne? Would there be enough passengers to constitute a use case for rail on a rural shuttle like that?
  mike49 Locomotive Fireman

With Greater Melbourne and the Shire of Mitchell back in stage 3 lockdown, it would be reduced to a Euroa-Wodonga service.

Would that even be possible to run without on board staff located in Melbourne? Would there be enough passengers to constitute a use case for rail on a rural shuttle like that?
justapassenger
There is no suggestion at this stage that any other V/Line services operating out of the lockdown area will be suspended. Trains could easily run empty to & from Albury to turn around although it would presumably require approval from NSW to do so. I sometimes think that V/Line will use any excuse not to run these services.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

I think the same.  If they were keen to run trains at least they could run a broad gauge train to Seymour and get the local coaches to continue the journey.  In doing so the delay is minimized.

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