V/Line operations during COVID-19

 
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Of possible interest is Swan Hill bus lines are still operating to Mildura, every service as timetabled via NSW.

Mike.

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  don_dunstan The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: Adelaide proud
Of possible interest is Swan Hill bus lines are still operating to Mildura, every service as timetabled via NSW.

Mike.
The Vinelander
Should be a hover-train with degustation menu...
  route14 Chief Commissioner

According to V/Line's website the Mildura services are bypassing NSW territory with some stops not served, journey time extended.
  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
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.
route14
I believe that is the case, there was a photo of an "Albury" train departing platform 8 South the other day.

Probably helps with Social distancing, keeping V/Line Staff busy working and means the coach drivers don't have to come into Melbourne.
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Right.  I checked the journey planner yesterday and the late-noon service was shown as a train to Seymour and a coach onwards with a connection time of 10 minutes.  The PDF timetables were not available so I couldn't check whether it was a usual Seymour service or a shortened Albury service.  The evening service was shown not running at all, not even a bustitution.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
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
No it wouldn't. The train can still run to Melbourne as it is considered an essential service.
  Contrillion Junior Train Controller

Location: Geelong, Victoria
Cancelled completely or terminating at, say, Wodonga?  (Not sure about track configuration, though)
route14
Cancelled completely. Coaches are running Southern Cross - Wodonga with no service to Albury.

From memory there are local bus services that cross the border, presumably they have stopped also?

The XPT has not run past Albury again, I think the final services to/from Melbourne were on the afternoon/evening of the 7th.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Cancelled completely or terminating at, say, Wodonga?  (Not sure about track configuration, though)
Cancelled completely. Coaches are running Southern Cross - Wodonga with no service to Albury.

From memory there are local bus services that cross the border, presumably they have stopped also?

The XPT has not run past Albury again, I think the final services to/from Melbourne were on the afternoon/evening of the 7th.
Contrillion

I am lost with these clowns at V/Line, why do they need to remove the train and replace with a coach?
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
According to V/Line's website the Mildura services are bypassing NSW territory with some stops not served, journey time extended.
route14

Interesting to read this. Therefore the Swan Hill to Mildura buses will be doubling back from Robinvale station to the Murray Valley Highway past Bannerton and proceeding to Hattah where the bus will turn right and proceed to Mildura via Red Cliffs and the Calder.

It adds around 55Km or 30mins to the journey.

I might have to take my laptop and work from 'home' at Vinelander Snr's house for a few days.

https://www.vline.com.au/border-restrictions

Mike.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
@bevans There is nowhere for the train to run around at Wodonga and with people needing a permit to cross the border they cannot run to Albury at all.
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
@bevans There is nowhere for the train to run around at Wodonga and with people needing a permit to cross the border they cannot run to Albury at all.
railblogger

Is there anything preventing the train emptying and reversing to Albury?
  route14 Chief Commissioner

Mike, according to V/Line's website Robinvale is served with a connecting shuttle, so through services will bypass Robinvale as well.
  BrentonGolding Chief Commissioner

Location: Maldon Junction
On the 16.24 Up Southern Cross ex Castlemaine ATM. Currently stopped in Elphi loop awaiting a cross.

Damned inconvenient for me and the other, um, maybe 4 people on this normally fairly well patronised service.

I am well and truly on the record as saying that I hate coaches so I am glad they are still running trains but I am beggared if I know why, they must be torching $$$millions
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

I am lost with these clowns at V/Line, why do they need to remove the train and replace with a coach?
bevans
It seems that that is V/line management's default setting.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Mike, according to V/Line's website Robinvale is served with a connecting shuttle, so through services will bypass Robinvale as well.
route14

It might be time for an inspection and report. Smile

I haven't seen the sights of downtown Hattah...ohh for about 5 weeks... when I went through there on the Mildura to Horsham bus.

One of the joys about working from home is that 'home' can be anywhere with an internet connection.

Mike.
  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
@bevans There is nowhere for the train to run around at Wodonga and with people needing a permit to cross the border they cannot run to Albury at all.

Is there anything preventing the train emptying and reversing to Albury?
bevans
I suspect the train crews need the permits like everyone else.
  skitz Chief Commissioner

@bevans There is nowhere for the train to run around at Wodonga and with people needing a permit to cross the border they cannot run to Albury at all.

Is there anything preventing the train emptying and reversing to Albury?
bevans
Common sense, well, lack of it.Rolling Eyes
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
As previously advised, I caught the DOWN Swan Hill this morning, boarding at Watergardens as the sole pax on that platform.

As the conductors aren't checking tickets these days, I took my seat in the ACN with one other pax who also probably didn't hold a 1st class ticket either.

I was one of 6 pax on the train and with the other pax in 1st alighting at Bendigo, I had the ACN to myself until Swan Hill. It's obvious the track is much improved as for the most part the ACN rode smoothly, without the vicious jumping and shaking that was prevalent until recently.

One off at Kerang saw the train arrive 5 early with 4 off at Swan Hill despite temporary speed restrictions. The trains interior was markedly cleaner than usual, howeevr the set hasn't been through the car wash for several weeks.

Three pax joined the Mildura bus which was actually 75% of the train pax and all went through to Mildura via Robinvale, Bannerton (has anyone ever alighted there)and the Murray Valley Highway to Hattah.

Mildura was reached 40" later than usual due to the 50Km detour.

I'm travelling back to Ballan on Friday and the bus driver advised the bus would leave Mildura at the usual timetabled time with far less connecting time at Swan Hill.

Mike.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Yes, I've noticed a big drop off in numbers on V/line trains in the past week.  The only exception being the trains that carry school kids in the morning and afternoon.  (i.e The Castlemaine to Bendigo high-school student conveyor).
  Carnot Minister for Railways

It probably belongs in another thread, but the Herald Sun today is reporting that Metro Trains Melbourne and Yarra Trams are 'threatening' (is that the right word?) to hand the keys back to PTV if they don't get more State money to prop up their ailing operations due to dwindling patronage and no guarantee of a return to previous passenger numbers.
  hbedriver Chief Train Controller

Dunno about the trams, but Metro Trains makes a mint from projects. We always thought running trains was what they had to do in order to get the Project money. I never bothered reading the current contract, but I remember that Connex used to get 10% of all project costs as their fee, plus they had the right to do the job at their cost if they wanted to. It was common for us to see a job charged at 2-4 times the fair price with that contract, a very nice earner. I assume that Metro do even better.

And look at all the projects going; level crossing removals, tunnels, the list goes on. Ticket revenue is insignificant to them, and with no passengers their trains are all on time, so no late running fines, just more bonuses. Still, no harm trying!
  Lockie91 Chief Train Controller

Dunno about the trams, but Metro Trains makes a mint from projects. We always thought running trains was what they had to do in order to get the Project money. I never bothered reading the current contract, but I remember that Connex used to get 10% of all project costs as their fee, plus they had the right to do the job at their cost if they wanted to. It was common for us to see a job charged at 2-4 times the fair price with that contract, a very nice earner. I assume that Metro do even better.

And look at all the projects going; level crossing removals, tunnels, the list goes on. Ticket revenue is insignificant to them, and with no passengers their trains are all on time, so no late running fines, just more bonuses. Still, no harm trying!
hbedriver
They make a far bit of money of projects, but both Metro & YT primary income is from fare revenue which is in the hundreds of millions a year. For the majority of this year the network has been operating at 10%, thats a big dip in revenue for Metro who is still running a full service. The government is squeezing them, I would expect some sort of package for them soon. New timetable is due out end of year, possibly then.
  Carnot Minister for Railways

Observations of Bendigo V/line services - only a couple of passengers per train at present.  So much diesel going up in smoke....

BUT, that will likely change in the not-to-distant future (I made this move 6 years ago....) :
https://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/6914351/bendigos-property-market-busy-as-metro-buyers-pick-regional-living/?cs=12

The ability for companies to have staff work from home during the pandemic has led to real estate agents being busy with people from metropolitan areas choosing to move to regional Victoria.



Waller Realty sales consultant Tim Noonan said the Bendigo region's property market had been as busy as he had ever seen it.


"We probably thought would slow down in the pandemic but it has been very buoyant," he said. "It's the best property market in my time in real estate.



"People are comfortable around being able to work from home three or four days a week and commute to Melbourne one day."


McKean McGregor senior sales consultant Bec Allen said she was seeing buyer demand like never before.



"We are working hard to deal with the demand," she said. "Melbourne buyers looking to relocate can't come to inspect but we are doing things like (providing) videos, face time and using representatives.



"There is a demand for inner city living where people can walk to the train and commute but the other side is the lifestyle proponent where there is room for a caravan and boat. Space is paramount for families."



Bendigo Bank head of local banking Nick Carter said the company has seen an increase in first home buyer grant applications.


"We are getting close to 400 inquiries a week relating to the first home loan deposit scheme and around 70 per cent of applicants are under the age of 34," he said.



"The demand for regional property is quite well distributed. Bendigo, Ballarat, Shepparton and Geelong are seeing strong demand, and their median property values are also holding up far more strongly than in Melbourne".



Bendigo Bank head of economic and market research David Robertson said with regional Victoria less affected by COVID-19, people were choosing to live there.  "The pandemic has forced many people to work from home, and so... the viability of working remotely (means) the feasibility of living in a regional location is now more broadly accepted".





Bendigo Tourism Board chair Finn Vedelsby said the real estate market growth was cause for optimism.



"It has been identified that you can still do the same Collins Street job from your lounge room and hack that three-hour daily commute," he said. "The city is coming, with them they will bring dollars to our small businesses."
  TrackRailroad Train Controller

Location: Frankston Line
Observations of Bendigo V/line services - only a couple of passengers per train at present.  So much diesel going up in smoke....

BUT, that will likely change in the not-to-distant future (I made this move 6 years ago....) :
https://www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au/story/6914351/bendigos-property-market-busy-as-metro-buyers-pick-regional-living/?cs=12

The ability for companies to have staff work from home during the pandemic has led to real estate agents being busy with people from metropolitan areas choosing to move to regional Victoria.



Waller Realty sales consultant Tim Noonan said the Bendigo region's property market had been as busy as he had ever seen it.


"We probably thought would slow down in the pandemic but it has been very buoyant," he said. "It's the best property market in my time in real estate.



"People are comfortable around being able to work from home three or four days a week and commute to Melbourne one day."


McKean McGregor senior sales consultant Bec Allen said she was seeing buyer demand like never before.



"We are working hard to deal with the demand," she said. "Melbourne buyers looking to relocate can't come to inspect but we are doing things like (providing) videos, face time and using representatives.



"There is a demand for inner city living where people can walk to the train and commute but the other side is the lifestyle proponent where there is room for a caravan and boat. Space is paramount for families."



Bendigo Bank head of local banking Nick Carter said the company has seen an increase in first home buyer grant applications.


"We are getting close to 400 inquiries a week relating to the first home loan deposit scheme and around 70 per cent of applicants are under the age of 34," he said.



"The demand for regional property is quite well distributed. Bendigo, Ballarat, Shepparton and Geelong are seeing strong demand, and their median property values are also holding up far more strongly than in Melbourne".



Bendigo Bank head of economic and market research David Robertson said with regional Victoria less affected by COVID-19, people were choosing to live there.  "The pandemic has forced many people to work from home, and so... the viability of working remotely (means) the feasibility of living in a regional location is now more broadly accepted".





Bendigo Tourism Board chair Finn Vedelsby said the real estate market growth was cause for optimism.



"It has been identified that you can still do the same Collins Street job from your lounge room and hack that three-hour daily commute," he said. "The city is coming, with them they will bring dollars to our small businesses."
Carnot
I would expect regional cities will continue to grow in demand with the rise of working from home, which is likely to remain a feature of workplaces, at least a few days a week, even after Covid 19 subsides. If you live in Geelong, Bendigo etc and only need to commute to Melbourne two days a week for example, I think many people would be prepared to undertake the commute and they would gain so much time from working the other days at home. Plus you have more open space and lower living costs than Melbourne.

How this will impact V-Line operations is too early to say? Potentially reduced services over what is currently offered? Though that may not be a good idea in light of social distancing and increased population growth. There is also the potential for remote working hubs to be established within the city centres of Bendigo, Ballarat etc, where people could socialise and work, negating the need to commute to their Melbourne based offices potentially.

We live in a very changing time and it is too early to say for sure, what changes covid 19 will cause longer term. But V-Line should be open to changing their schedules accordingly.

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