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Old April 25th, 2010, 05:08 PM   #1
MelbourneOnTheRise
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MELBOURNE: General public transport thread

Part 1
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=465904


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http://www.theage.com.au/national/sk...0425-tlol.html

Skills gap dire for rail sector
FARRAH TOMAZIN
April 26, 2010
THE state government fears Victoria's public transport woes could worsen unless it can change an ''image problem'' that is hindering the rail industry and discouraging young people from taking up jobs as drivers, technicians and engineers.

With public transport a central issue in this year's state election, government officials admit that skills shortages will make it harder to cope with the expected doubling of daily metropolitan train users over the next 30 years.

In a submission to a parliamentary inquiry that is due to report within weeks, the government concedes ''much more needs to be done'' to improve the skills gap in the rail sector, which is bearing the brunt of an ageing workforce, lower levels of training and fewer young people wanting to enter what some see as a ''has been'' industry.

"Industry liaison suggests that the industry's image is impacting on its ability to attract young people and have workers specialise in rail-related skills such as engineering," says the submission.

"The low number of new entrants to the industry, reinforced by the relatively low share of young people working in the sector, is a particularly serious issue.''

The Inquiry into Skills Shortages in the Rail Industry, conducted by Parliament's Labor-dominated education and training committee, is expected to table its report soon after the May 4 state budget.

The committee is likely to recommend sweeping changes to the way rail workers are recruited and trained in Victoria, amid figures showing that the number of metropolitan train users is expected to grow from about 700,000 a day in 2006 to 1.5 million a day in 2036.

Details of the inquiry come after The Age reported on Saturday that the operator of Melbourne's train network, Metro, is struggling to cover its costs and is considering retrenching staff and forcing the government to bring forward millions of dollars in funding.

In other submissions to the inquiry:

■ V/Line chief Rob Barnett warned that the outdated image of the rail industry had affected the ability to attract skilled middle managers, not just younger workers.

■ The government said the ageing workforce was a particular challenge in rail because, unlike most industries, all workers involved in safety-critical roles must undergo health checks, drug screening and fitness tests, which can have a significant impact on staffing levels for people over 50 - who account for half the workforce.

■ Figures show that, at present, nearly half the rail workforce have no formal qualification beyond year 12 and turnover among new recruits is up to five times greater than any other industry group.

■ Brian Hill, the locomotive divisional secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, said that skill requirements for entry into rail jobs were ''arguably at the lowest level seen in recent memory''.

A spokesman for Transport Minister Martin Pakula said: ''Through the new operating contract with Metro Trains, they will recruit 100 new maintenance workers and they have established an apprentice program.''


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Unions have gotta go. There was a quote from the head of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union in another age article last week that said "They don't have unions in Hong Kong like we do here." When you compare reliability on MTR vs. Metro, that says it all really.

Last edited by crawf; April 26th, 2010 at 01:36 PM. Reason: New thread!
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Old April 25th, 2010, 07:26 PM   #2
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plenty of people here just rarin' to run the railway system!

On related matters ... I just started to look in more detail at the excellent posts in these forums by Nexis, mainly concerning transit systems in the NE USA.

I'm posting here, not to wind Nexis up, but to give those people who are proposing 6 minute headways everywhere to think. I started looking at Philadelphia, a city of equivalent population to Sydney or Melbourne:
  • Philadelphia: 5.8 million
  • Sydney: 4.5 million
  • Melbourne: 4 million

(source: Wikipedia)

As you can see from Nexis's posts, there are lines regrowing like spiders webs all over North East America, but a certain amount of caution should be applied before you presume we can do the same.

Philadelphia has "regional" and "metro" lines. The first line I looked at was the R1/R2 (The regional Airport- City-Warminster line).

What I found was the following service frequency per weekday:

Warminster (20 miles out, same distance as Dandenong): 14 services per day
Jenkintown: (about equivalent to Caulfield): 25 services per day
The Airport (about 9km out): 39 services per day, mainly half-hourly.

Next I looked at the Market/Frankford Metro Line. On my estimation it accounted for 160 services each way/day. Don't have the distances, but the run-time, one side of town to the other, was 40 minutes.

Now remember this?



This doesn't prove that Melbourne Metro is the be-all and end-all of everything, but what it does show is that Dandenong, for instance, 20 miles from the CBD gets 93 trains/day (add up the blue bars for Cranbourne & Pakenham, plus the purple bars which "stop short" (i.e. terminate at Dandenong), and you get that figure. Forget about V/Line, and the yellow early morning services which no-one ever travels on except L2.

What that graph doesn't show you is distance: we're running 79 trains out to Werribee, 33 km from the City (excluding the V/Line services), & 75 to Frankston, 43 km from town; 49 to Pakenham, 57 km from town (again, not including V/Line or shuttles).

I've no wish to slag Philadelphia, Nexis or the USA here: just to point out a few facts. I would have done a more thorough analysis, but it's already late: and Eco-Rat will probably be sniffing up my sewer by now.

Last edited by Yardmaster; April 25th, 2010 at 07:33 PM.
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Old April 25th, 2010, 07:42 PM   #3
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So your point is that because Philly has shit frequencies therefore its ok for Melbourne to have (albeit notably less) shit frequencies too???

Surely we should be pushing our system to be more like Hong Kong's than wallowing in the self assuredness that we're better than Philadelphia...
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Old April 25th, 2010, 09:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelbourneOnTheRise View Post
So your point is that because Philly has shit frequencies therefore its ok for Melbourne to have (albeit notably less) shit frequencies too???

Surely we should be pushing our system to be more like Hong Kong's than wallowing in the self assuredness that we're better than Philadelphia...
No, that's not what I was saying at all. No doubt Philadelphia's traffic schedule's were based on demand and financial resources: as in Melbourne & Hong Kong.

Last edited by Yardmaster; April 25th, 2010 at 11:02 PM.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 05:27 AM   #5
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I think can see what you are saying in a way. Showing how we don't have the worst system in the world and it is something that we should be proud about. Just that it needs a lot more love and money to make it an even better and more efficient system. Always a game to keep ahead of the competition after all. :P

I am just concerned however that if people are convinced that our system is quite good compared to USA (relatively speaking), we would think it is ok to sit on our hands and do nothing, as MelbourneOnTheRise pointed out. But at the moment, the idea I get from people is that it is a hated bastard and just something that gets you from A to B badly rather than seeing it as the soul of the city.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 07:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MelbourneOnTheRise View Post
So your point is that because Philly has shit frequencies therefore its ok for Melbourne to have (albeit notably less) shit frequencies too???

Surely we should be pushing our system to be more like Hong Kong's than wallowing in the self assuredness that we're better than Philadelphia...
actually the point was we have very good service frequency for our commuter rail to places like Dandenong/Frankston. but very poor service frequency for places with 40 minute cross town travel time (roughly equivalent to our zone 1).

hopefully Laverton and Westall turnbacks will help increase frequencies on the shorter track sections but ultimately we'll want a proper 'metro' system in the inner suburbs to achieve this. not necessarily all undergroudn but more up to date, single line per track pair, no level crossings, better signalling etc.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 08:38 AM   #7
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Does anyone else get frustrated by the daily backlog of trains waiting to get into platform 1 at Flinders Street during the morning peak? I realize the Clifton Hill group is the smallest of the groups but having every single Epping and Hurstbridge Line service use the same platform is incredibly annoying. It doesn't have to be this way. Since they reversed the loop in the morning to eliminate the cross over at the entrance it seems as though its now even more difficult to get into the city on time. The driver switchover takes way too long. So much so that the majority of passengers just get off at Flinders without bothering to wait for it to start going around the loop. That damn speed restriction on the viaduct because of the faulty points (enforced since sometime around January I think) isn't helping.

Without fail every morning it's stop start stop start from Jolimont making the train run late incredibly often. Sometimes the queue goes past West Richmond on a bad day. I've observed over the last couple of months that the train is finally pulling in Melbourne Central late more often than its on time.

The decision to reverse the loop makes sense and I support it but if they don't speed up the switchover at Flinders then the whole thing just seems pointless. Either speed it up (cheap and easy) or build a damn flyover at the entrance and return to how it was.
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Old April 26th, 2010, 12:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yardmaster View Post
I've no wish to slag Philadelphia, Nexis or the USA here: just to point out a few facts. I would have done a more thorough analysis, but it's already late: and Eco-Rat will probably be sniffing up my sewer by now.
So I'm not permitted to comment just coz you end up taking it personally?

If you want to always cheer for the local team then that's up to you.

But if you're foolish enough to believe that Melbourne's only problems are 'financial' rather than political or ontological, I'll leave you to it.

You could do a comparison with Toronto if you'd rather. A core metro run very well - a outer suburban commuter service generally much poorer than Melbourne (although the rollingstock 1000% nicer).

But but but not sure what this proves. There is an 'internal comparison' within Toronto which is as plain to them as it is to us. They know which service performs better. The relative resource allocation arguments they know themselves.

However, we insist on providing the same quality of service to Klanannook as to Hawksburn for much of the day and that makes no sense. It would make no sense in Toronto, or Philadelphia and it makes no sense here. It is not caused by 'financial' limitations but political ones.

Last edited by Eco-rat; April 26th, 2010 at 12:51 PM. Reason: snippage
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Old April 26th, 2010, 02:24 PM   #9
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Didn't know we needed a new thread but I'll start it with something pointless - this new music video by Sam Clark (off Neighbours I think, me no watchey that junk) is entirely filmed around the Ventura bus system in Eastern Melb. How peculiar!

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Old April 26th, 2010, 07:52 PM   #10
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Skills shortage?

I am driving Buses, rather drive trains but I am not good enough apparently.
So I will have to deal with ferrets and canvass the complaints (moms ringing up) when I kick the entire bus off for being a pack of vandalizing sods.

138 jobs up for grabs in coming weeks for drivers. Some of them can't park a bus so knock yourself out. (Its funny watching them try)
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Old April 26th, 2010, 11:04 PM   #11
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Eco-Rat (and others), have you read Transport for Suburbia yet?
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Old April 27th, 2010, 04:21 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Eco-Rat (and others), have you read Transport for Suburbia yet?
Not yet, sounds like I should. It'll have to join the queue after 11 Minutes Late.

At least the industry is saying what I've been saying and blogging for years.

Rail needs to join the side of the 'winners' not the 'losers'.

Too many people, many on railpage, some here, are feeling considerable pain.

They scream out in pain. They say "Stop hurting me". Please keep subsidising my useless rail service, employing delinquents, carrying ferals, making excuses. It soothes the pain.

They don't know that being a winner involves pain.

Involves discipline and daily challenges. How to get those Shinkansen running a couple of minutes apart at over 250km/h. Pushing them in on the Yamanote line. Sacking drivers who turn up late for work.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 04:53 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjb287 View Post
Does anyone else get frustrated by the daily backlog of trains waiting to get into platform 1 at Flinders Street during the morning peak? I realize the Clifton Hill group is the smallest of the groups but having every single Epping and Hurstbridge Line service use the same platform is incredibly annoying. It doesn't have to be this way. Since they reversed the loop in the morning to eliminate the cross over at the entrance it seems as though its now even more difficult to get into the city on time. The driver switchover takes way too long. So much so that the majority of passengers just get off at Flinders without bothering to wait for it to start going around the loop. That damn speed restriction on the viaduct because of the faulty points (enforced since sometime around January I think) isn't helping.

Without fail every morning it's stop start stop start from Jolimont making the train run late incredibly often. Sometimes the queue goes past West Richmond on a bad day. I've observed over the last couple of months that the train is finally pulling in Melbourne Central late more often than its on time.

The decision to reverse the loop makes sense and I support it but if they don't speed up the switchover at Flinders then the whole thing just seems pointless. Either speed it up (cheap and easy) or build a damn flyover at the entrance and return to how it was.
Yep - incredibly frustrating. While I understand the logic of reversing the Clifton Hill group's path around the Loop, it's resulting in longer travelling time for those who want to get to Flagstaff or MC for example. The train crawls and stops/starts continuously from Jolimont to SX - so slow! And then you have to wait at Flinders St for at least 5 minutes for the changeover. ARGH!
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Old April 27th, 2010, 06:06 AM   #14
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The Flinders St changeover is a major annoyance for a passenger. Flinders St is a busy station and the dwell times should be long enough for a driver change already. If it isn't, then it's time to change the way things are done and where drivers are based. Otherwise it just defeats half the purpose of having a loop to turn trains around.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 08:44 AM   #15
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In addition to scheduled wait time at FSS, don't think there is much of a culture of doing speedy change-overs etc. Hence why the driver of the 13:12 is only leaving the meal room at 13:10 and walking down the platform at 13:11:30.

Maybe it would be best scheduling the extra minute or two between FSS and SCS than from arr to dep at FSS - oh wait, then the drivers would realise and be walking down the platform at 8:42:30 for the 8:42 departure. I remember one time I went to Lilydale and the train left 7 minutes late only because the signaller was nowhere to be seen to set the signal for it's departure.
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Old April 27th, 2010, 09:32 AM   #16
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The first Comeng train has received the new Metro livery. Pics are available on Vicsig in the photography section. It's looking pretty nice.

http://www.vicsig.net/photos/latestphotos
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Old April 28th, 2010, 06:50 AM   #17
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http://junetimetable.metrotrains.com.au/wwd.php

new timetable. "201 new or extended services per week"

mainly focused on the Pakenham/Cranbourne and Frankston lines.

Frankston has much simpler stopping patterns. Basically running:
- Frankston SAS to Cheltenham (or Moorabin) - Caulfield - South Yarra, Richmond, DIRECT to Flinders Street (10 services between 7am and 9am)
- the a Frankston or Carrum SAS service via the loop (12 services between 7am and 9am (includes a Cheltenham and a Moorabin start)


The FAQ claims Pakenham/Cranbourne has simpler stopping patterns but I still count 8 different patterns before 9.30am for the Pakenham line alone.


website says that 'Phase 2' of the 2010 timetable update will be done later in the year and focus on Craigieburn, Werribee, Sydenham services. I'm tipping that hte peak hour Frankston Services will be through routed to Werribee in that timetable and we'll have a cross town link.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 10:27 AM   #18
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They've got rid of all the Frankston line trains running express South Yarra-Malvern outside of peak hours though, the Dandenong line will do that in the weekday off-peak but on weekends that section will have a 10 minute frequency from both lines, which is more than the weekday service.
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Old April 28th, 2010, 11:10 AM   #19
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The Hurstbridge line gets 2 new evening services between 8 and 10. wooO!!1111!!
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Old April 28th, 2010, 12:47 PM   #20
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What does everyone think of this idea from Edinburgh? (Copy and pasted from the UK thread)

Quote:
Originally Posted by WatcherZero View Post
Concepts of the Tram livery have been released, the majority of the fleet will be in traditional 'madder' red, all will have the TIE logo on the front (though who would want to be reminded?), two will have special liverys based on famous people from the city, one on scientific themes to showcase its a 'high-tech' city wuch as Graham bell, the other on literary or entertainment themes such as Rowling, singer Shirley Manson or Ian Rankin. Another two will be given over to advertising expected to attract 'six figure sums'







Though TIE's off to yet another great start, Ian Rankin had this to say:
I think it's quite a good idea. A few different trams could be set aside from advertising and instead have liveries featuring famous Melburnians.

Who would we pick? We are a 'UNESCO City of Literature' so we'd have to find a suitable author. I'm sure everyone would love to ride on the Dame Edna tram, or maybe the Paul Kelly tram?

Kath and Kim should get one as well. We have an amazing biotech and medical research industry here too, from which scientists could be chosen.
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