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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Intriguing proposition.

There are only 3 stations between Footscray & Sunshine. Two of them are island platforms, which would require quite a bit of realignment at Middle Footscray and Tottenham, if the central track was going to be a fast up/down track. At West Footscray, the position is so tightly confined that it will at least involve the major rebuilding of a footbridge.

Although there is quite a bit of railway land in this area, it's constrained on the north from West Footscray citywards by the Goods Tracks ... which carry all of the freight in and out of Melbourne, and descend into the Bunbury St. tunnel (I used to live there (the street, not the tunnel)).

At Tottenham (where I grew up ) there is already provision in the bridge abutments for an extra track on the south side of the current tracks. New platform. Plain-sailing, westward from there.

Since there are no level crossings between Melbourne & Sunshine ... it's not an issue!
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
Anyone would be mad, if, in doing this, they didn't make room for a fourth track ... from Melbourne's perspective, this route pretty much serves everything except Gippsland, since previous plans anticipated it serving Geelong as well, from Tottenham West to Laverton through an easement which is still basically open and available.

The best exercise here would be to provide a double-tracked high-speed corridor out of Southern Cross: utilizing some of the lines over the top of Moonee Ponds Creek between Nth Melbourne & Sth Kensington, to Tottenham West. From here V/Line and other high-speed traffic could branch to:

  • Geelong & Warnambool (Tottenham to Laverton Direct)
  • Melton/Bacchus Marsh/Ballarat/Ararat/Mildura (through Sunshine)
  • Kyneton/Bendigo & Beyond (through Sunshine ideally through double fast tracks extended to Albion (plenty of room there!)
  • Sydney & Adelaide (via dual-gauge track to Tottenham West /Albion)
  • Even NE Victorian services through Albion... I once went to Wallan by this route. And I've certainly been to Sydney, four times at least

This is what Victorian Passenger Rail really needs.

Dedicated, double track from SX to Sunshine ...
From Werribee to Geelong, I can really feel the new track below me ... but from Melbourne to Werribee ... the same old thing. Give the present Government their due, and acknowledge that they have vastly upgraded the country network. But until the link to the city is provided, it won't really deliver.

The truth is, the solution lies in die-hard working-class suburbs ... so no political party will touch this, not even the Greens.

Quiz Question: How many V Line trains travel from Footscray to SX Station 7-9 in the morning, or from SX Station to Footscray, 4 - 6 in the afternoon?

How many freight trains? Arhh, what's a freight train?
 

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A fourth track is in the plans (in 2021 IIRC), so I'm sure they would make appropriate provisions in the nearer term works.

Trouble with the document that contains all these plans is not what it contains (which in itself is fairly reasonable) but what it fails to contain (any substantial improvements for the 2/3rds of Melbourne outside the reach of the rail and tram networks, no reference to how the minor upgrades made between now and 2021 could possibly convince people to use PT and achieve 20% by 2020, and no commitment for any large scale projects in the next 4½ years between now and the 2010 election, since if it's not in the next political cycle it's automatically deemed a phoney promise).

All that's being discussed in another thread though.
 

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It was very much so a surprise to see this project get some serious thought.

however as above, it didn't go far enough and include trip/quadruplication from Footscray to newport to give Geelong trains as well as Werr and Willy trains some serious grunt (capacity for vast improvement).

Bendigo and Ballarat services are going to be real winners out of this, if they get this third track up to 160kph, then whoa... they could slam many-a-train down that single track, it'd pretty much cater for all Bengido AND Ballarat services using the one single track (up and down) and then some (at those speeds), eh?
 

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Trip/Quad Footscray to Newport would be difficult to say the least, and pointless too. Just run the damned trains via the Tottenham-Newport line, Granted it's max 80km/h but at least there's no spark in front.

The 3rd track from Newport to Altona Junction would allow a seamless run for Geelong Services from Laverton to Footscray via Tottenham. That's pretty damned good, more than you'd expect.

Just pity the folks in Geelong's suburbs and from nearby towns (eg Torquay) who still won't be able to rely on a consistent connection from their feeder buses to the rail system or to Geelong itself under this plan.

Essentially it speeds up the trips for the privelidged few who can find a park at one of the well-served stations or who live within walking distance, but does nothing to increase passenger numbers since you physically can't get too many more people to any of the rail stations that don't already use the service.

What precisely is the point of that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Yardmaster said:
Quiz Question: How many V Line trains travel from Footscray to SX Station 7-9 in the morning, or from SX Station to Footscray, 4 - 6 in the afternoon?
The winner of the quiz is ... me!

Between 7 & 9 in the morning, 39 trains travel from Footscray to SSX (well, at least to North Melbourne). Between 4 & 6 in the afternoon, 41 trains travel outwards through the station. In each case, approximately half of the trains are V-Line services. I've used timetables which are a few years old, and improved timetables have been promised on the Bendigo, Ballarat & Geelong corridors once VFT is fully up and running. Moreover, in the opposite direction, during these peak periods currently 30 and 35 trains run. In other words, 86 trains run through Footscray 4-6 in the evening, including 35 V/Line services.

25 trains run Footscray > Sunshine 4-6 in the afternoon. Only seven of these are suburban service, and having grown up in the area, I can tell you that there's been a suspicion for a long time that we're being cheated. The traffic figures speak for themselves. These trains have to thread in, not just with the Bendigo & Balllarat traffic, but the Broadmeadows and Upfield traffic through the loop.

tayser said:
Bendigo and Ballarat services are going to be real winners out of this, if they get this third track up to 160kph, then whoa... they could slam many-a-train down that single track, it'd pretty much cater for all Bengido AND Ballarat services using the one single track (up and down) and then some (at those speeds), eh?
Considering these figures, while a third track will help, it certainly couldn't be alternated between up and down traffic in a hurry. Hence my original assertion that you need to go for the big four ... and maybe capitalize on it by using it for Geelong & Seymour as well. After all, even at the moment, the XPT takes only two hours to get to Benalla via Sunshine.
 

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Yardmaster said:
Considering these figures, while a third track will help, it certainly couldn't be alternated between up and down traffic in a hurry. Hence my original assertion that you need to go for the big four ... and maybe capitalize on it by using it for Geelong & Seymour as well. After all, even at the moment, the XPT takes only two hours to get to Benalla via Sunshine.
Umm, at least they bothered to put a fourth track into the plan (albeit 2021, and there's no way Batchelor will still be transport minister in 2021).

Meanwhile, two thirds of Melbourne hasn't even been slated to be given a (useful) PT service for the length of the plan, let alone a fourth track to complement the third that is planned to be added soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
MrPC said:
Umm, at least they bothered to put a fourth track into the plan (albeit 2021, and there's no way Batchelor will still be transport minister in 2021).

Meanwhile, two thirds of Melbourne hasn't even been slated to be given a (useful) PT service for the length of the plan, let alone a fourth track to complement the third that is planned to be added soon.
This isn't really so much about extra rails for Suburban Melbourne (Camberwell at least should certainly have 4 tracks too!) so much as separating the high-speed extra-metrapolitan traffic from the suburban traffic. There are 4 tracks to Burnley & Caufield, and 3, I think, to Box Hill & Cheltenham.

Incidentally, I realize there are a lot of people pissed off about Bracks & Batchelor here (most notably in Mildura). But did Doyle offer anything but the now-revoked promise for a toll-free Ringwood-Frankston Freeway? And where is Ted's third track?
 

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Yardmaster said:
Incidentally, I realize there are a lot of people pissed off about Bracks & Batchelor here (most notably in Mildura). But did Doyle offer anything but the now-revoked promise for a toll-free Ringwood-Frankston Freeway? And where is Ted's third track?
This is my biggest problem with the whole announcement. Whilst Bracks and Batchelor have announced probably the most detailed and longest plans for doing very little ever seen in politics, at least they only included a relatively small amount of road widening (by this I mean relative to recent road building activity). Considering that 91% or so of trips are still taken by car, and there are a huge amount of people who use PT little or never; and within that group are a large proportion who don't understand that more roads actually increase congestion; it could be highly dangerous (politically) to produce a plan which includes no more freeway projects.

And Baillieu has used this as his example in one of his first responses to the plan - something along the lines of "people want more roads...and where are the big bold road projects.."

So whilst I see these plans as being completely gutless, I can sort of see a point to their strategy in a political sense (even if I completely disagree with it) - get people used to the idea of bus lanes and tram priority gradually impinging on private vehicle traffic, do no large RFR style projects that can f*ck up, look to be doing something about freeway congestion, do loads of smaller, broken up maintenance and expansion projects that can never become the liability in the way the RFR did, and then in 5 to 10 years once patronage has gradually built up (due to petrol prices and congestion not investment), look at maybe adjusting that plan to include some larger expansion projects and wind back road investment more.

It'll be interesting to see what the Libs will come up with to counter this, because any big discrepancies - such as announcing a whole swathe of new roads may actually backfire, because they would have no choice but for them to be tolled, and the government would then be forced to hard sell the "more roads lead to more congestion" argument. A smarter approach would be a "same-same-but-better" plan. Commit to some extensions - South Morang or Rowville, and wind back on the Dandenong triplification.

Another aspect which hasn't really been explored is what would happen to all these road projects if the Greens get the balance of power in the upper house..
 

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10 years ago the Airport Rail line proposal through Albion East proposed 3 tracks from Sunshine to Tottenham and sticking with the existing 2 tracks through Footscray!

now not only are those 2 tracks quickly filling up but the 2 new RRL tracks will be filling up as well... hard to see space for Airport Rail link as per the 2001 reservation via sunshine/footscray now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
I think we're in basic agreement here (apart from the Footscray- North Melborne bit).

I'd always argued (when it was an issue) for the Airport Link to go through Broadmeadows: the RRL tracks could change the logic of this. A central issue is crossing the Maribyrnong Valley near Keilor, which would have to be separate from the existing tracks.

This Thread should probably be closed and archived; since as has been observed, the tracks will be quadruplicated, not triplicated, which is something I argued directly to Government for at the time.

Regarding Airport Rail Access, well, Melbourne- and Australia- does not stand up very well. The metropolis of London has more rail links to its airports- Heathrow, Stansted & Gathrow: than the entire Australian continent. Look outside the Capital- Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Southampton- rail links there.
 
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