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23.11.2014
Any third party products, brands or trademarks listed above are the sole property of their respective owner.No affiliation or endorsement is intended or implied. Caveat: this information from the document is a 2021 plan based on current and confirmed infrastructure. Also: it appears that longer distance trains are not included here, and would be in addition to those listed below. And I must emphasise that the below descriptions are my interpretation of the document, and are not guaranteed accurate. 4 trains per hour: Marshall, South Geelong, Geelong, Nth Geelong, North Shore, Corio, Lara, then express to Footscray, then Southern Cross. 4 trains per hour: Geelong, Nth Geelong, Lara, Little River, Wyndham Vale, Tarneit, Footscray, Southern Cross. 4 trains per hour: Marshall, South Geelong, Geelong, Nth Geelong, North Shore, Corio, Lara, Little River, Wyndham Vale, Tarneit, Footscray, Southern Cross. No hint as to what will be provided for the current people travelling between Werribee and Geelong, though some kind of shuttle bus from Werribee to Wyndham Vale has been mooted in the past. 3 trains per hour (implied 5 over 2 hours): Bacchus Marsh, Melton, (Caroline Springs), Deer Park, Ardeer, Sunshine, Footscray, North Melbourne, Southern Cross. 2 trains per hour: Melton, Rockbank, (Caroline Springs), Deer Park, Ardeer, Sunshine, Footscray, North Melbourne, Southern Cross.
Not terribly ambitious, but a half-hourly service to the western suburbs such as Melton and Deer Park, Ardeer would be a big improvement over the service there now, which is roughly every two hours in some cases. Note it says these trains would terminate at Flinders Street, presumably to reduce congestion on the viaduct to Southern Cross, as well as avoid terminating trains there, using up limited platform capacity… at the cost of regional travellers needing to change trains to reach Southern Cross. It also appears (from the document at least) that the Gippsland line will not stop at Richmond. It’s unclear what passengers requiring interchange from suburban lines or the City Loop will do.
Last night on the TV news they seemed to be struggling for an accurate figure of how many were affected by the closure of the Geelong line. The figures appear to show 100% when the services are over-capacity — eg when people end up standing or sitting in aisles on the trip. The Bendigo figures are likely to drop when Sunbury and Diggers Rest stations join the electrified Metro network later this year. Obviously off-peak passengers are also affected by line closures, and we don’t have figures for them.
There’s a good view from North Melbourne station of the works on the new Regional Rail Link line that will come in from Sunshine and the western suburbs, bypassing North Melbourne (unfortunately, with no interchange platforms) into Southern Cross.
Nearby at Southern Cross, the new platforms are looking increasingly close to complete, though the track is still missing.
So platform 15 will be inside, and platform 16… well, that could be a little chilly and wet on cold rainy days.
That is, you should work out what train services you want to run, then build the infrastructure to allow it. Victorian transport department secretary Jim Betts said at a conference last week that the $5 billion Regional Rail Link, which has blown out by $1 billion, was budgeted for haphazardly. But there seem to be a lot of people thinking that this combined with the new stations in growing areas automatically means the whole project must be a good idea. Will the peak hour service to those new stations be adequate for the expected commuter population? Will Geelong trains double as suburban trains to those new stations, and if so will they cope? What will Geelong to Werribee passengers (apparently several hundred per day make the trip) do once their trains are diverted away from Werribee?
And finally, given the huge cost, were other projects considered, such as extra tracks on the Werribee and Sydenham lines, and Smartbuses or bus ways into the Tarneit area from nearby stations?
Good public transport planning should dictate that you first work out what services you want, then you work out the infrastructure needed to provide them. So what’s the real cost of today’s Fare Free Friday (making up for, as one wag put it, No Trains Tuesday)? Fare revenue formulas have changed now, and I haven’t dug around to get more recent exact figures, but the old formula from last year is a quick easy way of checking it.


Page 7 of Track Record 40 (July-Sep 2009, the last full quarter before the new contracts came in) shows a farebox payment of $60.95m to Connex for the quarter ending Sep-09, that being their 40% share.
That makes total metropolitan revenue for the quarter about $152.4 million, or about $609 million per year.
How about we assume that weekday revenue is 50% higher than weekend (though it’s probably much higher).
The above figure of $682 million per year is the shortfall you’d need to make up if you made public transport free all the time. The reason for these services train skipping Marshall station is infrastructure – beyond Geelong station trains in both directions have to share a single track.
After Geelong station the line passes through a 422 metre long tunnel, which emerges at McKillop Street. The first station is South Geelong, where only a single platform is available for trains to stop at. If the line beyond Geelong was a single track, then it would make running more than one train at a time extremely difficult.
At South Geelong there is a second track running opposite the platform, allowing the locomotive to shunt around the carriages, ready to lead the train back towards Melbourne. There are also two dead end sidings located beyond the platform, allowing additional trains to be parked clear of the main line, ready to form a Melbourne-bound service.
At the former terminus of Marshall, there is also has a second track opposite the platform – provided to allow locomotives to run around their carriages, ready to form a train in the opposite direction. Instead each morning trains have to make their way out to Waurn Ponds, but due to the single track, they cannot pass citybound services between stations.
With the majority of commuters each morning being bound for Melbourne, the counter-peak trains headed to Waurn Ponds have drawn the short straw, and are sent into the second track at Marshall to allow the citybound train to pick up passengers from the platform. The first train would stop in the platform, and the second train would stop in the passing track, with passengers for the first train walking through the first train! The last time either trick was used in Victoria was in the early 2000s when West Coast Rail operated the rail service between Melbourne and Warrnambool – their trains used to cross paths at the single platform Winchelsea station, south of Geelong. Again, the reason for the limited service beyond South Geelong is due to infrastructure constraints – every second train has to use the siding at South Geelong station to clear the tracks, allowing a train every 40 minutes to head all the way to the end of the single track line. Paul, The loop track at Geelong Racecourse(near Breakwater)was not normally used to cross trains. This is what I suspect happens at Marshall for the weekday 8:04pm departure from Waurn Ponds. I’ve never heard of passengers climbing through the train at the platform to reach a train in the passing loop.
The VR devoted about 10 pages in the General Appendix to the correct methods of crossing various types of trains carrying passengers at single platform crossing loops. Marcus, rather rash to state as a fact a method of crossing trains that you subsequently admit you heard about third hand and that I strongly doubt ever happened, particularly at Winchelsea. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Following successful rail milling and level crossing testing, trains will return to Bairnsdale from Thursday 31 October.Work to ‘shave’ the steel track to enhance level crossing detection is complete and test trains have triggered the timely activation of boom gates and bells. Please note that on Thursday 31 October, the 6.20am train from Bairnsdale to Melbourne will run as a coach to Sale and connect with a train.
A train every 15 minutes is not too bad for those areas (but of course for it to be workable there needs to be frequent connecting buses for those not lucky enough to be close to the two new stations).
Potentially the expresses could move through the new line at up to 160 kmh, with probably closer to 80 kmh on the inner-suburban section. For some (eg between Geelong and the Newport and the Altona area) it might be easier to double-back via Footscray.
RRL apparently includes provision for additional electrified tracks, but it’s unclear if these would ever be funded for construction. At least the addition of Sunbury to the suburban network should see the end of trains that are crowded between the City and Sunbury, but relatively empty further out. And why no stop at Clayton (or even better, given the 601 bus now in service) Huntingdale for Monash University?
Depending on how the Loop operates (and the document provides some clues on this too), it could be okay, or it could make life very difficult for some.


Despite the multi-billion bill being presented to taxpayers, there’s no transparency. I have no doubt people will claim their compensation, and some will enjoy travelling free today. Less costs of Authorised Officers (inspectors) and running the ticket system ($135 million per year for the next ten years, and theoretically about $50 million after that). It is on this new timetable that I found an oddity – two early morning trains bound for Waurn Ponds that stop at every station except for Marshall. While South Geelong has a passing track, but it only allows trains from Melbourne to head back the way they came, or into a dead end siding, so that is out. With a second track located opposite the platform, trains in an opposing direction can pass each other, but with a major complication – there is no platform on the second track! I noticed on Google Maps that the former station at Breakwater(Geelong racecourse) has an overtaking loop.
It was provided so that race trains could pull into the siding and stop at the platform for passengers to alight. Track centres were such that it is a hell of a jump from one train to another, let alone lining both trains up with doorways exactly opposite each other. The community has been without train services for a while now so it’s vital that people slow down, obey the warning signs and be prepared to stop. That could overall be as about quick as the existing route, but it’s not really clear if this will be possible given the operating patterns and other constraints. But the glass wall on the western side of the station will actually sit between these platforms.
We don’t know if passengers at Deer Park and Ardeer will get any extra trains stopping. In earlier times, horses also traveled to the course in horse boxes attached to the trains and were then unloaded onto the platform and walked across to the racecourse. I suspect that what may have happened was to enter the train standing at the platfrom, walk to the other side, climb down to the ballast and then climb up into the train standing in No. We don’t know if Geelong trains will take longer on their trip, coming into Melbourne the long way around, even if the tracks they use are faster. But I wonder if that $2 million might have been better spent on maintenance or upgrades, or planning to make the network more resilient to be able to isolate faults better in the future. Between 1918 and 1956, facilities were provided so that once a train was secured in the siding, other train could run past it. At a few stations, the second train was permitted to run through No 2 Road into the forward section and then set back into the platform – even with the first train in the platform or departing. From 1956 onwards, the race train had to return to South Geelong (or Geelong) to clear the section so that other trains could operate between South Geelong and Moriac (and further afield).
At a small number of other locations the passengers joined the train in the loop using step ladders. But why bother, when it was easier and safer to access the track at the end of the platform and walk to the second train and climb up to enter it. The relatively quick and cheap option to provide extra train capacity beyond Geelong is to relay the current dead end siding at South Geelong starting near Swanston Street and extending almost to Wood Street to become a long double track crossing loop extending past the former Racecourse platform site to almost the Barwon River.
Andrew is correct about the VR documenting in great detail the safe method to be used when crossing two trains and I doubt that what you stated to be the second method of doing so occurred. That way, train heading in opposite directions could depart from both South Geelong and Marshal at similar times and cross each other at around the Racecourse platform site. Operating staff may have changed from one train to another in that fashion, but normally would wait for the train standing at the platform to depart (which would normally be the first to depart)then descend and cross the track to join the train standing in No.
2 Road, prior to the turnout being operated to permit it to depart directly from No.2 Road.



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