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Old Posted Dec 2, 2018, 4:44 AM
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tayser tayser is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Melbourne
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^ Thanks Cirrus.

A summary of the Victorian government's transport agenda. (The start of this thread is all about its major one, the Suburban Rail Loop - below is everything else).

Level Crossing Removals

For the 2014 election, one of the biggest policy initiatives from the ALP was to remove 50 level crossings over an 8 year period (two terms of government). There's over 150 within the metropolitan area and removing them is seen as a necessity to eventually move all rail lines in Melbourne to a 10 minute off-peak frequency (can be anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes depending on the line at the moment) plus obviously far better during peaks.

The ALP government came in and got started on them, so much so, they were anticipating to remove 20 by the end of the first term but they actually completed 29 by the recent state election.

One of the more controversial - at the time - level crossing removals were the 9 to be removed between Caulfield and Dandenong through elevated sections (turns out there was no electoral backlash at the most recent election) - elevating above the existing corridor has enabled a huge linear park to be created where the tracks used to be.

At this state election, the ALP expanded their list of 50 to 75 which will see some lines now almost entirely level crossing free. First 50 were financed through selling the leasehold on the Port of Melbourne ($8-9bil), next 25 will be financed through public debt finance.

Pic from @crossingwatch on twitter.

Video Link

Metro Tunnel

A new centre-city rail tunnel linking the Pakenham/Cranbourne lines from the South-East (through that new elevated track section above) to the Sunbury line in the North-West. Planning kicked off relatively quickly after the 2014 election and early works construction started a year ago. The first of the 4 TBMs will be arriving soon and the major construction on CBD stations started last week.

This tunnel frees up two existing city loop tracks - Pakenham/Cranbourne moved to the cross-town line means Frankston will have an exclusive loop around the city. Taking Sunbury out of another loop allows the Craigieburn and Upfield lines to have exclusive use of another single track loop. Effectively banking in a lot of track capacity.

Pakenham/Cranbourne and eventually Sunbury (and Melton - see below) will have a dedicated fleet of new trains (longer than normal - 7 car as opposed to 6, potentially scalable with platform extensions to 10 car, a new signalling system (which is taking one or two leaps in generations compared to what currently operates on the network) and a power system upgrade (1500V DC -> 1500-2000V DC). They're called HCMTs - High-Capacity Metro Trains. Capacity 1380 @ 7 cars.

The train bodies are manufactured in China and all the other main components - bogies, pantographs, traction motors, reverse cycle AC units - are manufactured locally and assembled locally in the historic Newport rail yards. The first of the trains was towed out to the mega depot out in Pakenham Recently.

This is a PPP - it's not known exactly how much public investment (estimates have been put at $5-6bil) - financed out of the State's own budget over past 4 years (property boom has meant a huge influx of stamp duty taxes).

Video Link

Melbourne Airport Rail Link

A perennial project that has hit the sweet spot in terms of getting bipartisan support from ALP and Liberal parties at both State and Federal level. Federal Government committed $5billion earlier in 2018 and state government (and opposition) committed to match it with another $5bil.

Rather than write a thesis, essentially the corridor has been selected (there were multiple options) which will see new tracks - we think - built from Southern Cross (the main regional train station) to Sunshine in the West and then north up to the airport along the interstate / standard gauge corridor (presumably alongside existing tracks).

The commitment for this election was to finalise the business case (which has been underway for 6 months) and the government prior to the election called for expressions of interest to partner in the project's delivery. A few days after that announcement one of the owners of the leasehold on Melbourne Airport unveiled its own PPP that would see $10bil of public finance (already committed) plus, presumably, another $5bil (as they nominate the project will cost $15bil in total). The Unsolicited proposal was adapted to interface with other projects - like the Suburban Rail Loop and possibly even the regional rail projects - whether it's successful or not we'll know within a year or two.

The Unsolicited proposal:

The projects main site where business case documentation will eventually go when it's complete:

Western Rail Plan - Melton and Wyndham Vale

The Melton line is a non-electrified regional line that runs through one of the growth ('sprawl') corridors in the west and just before the election the ALP unveiled the Western Rail Plan which would see track quadruplications (to separate new metro [electrified] lines from regional [diesel] lines from Sunshine to Melton and Wyndham Vale) and track electrification and eventually metro services.

It's likely that Melton and Wyndham Vale, when they're quadruplicated and electrified will hook into the Metro Tunnel in some shape or form and all the stations in the outer suburban areas that currently have to squeeze on regional services (from Ballarat and Geelong) will be shifted on to Metro with regional services running express into the city.

When the Suburban Rail Loop was unveiled, the western section was really undercooked, the Western Rail Plan gives more context - effectively this western rail plan will facilitate the last path between Sunshine and Werribee, as per the map below.

This promise was another business case promise (like the Suburban Rail Loop) with an expected completion of the case in 2019/2020. It ties into the Faster Rail for Geelong (see below).

Cranbourne Line

The Cranbourne line is, for the most part, a single track line from Dandenong to Cranbourne and the ALP promised to duplicate the line and plan for the extension of it further out to Clyde (the edge of the south-east Melbourne growth boundary). The opposition promised to extend first, duplicate later - the ALP won government so duplication will come first.

Many of the new 25 level crossings (expanding the original list of 50 to 75, see above) are on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines between the terminii and Dandenong - Cranbourne line duplication effectively makes it level crossing free.

Higher-speed rail to Geelong

Outside the metro area, Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and Traralgon services are capable of running at 160kph (that was a project from the 2000s to modernise regional rail services) and now they want to look at ways in making Geelong - the second largest city in Victoria - even faster. It ties in with the Western Rail Plan (which is focused on quadruplication of track) and it's really pie in the sky at the moment - we'll all be 'watching this space'.

Side note: there was a project to introduce a new generation of regional trains (the last introduced in the 2000s for the 160kph services), wouldn't be surprised if the next gen will have a top speed of 200kph. Also fully suspect that the Geelong line will be electrified as it isn't outside the bounds of possibility that Geelong will see 10-minute frequencies in peaks/off-peaks over the next 10 years.


The state government is also pursuing the north-East Link to complete Melbourne's orbital freeway network as well. It'll be a toll road and is reported to be costing $15bil - this will be a PPP like all major freeway construction over the past 10-15 years.
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