Adam Carey wrote today on the state government’s plans to boost services in the south-east.
A few points.
Let’s go back in time and go to the Kennett era when trains were franchised into two for a single rail network. What eventuated was the purchase by then ‘Connex’ for X’Trapolis trains. Whilst acceptable trains, they required extensive works on signalling infrastructure because the trains did not suit the system. I’d probably take a stab that a good proportion of the works will be on this. For that price I also believe there is unlikely to be a substantial upgrade to decreasing headways, and installing anything like a ‘high-speed signalling.’
The original Public Transport Plan purported by the Brumby government mandated the need for an extra third track along the Dandenong corridor, as well as the potential for higher capacity trains. It was a priority then. It is a priority now. Boosting services can be done now, but as to what these ‘upgrades’ provide is still not clear. There are confirmations of grade-separation projects in Springvale, but squandered funding on things like a Brighton crossing. Again, I believe that this plan seeks to catch up to where we needed to be years ago.
Now also considering the Frankston Line is inherently tied to the Werribee Line operationally, would this also indicate that these lines are set to see X’Trapolis train services? The Werribee Line is cleared to run the trains up to Newport where there are existing stabling facilities. Would this need extra works not budgeted?
My last point is fleet utilisation is also an issue because we could be far smarter about it. I digress a bit. On Cranbourne, Pakenham branch lines and the Upfield line, they all still have 20-minute frequencies during interpeak, which is pathetic. These issued can easily be solved, and are possible by operating 3-car trains during this period, doubling the frequency. But the network is only as strong as it’s weakest link.