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The Bullet Train

 

Country Link XPT power car

THE Turnbull Government has put the brakes on a fast train along Australia’s East Coast, saying it won’t bite the bullet on funding because the sheer cost doesn’t make it “a sensible priority”.

Major Projects Minister Paul Fletcher said the government had no plans to spend “billions” building a high-speed rail link between Melbourne and Brisbane.

All-night public transport is a feel-good move for Melbourne, but is it worth it?

Does Melbourne really need round-the-clock public transport on Friday and Saturday nights?
Labor’s Homesafe trial is a feel-good policy move that will put Melbourne in league with some of the world’s most cosmopolitan and liveable cities such as New York, Chicago, Berlin and Copenhagen.

But given the trains will run hourly (plus six tram routes that will run half-hourly), it is arguable this trial will benefit a few at the expense of many.
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A 60-minute wait between trains constitutes a sparse, country-level rail service that may struggle to draw big numbers given other, more responsive, options such as taxis and hire cars will still be available for those who can afford them and who don’t want to linger around Flinders Street Station at 3am.
Running trains all night does not come cheap – it will cost a whole lot more money than Labor banked. Those infrequent trains will cost taxpayers $83.6 million over the life of the 12-month trial, not the promised $50 million.
That many millions could buy four new trains which would run in peak hour, when services are teeming, not just in the small hours when most commuters are at home. It could buy dozens of buses for suburbs where public transport is too limited to work for most people, forever forcing them into their cars.
Or it could go towards renewing Melbourne’s ageing rail system, so that the trains that do run when the greatest number of people need them are less at the mercy of crumbling infrastructure.
All-night trains are great for tourism and the life of the city, and the trial may become a resounding success that burnishes Melbourne’s reputation as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
The fact that the trial is even happening proves just how well Melbourne has shed its old reputation as a doughnut city (one that has a hole in the middle).
But the government may need to ramp up the frequency of the all-night service if it is to bloom into anything more than a token gesture, ultimately shelved due to low patronage.
A more frequent, 20-minute service would give it a better chance of success, but would presumably cost tens of millions more.
Commuters who squeeze into an overcrowded train to Werribee or Dandenong this evening might feel like that is an indulgence the state of Victoria could do without.

By Adam Carey
Source: www.theage.com.au

Melbourne Metro Rail: Two new train tunnels to go under Yarra River

 

 

 

Tunnel boring machines will be used to dig twin tunnels 11 metres under the Yarra River as part of the $11-billion Melbourne Metro rail project.

The Victorian Government has chosen tunnelling over more disruptive methods including damming the river or dredging the river bed and immersing tubes.

The Government said tunnelling under the Yarra River was less disruptive than other options.

Premier Daniel Andrews said tunnelling was better environmentally and would not inconvenience commuters and nearby businesses as much.

“We are setting a cracking pace to make sure that we are under construction by 2018,” he said.

“We will tunnel underneath the Yarra, the total depth will be at about 11 metres. There will be no environmental impact or very little.”

The tunnels will connect the planned CBD South and Domain stations.

Victorian Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the tunnels would be around seven metres below the riverbed, to the east of Princes Bridge, following the Swanston Street alignment.

“Crossing the Yarra is one of the more complex parts of the Melbourne Metro rail project,” she said.

“[Tunnelling] has been identified as the preferred approach in this instance because it does minimise the disruption above ground as much as possible.”

Tunnelling machines same as those used in New York, London

The tunnels will be built with machines that are being used to build New York’s Second Avenue subway project and London’s Crossrail project.

The machines can immediately seal the excavated tunnel with a concrete lining.

The Melbourne Metro rail project will add five new underground stations, Arden, Parkville, CBD North, CBD South and Domain, connected by two nine-kilometre tunnels.

But Opposition Leader Matthew Guy said Labor still had a burning funding question to answer, with only $4.5 billion earmarked for the $11 billion project.

“The Government has now launched and re-launched aspects of this Metro tunnel five or six times, and they still can’t answer one key question: how is this project going to be paid for?” he said.

The Government said the business case would be finalised by the end of the year, with construction due to start in 2018.

This is why Sydney and Melbourne offer far, far nicer commutes than London

By Kat Houston

Everyone has good days and bad days on their commute. I’ve had days where a crazy woman has abused the people in front of and around her, as well as the ones inside her head, all the while gesturing for me to get out of her way (excuse me, but we’ve all been waiting).

That’s in London, though. And there are some cities where your probability of experiencing a pleasant ride to work on a regular basis is a bit higher.

For a Sydney slicker, the daily commute can include not only bus or train, but also skimming through crisp blue waters on the morning ferry to your workplace, or strolling across the Sydney Harbour Bridge (bucket list anyone?). If everyone started their workday with a sea breeze, I think we’d be a lot more Zen and a lot less hateful.

That pleasant ferry journey, favoured by my friends living on Sydney’s north shore costs you A$5.20. In all, you can spent as little as $50AUD (roughly £25) per week on travel costs. (In London, a zone one and two monthly travel card costs £123.) All in all, not too shabby for a commute where you can almost always find a seat.

Sydneysiders have pretty good “commutiquette”, too, particularly on the buses, which account for approximately half of the public transport commutes. They’ll form an orderly queue, and then as many people will board as possible; once the buses are full, they’ll fast track straight to the city centre. This doesn’t alarm city goers, as the congested buses are both frequent and a bargain at $2.70 (£1.35). I’ve heard gallantry may still be alive down there as men often allow women to board before them.

 

Source: www.citymetric.com

Pedestrian hit by train

A person has died after being struck by a train in a Melbourne bayside suburb.

Services on the Sandringham line were suspended for several hours after a person was hit by a citybound train near Middle Brighton station.

Services have resumed.

Ambulance Victoria spokesman John Mullen said paramedics were called to the crash site at about 12.20pm.

He said passengers had to be assisted to get off the train and would be assessed for injuries and shock.

Police have confirmed the person has died.

If this article has raised issues for you, help is available at Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Source: www.theage.com.au

Rail network hit: Metro trains ‘halted across Melbourne’

Metro Trains will not be required to offer commuters compensation for the peak-hour shutdown of Melbourne’s entire rail network on Thursday morning.

It was caused by a water leak in the Collins Street building that houses Melbourne’s train control centre.

The last time it was evacuated, the smoke alarms went off because someone overcooked something in the microwave.

Senior train driver
Trains ground to a halt for almost an hour as a result of the water leak, which triggered an alarm. The botched response to the false alarm saw the unnecessary evacuation of Melbourne’s train control centre.

“There was a water leak that made … the alarm go into a default position, which evacuated the building,” Metro Trains’ operations director Ron Bria said.

The decision by Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan not to offer compensation to commuters is in stark contrast to a similar meltdown in 2010 when, four months before the state election, then minister Martin Pakula offered travellers a free day’s train travel.

Ms Allan said the incident would be reviewed to prevent it happening in the future. “As the minister responsible for our train system, I understand this was frustrating and disruptive for passengers,” she said.

The rail shutdown stranded hundreds of thousands of commuters, who were forced to wait on platforms on inside around 100 trains while the city’s rail network creaked back to life. The rail system resumed normal service by lunchtime.

But the morning delays had wide-ranging knock-on effects, including causing Monash University to push back its exam starting times.

The state opposition said the meltdown made a mockery of Premier Daniel Andrews’ claim Melbourne’s rail network was being transformed into an international-style metro system akin to London or Hong Kong.

A fire brigade officer who attended the scene at the Metrol train control centre said checks meant to ensure the centre remained at least partially staffed in the event of a false alarm had failed.

A senior train driver with many years’ experience said the last time the control centre had been evacuated, “the smoke alarms went off because someone overcooked something in the microwave”.

He said when there was a smoke alarm at the control centre, “by default they bring everything to the stop position, and once they shut down everything reverts to stop”.

Source: www.theage.com.au

No compensation for frustrated commuters after water leak sparks Melbourne commuter chaos

A MINOR water leak, which took only minutes to plug, shut down Melbourne’s entire train network and triggered road chaos on Thursday.

But, despite the rough ride in the morning peak hour, the State Government is refusing to compensate fuming commuters.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan instead ordered a review, demanding answers into the cause of the leak, how it was handled and what would be done to prevent a recurrence.

And the Herald Sun can reveal more passenger pain may be ahead: the rail union is foreshadowing a network-wide shutdown and a controversial “open myki gates” policy in its campaign for a yearly 6 per cent pay rise.

Other union demands include a new plainclothes allowance for ticket inspectors and a free union picnic.

Passengers gridlocked at Flinders Street Station. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Passengers gridlocked at Flinders Street Station. Picture: Nicole Garmston

Thursday’s crisis began when water entered a fire panel at the Collins St building housing Metro’s control centre, leading to the evacuation of the entire building.

Metro was told within 10 minutes that it was a false alarm; but it had already halted all trains on the tracks and lowered boomgates at level crossings, stranding passengers and creating road chaos.

Hundreds of university students were among those trapped in the gridlock, forcing the rescheduling of some examinations.

Metro operations director Ron Bria said an internal review would be conducted looking at the building’s fire alarm, how Metro would react to any future alarms, and “what lessons were learnt”.

The site of the leak at the Metro train control centre in Collins St. Picture: Andy Brown

The site of the leak at the Metro train control centre in Collins St. Picture: Andy Brownbill

But he said all protocols had been followed and the safety of passengers and Metro staff had not been jeopardised.

“There was a water leak that made its way into the fire panel this morning, which made the alarm go into a default position, evacuating the building,” Mr Bria said.

“Overall, it was a controlled evacuation of the building, a controlled shutdown of the network, and a controlled reopening of the network”

Trains were stopped in their tracks from 8.28am until 8.43am. But delays were felt across the system for almost an hour.

Passengers wait to arrive at Flinders Street Station after the false fire alarm Picture:

Passengers wait to arrive at Flinders Street Station after the false fire alarm Picture: Nicole Garmston

Mr Bria said a backup system did not kick in because that took 50 minutes, while the situation had been resolved within 15 minutes.

There had therefore been no need to send staff across the city to the other control room.

Premier Daniel Andrews backed Metro’s response, saying that the proper protocols had been put in place.

“Trains stop right across the network when there is any risk that continuing to run them would be unsafe,” he said.

“Safety has to come first — but I do apologise for any inconvenience,” Premier Andrews said.

Train collides with truck in Melbourne’s south-east

A train has collided with a truck in Melbourne's south-east. (9NEWS)A train has collided with a truck in Melbourne’s south-east. (9NEWS)

Melbourne commuters are lucky to be alive after a train collided with a truck in Melbourne’s south-east this afternoon.

The B-Double trailer was clipped by the train at a level crossing in Dandenong about 3.30pm.

There have been no reports of injuries. (9NEWS)

There have been no reports of injuries.

No one was injured in the crash but passengers were forced to climb down from the train using a ladder.

The Cranbourne and Pakenham lines have been suspended with buses replacing those services.

Source: www.9news.com.au

New train timetables revealed for Bendigo

By RENEE THOMPSON

MINOR timetable alterations to Bendigo V/Line services are set to come into effect later this month with V/Line’s announcement on Sunday of new timetables across its network on June 21.

The new timetable coincides with the full rollout of the Regional Rail Link across Victoria from June 21.

PTV spokesperson Helen Witton said the timetable meant increased benefits for Bendigo commuters.

“Since July 2014, Bendigo line trains no longer get stuck behind Metro trains between Sunshine and the city, reducing unscheduled delays and creating space to run more Bendigo services in the future,” she said.

“As part of the 21 June timetable change, Bendigo line customers will benefit from a three to six minute journey time saving on train services to Melbourne.”

Public Transport Users Association regional spokesperson Paul Westcott said he welcomed the slightly improved travel times for Bendigo V/Line users.

“It’s about time, that line’s been open for months and it’s been disappointing the timetable has stayed the same,” he said.

He said the Bendigo line had been running to the new timetable for months, but because it was not official, there had been issues with trains arriving “early” in Melbourne and clashing with metro timetables.

“I think Bendigo people have already got the benefit (of the rail link), the new timetable doesn’t change that, it makes it accurate.”

Source: www.bendigoadvertiser.com.au

Geelong commuters to get trains every 10 minutes in peak periods

by Benjamin Millar

Trains will run every 10 minutes for Geelong commuters during peak periods, under a timetable in effect from June 21 using the new Regional Rail Link through Melbourne’s west.

Released on Sunday, the timetable adds extra services between Geelong and Melbourne, taking to 51 the number of trains on the route on weekdays.

Geelong trains will no longer travel via Werribee, instead servicing new stations at Wyndham Vale and Tarneit.

Launching the timetable at Southern Cross Station on Sunday, Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said the Regional Rail Link project had been the most significant investment in new railway lines in Victoria in about 80 years.

Successive state governments have done little to expand Melbourne’s metropolitan rail system.

But the Regional Rail Link, approved under the Brumby government and built under both Labor and Liberal state governments, was started after getting three-quarters of its initial funding from Canberra.

It will attempt to make services more reliable by removing V/Line trains interacting with Metro services.

But the Opposition’s public transport spokesman David Hodgett said that, while the opening was good news for rail users, “motorists still face years of gridlock because of Daniel Andrews’ reckless decision to scrap the East West Link”.

Source: www.theage.com.au

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