What they got done at Bentleigh, Mckinnon and Ormond during the 37 day shutdown of the Frankston line to remove the level crossings was very impressive, and I’m told the project team are (rightly) proud of the results.
— Daniel Andrews (@DanielAndrewsMP) August 11, 2016
But… particularly when evaluating different methodologies and plans for future projects, one needs to be very careful to get all the facts.
It’s simply incorrect to imply that 37 days was the full extent of disruptions.
The full scope of interruptions to trains has been far greater.
Here’s a list of the extended station closures and service alterations:
- Third track closed, resulting in no peak hour express trains from Mon 16/11/2015 until Sun 4/9/2016 — 10 months. This was clever thinking, because it’s provided construction access in a narrow corridor. This might not be available on other projects.
- For the same ten months, several planned regular peak hour cancellations, obviously adding to crowding on other trains.
- Closure of Ormond station 25/3/2016 to late August 2016 — 5 months
- Closure of Mckinnon stations 25/3/2016 to 31/7/2016 — 4 months
- Closure of Bentleigh station from 4/6/2016 to late August 2016 — 3 months
And the rail closures (not including an accidental disruption due to a gas leak early in the project):
- Last two trains after midnight, Fri 13/11/2015 — this was before Night Trains started
- 1am Sat 21/11/2015 to last service Sun 22/11/2015 — 2 days
- 1am Sat 28/11/2015 to last service Sun 29/11/2015 — 2 days
- 1am Sat 12/12/2015 to last service Sun 13/12/2015 — 2 days
- First service Sat 23/1/2016 to last service Sun 31/1/2016 — 9 days
- 8:45pm Fri 12/2/2016 to last service Sun 14/2/2016 — 2 days
- 7pm Fri 4/3/2016 to last service Sun 6/3/2016 — 2 days
- 9pm Fri 19/3/2016 to last service Sun 21/3/2016 — 2 days
- First service Fri 25/3/2016 (Good Friday) to last service Sun 3/4/2016 — 3 days
- First service Sat 25/6/2016 to last service Sun 31/7/2016 — 37 days — including normal weekdays
- 1am Sat 13/8/2016 to last service Mon 15/8/2016 — 3 days — note this includes all of Monday, a normal weekday
- 1am Sat 27/8/2016 to last service Sun 28/8/2016 — 2 days — a planned closure on the Monday has thankfully been avoided
(In most cases, rail closures were confined to Caulfield to Moorabbin. In some cases this was stretched to Mordialloc, mostly for other projects such as Southland station, though early on this was done as part of work to isolate the power at Moorabbin.)
So in fact there have been substantial disruptions in addition from the 37 days: 10 months of service alterations/cancellations, stations closed for up to 5 months, and so far (that we know about) 29 full days of closures — eg a full total of 66 days with no trains.
Weekend closures are less disruptive than weekdays, but still affect a large number of people, especially on weekends with major sporting and cultural events.
The full project spans over a year of works.
Preparatory work was required, such as moving existing services, ahead of major works. Further (mostly relatively minor) work is required to bring the project to completion.
It’s like when you go in for a short surgical procedure. There’s all kinds of preparation before the actual event, and recovery time afterwards. It’s not just a half-hour thing, it can take all day.
I’m not saying the project should have been run differently. Actually it’s been a really good strategy to isolate the main disruption to a five-ish week period, and overall things have gone pretty smoothly.
But we need to be clear on what actually happened, and not assume it was just 37 days.
- By the way, Marcus Wong has fact-checked the rhetoric: It’s unlikely the 37 days was the “biggest rail closure since the City Loop” (though it probably ranks in terms of numbers of passengers disrupted). And it’s not the first time three crossings have been removed simultaneously (though the recordholders are over 95 years ago).
- In my view there hasn’t been nearly enough publicity about this coming Monday’s closure (as well as the weekend). The blaze of publicity about the line re-opening probably has people assuming there are no more weekday shutdowns. Not so! PTV notice here.
Update 23/8/2016: the new Bentleigh and Ormond stations will open on August 29th.
— Nick Staikos MP (@NStaikos) August 23, 2016