New public transport timetables kick in on August 27th. Last week (or maybe it was the week before), PTV released details, including full timetables for the routes affected:
Altona Loop users rejoice! (A bit)
There will be no more Altona Loop shuttles. Weekday Altona Loop services will run through to Flinders St.
This also means Werribee trains will run express Newport-Footscray-North Melbourne, so both Altona and Werribee people win from this.
Of course the mostly single track through Altona means bypasses are set to continue. At least we now know the Kororoit Creek Road grade separation will include some duplication. Hopefully that makes a difference.
There hasn’t been a wholesale re-write of the timetable, so peak Williamstown and Altona services remain at every 22 minutes, while off-peak is 20!
More Geelong trains
The Geelong line will go to every 40 minutes on weekends. With constant overcrowding on the current hourly trains, this was only a matter of time, though heaven knows why they didn’t push the upgrades a little further to half-hourly, which would have meant more trains, a clockface timetable (40’s alternating hours has always been problematic) and preserving the bus connections, many of which are every 30-60 minutes.
As it is, bus connections will break. The premier Geelong bus service, route 1 from North Shore to Deakin, is every 30 minutes on weekends, and will remain so. It doesn’t take a genius to see that buses every 30 minutes don’t interface well with trains every 40 minutes.
V/Line have said in response to queries that it’s because the Sunbury line is every 20-40 minutes on weekends, and the Bendigo line is tied in with that, because they share some tracks… and the Bendigo line in turn interfaces with the Ballarat and Geelong lines. V/Line claims this prevents the Geelong line going to every 30 minutes.
But then, this is the organisation that has three out of four hourly services currently meeting at Deer Park Junction within a few minutes of each other, so I don’t think it’s unfair to say that their timetabling leaves something to be desired.
So has that been fixed? Well, yes and no:
- Ballarat line at Deer Park, inbound: 15 past the hour. Outbound: 34
- Geelong line at Deer Park, inbound: 12 and 52, or 32. Outbound: 07 and 47, or 27
So if the inbound Geelong train is 3 minutes late, every second hour it’ll delay an inbound Ballarat train. If it’s even later, it’ll delay an outbound Ballarat train as well, thanks to the flat junction.
You’d think they could have figured out better spacing between the Geelong and Ballarat trains. Aside from junction conflicts, Deer Park passengers will have 2-3 trains per hour: either at 12, 15, 52 past the hour, or at 15 and 32. Hmmmmm.
It remains to be seen whether V/Line continues to run their daily game of Mystery Platforms at Southern Cross.
— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) July 15, 2015
The August 27th timetable for the Frankston line already includes Southland times:
For those wondering about stopping patterns, the full timetable shows peak expresses will still run to/from Cheltenham, not stopping at Southland.
On Sunday afternoon I went and had a quick look at the station. It’s looking good. These views from the top of the shopping centre carpark.
View looking towards the City. I’m guessing the structure closest the camera is the PSO pod and/or toilets. There seems to be plenty of coverage on the citybound platform; less so on the outbound platform.
View looking towards Frankston. The southern ends of the platforms (as well as the entire citybound platform) are adjacent to houses, but it appears you won’t be able to see much from the platform. A few better view from the top of the Southland carpark :-/
I’m not sure you’d say the station looks beautiful. I guess we’ll see what it looks like when it opens.
The station may look close to completion, but that is not to say that it is opening imminently. While the structure looks more and more functional every week, I’m hearing November is the likely opening date, with electrical and signalling works still underway.
I suppose until the station actually opens, the extra minute or two allowed in the timetables will be one less excuse Metro has for train delays.
It’ll be good to finally have it open – hopefully in time for the Christmas shopping rush.
- Some history on Southland station development, including answers to those who said it shouldn’t be built
- The Leader reported in May that Westfield will be introducing paid parking at Southland for stays of more than three hours, to ensure rail commuters don’t use the car park
Other timetable changes
Other changes on August 27th include additional trains on a number of lines: Werribee, Craigieburn (with all peak trains now via the Loop), Sunbury (some peak trains direct via Southern Cross), and some trains extended to Eltham.
There are also more V/Line services to Shepparton, Traralgon (approaching hourly on weekends, but not quite there yet), Bendigo, and Ballarat/Ararat. A number of local buses, both in metropolitan Melbourne and around Victoria, also have timetable changes.
All in all, some good upgrades. Enough? No, of course not – missing in action is any hint of a rollout of PTV’s 10 minute suburban train plan – but this is a step forward.