A post in an occasional series wrapping up a few brief transporty things from the last week or two.
The new train design
This might be the least crowded train I’ve ever caught. That’s because it’s a pretend train, a mock-up of a carriage and a half, somewhere in a warehouse in outer-suburban Melbourne. I got to see it last week on behalf of PTUA — we’ve been included in stakeholder consultations this year on the design.
It looks pretty good, and has more places standees can hold on than the current Siemens and Comeng fleet, but could do with more still.
Busway knocked back
A few weeks ago The Age reported on Transdev’s plan for a busway from Doncaster to CBD.
- Dedicated bus lanes along middle of Eastern Freeway (in the median originally designed for rail), with stations at interchanges, including pedestrian access from overpasses
- Busway would continue along Hoddle Street, Victoria Parade and Lonsdale Street, to a new terminus underneath Southern Cross Station
- Double-articulated buses with doors on both sides to allow centre platform stops along Hoddle Street in a centre median
- Every 3 minutes in peak, every 5-6 minutes off-peak
- $500 million build cost
- Transdev wanted it to run as a PPP for 30 years, effectively locking them in as the operator for that time
- Off-board payment with Myki readers on platform stops, to speed up dwell times
It would have been cheaper/more achievable than Doncaster rail, remembering that a lot of benefits of Doncaster rail would be gained by first doing the cheap easy bit: rail to Bulleen, and feeding all the buses into there.
The plan has officially been knocked back.
The question is: can the problems of greater capacity (to cope with crowding) and speed (to encourage more people out of cars) be resolved another way?
Better traffic priority along Hoddle Street, Victoria Parade and Lonsdale Street is the key: both bus lanes where missing, and traffic light priority.
More articulated buses would help with capacity. There seem to have a handful now, but not many.
Can Skyrail carry freight?
I’ve been asked about this twice this week alone, once online, once in the barber shop this morning.
Can the Skyrail (under construction from Caulfield to Dandenong) handle freight and V/Line trains? The rumour that it can’t persists.
It’s not an entirely silly question. Freight trains in particular can be heavier than passenger trains, and the diesel locomotives used for freight and long distance V/Line services to Bairnsdale are heavy beasts.
The answer is an emphatic yes, they will run on the Skyrail — just as they run on the 1970s era viaduct between Flinders Street and Spencer Street stations.
Here’s the official answer from the Level Crossing Removal Authority:
WILL YOU CONTINUE TO RUN DIESEL TRAINS ON THE OLD TRACKS UNDERNEATH THE NEW RAIL LINE?
The new elevated structure will be designed to safely carry both Metro passenger trains and diesel freight trains. Just as passenger and freight trains share tracks currently, they would continue to share tracks in the elevated design. The tracks underneath the elevated structure will be removed to create new community spaces.
It’s fascinating that this rumour continues to do the rounds.
And it’s certainly not helped that this completely discredited Railpage article from five months ago has never been corrected.
By the way, now that construction is in full swing, the photo above, and the one below show just how close the elevated rail will be to some people’s homes/gardens. It’s not hard to see why some residents aren’t too happy about it.
— Catherine Pendelich (@CPendelich) October 6, 2017