Public Transport

hopefully those 82 cancelled projects are used to deliver on some of the anti-pork barrelling rhetoric from the last federal election.

Melbourne/Geelong have had the fastest population growth in the last 20 years, and SEQ is expected to have the fastest growth over the next 10. spending so much federal money on Sydney’s infrastructure never made any sense.

The proposed Sydney to Newcastle rail upgrade is one of the 82 projects that will no longer receive federal funding. Looks like we will be stuck with a 3.5 hour one-way train trip between the two cities for the next 10-15 years.

That’s why I think it is a wrong decision not to allocate federal funding to Geelong Fast Rail. The previous government has already provided money for the duplication of the Geelong line from South Geelong to Waurn Ponds, with the project set to be complete next year. Unless the Victorian government goes it alone or forms a public/private partnership, the Geelong-Melbourne rail line won’t be upgraded in the next few years.

I was never hopeful of seeing it in my lifetime anyway… it’s been talked about for years

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Geelong Fast Rail I don’t think provides enough benefit over the current line - 15 minutes doesn’t change enough to the overall trip.

The Geelong line would gain the most benefit by running more separate services to Wyndham Vale/Tarneit from the main Geelong services in peak, and getting 9 car sets - to reduce the crush loads at peak times from those going to the outer suburbs of Melbourne rather than to Geelong.

To fully improve the Geelong line you need to do Melbourne Metro 2, duplication and full electrification to Warun Ponds, not the half measure of “Fast Rail”.

I don’t think that saves much money long term - every major project just seems to be ballooning in cost, which I can’t imagine would reverse in a decade. Doing it even faster would likely be cheaper.

If you spent a decade reserving and clearing land to do more of the project as cut and cover or surface level, then maybe it could be cheaper, but things are probably too far along on the first section for a delay to make financial sense - it would need to be a total cancellation and giving up on it for a generation.

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It’s 2.5 to 3 hrs but yes it’s disgracefully slow.

Indeed. If /when the new trains ever enter into service they have a higher top speed but it will only be an incremental difference if any (if timetabling even factor it in properly)

Another project that’s been mooted for years is a Waterfall/Helensburgh -Thirroul tunnel. Could easily shave almost half an hour off the journey from Sydney to Thirroul and beyond. A missed opportunity that if seriously started instead of just floated during elections could have been operating by now - just like high speed rail.

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A trial of trackless tram was held at City of Stirling council offices carpark in Perth yesterday. Monash University, one of the organisers of the trial, hopes the federal and Victorian Governments would help fund the $1.4 billion project from Chadstone shopping centre to Rowville in Melbourne’s east. A business case is being prepared, to be submitted in early 2025.

There are reports that it’s already damaging the road pavement too

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Without wanting to sound sarcastic: how is this different to a fancy bus with a set route and path?

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Its not - its basically a fancy bus


This trackless tram will run on an underground magnet track.

Again, why couldn’t they just buy driverless busses? Or is that basically what they are?

It’s really, really heavy.


They are a way of increasing the capacity of your public transport without the need for mass infrastructure (you can run them on normal roads for instance)

They may indeed be a valid solution in some locations

So then why don’t you just buy more busses/make bus lanes/add new bus lines?

I’m not sure - it doesn’t make much sense on the face of it

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A good BRT system with frequent but less fancy buses is a much better outcome than technology in search for a problem, there’s no problem a trackless tram solves.

You’ll always need an attentive driver when running in mixed traffic, at least within the lifespan of any of these vehicles, but some magnets are hardly enough fixed infrastructure to make people think service levels are assured.

Learn from Brisbane - lots of dedicated bus infrastructure to get them out of the traffic and with very clear service levels, and with those new metro buses, you get more of that “looks like a tram” without being restricted to the fixed route.


I guess the advantage of trackless tram is that you don’t need to build an overhead pantograph and put steel tracks on the ground, so there is no need to rip up roads to replace tracks when time comes for renewal.

My concern though is the initial proposed route. It travels along Princes Highway, Ferntree Gully Road, Blackburn Road, Wellington Road and Stud Road. The route pass along residential areas, student accommodation at Monash University and proposed Suburban Rail Loop station at Monash Uni, but completely misses the uni’s bus terminus which is served by a dozen of bus routes. And at Chadstone you still need to transfer to another bus route to either Hughesdale (Cranbourne and Pakenham line) or Holmesglen (Glen Waverley) for a train to Melbourne CBD.

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The disadvantage being that there’s no overhead pantograph to provide power to the tram so it will need either a huge heavy battery or diesel to power it, and you’ll need to rip up the road every few years with how heavy that will make them, especially going on the exact same route all the time - guidance following the exact route is a bad thing when on tyres on standard roads.

The per vehicle added cost of the batteries needed to power the “tram” combined with the rolling resistance of tyres compared tracks means operating costs and the per vehicle costs will quickly outstrip any savings from not just building rail.

If it’s not rail, then it’s a bus - and if it’s a bus then the project starts and ends with bus lanes and traffic light priority - the proposal doc talks about trams being slow - trams are slow in Melbourne because they get stuck in traffic, a trackless tram doesn’t suddenly avoid traffic anymore than a tram or standard bus on the same route could.

A good bus right of way lets you then build out direct connections to a wider feeder network, but then have a core segment that operates very frequent service between the key locations, while the longer articulated vehicles will likely need to have careful route planning to ensure they don’t have to make impossible turns.

Melbourne just in general has to work on our perception of buses - trying to cover them in tram clothes to make the public accept them isn’t going to work.