Any worthwhile infrastructure upgrades and expansions will cost megabucks. The obvious question is whether it will generate more in economic benefits than cost.
That’s the thing - I don’t think it will. The line is in a very tight corridor - as in, there is absolutely no room for expansion without acquisitions of entire rows of houses, which is not ideal.
There are several circumstances which make a balloon loop reconfiguration very suitable.
Most of the commuters from Altona are catching the train into the inner suburbs and city, and not towards Werribee
There is not much local traffic within the loop itself (i.e. people hopping 1 stop from Altona to Westona or Seaholme)
The loop is already bypassed by an express rail line, so there isn’t a pressing need to increase capacity for stations further down the line towards Werribee
And finally, it would cost bugger all in comparison to a full duplication of the entire line, and be far less disruptive to the community. The most complex works required would be the installation of a new citybound connection from west of Westona, like this:
Paisley at its current location (just east of Millers Road overpass) won’t be able to serve passengers from Werribee wanting to reach Altona. Instead a new station should be built east of Altona Junction to serve as an interchange, so passengers won’t have to travel all the way to Newport then go back.
I can’t remember if it’s Paisley or Galvin, but one of them still has a island platform (and a filled-in subway) between the broad gauge tracks.
I think the one way idea has some merit, but I wonder how many Altona Loop commuters would want to transfer trains just to get to Laverton, which they don’t need to at present
On the proposed light rail link between Caulfield and Rowville, if it gets the green light, it will be interesting to see how it will connect with tram route 3 (and the rest of Melbourne’s tram network) at Caulfield.
There are two possible options for the interchange
- Caulfield station (intersection of Derby Road and Sir John Monash Drive)
- intersection of Dandenong Road and Waverley Road
If the new tram route terminates at Caulfield only then the station will be a good choice. If the new tram route is to go into the city or other parts of Melbourne, the current tram route 3 will have to be realigned to remove the four sharp turns in the Caulfield station / racecourse precinct, including the 75 degree turn at Derby Road and Sir John Monash Drive intersection, otherwise the latest E-class trams won’t be able to travel through.
One word. Pork Barrel.
Having a connection at Caulfield to Route 3 seems like a disaster waiting to happen. You’d have a high speed, high capacity light rail line hooking up to tram tracks running in mixed traffic conditions.
The smartest option in my opinion would be to extend the light rail line on the Princes Highway from Glenferrie Road all the way to Wellington Road, then proceed east from there to Rowville.
That’s not a bad idea, however it means a section of Dandenong Road will need to be widened between Station Street / Normanby Road (either side of Malvern railway overpass) and Waverley Road. The short underpass link between Normanby Road and Dandenong Road, south east of Inkerman Road, will also have to be permanently closed to traffic.
Another problem is that having the Rowville trams connecting with Route 64 at Malvern or Route 3 at Caulfield will lead to more trams on the St Kilda Road corridor, something the local transport authorities are trying to avoid. My assumption is that the Rowville tram will start and finish at Caulfield station, and passengers wanting to go to the CBD and inner suburbs will need to catch a train or tram route 3 from there.
Turnbull’s made an offer, what will Andrews do?
Given there are far better public transport projects in Victoria than an airport railway line, I’d hope they don’t take that route.
Airport rail right now would just make the existing city loop capacity issues worse, especially as most of the routes proposed go through already bottlenecked sections of the network.
I’d start with Melton line electrification - separating that from the Vline commuter network and properly serving one of the biggest population growth centres.
I think the Melbourne Airport rail link should be built but it should terminate at Southern Cross. It should also be part of V/Line network with another new line extending from the airport north to Clarkefield to join the existing Bendigo line. This will enable all the passenger trains from Bendigo to divert via the airport, allowing more suburban trains to run between Melbourne CBD and Sunbury. The rail line between Sunbury and Clarkefield will need to be duplicated and electrified, with Clarkefield to become the new interchange between V/Line trains and Metro trains. The long distance services to/from Echuca and Swan Hill will continue to travel via Sunbury.
I can appreciate the sense of urgency regarding a Melbourne Airport rail link (even Perth is going to beat Melbourne to the punch) but do agree that there are other, more important public transport projects in Victoria to fund first.
Melbourne Airport rail in my opinion needs to be connected to the existing Metro network. The extension of the racecourse line would probably be the most expensive but open up new areas not served by rail, in an area which houses many airport workers. I think Melbourne Airport is the biggest employment centre outside of the CBD and is currently served by a couple of buses.
They’d be daft not to do both, despite it being expensive.
I’d think a Metro link to the airport via either the Albion-Jacana freight corridor (and new stations in Sunshine North and East Keilor) OR Maribyrnong (as floated overnight) could work alongside a more direct V/Line service to Southern Cross, connecting either to the Bendigo line at Clarkefield or to the North East line.
That way, you aren’t forced in a position whereby a Metro service requires a dedicated train stock (with luggage compartments etc.), and can open up options for business commutes in the broader Tullamarine/Airport area as mentioned above. At the same time, V/Line stock - already designed for long distance travel - will serve a direct service better.
That said: Metro 2 is much more crucial to unlock some of the electric network’s bottlenecks: Clifton Hill and Newport. Doing both would be ideal at this point, after such chronic under-investment for decades.
How long has there been talk of a Airport Rail Link though? Years. I’ve lost count. There seems to be an article about this every 6 months or so.
If the Government was serious about this, it would’ve been done years ago. The taxi industry will lose and SkyBus may go out of business. It should’ve been built when they moved to Tullamarine from Essendon.
Yes, a link would be great but I won’t believe it until I see it.
Yes, it is in the same category as rail to Doncaster, Rowville, electric to Melton and high speed rail to Sydney. Just pie in the sky stuff that will never happen
Once the Metro Tunnel is built. The Airport link is built. I just think the Government at the moment can raise more revenune promoting the 90X bus to the Airport from Broadmeadows instead of using the skybus.
Bus routes (and pt in general) cost governments money through subsidies. The fare paid by the passenger covers a small portion, government tops up with subsidy to the operator. So increasing patronage will cost more than what the farebox will bring in.
The 901 and train combo is cheap (technically free if youre continuing on to somewhere in the suburbs or even V/Line within 2 hours) but its much slower and only really useful from terminal 4. Theres always been a few people using it when I have but it could be promoted better and have a stop at T1. Also, Transdev needs to clean their buses better, a dirty bus full of graffiti isnt a good way to welcome visitors to your city.