Wednesday, September 23, 2009

etc talks train failures

Earlier this week I attended the Select Committee on Train Services public hearing to give evidence on behalf of the Eastern Transport Coalition. The committee was set up to inquire into the factors leading to and causes of failures in the provision of metropolitan and V/Line train services.

Boarding data shows a clear commuter preference for express trains, with maximum loads on these trains and "stopping all stations" trains carrying significant lower loads. The failure of the system to provide adequate express services represents further failure in the system, whilst infrastructure, single, double or triple tracks are a major determinant of system capacity.

For the ETC there are two key factors that have caused a failure in the provision of train services
Failure to invest sufficient funds since 1960
Failure to plan for new extensions and increases in capacity of rail over the same time

The failure is evidenced by
Overcrowded services on existing lines
Total reliance on inefficient buses to undertake trunk operations in under serviced areas (Rowville / Doncaster / Yarra Ranges)
Inability of the system to cope with increases in patronage
High car ownership levels in the outer east
This can be resolved by
Capacity increases on Belgrave, Lilydale, Cranbourne, Pakenham and Glen Waverley Lines
An extension of heavy rail from Huntingdale to Rowville
A fixed heavy rail line to Doncaster

For 50 minutes I spoke on a range of issues in relation to train services and their failures in the East, the discussion also turned to bus services, the bus service reviews and better integrated public transport services across the east of Melbourne.
For Yarra Ranges key points included increasing the capacity of the Ringwood/Belgrave/Lilydale lines, track duplications and triplications and over used car parks along the rail lines. Also up for discussion was the lack of integration between buses and trains, particularly evening peak services.

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