John Nestor’s criticism of the Regional Rail Link (RRL) (“Expert says regional rail link not the answer” GA 21/2) only backs up what the PTUA has been saying since the project was first announced. How can anyone possibly justify a $5 billion project that will leave many passengers worse off?
The RRL will fail to achieve either of its aims, providing neither a good suburban service for the Tarneit area, nor a satisfactory service for many Geelong line passengers.
The RRL bypasses key interchange points at Werribee and North Melbourne, whereas good public transport systems should make connections easier.
We were told that modelling had been done of the time Geelong trains will take when travelling via the Tarneit bypass, but no such documentation has been released.
When he assumed office a year ago, Transport Minister Terry Mulder had the chance to conduct the sort of detailed review of the project that wasn’t done in the first place. The sorts of alternatives suggested by John Nestor could have been thoroughly examined.
Instead, Mr Mulder embraced the previous government’s flawed project, even though he had pointed out its shortcomings when he was in opposition.
Sadly, he has even resorted to tiresome spin by claiming that the downgrading of service resulting from the RRL will actually be an improvement.
It’s revealing that in his attempt to justify the flawed Regional Rail Link project (Don’t fuss about problems with new rail link, GA 29/2), Transport Minister Terry Mulder makes no mention at all of the worst aspect of the scheme – the bypassing of North Melbourne station.
Indeed, that aspect of the plan can’t be justified. North Melbourne station is a vital interchange point for hundreds of regional rail travellers every day, so much so that $30 million was recently spent to enhance its interchange function.
From North Melbourne, passengers have the choice of three different City Loop train services, as well as the highly-successful 401 bus to the university and hospital precincts.
The supposed alternatives to North Melbourne, Footscray and Southern Cross stations, are vastly inferior. From Footscray only one crowded line runs through the loop, and there’s no 410 bus.
Southern Cross station is vast, and interchanges there can involve treks of hundreds of metres, through gates, and up and down stairs and escalators.
No good public transport system should deliberately break any convenient connection between different routes and modes.
Ever since new signalling systems were installed at Newport and Laverton recently, problems with them have plagued the Geelong line. It seems likely that things were done on the cheap and with inadequate supervision.
The Department of Transport and the state government must make a genuine effort identify and admit all the problems, and then spend the money needed to fix them once and for all.
Multi millions of dollars have been spent on improving the Melbourne Road in the last decade or so, even though around eighty percent of Geelong people travelling to Melbourne for work use the train. They have been provided with a second-rate system and they deserve much better.
I hope I can clear up some of John Fairnie’s understandable uncertainty about the Regional Rail Link (RRL) (Something fishy about Regional Rail Link, GA 19/3).
Werribee station will certainly be bypassed by the RRL because it branches off the current Geelong-Melbourne line about six kilometres before Werribee station. After it has run along the Tarneit diversion, the RRL will use current V/Line tracks from Deer Park West to Sunshine, but from there it will use a pair of new tracks right through to Southern Cross station.
RRL trains will be able stop at Footscray station, where two new platforms will be provided. However, although the two new tracks to Southern Cross will run right alongside the crucial North Melbourne station interchange, no RRL platforms will be constructed there, so it is effectively bypassed.
A good public transport system should enhance interconnections between different routes and modes, but the RRL unfortunately does the opposite of that.
On Thursday morning, signal faults at Newport yet again disrupted the journeys of hundreds of Geelong rail passengers.
It isn’t bureaucratic red tape which has thwarted the owner of the Cremorne Hotel in creating an alfresco dining area on the Pakington Street footpath (Bus stop thwarts Newtown pub alfresco bid, GA 29/3).
The problem is the owner’s lack of awareness of the long-standing rules. The City’s Footpath Trading and Activity Policy clearly states that alfresco dining is not permitted an area adjacent to a bus zone, loading zone, mail zone, taxi zone or a no-stopping area.
The bus stop outside the hotel has been there for more than half a century, long before the present owner took over the premises, and it was a tram stop for half a century before that. The only alternative outward bus stops are 300 metres away in either direction. The current stop must remain where it is.
For the second time in three months Terry Mulder has written an article (Getting back on line, Opinion, 6/6) telling us how great the Regional Rail Link (RRL) is.
But each time he has failed to mention, let alone justify, the worst aspect of the scheme – the fact that RRL trains will bypass North Melbourne station.
That’s because that decision, as yet unexplained, can’t be justified. North Melbourne station is a vital interchange point for hundreds of regional rail travellers every day, so much so that $30 million was recently spent to enhance its function as an interchange.
North Melbourne is a popular interchange point because passengers have the choice of three different City Loop train services, as well as the highly-successful 401 bus to the hospitals and Melbourne University.
The supposed alternatives to North Melbourne, Footscray and Southern Cross stations, are greatly inferior. From Footscray only one line runs through the loop, and there’s no 401 bus. Southern Cross station is vast, and interchanges there can involve treks of hundreds of metres up and down stairs and escalators.
No good public transport system should deliberately break such a convenient connection between different routes and modes.
I read with interest the opinion piece by Bernadette Uzelac (Challenge and change, GA 16/7) on the challenges facing central Geelong.
It was disappointing to note that one vital component of any solution wasn’t mentioned, and that was the promotion of sustainable transport options (walking, cycling and public transport) as part of the solution.
Sustainable transport is not only a good thing in itself; it has the ability to lessen the problems of traffic congestion and parking shortages that were mentioned.
Tinkering around the edges with parking concessions and the like will do very little to alleviate the growing traffic problem in central Geelong, and has the potential to undermine the Council’s financial position.
It has been very reassuring to see that the ideas arising from the Vision 2 process, which Ms Uzelac mentioned, have at their heart the promotion of a city core which is inviting because it encourages people-friendly spaces and sustainable transport modes, and tries to reduce the dependence on motor vehicles.