Category Archives: Newsletters

Shaping a new Public Transport Authority

The most significant policy commitment of the incoming Baillieu Government is the creation of a Public Transport Development Authority for Victoria. Getting this one right will make all the difference between Victoria having some of the best public transport in the world, and a continuation of the current mediocre, politically poisonous setup.

The good news is that Transport Minister Terry Mulder now has a wealth of interstate and overseas experience to draw on when constituting and recruiting the government’s PTDA. Zurich, Vancouver, London, Perth and to some extent Brisbane all provide good examples of what to do. While they embody a number of different specific organisational structures and relationships, they share common features that make them successful. For the benefit of PTUA members, we list these briefly here.
Continue reading Shaping a new Public Transport Authority

Peninsula Link entrenches car dependence

From PTUA’s December 2009 newsletter.

Despite having no Federal funds for its `Peninsula Link’, the State Government has announced its intention to proceed regardless, driving a motorway through precious native wildlife habitat and historic homesteads, in order to further entrench car dependence in south-east Melbourne and for visitors to the Peninsula.
Continue reading Peninsula Link entrenches car dependence

Myki coming to Melbourne soon

UPDATE: As of 2012, some of the information below is outdated.
This page of Myki Questions and Answers has been updated, and is a good starting point to finding out how Myki will work

This article is from our September 2009 member newsletter. Join the PTUA to receive regular newsletters.

The Myki juggernaut rolls on, and the government are saying it will be switched on in Melbourne by the end of the year.

While the PTUA has consistently said the huge amount of money involved would have been better spent on staff, services, tram/train extensions and extra vehicles, we now face the likely prospect that the system will be fully implemented in the near future.

So, what does this mean for passengers? There will be three ways of using the Myki system. Continue reading Myki coming to Melbourne soon

Action stations! Interactive map

It’s not too long ago that the only visible infrastructure project underway on Melbourne’s rail system was the Craigieburn electrification. This is no longer the case. Say what you like about the government, but it is undeniable that a number projects have now been funded, right across the rail network.

But are they the right solutions? And are we getting our money’s worth?

This interactive map summarises what’s going on where, when each project will be finished, and how much it’ll cost. Move your mouse over each project to see the details. (Requires Flash)
Continue reading Action stations! Interactive map

July newsletter

July 2009 newsletterPlease join the PTUA to receive regular newsletters.

July 2009 edition articles:

Members can read this edition online.

The truth behind South Morang

Originally posted at Transport Textbook.com and (in abridged form) in the PTUA Newsletter.

TrackworksEver since the Victorian Transport Plan last December flagged that the South Morang rail extension would finally be built, there has been speculation as to why the cost was so high. At $650 million for a 3.5 kilometre extension, many pondered if it would include gold-plated rails and platforms.

When the 2009 state budget actually committed funding to it, the price had dropped slightly to $562 million, but this was due to the initial figure including running costs, apparently for several decades. Even counting the duplication from Keon Park to Epping at the same cost as the extension, it was still five times higher than the per-kilometre cost of the Craigieburn project completed just two years ago.

A feature article in The Age in June highlighted the issue, with local activists delighted at the commitment but mystified over the price, the opposition claiming taxpayers are being dudded, and public transport advocates (such as myself) fearing that the high price will discourage governments from future rail extensions. The Department of Transport offered the explanation that the project was a “more holistic approach to scoping the expansion of the Epping line”, but apparently didn’t clarify this in any great detail.

We (the PTUA) subsequently met with the Department, and finally discovered the real truth behind the term “holistic”. It turns out the scope of work is much bigger than just the South Morang extension plus duplication from Keon Park.

The way it was described, it includes:

  • Keon Park to Epping
    • duplication, obviously including track and overhead
    • two or three pedestrian grade-separations
    • station upgrades, and an additional platform at Thomastown
    • upgrades to 4 level crossings to latest standard
    • resignalling, including removal of bidirectional signalling on the existing single track (it conflicts with the proposed location of the second track), and re-signalling most of the rest of the line, almost down to Clifton Hill
    • stabling at Epping, with driver facilities to enable future changeovers to move away from Flinders St
    • extra substations
  • Epping to South Morang
    • dual track, overhead. We were told the old alignment can’t be used without modification, as there are grade separations and other issues with it
    • signalling
    • Dalton Road grade separation. Due to proximity of Epping train maintenance facilities (which can’t be moved), relocation of local roads (which can’t be disconnected from Dalton Rd) and the nearest creek (which the track must get over), this is said to be a reasonably complicated component, on a similar scale to Springvale Road grade separation
    • 3 bridges over creeks
    • bike/ped path along rail route, and included in bridges
    • grade separation of Pindari Avenue and Civic Drive
    • a new substation
    • communications systems including radio towers
    • South Morang station, including bike, bus, car parking, and provision for further extension to Mernda
  • Hurstbridge line
    • signalling upgrades on parts of line, to help harmonise frequencies to work better with the Epping/South Morang line
    • stabling at Eltham, including driver facilities, and which will require the moving of some existing trackwork

The scope of works goes some way to explaining the cost. Perhaps it doesn’t bring it down to the level of Perth’s Mandurah line, but at the very least it brings it back down to somewhere near Planet Earth.

It seems to makes some sense to include in the project scope upgrades that will help the rest of the Clifton Hill group run better. If things turn out to plan, in 2013 (just in time for the 2014 state election) the benefits should be felt not just to residents in South Morang, but also elsewhere along the Epping and Hurstbridge lines.

What is a real mystery is why the Department doesn’t publicise the true scope of the project. While the information is apparently no secret, as a number of groups have been briefed on the project breakdown, neither has it been made public.

Surely flagging the real scope of the project, with all the resultant benefits, would be better for the government than hiding the details away and having major newspapers writing feature articles highlighting the apparent cost overruns and implying incompetent project management.

May 2009 newsletter

May 2009 newsletterPlease join the PTUA to receive regular newsletters.

May 2009 edition articles:

Members can read this edition online.