Possible 2021 Metro timetables

They really don’t like talking about this stuff, but if you’ve been wondering what your future train service might look like, check this:

Rowville study: 2021 proposed train services
(View it bigger)

This map is based on an appendix tucked-away in the Rowville rail study documents, and shows a proposed operating plan once Regional Rail Link and a handful of other minor (already pledged) changes are made.

Note the fine print however: it’ll only happen if funding is made available.

Overall it looks pretty good. Most stations seem set to get 10 minute services outside peak (and better during peak). Those that miss out are primarily on lines with single track, which just emphasises how important duplication is (though they could be more bold and run frequent trains at least on the duplicated sections).

What the government needs to do is recognise that this type of plan for frequent services across the city, all day every day, would make a huge difference to the mobility of Melburnians.

In fact along with upgrades to connecting buses and trams, it’s the best weapon we have for keeping the city moving in the face of increasing traffic congestion.

And it doesn’t take major multi-billion-dollar (unfunded) infrastructure to do it. It’s all possible with the network and fleet we have now… all it requires is some more drivers and maintenance.

(Level crossings clogging up may become more of a problem at peak times if grade separation doesn’t happen in more places, but the bigger difference to train services would be at off-peak times. Trains every 10 minutes won’t paralyse a suburb with a level crossing.)

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

10 replies on “Possible 2021 Metro timetables”

The worrying part is that in the space of nine years, they can’t even contemplate undertaking the duplication of track needed to get such high frequencies to all lines.

Westona and Eltham should have been duplicated long ago.

@Paul, I don’t know if that’s necessarily the case. The culture of secrecy means we don’t know what they’re thinking in terms of possible infrastructure upgrades. This plan is more about what they believe is possible (and perhaps probable) given the currently funded infrastructure upgrades. It doesn’t mean internally they aren’t pushing for more duplication — they certainly should be!

Interesting that Hurstbridge is one of the most crowded lines but would lose services based on this arrangement. Also, never thought I’d see the day where the Epping/South Morang line was running more frequently than Hurstbridge.

Interesting stuff. I notice in the possible/probable interpretation, Metro still has no plans for a new Frankston line station at Southland.

I’m not fussed about it personally, take it or leave it, but this can be seen a few ways. To name a couple (sure there’s more):

1. Metro/Gov won’t bow to retail self-interest. Westfield would love it if there was another way to get punters to shop at Southland, but the government won’t invest to help fill private coffers (no, that would never happen!)

2. Metro/Gov won’t acknowledge expanding community needs. Shoppers would love it if there was another way to get to and shop at Southland, but the government won’t invest (train to Avalon anyone?!)

All conjecture of course, and a tad off topic. Sorry Daniel!

@zek, when does Hurstbridge lose services?

@Marcus, take no notice of the non-existence of Southland; the source document didn’t mention it either way. Also note the map is not an official one; it was grabbed and annotated based on the source document.

The government promised Southland station many times. They would be unwise to go back on that.

@Zek The Hurstbridge line isn’t going to have less services than the Epping line: Epping is showing 9:6 (9 trains per hour during peak and 6 during off peak) whilst the Hurstbridge line is showing 9:3.

You might be getting confused looking at Hurstbridge itself, as the frequency drops off after Greensborough, then again at Eltham.

The inability of any Victorian state government to get the ball rolling on proper rail expansion (not counting the RRL, which is a remediation project anyway) is incredibly frustrating.

Yet when the time comes for a new freeway…

Is this after sunbury electrification? Also, it’s interesting to note that they are actually capable of 11 trains per hour on the Sydenham line during peak even with regional trains running through the Sydenham-sunshine corridor and the regional rail link won’t even take regional trains of this section.

I’m not against the regional rail link but I would personally have electric trains in Wyndham and Tarneit even if it means quadruplicating it so that two tracks can carry suburban trains. This would be so these suburbs don’t end up with a poor man’s train service like Deer Park.

Finally I think there’s a lot of uncertainty on the capacity of the Sydenham line as future Melton services and possibly the airport service (as It has been stated that running airport trains through Albion would be a preferred option) could take up this capacity.

Excuse the western suburbs centric spiel, but just some thoughts.

@Jon, it does include Sunbury electrification, yes, and RRL (which comes after Sunbury). The train counts per hour on the map are all electric trains.

I’ll do a separate post about V/Line proposals, which were also in the document.

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