Proposed track amplification projects

Since opening as a single track railway in 1857, various track amplification projects have been proposed for the Geelong line.

1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan


The 1969 Melbourne Transportation Plan was a road and rail transport plan for Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, Australia, instituted by Henry Bolte's state government.

  • Construction of two new tracks between North Melbourne and Footscray.
  • Third track between Newport and Footscray. The first part of the plan was completed in 1976.

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2000 Fast Rail to Regional Centres feasibility study


Early planning for the Regional Fast Rail project also examined the creation of express tracks for V/Line trains through suburbia, which was detailed in the Fast Rail to Regional Centres feasibility study final report released in September 2000.

  • Option MG4 – Upgrade the Main Goods Lines to Docklands.
  • Option MG5 – Upgrade Main Goods, Outside Goods, and the Dynon Flyover.
  • Option MG6 – Realign Champion Road Junction.
  • Option MG7 – Third Track from Laverton Junction to Aircraft.
  • Option MG8 – Suburban Operations into Werribee.

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Option MG4 – Upgrade The Main Goods Lines To The Docklands


Scope

This option assumes that a new platform would be built on the Docklands side of Spencer Street Station. It involves the upgrading and re-alignment of Goods tracks to passenger service standards. This will create a dedicated route through the congestion of North Melbourne.

Track and Civil

· Mainline turnouts and crossover at the Down end of South Kensington are to be provided for higher diverging speeds.

· Realign curves for a nominal line speed of 100kph.

· New platform at Docklands with new crossovers at Spencer Street to facilitate platform access.

Signalling

· Modify field equipment at South Kensington and add speed indicators.

· Rearrange signalling where required on the Goods line.

· Extend interlocking at Spencer Street No 2 signal box and add remote controls.

Time benefits

This will provide country services with a dedicate route through North Melbourne. It is anticipated that the line speed would be nominally designed for 100kph. A number of curve restrictions are likely to apply for this route.

Interactions

Option MG4 has major benefits for other services including the Bendigo and the Ballarat train services. Separation of services from suburban trains will also improve reliability for suburban services.

The provision of the run around facilities and the new platform at Spencer Street could be utilised for implementing the Gippsland service as a through service, as well as providing convenient platform access at Spencer Street.

The provision of the Mandated crossover at North Melbourne could be utilised to gain access to the existing Spencer Street Terminal rather than access to the Docklands platform.

Cost Estimate

Comparative Cost (excluding design management and contingency)

Track and Civil/Electrical $ 3.8 Million

Signalling $ 1.4 Million

Other Comments – North Melbourne Stop

This option does not allow for a stop at North Melbourne. If a stop were required at this location, then this would have to be provided by the removal of two or more of the goods lines in this location, such as the Coburg Goods and the Goods Sidings. Access to the platform would be via the existing footbridge with new ramps constructed to the platforms. A nominal cost provision of $3 Million has been set aside for these works.

Other Comments – Docklands Platform

This option assumes that a new platform is built on the west side of the existing tracks adjacent to the Docklands area. The whole of the Spencer Street station precinct is currently the subject of a major review and the platform configuration will form a key task in that review process.

Other country high speed services to Bendigo and Ballarat and the Airport Rail link also require platform faces at Spencer Street possibly in the same location. Therefore, it may not be possible to assume that a Docklands platform is possible in all situations.

In the event that a Spencer Street platform stop were required (not a Docklands platform stop) then this would be provided by the use of the North Melbourne Crossovers project and crossovers from the Through Suburbans to the Main Goods.

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Option MG5 – Upgrade Main Goods, Outside Goods, And The Dynon Flyover


Scope

This option provides benefits to all Western District country rail services. It incorporates part of Option MG4 in utilising the Main Goods near to the Suburban Car wash past South Kensington and back onto the Through Suburbans. It involves the re-establishment of the connection to the Outside Goods and the provision of a ramp to the Dynon Flyover, thus connecting to the East Suburbans and the existing Spencer Street Terminal without the need for at-grade crossings.

Track and Civil

· Mainline turnouts and crossover at the Down end of South Kensington are provided for higher diverging speeds.

· New turnout connection to the Outside Goods from the Main Goods.

· New ramp connecting the existing Dynon Flyover to the Outside Goods.

· Convert Standard Gauge to a gauntlet track as exists over Dudley Street.

· New dual gauge turnout at the Up end of the Dynon Flyover.

Signalling

· Modify field equipment at South Kensington and add speed indicators.

· Extend interlocking at Dudley Street (West Tower) and add remote controls.

· Extend interlocking at Franklin Street signal box and add remote controls.

Time benefits

This will provide country services with a dedicated pathway through North Melbourne. It is anticipated that the line speed would be nominally designed for 80kph. There is likely to be a number of curve restrictions.

This avoids the grade crossings at North Melbourne, as the cross over would be achieved at South Kensington.

Interactions

Option MG5 has major benefits for other services including both the Bendigo & Ballarat lines.

This would avoid the provision of the Mandated crossover at North Melbourne and could be utilised to gain access to the existing Spencer Street Terminal by most of the country services.

This option could be further enhanced by the provision of an elevated platform and suitable pedestrian ramps down to the suburban platforms at North Melbourne. This would providepassenger access to the metropolitan underground loop rail services at North Melbourne.

This option is worthy of further consideration because it has significant advantages inproviding no operational interaction between the country lines and suburban services. The main disadvantage is that the provision of a stop at North Melbourne is very difficult. Long term capacity problems may arise with this option if a considerable number of services utilise the loco flyover in the future.

Cost Estimate

Comparative Cost (excluding design management and contingency)

Track and Civil/Electrical $ 2.5 Million

Signalling $ 1.8 Million

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Option MG6 – Realign Champion Road Junction


Scope

Currently all mainline services both to Altona and to Geelong must pass through a junction arrangement at Champion Road in which all moves encounter a diverge at restricted (65kph) speed. This option realigns the junction and provides line speed for mainline moves.

Track and Civil

· Mainline track is slewed to new straightened alignment.

· Existing HS turnouts for mainline diverge replaced with crossover for occasional moves.

· Existing crossover slewed to new alignment.

· Existing turnouts to goods lines and “E” siding slewed to new alignment.

Signalling

· Existing equipment rearranged only.

Time benefits

This will provide country services with an opportunity to run up to mainline speed in a shorter distance.

Interactions

Option MG6 has major benefits for all of the scenarios considered in this report. The works at this location are also of benefit to suburban operations.

Cost Estimate

Comparative Cost (excluding design management and contingency)

Track and Civil/Electrical $ 1.5 Million

Signalling $ 0.5 Million

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Option MG7 – Third Track – Laverton Junction to Aircraft


Scope

Currently this section of track is a conflict point, significantly for all up suburban trains and down country trains. In addition all suburban trains oppose at this junction.

This option provides a third track from Laverton junction, past Laverton and Aircraft stations. This option allows extended sections of loop and parallel working and thus reducing the timetable conflicts that may occur in this section of track. The layout removes the suburban/country opposing move and removes the suburban opposing moves on the main line. The layout does not remove the opposing moves on the existing single line section on the Westona loop.

Effectively the short loop on the suburban system just on the Up side of Laverton junction is extended through Laverton and past Aircraft station. A dedicated high speed track is thus provided as a bi-directional track for peak flow direction high speed. Country services in a counter peak flow are directed onto the appropriate Up or Down suburban track as a following move.

High Speed (100kph) crossovers are proposed (1in24 tangential turnouts) where a country train needs to be redirected. All other turnouts and crossings are proposed to be 1 in 15 for 65kph operation.

The existing goods siding is rebuilt as the High Speed track. At Aircraft the station is rebuilt to allow the third track to pass without increasing the width of the road crossing at Aviation Road.

The level of protection at Aviation Road is not proposed to be changed owing to the following;

· no significant change to the number of trains is currently proposed;

· the line speed is not increased;

· the overall width of the level crossing remains the same;

· level crossing closure times may be reduced as train working may occur in parallel.

Track and Civil

· New suburban track and New High Speed track;

· 2 New 100kph crossovers and 2 new 65kph crossovers;

· Aviation Station significantly reconstructed;

· Laverton station unchanged;

· Goods siding converted to High Speed Track;

· Section of SG track moved;

· No additional width required at Aviation Road;

· new bridge over Merton Street;

· Suburban track to be cut into approach span of Princes Highway Bridge.

Signalling

· Install a new interlocking to control Laverton and the junction;

· Install all new line side signals

Time benefits

The major benefit of these works is the improved flexibility in the timetabling and train operations in this area as a number of opposing moves are removed from impacting upon the operation of the Geelong line trains. No detailed time has been quantified for this but this is expected to be of the order of one to two minutes savings. Greater savings may be realised in the event of out of course train running (ie when the train is already late).

Cost Estimate

Comparative Cost (excluding design management and contingency)

Track and Civil/Electrical $ 10.5 Million

Signalling $ 7.5 Million

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Option MG8 – Suburban Operations into Werribee


Scope

Currently all suburban trains utilise the rear platform 1 and the Up platform 2 at Werribee. It is understood that very little in the way of suburban passenger facilities exist at Werribee on the Down platform 3.

In the event of a suburban train at platform 2 and an up country train approaching Werribee then the country train is diverted mostly into the back platform 1 or less frequently onto platform 3. Either way this requires a significant loss of speed and time for the country train.

It is proposed that with upgraded passenger facilities at Werribee on the down platform 3 then, in the event of a potential conflict between the country train and the suburban train, that the suburban train utilise platform 3 more frequently. This is usually only required for the resolution of late train running.

No track, civil or signalling work is required. The changes require upgraded passenger facilities, such as new PIDs, additional validators, improved seating, improved shelters, etc.

It is understood that this option does not provide very satisfactory outcomes for managing suburban passengers at Werribee. The works are only envisaged to allow greater options in dealing with and resolving late running trains in such a manner that does not impede country train running.

Cost Estimate

A provision of $1 Million has been set aside for this purpose. This is a high side estimate and probably in excess of the amount required.

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Sources