Friday, May 19, 2006

Fri 19 May - $10,200,000,000...

The ten billion announced by Bracks and Batchelor has attracted some comments - unsurprisingly many people seem critical apart from our regular railfan. But you don't need to look too far to see that the Blair wannabes have the spin down pat. So let's have that closer look...

First up, what is the time period for spending this $10b? The Age article opens with it being a 25 year plan. In the same Age article Ken Ogden says it's a 20 year plan. On the ABC news they said ten year plan. Anyway, the State Government site says ten years, so we should go with that. So they're going to spend about one billion per year on average - big @#$%^&* deal - in a few years time they'll be making that just in traffic fines!

Anyway, we can then have a look at where that money is actually going (from The Age article)...

1. $1.3 billion for outer metropolitan arterial roads;

2. $800 million for new metropolitan trains;

3. $500 million for a new tram fleet;

4. $750 milllion for rail safety, including a communications upgrade;

5. $350 million for new regional trains;

6. free public transport for pensioners on Sundays

1 - Probably needs doing but won't make a jot of difference to train and tram users.

2 - OK, we may get some benefit, but are these simply replacements of older rolling stock plus one or two new services? Can't see any changes on the Sandy line in the detailed plans.

3 - Not going to help our train capacity problems apart from the barest handful who have the coice and may switch to trams.

4 - Long overdue I'd suspect, but this won't increase carrying capacity either.

5 - Ditto

6 - That's nice, but is such an obvious gimmick it makes me want to throw up.

So there we have it. In ten years time, we can expect double the number of commuters on the Sandy line as we have today, but no extra trains to handle this load. Hope you're all having regular showers cause we're going to be getting a lot of face to armpit action happening in the coming decade. Interestingly our railfan believes that I should be impressed by this!

It's quite foggy this morning so I'm expecting the worst - c'mon you have to admit that sometimes Connex does seem to suffer from the weather a fair bit. Anyway the 07:14 is more or less on time.

This blog seems to have attracted the odd spambot lately - the most recent one took a fair while to clean up. Consequently I've turned on the anti-spam checker, hope that doesn't cause too much inconvenience.

What's that all about? At the station entrance we're told that the 17:38 is leaving from platform 9 and the 17:49 from platform 8. It's 17:45 at the time, so that suggests the 17:38 is fairly late. Get onto the platforms and the 17:38 is still there and packed solid. I let it go on the assumption that the blank monitors on platform 8 are hiding the fact that it's the 17:49 for some obscure reason.

The 17:38 departs and almost immediately the monitors confirm this is the 17:49. I board and we wait. And we wait. Eventually at 18:00 we depart. No information is forthcoming for the whole 11 minutes. Now it's just as crowded as the other one but I'm home 15 minutes later. Thanks a lot Connex.

And now, to add insult to injury I've just sat through the ABC's Stateline story on the Government's plans and that insufferable weasel Batchelor had the hide to say...

"Melbourne has a pretty good public transport system.

People who use it, like it.

And the biggest complaints come from those who sit in university cafes or who drive cars."

Well Pete my old mate, there's a few of us here who'd beg to differ...!


Blogger Connex Whinger said...

I'll let the original blog entry stand, but I can see why there is confusion over how long they're planning for. If you call it ten years then that sounds better than 20-25 years of course, so naturally the spinmeisters call it a ten year plan.

But then their own website shows that the Epping to South Morang rail extension is in the 2016-2021 timeframe - unless my arithmetic is faulty then that's well beyond ten years. So Smarmy Bracks and Weasel Batchelor are distorting the truth again - quelle surprise!

19 May, 2006 08:24  
Anonymous Andrew said...

For me, these figures mean little. I have no idea how much a new metropolitan train is worth. If they are $400m each, then 2 new ones is not impressive. The same for the roads. How much is a new road per km? If it is $1m per km, then again, not that impressive. Can anyone put these figures into perspective please?

19 May, 2006 08:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The plan actually says that the spending will take place over ten years but the works will take 25. It's a budgeting thing, pay the money into a fund or something within the next ten years and then use it over 25, not uncommon.

Phil, again you miss the point that Melbourne is an integrated network. You know when you pass South Yarra, all those trains you see aren't all from the Sandringham line.

If you have better running on the other lines, then the Sandringham trains won't be held up by them and you'll be able to get into the correct platform at Flinders Street without having to wait.

Most important for the Sandringham line is the upgrade to signalling in the City Loop. I know the Sandringham line doesn't go through the Loop but easier movement in the Loop makes for easier movement at Flinders Street. As you will see that happens NOW with the upgrade to Metrol.

I'll agree Bachelor could and should have done more but as this helps Connex improves the service will you change your site to the "Transport Minister Whinger"?

19 May, 2006 09:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

$800m for new trains equates to about 150 new 3 car trains based on the DOI figures that 10 cost $52.5m in 2005.

19 May, 2006 10:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cheer up, Mr CW.

In ten years' time, you'll almost qualify for the free Sunday transport


Mrs CW

19 May, 2006 11:01  
Anonymous sam said...

This government has had ten years, and this is for the next 10-20 years. And what have we got? A private system that has failed, cost and time blowouts on projects that add little to the improvement to the system as a whole and a massive increase in patronage due to a broken road network and rising fuel prices.

It is nowhere near good enough and I hope Victorians aren't sucked in again. A lot of better informed people than me have pointed out that this plan/initiative doesn't address the issues. Road user groups and public transport user groups aren't happy - Transurban, Connex, and Yarra Trams are. That pretty much sums it up right there.

Can Ballieu come up with a workable alternative to the future of PT in Victoria, or are we really stuffed?


19 May, 2006 16:20  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

1st Anon - no, I haven't missed the point at all. I understand all of what you're saying. But I stand by my statement that there is nothing in this for Sandy line passengers. As an aside, nor is there anything substantial for almost all other train commuters. Sure it gets a little bit better, but you are missing MY point.

Over the next ten years, the Government is projecting a doubling of commuters on our rail network. If the trains are already full during peak hour now, even when running to the timetable, how much worse will they be in 2016? That is why this plan is a complete failure.

Sam - I'm not convinced the Libs have any answers either so you're probably right, we are stuffed!

19 May, 2006 20:23  
Blogger The Met said...

it's actually:
10.5 billion.

Plus half of it's a sham. Can't believe I said that, but a small part of it is.

Also If memory is correct, this governement has less than 10 years. Since 1999ish.

Andrew, no-one not even I can predict the around-about costs of a train, these are ongoing costs ie maintenance too.

Don't try putting it into perspective yourself, if you need others too.

I also agree, i daresay that Liberals could do much either.

Anon, Sandy trains, Pak/Cran and Frank use theyre own set of tracks. It just gets a bit iffy from Richmond; which you stated correctly.

Fix up the late and cancelled trains, as well as the problems in relation; funny how no infrastructure is involved in the Sandringham Line...

With the last statement, more trains are DEFINATELY required, which is being 'promised' by Bracks, by 2010, how much it will it do cannot be guessed by anyone...

19 May, 2006 21:23  
Blogger The Met said...

Herald Sun (within quote):

You seem closer to being 'correct'.

19 May, 2006 22:02  
Blogger The Met said...,10117,19164401-1243,00.html?from=rss

More simplistic /\

A last for this evening.

19 May, 2006 22:20  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

Chris, re your earlier correction to $10.5b, I knew it was over ten, but I got that exact number from your own post a couple of days ago! Perhaps you need to start correcting yourself?

20 May, 2006 10:37  
Blogger The Met said...

That's why i indicated it was indeed 10.5 billion, to correct you, and myself, and INFORM of the rest from a minor inaccuracy in detail.

20 May, 2006 16:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bear in mind that public transport users account for about 9% of total journeys in Melboure, probably less in Victoria.

Also most voters drive, and most drivers want more and better roads, and those drivers that favour some public transport spending do so on the basis that their roads will be less congested.

Finally, motorists delayed in traffic seem to accept the problem, as commuters cannot see the problem directly and therefore percieve that the system is bad.

A case in point, the other day a City bound Malvern to Southy Yarra express stopped all stations, and some people in my carriage complained even though the journey time was not affected as the train arrived on time at Flinders Street.

In this case perception of a slower journey was not reality !

29 May, 2006 17:40  

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