FW: snippets, Thurs.10.8.17
  Roderick Smith

-----Original Message-----
From: Roderick Smith [mailto:rodsmith@werple.net.au]
Sent: Thursday, 10 August 2017 10:42 AM
To: 'transportdownunder@yahoogroups.com'
Subject: snippets, Thurs.10.8.17


170809Th 'BrisbaneTimes' - Brisbane bike scheme.

170809Th 'SMH':
- Tempe confusion (Jessica Yun).
- interurbans too wide.

170810Th Melbourne 'Herald Sun':
- tram stabbing.
- Metro changes.
- power prices. with tdu.

170810Th Melbourne 'Age':
- Essendon B2.2097.
- 7.32 up Cranbourne (Lou).
- 170803Th Sandringham crowding (Craig Platt).

170810Th-13Su YT route 96 & 109 changes.


Melbourne Express: Thursday, August 10, 2017 .
The pic was taken on Mt Alexander Rd in Essendon (Paul Jeffers). This pic was taken for a Domain article on Essendon. The area has been in the spotlight recently because it has joined the ranks of Melbourne's $1 million suburb club. This GIF shows how the Essendon area now forms a small island of million dollar suburbs in the middle west:
The 7.32 up Cranbourne. Photo: Lou.
I've been getting quite a few train congestion pics this morning, but this is the best (or should it be worst) so far.
Reader Lou took this pic on the 7.32 Cranbourne train to the city. He said the train has not even reached Dandenong yet and there's no room left.
I used to catch this train to uni. Finding a parking space at Merinda Park was next to impossible, and so most people usually packed in an adjoining grassed area. They have since expanded the car park, although given the explosive population growth in the region, I wouldn't be surprised if it has already reached capacity.
But, even then, I would normally be guaranteed a seat on the train at that time.
Overcrowding and delays on V/Line trains have become worse since the multibillion-dollar rail extension that was built to fix congestion problems opened two years ago.
An Auditor General's report found 12 of the 16 morning peak trains were more than 100 per cent full well before they reached Southern Cross Station.
Are you a V/Line passenger? If you're on a packed service this morning, send us your pics or let us know if congestion is getting worse.
Hopefully your train isn't as crowded as this one on the metropolitan Sandringham line was last week after last Thursday's chaos:
Tight squeeze on the Sandringham line last Thursday. Photo: Craig Platt The 7.03 down Alamein has been cancelled, with a 15 minute wait until the next.

Routes 96 & 109 - work - Wednesday 9 August to Monday 14 August .
Service changes apply on Route 96 & 109 trams from 9pm Wednesday 9 August to 11am Monday 14 August, because of work at Southbank Depot.
9pm Wednesday 9 to 11am Monday 14 August Route 96 trams will operate as Route 96a with buses replacing trams between Stop 125 Clarendon St Junction & Stop 132 St Kilda Station.
Thursday 10 to Sunday 13 August, first to last tram Route 109 trams will operate as Route 109a with buses replacing trams between Stop 125 Clarendon St Junction & Port Melbourne.
Buses will divert around the work zone and stop changes will apply.
Special Needs - Chair -01 Replacement buses will be low floor depending on availability. Passengers should talk to our Customer Service staff if they need assistance.
Passengers can consider Route 3a, 12 or 16 trams between the City & St Kilda to connect with Route 96 trams.
Passengers can consider Transdev Bus 234, 235 or 236 between the City & Port Melbourne During these changes, trams will operate to their normal frequency. However, they may not arrive at the scheduled time.
For train, tram and bus information or to provide feedback, call 1800 800 007 6am-midnight (all night Friday & Saturday).

August 9 2017 Major rail delays after man dies at Tempe station . Just like Victoria.
A man has died at Tempe railway station on Wednesday morning, forcing the closure of a section of the rail line.
Train services were closed between Sutherland and Bondi Junction on the T4 Eastern Suburbs and lllawarra Line and the South Coast line.
Trains are delayed after a death at Tempe station. Photo: Simon Alekna .
Trains were initially paused after a trespasser was seen running on the tracks about 7.30am. It was later confirmed by police that the man was hit by a train and died.
The lines reopened shortly before 8.30am, but delays were still being felt throughout the network more than five hours later.
The Transport Management Centre warned commuters that the delays could continue for a number of hours, however by 5pm Sydney Trains reported all services were running as normal.
The delays were exacerbated by urgent signal equipment repairs at Sutherland station that maintenance workers were forced to commence early on Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier, commuters were urged to delay non-urgent travel, to make alternate travel arrangements or to allow extra time with travel plans.
Sydney Trains urged passengers to listen to announcements and use real-time transport apps for the most up-to-date information.
Shuttle trains operated between Sutherland and Cronulla and between Central and Bondi Junction. Shuttle buses were added between Sutherland and Cronulla to ease the delays.
Earlier in the morning, passengers travelling on the line reported considerable confusion, with station staff delivering mixed messages.
Police are treating the man's death as suicide.
8.31 The fatality between Wolli Creek and Tempe has caused mass confusion and delays. Hurstville is at a standstill.
- absolute craziness this morning.
- An hour and 20 min late for work. Oh dear.
- 11.22 Flow on delays continue in both directions due to an earlier fatality at Tempe. Please allow extra travel time.

August 9 2017 Brisbane's CityCycle scheme gains momentum The future of Brisbane's seven-year-old CityCycle scheme seems a little brighter than its rocky start, with usage numbers up 70 per cent over the past two years.
What started as a pricey bike-share scheme in October 2010 has evolved into a much more economical and user-friendly system.
CityCycle has marked a record 2 million trips since its introduction in 2010. Photo: Michelle Smith In 2015, as CityCycle celebrated 1 million trips, the scheme was also revealed to have cost ratepayers more than $8 million.
On Wednesday, public and active transport chairman Adrian Schrinner said CityCycle had a record 57,526 trips in August and was about to hit 2 million trips.
Public Transport chairman Adrian Schrinner uses CityCycle at Brisbane Botanic Gardens. Photo: Ruth McCosker "It's really geared up in recent years," he said.
"Since 2010, CityCycle users have travelled around the globe 187 times, burned 150 million calories and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 1.44 million kilograms in their two million trips."
Cr Schrinner put the recent success down to changes in memberships to make it more affordable, technology improvements and the expanding reach of the city's bikeways.
"A lot of people that are using CityCycle are people that may not have ridden a bike for a while and may have ridden it as a child and now are getting an opportunity, if they don't own a bike, to get on a bike and explore Brisbane," he said.
"Some of the biggest hot spots with the scheme are in our greatest natural assets and tourist attractions like the Botanic Gardens and Brisbane River."
Bicycle Queensland chief executive Ben Wilson said he expected CityCycle usage to double in the next year, and then double again after that.
"Brisbane went out on a limb as the first city in Australia to do a CityCycle, now it's going to bring home the bacon," he said.
"It just makes so much sense to grab a bike and use it, so really commendation to council for being brave in Australia and providing this facility first up."

August 9 2017 Bus driver salaries revealed as pay dispute continues .
Amid bus driver strikes, free fares and enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations between bus drivers and the Brisbane City Council, it has been revealed just how much the city's bus drivers earn.
The Rail, Tram and Bus Union and the council have been clashing over the rate of a pay rise to be included in the EBA, with the RTBU wanting 3.5 per cent for the next three years and an $800 signing bonus and the council refusing to budge on its offer of 2.5 per cent over the three years and a $400 bonus.
Union member union bus drivers will not be accepting fares on Thursday and Friday as part of protected industrial action. Photo: Glenn Hunt Throughout the negotiations, council public transport chairman Adrian Schrinner has repeatedly said Brisbane's bus drivers were the best paid in the state, the second best in Australia, and that they should be happy with the pay offer.
"Obviously, if this offer that we put on the table was below inflation, the union would be right to be screaming about it," he said.
Public and Active Transport chairman Adrian Schrinner said the 2.5 per cent pay increase was fair. Photo: Glenn Hunt .
"But, 2.5 per cent is above inflation, it's above the cost of living increases."
Cr Schrinner revealed the average salary of a Brisbane bus driver was $68,398, or $34.61 an hour.
There are 16 bands of payment for bus drivers, from Trainee Level 1 through to Bus Operator 4.5.
"Pay ranges from the high $40,000 as a minimum starting wage and goes all the way up to the top, which is $102,000," Cr Schrinner said.
"Now that $102,000 is not necessarily guaranteed every year but is based on work the driver is doing.
"There could have been a lot of overtime involved in that, there could have been that person did lots of special events."
Cr Schrinner said 660 of the 2200 bus drivers in Brisbane were at the highest pay level or Bus Operator 4.5.
The latest data from the Australian Tax Office (2014-2015) revealed the average wage of a male bus driver was $52,827 while a female earned $44,089.
That compared with other drivers' average salaries:
•Taxi driver: $24,510 (male) or $26,893 (female) •Chauffeur / hire care driver: $42,308 (male) or $31,170 (female) •Coach driver: $49,947 (male) or $41,578 (female) •Train driver: $108,903 (male) or $92,242 (female) •Tram driver: $77,986 (male) or $67,501 (female) On Wednesday, the RTBU released a statement that said union member drivers would continue to refuse to collect fares on Thursday and Friday as part of ongoing protected industrial action.
"Our drivers need better protection in the workplace, rosters that don't lead to driver fatigue and the safety risks of tired drivers at the wheel, and fair pay," the statement said.
Cr Schrinner said there had been progress made in the negotiation with the union on safety.
"The RTBU has decided and agreed that safety issues should be dealt with separately to the current industrial action," he said.
"So that's off the table in terms of the current industrial actions and the strikes.
"We've both agreed this needs to be dealt with, but not in this ultra-hot situation of industrial action. It needs to be dealt with calmly in a very practical way that would make a difference and so we've agreed to do that."​ RTBU secretary Tom Brown said there had been some exchanges and limited progress made in driver safety.
"There is still a lot of ground to be addressed to secure commitments in the agreement which are binding on the parties," he said.
<www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/bus-driver-salaries-revealed-as-pay-dispute-continues-20170809-gxspo8.html> 52 comments, mainly sniping.
* It's not the hourly rate, it's total salary. So perhaps females work less hours, do less special events, less night shifts etc.
The article/Schrinner conveniently leaves out vital statistics like the salary distribution, centre, spread, number of hours worked etc. What the top earners (the $102,000 ones, not the $27.12/hour ones) have to do/sacrifice (i.e. work insane overtime) to get there and how many there are he also does not divulges. It is also rather interesting that the top band is on an hourly rate of $27.12 and yet the average rate is $34.61 an hour. Overtime anyone?
Lies, damned lies, and (lack of) statistics. Judging by the comments below it seems his tactic is working. I still wouldn't do it: I don't like being beaten, spat on, insulted, cut off, deal with road rage, etc.

Crowded, late V/Line fails to meet benchmarks almost half the time.
Herald Sun August 9, 2017.
VICTORIA’S regional train system has been slammed in an audit which found it is failing to meet key benchmarks almost half of the time.
The performance of V/Line over the past decade had “mostly fallen short of community expectations”, according to the report by the Auditor-General.
The service had consistently failed to meet targets set out in its service agreement with the State Government, particularly over the past three years..
Between July 2013 and March 2017, V/Line failed to meet its benchmarks 47 per cent of the time.
It comes after V/Line was plunged into crisis last year after a boom gate failed to close properly when a VLocity train approached a level crossing.
V/Line trains are failing to meet key benchmarks.
The Auditor-General’s audit raised concerns about excessive wheel wear on VLocity trains and their failure to activate boom gates on time.
The boom gate failure caused a temporary shutdown of the network and significant service disruptions, resulting in a loss of about 600,000 patrons last financial year.
The has audit uncovered a number of other issues, including:
OVERCROWDING and delays on the Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat line; AN inability to consistently get V/Line trains to arrive at the metropolitan boundary in time to use their scheduled path; and CONGESTION on the shared metropolitan networks.
“V/Line has not successfully dealt with the challenges it has faced over the past decade,” the report said.
Overcrowding on trains to Geelong, Bendigo and Ballarat is very common.
“However, it has recently started to turn this situation around and is now better informed about the risks and challenges facing its operations.
“V/Line was not prepared for the strong growth in patronage and the resulting increase in service demand following the opening of the RRL (Regional Rail Link), which fundamentally changed the nature of its operations.
“Consequently, V/Line’s performance over the past 10 years has mostly fallen short of its targets and community expectations, despite infrastructure improvements and timetable changes.”
The Auditor-General has recommended strengthening monitoring processes to ensure trains run on time and improve its systems to better scrutinise whether it is meeting its benchmarks.
* That's not a crowded train (above picture) pls show all a really crowded train. You know the way over packed one ignoring safety regs.
* What a bunch of complaining whingers. As a frequent VLine passenger from Warrnambool to Traralgon, I have nothing but praise for the VLine staff and train service. Many of the delays described below are not of VLine's making.
* How frequent? Every day?
* Sadly the V/Line debacle falls across political lines with plenty of blame to go around. Debating fault is pointless however one thing that can't be debated is that the service & infrastructure are a shambles. I'm reminded of this by my daily commute when I'm regularly delayed by any number of issues, be it track congestion, faulty rolling stock, signaling and all the rest that get played out regularly. Speaking with relation to the Geelong line, commuters have been conned. The current government has been spouting off about all the new services coming on line at the end of the month. In reality, the bulk of these are for weekends and do nothing for the commuter. The con just rolls on but the trains sure don't.
* It was only a couple of weeks ago that PTV Vic CEO Jeroen Weimar was saying how pleased he was with V/Line’s performance. Still happy Jeroen?
What an indictment on all parties. 10 years of incompetency.
Remember, the Geelong RRL alone cost us poor taxpayers $4.5 billion dollars and do you remember the grand promises that were made to us poor sucker Geelong commuters? I don’t know about you but a regular 70 plus minute each way commute from G-town to Melbourne is not good enough.
And peak travel times are only going to get worse. Next time you are on the Geelong train take a good look at the housing developments that run for kilometres and kilometres around the general Tarneit and Wyndham Vale areas.
The RRL also extended the length of the track from Geelong to Melbourne by 25 kilometres.
And let’s be clear, the RRL was created to provide public transport for the people of Tarneit and Wyndham Vale - not to help Geelong peak passengers. Only electrifying the line from Wyndham Vale through to the City and running Metro will make any difference. How is it that Wyndham Vale and Tarneit are designated as Regional stations and not metro - when Tarneit is closer to the city than Werribee (an electrified Metro line) and Wyndham Vale is about the same?
Politics, that’s why. Geelong commuters thrown under the bus by weak local MPs with no pull.
You think V/Line's hopeless effort over the past 10 years as well as only hitting its punctuality target on the Geelong line in just 32 of the past 35 months is bad, imagine if they actually reported the real figures. As the auditor’s report states.
“V/Line measures and reports train punctuality and reliability against the timetable communicated to passengers in PTV’s journey planner rather than the master timetable. This approach means that V/Line’s reported performance does not represent its actual performance or necessarily reflect passengers’ experience, especially when there are significant service changes. This was highlighted during early 2016 when, despite the wheel wear and boom gate problems—and the replacement of 350 trains with coaches every week V/Line’s publicly reported performance suggested that little had changed.”
And that’s just one taste of pages upon pages of systematic V/Line failure.
* Pathetic, upgrade to the Bendigo line at the city end to create a better service, now takes longer, figure that out. Decentralisation to the regional areas is necessary to take the ever expanding population strain from the city, the first target has to be a fast commute to the city, not 1 hour 30 min, I mean under 1 hour. Most major countries in the world have "fast trains" here, fast train means as fast as a steam train 100 years ago.
* VLine's Bendigo service was on-time and reliable under the Napthine Government.
Sadly the Andrews' un-government gave the Public Transport portfolio to Jacinta Allan - a disasterous performer in every portfolio she's had.
She was invisible as Victoria's "Minister for Youth", destroyed Victoria's TAFE system as "Minister for Skills" and now she's wrecked the state's public transport as its minister.
Frighteningly Labor sees her as Andrews' successor - that'd be the utter end for Victoria if she and her pet CFMEU union ever occupy that office.
* V/Line was on a downward spiral when the CEO was changed in 2013....under the Napthine govt!
* Now how many $$Billions$$ did Bracks waste on the regional VFT project, and all for this damning report. I really ask how any sane taxpayer contemplates voting for Labor, but reality would suggest it just condemns how poor the perception of the voter is at the calibre of the Liberal/Nation coalition team.
* It's not just the delays, but the lack of communication. I have seen them let a train depart knowing it was going to be held up because the train the hour before had been sitting stuck for 40 minutes and basically hold the passengers hostage for an hour while they arrange buses at a station down the line. Luckily my friend was on the earlier train and text me so I got off in time. I ended up driving to Melbourne and arrived a full 45 minutes before the passengers from the first delayed train - goodness knows when the second delayed train got to Melbourne.
Surely it would have been easier and more efficient to simply arrange the buses for BOTH trains before letting the second train depart - but they couldn't care less about their passengers.
* Sadly getting the busses in order takes time. They are not on stand by? I think.
* yes, but the first train was sitting for 40 minutes... they let the second train depart and then held it up 15 minutes down the line for goodness knows how long before they arranged buses.
Given the first train had been sitting for 40 minutes don't you think it would have been more considerate to arrange buses for both or at least announce the potential delay so passengers could make their own arrangements instead of being basically held hostage 15 minutes down the line?
* I meant to orginize them in running.
* Well, when you've had half of your required funding year on year, for many years, things are going to get worse. Couple that with incompetent Executive management over the last 5 years and it all goes downhill very quickly..
It was rumoured for years that Metro Trains had their eye on V/Line and had actively worked to make it fail it's accreditation as a rail operator.
V/Line desperately needs adequate funding for rail maintenance and upgrades, and qualified, experienced people in the right jobs there, not snouts in the trough.
PTV/DoT need to stop dictating, and start listening to those people on the ground at V/Line.
* Is that why complaints calls go to a Metro call centre who don't know anything about V/Line?
* And like Metro needs more lines with track duplictions. Trains etc. And timetables that have complele "Express Trains." Where applicable. (not a half hearted thing that we don't need.) Oh and 'Boom Gate removal" with the Idea of Skyrail or Trench on the Vline network.
* Where's the bumbling transport minister? She run for the hills whenever there's criticism.

Victorian Auditor-General slams V/Line performance in report. 9 Aug 2017.
The Auditor-General has released a scathing critique of V/Line’s passenger services, saying “V/Line has not successfully dealt with the challenges it has faced over the past decade”.
The audit showed that patronage across the V/Line network had jumped 88 per cent over the past decade, including a 102 per cent increase in Western Victoria on services such as Ballarat, Bacchus Marsh and Ararat.
“V/Line did not foresee this growth or fully understand the causes of its poor performance because it lacked the necessary capability. It also lacked focus, until recently, on managing its assets,” the report read.
The report also revealed V/Line requires more than $534 million to undertake urgent maintenance across the network. The cost blowout comes after the public transport provider changed its maintenance approach from ‘fix on fail’ to ‘predict and prevent’ in 2015.
Among the list of recommendations put forward by the review is for V/Line to strengthen its monitoring processes for measuring on-time running of trains and coaches and to devise a long-term plan to improve efficiency.
The report also calls on Public Transport Victoria to work with V/Line to “more accurately reflect actual performance and passenger experience”.
The report comes as commuters on the Ballarat line continue to late and crowded services, with V/Line failing to meet its stated monthly punctuality target of 92 per cent since May 2015.
In the month leading up to July 21 43 six-carriage services on the Ballarat line were cut in half in response to urgent maintenance across the network..

Melbourne’s most unsafe stations for women revealed.
Leader August 10, 2017.
WOMEN have named the Melbourne stations where they most fear for their safety, a new analysis by Monash University has revealed.
From October to December last year women and girls were encouraged to record positive and negative experiences in public spaces on Free to Be, an online map developed by Plan International Australia.
Monash University’s XYX Lab examined more than 1300 pins and 600 comments left on “happy” and “sad” spaces, including train stations, during that time.
Many women say they feel unsafe at Flinders Street Station Picture: Tim Carrafa Stations with the most negative responses included Flinders Street, Richmond, Brunswick, Box Hill, Footscray, Jewell and Jacana.
Respondents spoke of men who called out to them or followed them off the train at the inner-city stations.
Meanwhile, Melbourne Central, Hawksburn and Southern Cross had the most positive responses.
XYX Lab director Dr Nicole Kalms said the research highlighted the devastating effects of being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted while using public transport — particularly for women under 30 who made up 72 per cent of respondents to Free to Be.
Flinders Street Station tops the list of unsafe stations in a survey. Picture: Tim Carrafa.
“If we want public transport to be equally accessible to all, it is critically important to examine these public spaces as our city grows and new stations, routes and timetables are developed,” Dr Kalms said.
Plan International Australia chief executive Susanne Legena said one in four young Australian women surveyed by Plan believed it was unsafe to travel alone on public transport after dark.
“Everyone should be concerned about these results. It’s not acceptable that young women, in 2017, are still experiencing harassment and assault on our trains and trams, both at stations and on the street,” Ms Legena said.
These were not isolated incidents and should spur decision-makers to listen to young women and improve safety in public spaces, she said.
Metro is aware of the survey and has worked with Free to Be ambassadors to make improvements and to encourage girls and women to feel safe on public transport.
“We’re really pleased that Metro has been proactive around the findings from our Free to Be map,” Ms Legena said.
Stations with the highest number of negative experiences recorded by women:
Flinders Street
Box Hill
Stations where women felt safe:
Melbourne Central
Glen Waverley
Southern Cross
South Kensington
West Footscray
* "Respondents spoke about men following them off trains" or perhaps the men just had to go in the same direction? This is how pathetic the modern media has denigrated, that it has now put women into a pertetual state of fear, labelling men just going about their dayto day lives as people with il-intent that must be feared at all opportunities
* where can I see the article on which stations are unsafe for men?
* I'm sure it's the people that congregate throughout the railway stations that makes them so unsafe.
Back in the day every platform was manned, you couldn't walk onto a platform if the Guard didn't let you in. There was police presence walking through the stations, inspectors and guards were also everywhere... Enter connex, cut staff by 80% allow machines to start doing the work and this is what we are left with a cesspool of rubbish... in so many ways going forward has sent us backwards.
* Flinders Street Station look like an open sewer in the underpasses. I watched the movie 'Lion' recently and there was a shot of a station in Calcutta with similar tiles and makeup to Flinders St but it was in a lot better condition! When it rains you actually need to open an umbrella in the underpass as it drips with water. Is it structurally sound?
That fence up the centre needs to be shifted more to the western edge as there's more train foot traffic than those wanting to get to Southbank. The myki gates should be taken out of there and only installed at the entrance to the station. As it stands at the moment you have different lines of people crashing into each other as they come down the ramp, all looking for a working gate...it's just a shambles.
* It is a major thoroughfare from Southbank to the City. It's at the busiest station in Melb, in the city centre, and that underpass feels like you are walking in a third world country. I now live in the. country but doubt any money has been spent on it in the last 30 years - apart from cutting it in half by installing the fence and ticket machines.
* Apart from Flinders Street, the other stations are in areas that have a large amount of certain ethnic groups that do not respect women.
* So do the safe lines. I actually was suprised to see half of the stations on the safe line. I understand what you are getting at but this comment is just a really poor excuse to blame "certain" ethnic groups.
You ain't going to win your fight that way.
* stations are not the problem. Apparently the problem is where these studies are concocted.

August 10 2017 'Too wide and long': Work starts next year to make line big enough for new trains.
Stretches of track in the Blue Mountains will have to be shifted slightly or replaced, and stations and overhead wires altered, to make about 75 kilometres of line between Springwood and Lithgow suitable for the state's $2.3 billion fleet of new intercity trains.
Commuters also face extended periods of track closures on a section between Newnes Junction and Lithgow, according to a government report into the work needed to bring the line up to the standard of the rest of the state's electrified rail network.
More videos Gladys Berejiklian announces train network boost In June 2015, the NSW Treasurer announced the biggest ever investment in the state's transport networks.
Transport authorities are making preparations for the work to begin early next year and expect it to take two years to complete.
At present, the line west beyond Springwood to Katoomba and Lithgow can handle only the state's ageing V-Set trains, which are narrower than three metres.
That is too narrow for the Korean-built trains the government ordered last year, which will be about 3.1 metres wide.
The work proposed to bring the line up to standard will involve replacing or repositioning tracks along parts of the 75-kilometre rail corridor, extending platforms at Katoomba and Lithgow stations, and adjusting the overhead wiring and signalling systems.
The platforms at Katoomba and Lithgow will need to be lengthened because services terminate at those stations. The report by Transport for NSW says all doors on the new trains – which will be up to 205m long – will need to be able to be opened at those stations to allow passengers to get off.
While much of the minor work can be done during ordinary hours, a large portion of the project will have to take place during 10 scheduled track possession periods over two years. They typically involve shutdown periods of 48 hours over a weekend.
An artist's impression of the new trains that will be built in South Korea. Photo: Supplied .
However, the report says that five of those possession periods for the line between Newnes Junction and Lithgow will have to each last for as long as 12 days.
Transport for NSW will also seek separate approval for improvements to a section of the line that passes through what is known as the "10 tunnels deviation" in the Blue Mountains.
Blue Mountains Line project. Photo: Transport for NSW .
Labor transport spokeswoman Jodi McKay said the amount of work needed to make the line capable of handling the new trains was astonishing.
"Not only will a staggering 60km of track need to be ripped up – but now we discover that overhead wiring, signals, station platforms and even canopies will all need to be altered," she said.
"Not only that but all the extra work needed – that the government didn't foresee – will mean commuters on the Blue Mountains Line will have to contend with two years of rail closures before they get a glimpse of these trains."
But Transport Minister Andrew Constance accused Labor of a "scare campaign with absolutely no substance to it", saying the government wanted to give people in the Blue Mountains a modern train line that was integrated with the rest of the network.
"Currently more than half of all our train fleet cannot service that line and only electric intercity trains [V-Sets] fit the Blue Mountains Line all the way to Lithgow," he said.
"Standardising the Blue Mountains Line is a sensible approach and will help to future-proof our network."
The government is yet to reveal how much it expects the cost of bringing the Blue Mountains Line up to scratch will be. The $2.3 billion contract awarded to a UGL-led consortium to build the 512 double-deck train carriages does not include modifications to the line or a new maintenance facility at Kangy Angy on the Central Coast.
A spokesman for Transport for NSW said the modification was subject to a tender process and the estimated cost commercial-in-confidence "in order to ensure taxpayers receive the best value for money".
The contract for the trains is the biggest in NSW since the government awarded the troubled Waratah project to a Downer EDI-led consortium about a decade ago to build carriages in China. The first of the new intercity trains are due to begin operating services from Sydney's Central Station to Newcastle and the Illawarra in 2019.
Related Articles:
New trains too wide for sections of NSW rail lines .
Train guards in firing line from $2.3b fleet renewal .

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