Fw: Fri.22.3.19 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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Sent: Sunday, 14 April 2019, 16:07
Subject: Fri.22.3.19 daily digest

One size fits all today.
Fri.22.3.19 Metro twitter.
[A classic Metro day 'We can't cope; we don't try'; we don't care; our first priority is management convenience'.  Lots of smug coverups, copouts and smug euphemism: the pretence of honesty while concealing everything, and blaming others.  Much of the inability to cope must lie with years of nobbling infrastructure to remove the ability, then signalling the loops inadequately.]
5.14 Lilydale line: Services have resumed Mooroolbark - Ringwood this morning after a person was hit by a train on Thursday night.
5.24 Hurstbridge line: Major delays (a power surge affecting track equipment near Heidelberg).
- How long is this likely to take to be resolved?
- Techs are on-site effecting repairs to the equipment. At this stage, we don't have an ETA for a rectification time.
- 6.17 Buses are supplementing [ie replacing] trains Macleod - Heidelberg with a train service operating either side of the disrupted zone.
- So many issues with this line. How can you justify charging us for a service when you don’t provide one?
- It would be good if the platform displays said anything at all. You could not run a bath.  How hard is it?
- 6.26 Replacement buses may supplement [ie are certainly replacing if they have arrived] trains Macleod - Heidelberg
- 6.57 Delays reducing, buses still possible.
- 7.24 from Greensborough only 9 min late. Cool. Story. Doesn’t matter though, it’s only peak hour.
- What is happening?  Does anybody know? I got on a train at Watsonia, only to be told to get off at Macleod to take buses.  Lining waiting for buses and got told to get back on the train. Is it that hard to go a week without equipment fault? Not good enough.
- 7.51 clearing.
5.30 Belgrave/Lilydale/Alamein lines: Minor delays (an equipment fault near Camberwell).
- 6.24 clearing.
- Is that your excuse for the 7.02 from Mont Albert not running?
7.29 Mernda line: Minor delays (an external loss of overhead power between Thomastown and Reservoir).
- 7.48 clearing.
8.12 Frankston/Werribee/Williamstown lines: Trains will depart from altered platforms at Flinders St (MFB 'request' [ie demand]).
- Major delays.  Trains may [ie certainly will] be held at available platforms.
- Consider alternative transport.
- 8.39 All citybound trains will run via the loop [if they can do it now, they can do it all the time].
- How about offering an alternative path to city? There is no train movement and staff just tell us to find another way. If residents are meant to come up with public transport solutions, why do we need PTV?
- Are replacement buses being ordered?
- 9.20 delays clearing.
8.18 Sandringham line: Major delays (MFB 'request' [ie demand] at Flinders St. Services may [ie will] be held at available platforms.
- 8.47 Trains may terminate/originate from Elsternwick [ie they were, and nothing was running; this crossover was unavailable for a recent maintenance shutdown].  Alternatives were trams and buses from all stations from there to Prahran.
- 8.55 It's a small fire, and been flagged as safe on the Vic emergency app..  Get the trains running.
- Emergency services are still assessing the situation, and we'll be able to run trains through the affected platforms once clearance has been obtained [ie it was a demand, not just a request.  Where was the fire to knock pfm 10, 12 & 13, and make 8/9 unusable?]
- The line doesn’t stop at Ripponlea. The information given to people past those stations is so inadequate. Just saying “seek alternate transport” isn’t helpful in the slightest, especially when you don’t know the area well enough.
- 9.18 We will be on the move soon, as the necessary clearances have been obtained.
- 9.20 Clearing.
8.44 Sunbury/Craigieburn/Upfield lines: Delays of up to 20 minutes (congestion near Flinders Street). [Werer trains from Newport diverting onto the Sunshine tracks at North Melbourne, and running via the  loop; they were not simply running to Flinders St pfm 8/9].
- 9.20 clearing.
8.46 Cranbourne/Pakenham/Frankston lines: Delays of up to 20 minutes (congestion near Flinders Street).
- Congestion? WTF is that? Too many trains actually working today? Not used to it?
- It's 'Allow for extra travel time Friday'.
- 9.20 clearing.
12.47 Mernda line: Minor delays (a motor vehicle damaging level crossing equipment at Childs Road, Epping).
13.18 Mernda/Hurstbridge lines: Major delays (a track fault near Clifton Hill).  Trains may be [ie will be] held.
- 13.34 Consider local transport such as trams 86 and 11, buses 546 and 350..
- Any update? Stranded at Rushall. Have appointments to get to.
- Our repair crews are enroute.
- I ordered an Uber. Will know where to send bill.
- Use the following link for your claim: https://bit.ly/2HyvMT9.
- What is going on?
- 14.01 There are track faults near Clifton Hill and near Parliament. Our crews are on site working.
- Any bus service from Clifton hill?
- You are the most unreliable service in Melbourne.
- twice in one day.
- Screw you metro! Dumping passengers with no alternative transport!
- 14.02 Are trains running outbound from Clifton Hill, or are you advising local alternative travel all the way to final destination?
- Our crews are on site assessing the situation and will try to get the trains through as soon as possible.
- 14.02 I'm unsure of your answer. Announcements at Southern Cross informed of getting to Clifton Hill; one would assume this is because services are running from there. Are they starting there or not?
- 14.24 Trains are moving again, with major delays.
- Can I have an update on the Mernda line?
- 15.42 we still have minor delays.
- What exactly are ‘major delays’ re: resumption of service to Hurstbridge line?
- Mernda line update?
- 16.29 Trains are running as scheduled.
- Anyone wanting to get home on time on Mernda or Hustbridge lines tonight forget about it! I think I have had lengthy delay, cancellations or ridiculously crowded trains 6 out of 8 trips this week. Not good enough. Prices go up each year and reliability continues to fall!
- Issues this morning with train cancellations and now trains cancelled on the Hurstbridge line again in the afternoon. Is this a joke?
13.58 Cranbourne/Pakenham lines: Minor delays (equipment faults near Dandenong).
- 14.49 Its over an hour, and train is just crawling. Show some punctuality, let us also do our jobs.
- Is this going both ways?
- 14.54  clearing.
15.41 Belgrave/Lilydale/Alamein lines: Minor delays (a track fault at Camberwell).
- Any update on this?
- 16.12 The fault is ongoing. We are currently experiencing delays of up to 10 minutes.
- Just near Camberwell? Or further towards the city also?
- If your heading towards the city, trains will be impacted in the Camberwell area.
- Oh so not outgoing. That's fine then! No stress to get home.
- Outbound trains will also be affected passing through Camberwell.
- Are the tracks at Camberwell made of Lego or something?
- Where the trains NEVER run on time and are constantly cancelled!
- 17.06 The fault is ongoing. We have staff on site working on fixing it. There are currently delays of up to 15 minutes.
15.52 Frankston line: Buses to replace trains Moorabbin - Mordialloc (a person hit by a train).  Buses have been ordered, but may take over 60 minutes arrive; consider alternative transport.
- 16.04 Extended journey time up to 90 minutes [total or additional?].
- 16.31 Six buses are currently in operation, with a further 27 enroute.
- 16.41 Will you be back in time for the footy?
- Trains are estimated to be back running by 19.00.
- Some very aggro people displaying some appalling behavior towards staff at Moorabbin when this all went down.
- 16.42: 12 buses are currently in operation, with a further 28 enroute.
- 16.52: 18 buses are currently in operation, with a further 22 enroute.
- 16.54 I've been waiting at Southland for an hour, and no sign of any buses or staff.  Would be good to get some information. You guys are a joke.
- There are 24 buses currently in operation between Moorabbin and Mordialloc. Has a bus arrived?
- There is at a queue at least 700 m long for people waiting for replacement buses at Moorabbin. Are you guys ashamed of this?  Person hitting isn't your mistake, but can't you arrange enough replacement buses? Trailer of whats coming in April.
- 17.48: 40 buses are currently in operation, with an extended journey time of up to 90 minutes.
- 18.03 Staff at Moorabbin were ace in a pretty ordinary situation, thanks!
- You guys have handled this very well. Pretty seemless transition at Moorabbin and about to get into Mordialloc on the bus. Nice work! It’s a horrible situation to have occurred and you guys are getting people home as fast as possible.   Thanks.
- 18.38 Trains are resuming, with delays.
- 18.48 We are still in the bus.  Has any train left Moorabbin so far?
- 20.03 1 hour later and you are still running more than 10 min late! Two trains to Williamstown and none to Frankston!
- We are still recovering.  A Frankston train departed from Flinders Street at 20.12; the next is scheduled at 20.33.
- 21.06 I have 45 min wait for a train.
16.22 Glen Waverley line: Major delays clearing after an earlier police 'request' [ie demand] at Glen Iris.
17.08 Sunbury line: Major delays (equipment faults near Diggers Rest).
- 18.09 clearing.
17.10 Craigieburn line: Major delays (a lightning strike causing equipment faults between Coolaroo and Roxburgh Park).
- 17.32 Major delays (earlier faults, plus an unruly passenger on a VLine train at Broadmeadows).
- 17.40 clearing.
- 18.14 There hasn’t been a train at Pascoe Vale in 25 mins.
19.06 Belgrave line: Major delays (a level-crossing equipment fault near Upper Ferntree Gully).
- 19.13 Buses to replace trains Ringwood - Belgrave.  Buses have been ordered but may take over 60 minutes arrive, consider alternative transport..
- 19.22 Consider bus  routes 693 and 732.
- 19.25 Buses will now replace trains between BAYSWATER & Belgrave.
- I’m going the other way from Blackburn. 19.18 to the city was listed on app as arriving but delayed, but not on station boards. Next train is 19.31. Is said train cancelled or stuck?
- 19.35 The next citybound train is just arriving at Nunawading. It should arrive at Blackburn within the next 3 min.
- I’m guessing the weather probably knocked some services about.
- 19.43 Anticipate buses to replace trains until at least 20.30.
- 19.51 693 is pointless; the last leaves Belgrave soon.
- 20.08 Lucky I heard the announcement as we were at Box Hill, as no announcements on train enroute.
Buses replace trains Burnley - Glen Waverley from 21.00 until the last train of Sun 24 Mar (maintenance works).
22.16 We've got plenty of extra trains to get you home from MCG. [Usual arrangements for entering Richmond and Jolimont, and heading to the city for northern routes].
- But they don't run on time.
- Unless your on the Frankston line as we shutting down at 23.00.
- No buses at all for an hour after the game. Chaos.
- 22.56 Jolimont: Current waiting times entering the station are around 4-5min.
Buses replace trains Flinders St - Sandringham from 22.40 until the last train of Sun 24 Mar (project works).
Werribee/Williamstown lines: Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Newport/Williamstown from 22.45 until 2.30 Sat 23 Mar (major project works).
Pakenham/Cranbourne/Frankston lines: Buses replace trains Flinders St - Caulfield from 23.00 until the last train of Sun 24 Mar (works).  Express buses depart from Arts Centre.  All-stations buses depart from Federation Square (Russell St) until 7.00 Sat.

Melbourne Express, Friday, March 22, 2019
10.04 Train delays slowly clearing. Here's a round up of Metro trains delays, according to their own website, after smoking cables prevented trains from stopping at Flinders St station and earlier equipment faults.
Trains are back up and running through Flinders St, but there are still major delays on the Craigieburn, Cranbourne, Frankston, Pakenham, Sandringham, Sunbury, Upfield, Werribee and Williamstown lines.
Good services are reported on other lines.
If you're about to catch a train, it's worth keeping a close eye on services here, or finding another route.
Good luck out there!
9.53 'By the time we all got there, we were sweating'
On the flip side, reader Georgie has labelled her morning commute "the worst train ride I've ever had in Melbourne". "The doors opened at South Kensington and we were told to get off the train," she told us.
"There were no bus replacement services and we had to walk to a random tram stop in North Melbourne in Arden Street. By the time we all got there we were sweating and could hardly breathe (the humidity didn't help anyone this morning).
"This has possibly been the worst train ride I've ever had in Melbourne. No one even assisted us, we were left fending for ourselves with our google maps."
Not a great start to the day. Hope your day improves now, Georgie.
9.49 'Really happy with being kept in the loop' Reader, Samaya, has also praised driver communication this morning.
'Just read about the experience from Matthew stuck at Seddon – same experience but at Yarraville," she said.
'The train driver was nice to give us constant updates, also let people out to get some air and gave lots of announcements to ensure everyone got back on the train. Spoke about possible alternatives at stations that were coming up and was really apologetic.
"No issues with communication, was really happy with being kept in the loop (which incidentally is where we were routed to!)"
9.46 'At least I have a seat'.  Plenty of Melburnians have been stuck on trains this morning due to the smoking cables on platform 10 at Flinders St.
Matilda posted this pic on Twitter after she was "forcibly paused" during her morning commute to Spotswood.
9.37 'The driver in particular couldn't have handled it better'
Reader Matthew was also stuck at Seddon train station this morning, and has defended both Metro Trains and the driver.
"There were several announcements on both the platform and from the driver about the request from MFB and likely delays," he told us.
"Driver was nice enough to suggest people get out on the platform and stretch their legs and tell them she'd blow the train's whistle when ready to depart so they could get back on.
"The driver in particular couldn't have handled it better. Lack of communication was not an issue at all."
Thanks Matthew. We'd love to hear from anyone else about their train journey this morning viahanna.turbet@...
9.33 Train delays: A valid reason to be late for work?
It seems delays are slowly, slowly clearing on the train network.
But there still plenty of red dots (meaning "major delays") against train lines on both the Metro Trains website and on Public Transport Victoria's website.
Some passengers might clock up a few extra steps this morning if they have to alight at a different city station.
But at least you have a valid reason to be late for work.
9.18 'Metro can't even get slow trains to work'
One Age reader irate at local train delays and a perceived lack of communications from Metro Trains this morning reckons the fast rail option to Geelong is a pipe dream.
"Stuck at Seddon Station this morning for 15mins and Metro can’t even be bothered to explain why. What do I think about fast trains? Metro can’t even get the slow trains to work!"
To be fair, Metro may not be in charge of the fast trains - or even the "slow trains" in a decade or more. But a point well made.
9.12 'Consider alternative transport options' All lines are affected, and Metro Trains are attempting to give passengers alternative routes.
Here's a list of ways to get around if you usually use the Sandringham line..
Check Metro's website or their Twitter account for alternative routes around your line.
9.09 Flinders St: 'Please avoid the area' The firies have resorted to Twitter to urge Melburnians to avoid Flinders St station this morning.
8.56 Smoking cable shuts down Flinders St station. Smoking cables brought trains to a standstill at Flinders St station earlier this morning.
Firefighters were called at 7.39am after reports of smoke on a train platform.
An MFB spokesman said a cable running through platform 10 was "arcing" but there was no danger to passengers.
Security blocked off the area and firefighters contained the smoke within minutes.
No one was injured.
Trains are expected to be running again shortly.
8.41 Major train delays after fire at Flinders St. There are major delays on the rail network now after a fire at Flinders St.  All citybound services now running via the city loop.
The Age Odd Spot: March 25, 1999 – If you think you are living in a ‘nanny state’, the Seattle Police Department went one better by introducing Chair Sitting 101 for its employees.How to sit safely in a chair Think occupational health and safety is out of control? It has been for quite a while, apparently.
8.05 Power outages on rail network 'unrelated'. It wasn't the greatest morning on Melbourne's rail network this morning, with three separate (and unrelated) equipment faults caused by external power outages.
Forty-five minute delays on the Hurstbridge line have reduced now to 20 minutes. Buses are also running between Macleod and Heidelberg alongside trains in a bid to get everyone to work on time.
There are 10-minute delays on the Mernda line after an external loss of overhead power between Thomastown and Reservoir.
And good services have returned to the Alamein, Belgrave and Lilydale lines after earlier delays due to an equipment fault at Camberwell.
'Faster rail' mooted for Melbourne to Geelong
8.00 MFB Firefighters are attending a small electrical fire at #FlindersStreet Station. We're working to make the scene safe. Please avoid the area @metrotrains
8.02 My morning commute to Spotswood has been interrupted. My forcibly paused view at Nth Melbourne since 8.22am. All Williamstown, Werribee & Laverton trains are suspended until the fire at Flinders St is put out. At least I have a seat & no one around me is cranky yet.
The proposed fast rail from Melbourne to Geelong. Credit:Australian Government
Is there a federal election looming? Prime Minister Scott Morrison has promised billions for a 'faster rail' (see picture above) between Melbourne and Geelong.
How fast, you ask? 160km/h, which would slash the trip between Southern Cross station and Geelong to just 32 minutes.
It is estimated that the project would cost at least $4 billion and take 10 years to complete. The state government would be required to match the federal funding of $2 billion.
On this day in 1959, a fire destroyed a timber yard in Collingwood, causing over £100,000 in damage. 45 firefighters from across the northern suburbs rushed to contain the blaze as a mushroom cloud of smoke blanketed the city and explosions engulfed the business. After a strong wind, Victoria Park station, just metres away, was also in flames. Passengers, rail staff and the crowd from a local football game worked furiously to contain the blaze as peak hour trains continued to roll through. In this photo from the archive, firefighters fight in vain to contain the damage as the fire rages out of control. .
6.41 Delays on the Alamein, Belgrave and Lilydale lines appear to be clearing after an earlier track equipment fault near Camberwell.
Metro Trains is reporting delays are down to 10 minutes and improving.
However, Hurstbridge commuters are still struggling with major delays on the Hurstbridge line.
Buses have been called in to help ferry passengers between Macleod and Hurstbridge.
6.01 'Major delays' on several train lines. Looks like the minor delays on a couple of trains just become "Major Delays".
Track equipment appears to be causing major problems on several lines, including Alamein, Belgrave, Hurstbridge, Lilydale and Sunbury.
The delays are up to 45 minutes on the Hurstbridge line, and buses are being brought in between Macleod and Heidelberg.
Cyclist threatened with knife, secateurs in road rage attack.  A cyclist was allegedly kicked in the leg and threatened with a knife and secateurs during a road rage assault in North Melbourne yesterday.
Police say the 33-year-old cyclist and the driver of a silver Holden Commodore started arguing while stopped at lights on Haines Street about 3.45pm.
The cyclist rode away but the Commodore drove up behind him and a passenger threw an object at him. The pair in the car then jumped out, threatened the cyclist and stomped on his bike.
Police believe there were a number of people in the area at the time and are keen to speak to them and any other witnesses. Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
5.45 There are major delays on the Hurstbridge line after a power surge affected track equipment near Heidelberg. Metro is advising passengers to check platform displays and listen for announcements.  One train has also been cancelled on the Sunbury line, while there are minor delays on the Alamein, Belgrave and Lilydale.

Fast rail between Melbourne and Geelong would slash travel time in half March 22, 2019. 27 comments
Journey times for train passengers travelling between Melbourne and Geelong could be slashed in half through a federal government proposal to build a fast rail link between the cities.
Trains would travel at an average speed of 160km/h, which would see the trip between Southern Cross Station and Geelong take just 32 minutes.
The proposed fast rail from Melbourne to Geelong. Credit:Australian Government
It is estimated the project would cost at least $4 billion and take about 10 years to complete. The state government would be required to match the federal funding of $2 billion.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he estimated construction would begin in two years.
"As our population grows, fast rail networks are crucial to easing the congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia’s future," he said.
Passengers could spend much less time getting to and from Geelong.Credit:Joe Armao
"This is all part of our plan to manage population growth that I announced this week to take the pressure off our big cities like Melbourne and make our regional cities like Geelong even more attractive places to live and work."
The Prime Minster said the Geelong fast rail would also take pressure off the Princes Freeway and West Gate Bridge. He said the freeway normally sees more than 54,000 vehicles pass through each day.
The fast rail would connect to the Melbourne Metro, which is currently under construction, and also to the proposed Airport Rail Link route.
Another $40 million has been promised to fund businesses cases for five additional rail corridors, including a fast train from Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga, and one from Melbourne to Traralgon in the Latrobe Valley.
The government has promised to set up a National Fast Rail Agency to guide the works over the next two decades and determine which rail links are the most viable across the country.
The pledge is part of the government's plan to "take the pressure off the big cities" and promote growth in the regions.
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the works would ease congestion issues in Melbourne.
"Geelong is a strong growing regional centre, but transport connectivity to Melbourne is constrained by existing infrastructure," he said.
"During peak hour, trains are often full at key stations such as Wyndham Vale and Tarneit, with passenger numbers exceeding capacity on the line. Services on the Geelong Line also suffer frequent delays."
Prior to the Victorian state election, the opposition pledged to build a $19 billion high-speed regional rail link with trains reaching speeds of 200km/h if it won.
Under the ambitious plan, the former Opposition Leader Matthew Guy promised to build a "European-style" rail network in a bid to encourage more people to live in country areas.
He said the upgrade works would see high-speed train services from Geelong to Melbourne take as ­little as 32 minutes by 2022.
Last year, Premier Daniel Andrews pledged to build a $50 billion, underground suburban rail network, linking every major rail line in Melbourne and the new airport rail.
Billed as "the biggest public transport project in Australian history", the Suburban Rail Loop is expected to take almost 30 years to build and connect key train lines from Frankston to Werribee.
Related Article Suburban rail loop: Melbourne's west, north may get raw deal, says study
Related: 'It would be a problem for us': Airport wants answers on station site
* Run Geelong trains via Newport, and let Tarneit be served by suburban trains.  Remove the barriers at Melbourne Southern Cross and reopen the subway.  Then solve the problem of access from home to station and the minutes it takes from a bus to a platform.  What Melbourne needed all along was the removal of single-line chokes, and the installation of better signalling to provide frequency.  The overhyped tunnel does nothing for most of Melbourne, and the PM's scheme does nothing for either Melbourne or Geelong.   
* I don't want to hear politicians tell us how good or bad an infrastructure plan is. What I do want to hear is what the experts think of the project and how the cost/benefit analysis compares to other potential projects. Then and only then can we make a valid decision of whether the project should go ahead.
Where is the cost/benefit analysis for this proposal? Have Infrastructure Australia or Infrastructure Victoria examined the proposal? If so what is their conclusion?
* Anyone remember the VFT (very fast train) promised by Paul Keating
* Yawn. Again? How often are fast trains trotted out. They seem more a cash hand out to developers and builders than a true desire to upgrade transport. $2 billion for what? They can run trains at 150 klm now? To have true fast trains you can't have the train stopping at stations every ten klms or so.......end of story. Thats all you need to do to speed up the service - run express from Southern Cross and Footscray direct to Corio on the half hour and stopping trains (with bypass loops) every hour. Plus run longer trains... Solved. Why is this even a election requirement - it should be part of the normal running of a transport system.
* why build a fast rail from geelong to melbourne? the trains will be practically empty on the return leg of the journey.
* Tell em they're dreamin! Why not just build a metro line from Wyndham Vale instead? That would let the Geelong line fly by those two stations which normally makes up about at least a third of the users and slows it down. No point having faster trains if you cant even get on the train.
* Check the date. Definitely NOT April 1st. The ink has barely dried on SNOWY II, COALmo is bringing out a miniature version of TITANIC II Clive's version of bullet train to connect the Eastern Seaboard.
Trains would travel at an average speed of 160km/h between Southern Cross Station and Geelong taking just 32 minutes cannot hardly be called bullet train. Trains in Malaysia Railway travels around 140km/h. I know. I've been on one.  I hereby christen COALmo's new fleet BULLSHIP I - To Boldly Go Where No Train Has Gone Before. Sarah will be happy with this toy version or vision to save her political skin while the rest of us just wonder is if BULLSHIP II, Brisbane  to Sunshine Coast will save the can toad brigade in South East Queensland.
* Just like a broken record.. . who takes any notice of the hollow promises to build this and do that, but only if they get voted in. Blah blah blah - water off this duck’s back.
* Unsure why a train that travels 160km/h is considered a 'fast train'.
* Have you been on any normal snail train in any AU capital city? Puffing Billy would keep up.
* Woke up this morning to 'I Got You babe' on the radio and the clock displaying 6.00AM. Something about this old chestnut getting an airing once again. Yawn...
* Mr Desperate with his daily treasure trove! How embarrassing, not to mention boring!
* I can see the point but how can they justify FEDERAL money for it?
* They have been talking about electrifying the Geelong line since the 1950s and it still hasn’t happened, anyhow, it’s a LNP wish, as they will be on the opposition benches very soon the whole debate is moot. Fear not Geelong passengers, you’ll still be travelling on smelly, slow diesel trains for decades to come.
* Meanwhile, the Gippsland line bottleneck is left to fester. The solution is to run a skyrail over the Princess HWY from Caulfield - Monash University to Dandenong. Dandenong is the other 'Geelong' that needs attention, and an express line here would not only solve the problem with Monash University being isolated, but would open up the Latrobe Valley.
* Idiocracy is here. Every four years, Australia experiences Groundhog Day
* You can't deliver on promises if you're not in government and Scotty is electoral dead meat, so what's the point? It's all tilting at windmills, and nothing Morrison promises is going to come true. He's just throwing around cash he's never going spend. Might as well promise $1000 to everyone who votes Liberal and free beer for all. Morrison will never pay up.
* So, what is Bill Blancmange promising to do? I can tell you what - Nothing! That's because he's too scared to do anything, or say anything, that might make it appear he has an opinion about something. He's the worst of the worst of politicians. A power hungry electoral and social climber, dropping partners, alliance, wives, as he strives for the next rung of the ladder.
* 10 years Morrison what a joke do you think we are all idiots in Victoria It will be outdated before it opens.?The Chinese and Japenese would build it in three!.
* This is a state government idea that’s already on the cards. They know they are going to be annihilated at the election so they can promise the world but not have to worry about actually delivering anything. Cynical move.
* Proverbial dog chasing its tail. Talked about for years, and the fast trains turned out not to be. But we could build and pay for them to cater for population growth, so we can grow even and spend even more, and then build even more stuff to cater that growth, and then put even more people in etc. Known as the population ponzi scheme. Instead stabilise the population.
* They’ve had 6 years to do something and now expect us to wait another 10? Nothing will help Sarah Henderson hold onto Corangamite!!
* Why do fast trains always get a mention when there is an election? Should have been done 30 years ago. Somebody please just do it!
* The Clive Palmer effect? Perhaps Coalition polling is showing that Clive's ads are impacting on possible Coalition votes? I haven't met anyone insane enough to say that they would vote for Palmer though.
* I can't keep up with all these initiatives just before the election.
* Why not take all these (ahem) new funding ideas for transport and put it back into making the NBN fiber to the home to eable the project to realise its promise and revolutionise working from home.
* This announcement. Again? With all the past work on this and similar initiatives, I should by now be able to arrive in Geelong before Ihave left Melbourne.
* didn't we just spend a gazillion $ to upgrade that line?

Morrison 'can't deliver' Geelong rail plan for $4b, minister claims March 22, 2019.
Plans for a "faster rail" link to Geelong that would cut journey times to 30 minutes have been dismissed by the state government which claims the $4 billion price tag put on the project by Prime Minister Scott Morrison would not be enough.
Mr Morrison said the project would take about 10 years to complete, with the state government being required to match the federal funding of $2 billion.
The federal government has pledged to create a fast rail link between Melbourne and GeelongCredit:Joe Armao
"As our population grows, fast rail networks are crucial to easing the congestion pressures in our cities and shaping Australia’s future," Mr Morrison said.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said the Victorian government’s planning shows the project would cost between $10 and $15 billion – up to three times as much as Mr Morrison is suggesting.
The Andrews government set aside $150 million to plan for fast trains to Geelong before last year’s state election. The trains would travel at speeds of up to 200km/h, cutting trips to Geelong to 35-45 minutes.
“We welcome more infrastructure funding for Victoria and the Federal government’s interest in this project – but the funding put up by the Prime Minister won't deliver what he's promising,” Ms Allan said.
“We know that because we're already doing the detailed planning work to deliver fast rail to Geelong.
“If they want to help deliver fast rail to Geelong they should immediately fund their share of the Waurn Ponds Duplication project and get on board with our plan to build brand new tracks from Southern Cross Station to Wyndham Vale.”
The Prime Minister said the rail project would take pressure off the Princes Freeway and West Gate Bridge. He said the freeway normally sees more than 54,000 vehicles pass through each day.
"This is all part of our plan to manage population growth that I announced this week to take the pressure off our big cities like Melbourne and make our regional cities like Geelong even more attractive places to live and work," he said.
The fast rail would connect to the Melbourne Metro, which is currently under construction, and also to the proposed Airport Rail Link route.
Another $40 million has been promised to fund businesses cases for five additional rail corridors, including a fast train from Melbourne to Albury-Wodonga, and one from Melbourne to Traralgon in the Latrobe Valley.
The government has promised to set up a National Fast Rail Agency to guide the works over the next two decades and determine which rail links are the most viable across the country.
The pledge is part of the government's plan to "take the pressure off the big cities" and promote growth in the regions.
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the works would ease congestion issues in Melbourne.
"Geelong is a strong growing regional centre, but transport connectivity to Melbourne is constrained by existing infrastructure," he said.
"During peak hour, trains are often full at key stations such as Wyndham Vale and Tarneit, with passenger numbers exceeding capacity on the line. Services on the Geelong Line also suffer frequent delays."
Prior to the Victorian state election, the opposition pledged to build a $19 billion high-speed regional rail link with trains reaching speeds of 200km/h if it won.
Jacinta Allan says $4 billion won't be enough to build a fast rail line to Geelong.Credit:Jesse Marlow
Under the ambitious plan, the former Opposition Leader Matthew Guy promised to build a "European-style" rail network in a bid to encourage more people to live in country areas.
He said the upgrade works would see high-speed train services from Geelong to Melbourne take as ­little as 32 minutes by 2022.
Last year, Premier Daniel Andrews pledged to build a $50 billion, underground suburban rail network, linking every major rail line in Melbourne and the new airport rail.
Billed as "the biggest public transport project in Australian history", the Suburban Rail Loop is expected to take almost 30 years to build and connect key train lines from Frankston to Werribee.
Related Article Scott Morrison is worried about a 1990s-style recession. Morrison locked into airport rail link: construction to start within three years

Doubt on promise for 200km/h fast rail without new trains March 22, 2019
Scott Morrison's promise to build 200km/h fast rail services between Melbourne and Geelong will not be possible without new trains, a leading expert says.
The Prime Minister has promised to build high-speed rail line where trains would travel up to 200km/h, slashing the travel time between Geelong and Southern Cross Station to 32 minutes.
It would take about 10 years to build, with construction to begin in two years and the state government expected to pitch in $2 billion.
But Mr Morrison's $4 billion pre-election cash splash does not include money for new trains.
The federal government has pledged to create a fast rail link between Melbourne and GeelongCredit:Joe Armao
Alan Tudge, federal Urban Infrastructure Minister, said $2 billion would go towards duplicating the track between Sunshine and Wyndham Vale, creating a dedicated line for the fast rail.
Illustration: Matt GoldingCredit:
Separating the tracks would also increase capacity on the existing Geelong line, which has been plagued by overcrowding and poor reliability since the opening of the Regional Rail Link in 2015.
The remaining $2 billion would be spent on upgrading the Geelong line.
Mr Tudge said new trains were traditionally bought by the state.
John Hearsch, president of expert rail think-tank Rail Futures, supports the push for faster rail to Geelong and says separating the tracks is long over-due.
But 32-minute services would not be possible without new trains, he said.
"Even with the substantial track upgrade and extra tracks, the best existing trains could achieve under ideal conditions is 39 minutes," he said.
"The existing [V/Line] rolling stock is designed for a maximum speed of 160km/h and is not authorised to run any faster."
The federal and state governments are at odds over what fast rail to Geelong will cost.
Victoria's Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said the project would cost between $10 and $15 million.
She said it would require the removal of 14 level crossings, which would cost $2 billion alone.
The state government set aside $150 million to plan for the fast trains to Geelong before last year’s state election.
Mr Hearsch agrees it would cost $2 billion to remove the level crossings. And he estimates the entire project will cost $5 billion in total.
The new line would cut city-to-city journey times down to about 30 minutes.Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui
The multi-billion dollar promise came as good news for Liberal MP Sarah Henderson whose electorate of Corangamite is considered one of the government's most vulnerable seats at the upcoming election.
Ms Henderson’s narrow margin of 3.1 per cent in the seat was virtually wiped out in a redistribution of the seat’s boundaries last year.
Newer, Labor-leaning suburbs in south-west Geelong were brought into the seat and the Liberal stronghold of Colac was shifted into neighbouring Wannon..
Minister Allan said she welcomed the infrastructure funding, but said "the funding put up by the Prime Minister won't deliver what he's promising".
“If they want to help deliver fast rail to Geelong they should ... get on board with our plan to build brand new tracks from Southern Cross Station to Wyndham Vale,” she said.
But Public Transport Users Spokesman in Geelong Paul Westcott said the promise was a "great start" and would finish off what the $3.65 billion Regional Rail Link was supposed to do.
The announcement closely mirrors a promise made by the state opposition before the election to build a $19 billion high-speed regional rail link allowing for 32 minute services from Melbourne to Geelong.
Faster rail between Melbourne and Geelong is not rated an urgent priority by Infrastructure Australia, which says it will be needed in the next 10 to 15 years.
Related Article The federal government has pledged to create a fast rail link between Melbourne and Geelong.  Fast rail to Geelong? Do they really think we're that stupid?
Fast rail between Melbourne and Geelong would slash travel time in half
* The fastest in the early 1960s was 52 min.
The fastest after the upgrade to 160 km/h was ~45 min.
The fastest after the futile 'Regional Fast Rail' was no better, indeed was worse.
There are better ways of clawing back 13 min, if that is even worth doing.
Frequency and capacity and convenience beat absolute speed on a section that short.
Add in the time from home to Geelong, negotiating the 'interchange', and the same in Melbourne and to the work place.  The megabillions are a complete waste.  Do something useful.
* Wasn't there a previous attempt at 'fast' train travel by Bracks/Brumby et al? Didn't that end in a farce of expensive upgrades, then trains running slow because of brakes, poor track etc etc. Farcical.
I predict they'll aim for 200km/h and barely get 115km/h; barely. That will, of course, only be on cool days. On hot days the tracks will buckle, the brakes will overheat and the drivers will call in sick.
Yep, I smell another lemon; sickly waste of money.
* Why can't Australian governments do strategic planning? On the one hand we have multi-billion dollar megaprojects that come from a minister's thought bubble, have no connection to any long-term urban plan, score a few glossy brochures, and are quietly shelved after a few years when the authorities finally work out that the economics don't stack up.
On the other hand we have the daily really of more traffic, more congestion, more road building, constantly playing catchup with no real vision for what we want the city of the future to look like.
There is no need for a very fast train over a distance like 70 kilometres. A moderately fast train, at a fraction of the cost, would spare billions for other important projects.
Existing trains on the existing tracks via Werribee, with some track amplification and a Newport bypass from Tottenham to Laverton, should be able to get to Geelong non-stop in about 40 minutes. That might cost one or two billion. Compared with a very fast train it gives 80 per cent of the benefit for 20 per cent of the cost. We have to think about benefits and costs and what other good things we could do with the money.
* Another kite Morrison flies to see if it takes off. He is now picking selected seats to announce support for project she never intends to deliver. Now, if the constituents in these seats fall for this trap, they deserve the disappointment.
* Mr Morrison, Mr Tudge - you and your government have collectively had 5 years and 306 days since you were elected to fix things like:-
- public debt levels
- wages growth
- fancy new trains and infrastructure.
There are only 56 sleeps until 18 May left.
Scott and all your government ministers, what the bloody hell have you been doing all this time?
* I have one promise for Morrison and his inept government. Electoral wipeout.
* Judge the Coalition Federal Government on what they HAVE DONE, not on what they say they WILL DO.
* Please, let us just get the Airport Rail Link built first which will benefit many, many Victorians and others. We have been waiting since the opening of Tullarmarine in 1970 (yes fol;ks 49 years ago!). Enough of this High-Speed rail pie in the sky.
* Forget a 200 kmh. train from Geelong, can the residents of Gippsland please have a reliable rail service of any speed ? Without our own regional rail link to bypass the busiest suburban line our trains, when they do run, are lucky to average 60 kmh. from Traralgon to Southern Cross. Once again we are the forgotten region of Victoria.
* In ten years new trains will be required with or without fast rail. The Andrews government is constantly whinging about the lack of money from the Feds but when it is promised they have to whinge some more. Can't we be positive about the development rather than all this partisan rubbish?
* Agree. Even though It's not going to be delivered, because they're not going to win.
Regardless, it has merit. Geelong is booming, and thousands are moving there each year. Why not create a viable rail connection so residents can work in Melbourne.
* Current Velocity railcars are geared for 180km/hr. In UK similar trains operate at 200km/hr. Some large (10 or 12 cars) double decker trains are needed for Geelong and Ballarat lines. Powered by 3300kw diesel locos on each end. Could have up to 1800 seats. Use these on busiest peak, non-stop services. Use Velocities for all stations trains with lots of stops.
* The only questions that really matters is: do Victorian voters believe Morrison would do it if re elected? Are they that trusting?
* I know I don't trust Hendo.
* I bet the commuters of Frankston, Pakenham, Belgrave, Lilydale, and other similar suburban lines are feeling really enthusiastic about a 32 minute service to Geelong.
* To be fair Geelong doesn't deserve it but Hendo is a big donor magnet so they need to look after her.
* Is it reality? Tell them they're lying!
* Don't worry about the trains, with so many years to completion there is plenty of time for them to be ordered and with potential improvements in technology why order now?
* 'The federal and state governments are at odds over what fast rail to Geelong will cost.'- ie. nothing will get done! In Canberra we have a Govt. that is committed to flat out lying and in Victoria we have a Govt. that has budgeted on fairyland and didnt forsee the gap in stamp duty that a housing collapse might bring. We have an utter vacuum of leadership in this country.
* A 200kph train service - going 60km's. And are there any stops on the way?
* The population of Geelong is around 160,000.
An investment into "poles and wires" to accommodate the transition to renewable resources would make more sense.
Noting that the "poles and wires" from the coal resource will become redundant over time because renewable is sourced from different geographic locations
* The poles and wires might be useful if some power hungry industries can be located where the existing power stations are, and renewable power is fed back.
* 160 000 where are you getting that figure? It's closer to 200k. The problem with Geelong is it's size. The same as NYC with 8.5 million people. Watch what happens when property flat lines. Geelong will be a smoking crater.
* Another, not surprisingly, desperate attempt for votes! Still, to be fair, watching Scomo’s press conference, it was obvious he had done his homework and was across the detail! Not! Hope he doesn’t follow the lead of his Victorian colleagues and sign contracts before the election!
* what's missing is anything positive coming from the journo's or more importantly anything positive or commitment coming from Labor except from Jacinta Allan saying on the new her government was working on it, two bob each way.
* What's missing George is the $3.5 billion funding that MorrisCon won't release to Victoria. The only commitment being shown, is for Henderson's seat of Corangamite.
* Andrews broke the promise not the Libs, I believe the money for east west is still available and that's what it was originally promised for.
* This is so all the immigrants being dispatched to the “regions” according to coalition policy can commute to Melbourne every day where the jobs are.
* So let me get this right...
- Morrison is chipping in $2B (and asking/demanding VicGov to put in an equal $2B)
- VicGov needs to buy all the rolling stock (+ $1-2B)
- VicGov needs to remove the level crossings (+ $2B)
- VicGov has already earmarked $150M to plan the project (form the Vic State election)
- Morrison is just copying Guy (but scrimping and only putting in $2B in what would cost $10B)
Wow! Not only is this funding announcement grossly misrepresentative of Morrison's proportion of contribution, its already a project underway by the VicGov.
If this is what Morrison's lot are offering, it would have to be one of the most vacuous of policies in modern politics.
Time for real change, real reform and real policies. Time for a real government. Come on May!
* Someone please tell scoalmo and young josh that the Simpson's Monorail episode was a fantasy.
* scoalmo can only offer a few $bill because the young learner treasurer is still trying to work out the difference between billions and bazillions and until he works it out there isn't much money to go around.
* A promise of top quality train tracks, but without any trains. This is going beyond not fully thought through, well into they're not really trying any more.
* 32 minutes to Geelong? With the usual four stops in 30 minutes before North Melbourne, that leaves two minutes to get to Geelong. A fast train indeed.
* Why spend a fortune on new trains to gain 7 minutes? Isn't 39 minutes from Geelong good enough? It takes about that to get from Greensborough to the city. In fact last night going to footy we were packed in like sardines, 1500 on the train I reckon. We should have triplicated tracks through inner suburbs to run more express services from the outer before we spend billions to perhaps save 7 minutes to regional locations.
* Governments need to forget about promising"fast trains" at election time... no one is fooled. We need to instead insist on reliable, more frequent and slightly faster trains. Anything else is just pie in the sky and a fraud on taxpayers. Currently regional trains can't operate when the temperature gets above 35C and passengers get put on buses... its a joke???
* 'This is my leader and I'm ambitious for him!' COALMo $2,000,000,000 empty promise is more like a tin serves no purpose except annoying loud.
$2,000,000,000 however put as a down payment to build infrastructure and provide services to regional cities as a long term plan to decentralise relieving pressures on capital cities should be considered.
His offer of BULLSHIP I fleet now found to be lacking, another thought bubble and another conjuring trick to save Sarah.
* A promise to fund a fast train in a marginal electorate just before an election ...and without bothering to check with the State Government which has to build it? ScoMo must really take us for idiots.
* "Scott Morrison's promise to..." At that point I think a reasonable person might expect a caveat on the lines of, "Picture is for illustration only and actual contents may differ markedly."
* This project is so serious that the Prime Minister consulted widely before it's release - with the Herald Sun and The Geelong Advertiser. Accidently - he forgot to consult with the State Government who would actually have to do the project. This was a mere unimportant oversight - I mean yeah sure they have the information on how to do the project and they have a full list of infrastructure projects to deliver already from their recent election and of course the project is not even on the priority list for Infrastructure Australia or Infrstructure Victoria - but if Scott wants it surely Dan will agree - right?
The Stunt Man strikes again. No real policy work, no ability to deliver the project, no intention to work with the State Government, no understanding of what work is required to deliver the project, no understanding of what it costs.
What sort of management is this ? imagine putting such a proposal up to your bank - or as a capital project to a corporation. This is a stunt - and Victorians should punish this rubbish at the polls - to be treated with such contempt - to think our votes can be brought with a few empty poll driven promises with not even the smallest effort. I dont care what colour your politics are - stunts like this are just a sign that you have not got a clue and dont care. We dont need you Scott - we need a government that will lead - not just continuously pull stunts.
* Scott Morrison is all rhetoric. If the people of Australia can't see it then our education system is stuffed.
* Welcome to reality
* Hey ScoMo when is that you will build a rocket for us to colonise Mars. May be you can allocate about few billions in your election promise. Don't take us for idiots like you.
* So Morrison is spruiking Bullet Trains . But within a day we’ve learnt neither the $2 billion by either Feds or State will go to buying them and far more costs excluded.
Sounds like ScoMo and RoboCall Henderson are snake oiling quests there the thimble is
* Bullet trains are a tad faster than 200km/hr - as in double that speed.
* 'This is my leader and I'm ambitious for him!' COALMo wanted to be the black knight to save Sarah from certain defeat for her seat of Corangamite.
Unfortunately charging in on a nag and brandishing a wooden lance, he again has been exposed as more promise than action by experts who again makes him look like a dunce without doing his sums.
His offer without upgrading the tracks without new trains is another half baked scheme on the eve of an election. So BULLSHIP I like TITANIC II sank before voters' eyes.
* The distance from Melbourne to Geelong is 75km. China is increasing their fast rail network by 3200km this year alone. When we get serious about fast rail, we will pay Chinese contractors to come and build it for us. They will do it better, faster and cheaper than we can do it ourselves.
* It's a little like the movie quote " the truth! you cant handle the truth" Build a train line of 75km in 10 years? with one wheel barrow and a donkey, maybe.
* All VLine Geelong to Melbourne passengers want is a reliable services and a seat on peak hour / did anyone ever tell them that metro has no peak hour charges / same price all day and fares a few years ago were reduced and free before 715 am / not sure if peak hour still charged but was a few years ago
* VLine (and others) don't want reduced fare Seniors and Concession Holders taking up space on Peak Hour services to/from Melbourne. Rightly so, preference should go to full fare passengers. I am a regular user of VLine to MEL and use off peak. Think around $8.10 return - you can't beat that.
* Regular commuters already get concession fares
* The last paragraph states it is not an urgent priority, with Infrastructure Australia saying it won’t be required for 10-15 years. According to this article the construction is estimated to take 10 years with it to start in 2 years.
On my maths, if the government does act now on this, they are with a chance of actually meeting a future infrastructure need.
But hey better to put it on the shelf and criticize.
* This would require thinking beyond the government's term which many fail miserably when it comes to infrastructure
* So dear readers, as suspected... this was just another brain fart by Shouty McShoutface
* $4++ billion to save 13 mins why not.just double the frequency of trains theteby going from every 40 mins to 20 mins.
Only engines and dome carriages would be required as carriages could be used from other now less full trains.
This would slash 20mins of the waiting time at a fraction of the cost. It would slso be of massive benefit to all the people that might miss the train..
* I’ve been on those dome carriages in the US. They are great, but I don’t think the views between Melbourne and Geelong really justify them.
* Listening to Morrison, Tudge and Henderson yesterday it was clear this announcement was just a stunt.
No costing done. No design, no implementation plan, no consultation. Contacted Vic gov for the first time the night before - so no partnership, totally at odds with Minister Tudge’s City Deals approach.
It’s a recycle of vic liberal election pitch, but with the cost estimate slashed without rationale.
This was just an empty promise with no intention or possibility of following through.
* You only need to look at two lines to see whats going on here...
"good news for Liberal MP Sarah Henderson whose electorate of Corangamite is considered one of the government's most vulnerable seats at the upcoming election"
"Faster rail between Melbourne and Geelong is not rated an urgent priority by Infrastructure Australia"
* The slash & burn ex Treasurer must be getting really desperate to buy votes. Can't wait for the empty promises comes Budget night.
* The trains already running are not that old. We just need the team from Pimp my Train, to add a few more herbs to the donks . We already had the The Regional Fast Rail project between 2000 and 2006 . Seems we didn't quite nail it at the time then.
* Morrison was highly visible in Melbourne this week. Mainly because the Liberal Party wanted him to be invisible in NSW the week before their election.
* Frankly the cost benefit doesn’t stack up. Rather than putting in fast rail put in more trains. An extra 15 minutes is not the issue, it is crowded trains that don’t run often enough that are. 15 minutes is not a problem; if you have a seat and you haven’t waited an hour for the train to turn up. Give the Vic. Government money to buy trains. Oh, that’s right, that wouldn’t be grandstanding for the federal election; silly me thinking it was about a sensible solution. At least they aren’t saying the answer is to upgrade the highway.
* Do some of both. Speed up to a 45 minute service. An average of only around 108km/hr. Build much bigger double decker commuter trains with 150 seats per car, not 76. More small trains is not the answer, just adds to track congestion. As long as commuters get a seat, journey time is shorter than driving and trains are reliable, the result will be welcomed.
* With scotty it’s like that song, we’re on the road to nowhere..
* Must me time to watch an other episode of Utopia. When does that next series start?
* I think it has started.... but in reality!!
* We have a meeting next week to discuss this.
* Abbott discovering climate change and the Paris agreement. ScoMo discovering rail. And now Frydenberg making out that the budget is going to boost real wages.
LNP caring about the environment and living wages? Must be election time!
The week after they won these promises would all be swept away with some imagined excuse.
I will never trust ScoMo or Abbott.
* Actually I think the excuse would be unimagineable, but otherwise agree with everything you say
* I can think of one serious problem. Hendo won't be around to deliver it.
* Jacinta Allen said the project would cost between $10 - $15 million. Cheap!
* You will find Jacinta Allen did actually say 10 -15 billion. Not cheap but better value than another stadium.
* "Faster rail between Melbourne and Geelong is not rated an urgent priority by Infrastructure Australia, which says it will be needed in the next 10 to 15 years."
But whoever is suggesting that throwing money at voters in marginal seats has anything to do with "urgent priorities" other than the priorities of a desperate Liberal National Party?
* To be fair, Infrastructure Australia is just a lobby group for NSW. Nothing south of the Murray is ever urgent.
* But... if IA says it will be needed in 10 - 15 years... and it will take at least 10 years to build.... (join the dots!)
* Sounds like one of Rudd's desperate brain farts, promising to move Australia's naval bases to Queensland before becoming toast: talk about deja vu. Poor old Scomo still hasn't learned to stop digging when in a hole.Oh dear, how sad never mind.
* This announcement only proved how little imagination the Libs have. A fast rail link promise before an election has been done to death. One hoped they could have offered another imaginary solution to a real problem, then they may have been believed.
* In a world where few of us understand the technology involved all we want is for someone, without an axe to grind, to tell us what actually works and what doesn't and what it is going to cost. We don't have the expertise so please do not try to take advantage of that with spin. We do not appreciate it and we are getting tired of it.
* Typical from Ad Man from Mad Men. Instead of using tax-payer money to finance the Coalition election campaign, call the election and use your own money.
Ours is most obviously required elsewhere, to the benefit of the society we all live in. 
Fast rail to Geelong? Do they really think we're that stupid? March 22, 2019.  101 comments
Doubt on promise for 200km/h fast rail without new trains
Fast rail to Geelong. It sounds like an exciting infrastructure announcement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
It's not. It’s precisely the sort of breathtakingly cynical political manoeuvre that voters are now so exhausted by. Do they really think we are this stupid?
The federal government has pledged to create a fast rail link between Melbourne and Geelong. Credit:Luis Enrique Ascui
Thanks to decades of more talented political operators than Morrison dodging and weaving their way past elections while voters’ blood boils over nothing being done on transport, announcements about multi-billion-dollar infrastructure promises simply won’t wash anymore.
And that’s just the cynicism that’s set in among voters over the inertia – quite aside from the pork-barrelling nature of announcing a project not even rated an urgent priority by the national infrastructure agency.
On Friday, Morrison and four Victorian Coalition MPs went to Geelong to promise that travel times from Geelong to Melbourne would virtually halve, from 61 minutes to 32 minutes.
The $4 billion project, they said, would start within two years!
The catch? State Labor would have to match Canberra’s $2 billion with $2 billion of its own.
Regardless of the Andrews government's claim that $4 billion won’t be enough – something in itself that’s startling enough to be worthy of a fact-check – the telling point is when Morrison told Premier Daniel Andrews.
Corangamite MP Sarah Henderson on Friday told ABC Radio’s Jon Faine that Andrews had been told on Thursday night. The state government confirmed the phone message from Morrison came late that night.
For a project that, in funding terms, was enough to build 160 new high schools.
This is precisely what voters are sick of on infrastructure – the same tired promises being rolled out time and again by politicians who seem to know little of the details of the projects they are pledging, but know the minutiae of how their clever political wedges will play out.
It amounts to a complete failure to govern for the fast-growing population when it comes to infrastructure.
This is no way to plan a city, a state or a nation. A functioning system would require states – that know the details of their transport needs – and Canberra, with its billions of dollars, to work together responsibly and with respect. Not a phone message at 8.30pm on a Thursday from one leader to another.
Infrastructure Australia and Infrastructure Victoria were meant to help solve these problems. Sadly, so degraded has the public service become at both levels of government that neither have the courage to tell MPs the hard truths about what’s required.
Perhaps the most gobsmacking aspect of Morrison’s announcement on Friday, via a NewsCorp story referring to bullet trains and European-style links that was part of a 20-year vision?
The precise same promise was tried less than six months ago by Matthew Guy.
The electoral result? Given Morrison and his fellow MP’s enthusiasm for the proposal, you would think it helped elected a swag of Liberals in Geelong and surrounding areas.
Nothing of the sort; Labor candidates in the region recorded thumping victories.
Former federal MP Darren Cheeseman took the state seat of South Barwon from the Liberals with an 8 per cent swing.
Geelong Labor MP Christine Couzens recorded double the primary vote of her Liberal competitor.
Labor’s Lara MP John Eren took 70 per cent of the two-party preferred vote.
And on the Bellarine, Lisa Neville turned her once marginal seat into safe Labor territory with a 7 per cent swing.
Of course, there’s a reason the public is now so desperately cynical about transport announcements, and Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan was out on Friday providing abundant evidence of why.
She referred to the proposal from Morrison as a thought bubble just weeks out from an election.
That she could do so with a straight face – having herself last year promised $50 billion on a “suburban rail loop” cooked up independently of her state’s transport bureaucracy – was impressive.
The difference though, is that Coalition governments have promised big and delivered little on infrastructure since they came to office in 2013 – remember Tony Abbott’s hope to be remembered as the infrastructure prime minister?
Andrews and Allan have thrown everything into building major infrastructure, knowing that talking big and delivering zero on transport leads to electoral oblivion of the sort John Brumby once experienced here in Victoria.
It’s what Morrison should expect in this state, despite Friday’s promise.
Related Article The federal government has pledged to create a fast rail link between Melbourne and Geelong Morrison 'can't deliver' Geelong rail plan for $4b, minister claims
* Poor so-called 'RFR' got descoped by the federal government, not approving the Werribee - Tarneit suburban link, and then state Lib, which had the arrogance to boast 'under time and under budget'.  The public never wins.  Of course, RFR should have been built electrified and to the NSW Bradfield profile for futureproofing.  Even now, it offers the best route to the airport, and a two-tier service could be provided with suburban trains to Tarneit (using equipment withdrawn by the useless PTV) and Geelong trains not stopping at suburban stations.                     

Queenslanders will not know if Fast Train is viable until after poll March 22, 2019
Talking points
•The Federal Government on Friday promised $8 million to develop a business case for a Fast Train option between Brisbane and the Gold Coast.
•In January 2018 it awarded $20 million for a business case for a Fast Train concept between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
•The business case for the Sunshine Coast Fast Train is not due until July 2019, after the May 2019 federal election.
Queenslanders will not know whether or not a Fast Train concept in south-east Queensland is viable until after the 2019 federal election.
A business case for a Gold Coast version of a Fast Train concept was revealed on Friday, plus very general plans to extend the heavy rail line to the Gold Coast Airport at Coolangatta.
The federal government has pledged to create a fast rail link between Melbourne and Geelong.
On the Sunshine Coast, however, former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull had announced money in January 2018 for a business case for Fast Train concept to the Sunshine Coast, from Nambour to Brisbane.
“I am expecting the business case to come back in July,” Sunshine Coast federal MP Ted O’Brien said on Friday. “From there it goes to Infrastructure Australia.”
The federal election is expected to be held in May 2019.
Infrastructure Australia is the peak body prioritising infrastructure projects around Australia for additional federal funding.
The idea is to have trains run at 150kmh and travel between Brisbane and Nambour in 45 minutes.
The Sunshine Coast stretch alone of a Fast Train concept would cost “billions of dollars”, Mr O’Brien said.
The Sunshine Coast Fast Train bid is being prepared by a Sunshine Coast business consortium called North Coast Connect, which includes Stocklands – who are building the Aura residential development at Caloundra South – and engineers and planners SMEC, Urbis and KPMG.
The business case will work out where the Fast Train can work with the existing rail lines and where new rail lines for Fast Trains would be needed.
Aura's Ryan McIntyre and his family at the new residential estate at Caloundra South, where a future rail link will run.
It will also identify a range of routes to Nambour and includes testing of the side rail line through the Aura residential complex to Maroochydore. This segment has been identified for three decades as the CAMCOS (Caboolture to Maroochydore) corridor study.
Mr O’Brien said he believed the Fast Train concept remains viable.
“While there will always be challenges, it remains viable,” he said.
Mr O’Brien said he was not yet in a position to reveal exact dollar amounts or track options, because that work was now being done by the business consortium.
“But I anticipate the business case identifying routes because ultimately it is based on those route options that the costings are done.
“So you are looking at using a mix of existing Sunshine Coast rail corridors as well as the CAMCOS corridors.”
A Queensland's Department of Transport and Main Roads spokesman confirmed the Sunshine Coast business case was still being evaluated.
"This means operational, technical, financial and environmental impacts of the project are yet to be determined," a departmental spokesman said."Any proposal for fast rail would need to complement the existing network, appropriately address future network requirements and include consideration of staging and integration with related network enhancements," he said.
"Rolling stock, resourcing and (train) stabling requirements are also critical."
On a separate rail project, the federal government has already promised to contribute $390 million to add a $780 million second rail line – duplicating the track – between Beerburrum and Landsborough.
The Queensland Government believes the federal government should contribute more than 50 per cent of the funds for this work.
However, this stretch of rail is within the Sunshine Coast Fast Train Brisbane to Nambour concept.
Federal Labor on Wednesday promised to set up a High Speed Rail Authority to evaluate the various high-speed-rail projects if it wins the May 2019 election.
Meanwhile, the Federal MP for the Gold Coast seat of Moncrieff, Karen Andrews, on Friday said people should not be sceptical about a Gold Coast Fast Train concept announced so close to a federal election in May.
That concept promises a trip between Brisbane and the Gold Coast in 35 minutes, but no planning has been done.
It follows work on the City Deal for South East Queensland, where fast train travel is key.
“What the Liberal National Government has committed to is to fund a business case; $8 million to fund a business case to look at fast rail between the Gold Coast and Brisbane,” Ms Andrews said.
“Also we are looking at extending the rail line south from Varsity Lakes through to the Gold Coast Airport.”
Related Article Labor has indicated they would create a rail authority and start buying the land. The duelling rail plans for south-east Queensland
<www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/queensland/queenslanders-will-not-know-if-fast-train-is-viable-until-after-poll-20190322-p516qf.html>The duelling rail plans for south-east Queensland March 22, 2019
Brisbane commuters will be able to catch a bullet train to either the Sunshine Coast or Melbourne — depending on who wins the next federal election.
Labor has reignited the decades-long dream to build a high-speed train from Brisbane to Melbourne, promising to appoint a High Speed Rail Authority if elected.
Labor has indicated it would create a rail authority and start buying the land.Credit:AP
The authority would be in charge of securing land along the proposed corridor, at a cost of $2.8 billion.
"High speed rail would revolutionise interstate travel, allowing people to travel between capital cities in as little as three hours at speeds of up to 350km/h," Labor infrastructure spokesman Anthony Albanese said.
The proposed route for the Brisbane to Melbourne bullet train.  Credit:Infrastructure Australia
The train would connect Brisbane and Melbourne via the Gold Coast, Sydney and Canberra, if the route proposed in a 2013 feasibility study was adopted.
The study, ordered by Labor before it lost government, was shelved when the coalition came to power and scrapped the High Speed Rail Authority in 2014..
Mr Albanese said the government had ignored the blueprint for six years.
The coalition has agreed Australia would need high-speed rail, but said it was up to the states to acquire land for the corridor first.
“High-speed rail has to be part of the landscape in the future,” Federal Cities and Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge has said..
“Corridor preservation is critical, [and is something] only state governments have the power to do."
On Wednesday, the government hinted at investing in fast-rail projects, including a link from Brisbane to the Sunshine Coast, to help ease congestion at “pinch points”.
“Those pinch points are important because often you can spend as much time trying to get onto the freeway as you can actually be held up on the freeway itself,” Mr Tudge said.
The minister was tight-lipped on details, but was expected to reveal more about the government's $75 billion commitment on infrastructure nationwide when the budget was handed down on April 2.
“We've mentioned fast rail briefly in the documents, which have been circulated,” Mr Tudge said on Wednesday.
“We'll have more to say about that at a later time.”
A plan for 45-minute train trips between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast was put together by a 26-member LNP political bloc dubbed Team Queensland in early 2018.
The North Coast Connect project, along with two other fast-rail plans in NSW and Victoria, were selected to share in $20 million of federal funding to develop a business case.
The Queensland project would see the long-awaited duplication of the line between Beerburrum and Nambour, and add a new rail spur connecting main coastal hubs to Brisbane for the first time.
Related Article Both sides of politics say it's time for high-speed rail, but neither has committed money to it yet.  Time to 'bite the bullet' and build high-speed rail: Albanese

We got a sneak peek at riding Canberra's light rail March 22, 2019.
For months, I’ve had a dream. It comes to me when I’m sandwiched at the back of an ACTION bus on my way into The Canberra Times Assembly office of a morning.
I close my eyes, and instead of meandering through the rat-runs of the inner north or trundling in traffic, I’m gliding down Northbourne Avenue, past all the clogged cars, straight into the centre of the city.
Which is why Friday was my best commute into work yet. After suffering through years of detours and road closures, watching the trees get chopped down and replanted, the rails go in and the wires go up, I finally got to take the light rail into the city.
I live well over a kilometre away from light rail so I really didn’t see myself ditching the bus that stops right out the front of my house in favour of the tram too often, despite my daydreams.
But nevertheless I strapped my walking shoes and backpack on, and with the excitement of a kid on the first day of school, headed down to the Dickson Interchange.
Less than 15 minutes later I was getting kitted out in high vis and a helmet ready to get on.
(That’s not something ordinary passengers will have to deal with, we had to gear up as it’s still in the testing phase).
Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris for her first ride on Canberra's light rail.Credit:Elesa Kurtz
Trams seemed to come and go quite regularly even though they’re not yet working to their operational timetable. With one expected every six minutes during peak times though you won’t have to wait very long to get on board.
There are “platform validators” at every station where you need to tap your MyWay card before getting onto the light rail.
I’m told if you’re catching a bus to get to a light rail station, you need to tap off the bus and tap onto light rail. It won’t charge you twice as you have a 90-minute transfer window from the time you first tap on.
The inside of the tram feels huge, probably because it is the emptiest I will ever see it at this hour. The air conditioning is glorious, the seats are spacious and the windows are huge. And yes, it has that new tram smell.
I blink and we’re at our first station. Seriously, it felt that fast. But the ride is also really smooth and quiet so it feels like you’re hardly moving at all.
Already, we’re at the Elouera Street station. Then the Alinga Street terminal. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten from Dickson to Civic so quickly.
One of my fellow journos tells us she actually got a bit motion sick on the trip, but thankfully didn't become the first person to chunder on light rail. What a milestone that would have been.
Passengers will tap their MyWay cards as they get on and off the tram.Credit:Elesa Kurtz
When we’re bundled off the tram, I’m worried one of the doors is going to squish me but I’m assured they have automatic sensors so that can’t happen.
The driver has no control over the doors though, so when you want to get off you have to press a button to release the door yourself.
Walking from the station to work, I can't believe it's over so fast. I've been waiting so long for this. In fact the part that feels the longest about the whole trip is waiting for the green man at the traffic lights to cross the road.
Thankfully the rest of Canberra will not have to wait much longer either. Light rail is expected to start running on April 20, with free trips for all on the day.
You can even enter a ballot for a special preview trip on April 18, with 150 double passes up for grabs.
So the $939 million question is will Canberrans actually use this service?
As someone who consciously chooses to use public transport but misses buses with alarming regularity, I can definitely see myself walking that extra bit further in order to know there's a light rail vehicle coming along soon.
I recognise not everyone can do that, especially if you're not as mobile as I am or if your personal circumstances aren't as flexible.
I also know how painful the traffic light changes associated with light rail have made travelling anywhere along the corridor if you're in a car or bus.
But if you're open to trying something new, I have a feeling you will love it as much as I did.

Want to be one of the first to ride light rail? Here's your chance March 22, 2019
Canberrans can win the chance to ride on the light rail two days before it opens to the public, with a public ballot opening on Friday for the first tickets.
The Gungahlin to Civic leg will be opened to the public on Saturday, April 20 - the Easter long weekend - Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris announced on Tuesday.
Canberra Metro customer service officers Joanne Meeuwissen and Garry Starling ahead of the planned launch of the light rail on April 20.Credit:Elesa Kurtz
But a special community preview loop will run on Thursday, April 18, with 150 double passes up for grabs.
Ms Fitzharris said the start of light rail was an "exciting moment in Canberra's history", with many people "eagerly waiting to get on board".
“Canberrans have seen the progress of light rail all the way from the planning stages to now seeing
light rail vehicles running up and down the route as they complete their final tests," she said.
"We want to give people the opportunity to experience light rail with this community preview, prior to the official launch."
Ballot entries close on April 3 and are restricted to one entry per person. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Free rides will be offered on April 20 to mark the start of light rail. Buses will also be free throughout the network to encourage people to try public transport.
Canberrans can also get a whole month of free travel when the new bus timetable begins on April 29.
Enter the ballot by registering your details at the ACT Transport website.
Light rail driver back on the job after running red light March 22, 2019. 3 comments
A light rail driver who was suspended after running a red light and nearly colliding with a car is back on the job, Canberra Metro has confirmed.
Meanwhile new footage has emerged of a Canberra driver illegally parked on the light rail tracks during a red light.
Canberra’s light rail is set to launch on April 20. Credit:Karleen Minney
Both the light rail consortium and Transport Minister Meegan Fitzharris are urging people to be careful around the tracks, ahead of the start of services on April 20.
Ms Fitzharris said "people are really taking notice of light rail now" with testing occurring along the entire Civic to Gungahlin route and a major community awareness program going on.
However The Canberra Times has been supplied with video of a driver sitting on the light rail tracks at Mitchell on Thursday afternoon waiting to turn right.
Witness Dion Kirkland said the driver sat there for the entire light cycle. Stopping on the light rail tracks can result in a fine of up to $3000.
Ms Fitzharris said it was a "big change" and would take some time for motorists to become familiar with light rail.
"Please be alert as you’re travelling on near or across the light rail route, particularly for pedestrians and cyclists but also for motorists as well," Ms Fitzharris said.
But it's not just car drivers behaving badly around light rail. Canberra Metro chief executive Glenn Stockton said the driver who was under investigation for running a red light and almost taking out an Uber driver was back at work.
A car stops on a red light on the light rail tracks at Mitchell.Credit:Dion Kirkland
“That driver went through some retesting, some recertification and that driver is now back in service. I’m confident in the driver’s ability," Mr Stockton said.
Canberra Metro is also looking for more drivers ahead of the light rail launch.
A Transport Canberra spokesman said Canberra Metro Operations was seeking to "complement its existing team of trained drivers who have achieved their driving competency certificates with a small number of new trainee drivers"..
"This is a regular part of managing our human resources as we approach the commencement of light rail services," he said.
Meanwhile, the light rail project is likely to gain accreditation just before its public launch next month.
Asked whether it was a good idea to announce the start date before project accreditation was finalised, Mr Stockton said that was "a question for government" but it was always expected accreditation would be granted "just prior to going to service".
"As I said we need to ensure that we've gone through the testing and commissioning process because that allows the accreditation authorities to have confidence that the process has been completed," Mr Stockton said.
Mr Stockton also said there were no impediments to achieving accreditation although there was "there’s a tremendous amount of work still occurring along the project".
"A lot of it is finalisation of elements along the alignment so they’ll be works to complete the landscaping, finalise curb and gutter intersection alignments as well but we’re also continuing our testing and commissioning," he said.
Ms Fitzharris said a "responsible government always has contingency plans" and the public would be advised if the date ha to be pushed back.
"What the certification process will provide to the government and the Canberra community assurance that this is a safe light rail project and one that will provide enormous benefits for years to come," she said.
Ms Fitzharris will also meet with the federal minister for the national capital and external territories about light rail to Woden in the coming weeks..
Asked whether Canberra Metro was in talks with the government about also building the second stage of light rail, Mr Stockton said their focus was delivering stage one.
"At the appropriate time the government will take their own decisions around stage two," Mr Stockton said.
Related Article Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris for her first ride on Canberra's light rail. We got a sneak peek at riding Canberra's light rail

Frankston trains resume after major delays near Southland
Herald Sun March 22, 2019
Trains have resumed after commuters were hit with major delays on the Frankston line. Generic picture: Chris Eastman
Trains have resumed on the Frankston line after an earlier incident shut down the line near Southland, as footy fans rush to make the first bounce at the MCG
Commuters faced major delays ahead of the clash between Collingwood and Geelong tonight after a person was hit by a train near Southland railway station.
Buses replaced trains on the Frankston line between Moorabbin and Mordialloc after the incident just before 4pm.
Metro Trains reported about 6.40pm that services resumed on the line.
Something big going down on Bay Road near Southland. An ambulance, 3 buses, multiple police cars and a crime scene van all parked in a row. And now a fire truck has arrived. pic.twitter.com/cQMa4eDscu — George Ivanoff  March 22, 2019
Frankston line: Buses are replacing trains Moorabbin - Mordialloc (a person hit by a train).  40 buses are currently in operation with an extended journey time of up to 90 minutes.
More details https://t.co/9k2eekuBcm pic.twitter.com/OGryHR7bQJ — Metro March 22, 2019
Earlier, Metro Trains spokesman Andrew Nelson said passengers were being warned to plan ahead and expect delays.
He urged fans travelling to the MCG to take special care in getting into the city.
“With extended travel times expected, passengers are being urged to use alternative transport options to get to the MCG.”

Geelong fast rail backed by Andrews Government but more cash needed after PM’s $2 billion March 22, 2019
video: Bullet train between Melbourne and Geelong
Scott Morrison is open to upping his $2 billion contribution to a radical plan to run bullet trains between Geelong and Melbourne as the state government warns it could cost as much as $15 billion.
Victoria has cautiously welcomed the election-eve Budget commitment, revealed by the  Herald Sun, to slash travel times between the CBD and the state’s second biggest city to just 32 minutes.
But it is expected to take a decade to complete the overhaul, with the state government identifying several expensive projects which must be built first to make Mr Morrison’s fast rail vision a reality.
Victorian Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan said: “We welcome more infrastructure funding for Victoria and the federal government’s interest in this project — but the funding put up by the Prime Minister won’t deliver what he’s promising.”
She said Victoria was “already well and truly committed to delivering fast rail for Geelong” after kicking off a $50 million planning process last year.
Scott Morrison and his federal colleagues at Geelong station. Picture: Alan Barber
Early work by the state government shows the total bill could be between $10 billion and $15 billion, with the immediate priority to electrify a metropolitan rail line to Wyndham Vale so regional rail services can run on a separate line.
Authorities would also need to remove 14 level crossings between Southern Cross station and Geelong, tipped to cost almost $2 billion.
New electric trains to run to and from Geelong would cost at least several hundred million dollars as well, while further track duplications and station upgrades would also be expensive.
The other main priority to enable fast regional trains is improving rail access from Sunshine to the CBD, which is being investigated as plans are developed for the $13 billion rail link to Melbourne Airport.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Premier Daniel Andrews earlier this month.. Picture: Stefan Postles (AAP)
A massive tunnel under Melbourne’s inner western suburbs is one option being considered.
Mr Morrison said the $2 billion announcement was “a serious investment” but added: “If the costs are greater than that, then we’ll have to address that at the time.”
Federal Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said trains to Geelong could run up to 200km/h, with some express services and others to stop at stations along the way.
Geelong Melbourne fast train art HS
Melbourne to Geelong in half an hour under PM’s rail plan
But the state government is understood to believe a service that takes 35-45 minutes with slightly slower trains will be more feasible.
The federal and state governments have already co-operated on major regional rail upgrades, after patronage nearly doubled over the last decade with similar growth forecast by 2030.
* Travel reviews at least state that the journalist was a guest of the airline.  This opinion piece didn't state the journalist's Liberal affiliation.  The project is ill conceived and useless, and has been spruiked with useless figures.  Geelong platform to a remote Melbourne Southern Cross platform is only part of a commuter journey.  The proposal won't 'slash' travel times: that part comes down from 45 min to 32 for some people some of the time.  A trivial improvement for excess money.