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Mon.1.2.21 Metro Twitter
Buses replace trains Mordialloc - Frankston/Stony Point until the last train of Sun 7 Feb (level-crossing works). See https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/disruptions/frankston-and-stony-point-lines-buses-replace-trains-jan-feb-21
4.20 Mernda line: Major delays (an external power fault affecting signalling equipment). Trains may terminate/originate at intermediate stations.
- 5.35 Clearing.
4.41 Werribee line: Major delays (an equipment fault near Westona). Trains may run direct Newport - Laverton. Trains may terminate/originate at Newport.
- 5.08 Clearing
8.36 Mernda/Hurstbridge lines: Major outbound delays (an equipment fault near Clifton Hill). Trains may terminate/originate at intermediate stations.
- 9.18 Clearing.
- 9.27 Would be good if this was announced on the trains and not just on Twitter, so as to be more accessible for passengers. Had I known I was to be 15 minutes late for work whilst travelling, I would have let my boss know.
9.31 & 9.49 Glen Waverley line: Major delays (police near Glen Iris).
- 10.15 The situation is in the control of police and their members are on track conducting ongoing investigations. We're working with them to work trains through the area at a reduced speed. However this is still subject to their investigations.
- 10.18 Trains have been cleared to resume at normal speed through the affected area from 10.16. Your train should move off from East Malvern if it hasn't done so already.
14.30 to 19.00 Werribee line: Service changes are in effect (an overhead power fault). Trains will operate in two sections: Flinders Street - Laverton via Westona; Laverton - Werribee. Change at Laverton.
- 18.40 The line is now suspended fully. Buses from Newport.
- The line isn't suspended. Laverton bound trains continue to run via Altona. Where'd you hear or see this?
- 18.46 Station staff sent everyone off to get a bus at Newport. Now we are told there’s a train to Laverton. Usual muddle when there’s disruptions out this way.
- We've followed up with Newport and clarified the confusion.
- 18.50 Now everyone has been evicted from the train advertised as going to Laverton. Next one better be a Laverton train otherwise you're going to have a riot. So much for social distancing.
- Certainly not a great start to the week.
- 19.08 Sounds like the damage is really bad. It wouldn’t surprise me if services are disrupted for a number of days.
- 19.30 Buses replace trains between Newport and Werribee from 19.30 (urgent overhead works). Replacement buses are subject to local traffic conditions, and will add travel time.
14.40 Upfield line: Major delays (a truck striking a rail bridge near Flemington Bridge).
- 15.13 & 15.27 Trains may terminate/originate at intermediate stations.
- Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Upfield from 20.35 until the last train (maintenance works).
Glen Waverley line: Buses replace trains Parliament - Darling from 20.40 until the last train (maintenance works).
- 22.48 Major delays between Darling and Glen Waverley (a truck hitting a rail bridge at Jordanville).
Lilydale/Belgrave lines: Buses replace trains Parliament - Burnley from 20.50 until the last train (maintenance works).
Sunbury/Craigieburn/Upfield lines: All trains run direct to/from Flinders St from 21.00 until the last train (maintenance works). From loop stations, take a Flinders St train from pfm 1.
Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: All trains direct to/from Flinders St from 21.00 until the last train (maintenance works). From loop stations, take a Flinders St train from pfm 1.
Billionaire family avoids acquisition after U-turn on airport rail plans. Matt O'Sullivan January 19, 2021. 34 comments
The billionaire Perich family are among about a dozen landowners near Sydney’s second airport to have avoided the state government acquiring their land for an $11 billion metro rail line after a decision was made last year to tunnel under farmland instead of crossing it.
A "cabinet in confidence" report shows Sydney Metro, which is delivering the rail project, was preparing to acquire about five hectares from the Perichs at Bringelly in western Sydney.
The report, which detailed a strategy for acquiring land, had recommended that entering a "dialogue" with one of the Perichs' companies "should be treated as a priority".
Major earthworks are under way at the site of Western Sydney Airport.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL
The five hectares initially eyed for acquisition is a fraction of a large Perich property abutting the site of a train station planned at Bringelly, around which a city centre will be developed over the coming decades.
Negotiations over acquiring the land never eventuated because the government decided months after the strategy report was completed in October 2019 to build the section of the line from the airport to Bringelly underground in twin tunnels, instead of through farmland.
Had the negotiations gone ahead, the government would have acquired the five hectares from the Perichs based on the property's "existing rural use" at the time.
Tony Perich (right) and his son Mark Perich at their dairy farm at Bringelly, which is next to the site of the new airport.CREDIT:JAMES BRICKWOOD
The other 12 landowners south of Western Sydney Airport to avoid acquisitions have mostly smaller blocks.
A corruption inquiry into disgraced former state Liberal MP Daryl Maguire and a scathing Auditor-General report into the federal government's handling of the purchase of land from the Perich family have put the spotlight on the oversight of developments around the airport site.
The Perichs stand to make a significant gain on their large property adjacent to the planned Aerotropolis train station at Bringelly. Much of their land is in an area that was rezoned to mixed use from primarily rural in October, clearing the way for houses, office buildings and shops to be built.
"It is one of the greatest windfall profits that can be made – the conversion of rural to inner-city land in one fell swoop," said James Weirick, emeritus professor and former director of urban development and design at the University of NSW. "The value is created by public policy and the unearned increment should be significantly taxed."
Federal Liberal MP John Alexander said the value of a hectare close to a new train station could rise from $5000 to more than $25 million the moment its location was announced.
"We should put something in place to capture a fair share of this windfall," he said. "The moment you make an announcement the value has changed and it is too late."
Mr Alexander said governments had a duty to taxpayers to secure just, equitable and fair portions of increases in property values when it was clearly linked to government-funded infrastructure such as the airport and the rail line.
"It is manifestly the sins of the government on both sides to have failed to see what was happening," he said. "The spending of taxpayer money ... [on infrastructure] is making a handful of people multibillionaires."
An artist's impression of the Aerotropolis Core station.CREDIT:NSW GOVERNMENT
Under government plans for the development of land around the airport, the Aerotropolis Core precinct will have up to 24,000 residents and 60,000 jobs by 2056.
The Perichs own about a fifth of the land – some 311 hectares – in the precinct, which covers 1382 hectares. The well-known Ingham family also own a large property there.
Tony Perich, the joint managing director of the family business Perich Group, said he was not aware that there were plans to acquire their land for the rail line.
He said he expected the development of the precinct to take decades, and they had not confirmed "any plans at this stage" to develop their land.
Asked what his business could earn from developing the rezoned land, Mr Perich said it was too early to estimate, and the airport had been priced into land in the area for some time.
The confidential report is contained in bundles of sensitive documents tabled to Parliament, in response to a call for papers by upper house Labor MP Mark Buttigieg.
While the Perichs and the others have avoided acquisitions, land belonging to Sydney University and the well-known Medich family is among 61 properties that will be fully or partially acquired for the Sydney Metro Greater West rail line. Eleven will also be leased temporarily along the 23-kilometre rail corridor between St Marys and Bringelly.
Labor's spokesman for western Sydney, Greg Warren, said the government must be open and honest with all stakeholders impacted.
"Whether it be the process of property acquisitions or the location of roads and rail, the government has a duty to the people of NSW ... to explain and justify its decisions and reasoning," he said.
Sydney Metro said the report was completed before the rail project was "refined as part of the planning process".
"Underground metro rail between the Western Sydney International site and Aerotropolis Station delivers better land use and place making outcomes for the Aerotropolis," it said.
RELATED ARTICLE Then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull launches the Western Sydney City Deal with Mark Perich during the 2016 election. Airport land sale: lightning does strike twice for billionaire Perich family
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CBD foot traffic climbs as more workers, students return. Craig Butt, Rebecca Krispin and Timna Jacks February 1, 2021
There was more foot traffic in Melbourne’s CBD during the morning peak hour on Monday than on any Monday morning since the first lockdown last year, as the school year resumed and some workers returned to their offices.
While numbers are still well below pre-pandemic levels, City of Melbourne data shows 786 pedestrians were logged pounding the pavement outside Southern Cross Station on Collins Street between 8am and 9am on Monday – the highest count for that time of week since late March.
Commuters outside Melbourne’s Flinders Street Station on Monday.CREDIT:WAYNE TAYLOR
It is also double the number of people who were recorded walking through the area – one of the busiest spots in the city for foot traffic – at the same time a fortnight ago, when many CBD workers were originally encouraged to return to the office for the first time in months.
But there was still far less foot traffic than on a typical Monday morning in 2019. In that year, almost 3800 pedestrians would be logged walking through the area between 8am and 9am on a Monday, almost five times more than the latest figure.
Another busy sensor location for CBD morning peak foot traffic is the Flinders Street Station underpass, where 1114 pedestrian were logged between 8am and 9am on Monday.
The last Monday morning with so many people in that area was March 16, directly after the weekend of the cancelled 2020 Melbourne Grand Prix, when coronavirus first-wave case numbers were on the rise and many Melburnians started working from home.
The government expects the public transport network to return to 80 per cent capacity by mid-2021, with public transport use climbing to 40 per cent last week and ridership on Wednesday reaching 44 per cent. Roads averaged about 90 per cent of capacity.
Flinders Street Station was quiet at lunchtime on Monday, with a few students and workers seen wearing face masks and headphones and keeping to themselves.
Some commuters told The Age trains and trams were emptier than they were pre-COVID, while most commuters socially distanced and wore masks.
Myles Baiden Assan says most passengers were wearing masks on the train to the city on Monday.CREDIT:WAYNE TAYLOR
“It’s pretty spacious at the moment,” said Myles Baiden Assan, a construction worker from Reservoir, of the train he took to the CBD on Monday morning. “There aren’t that many people on the train, so you usually get a seat.”
Mr Assan said most people were trying to socially distance, but a few sat close together and a minority refused to wear masks.
“Probably 90 per cent of people have a mask on, so it’s usually pretty good. People figure it out after a while if they look around and everyone else has got masks on.
“But some people are making a point of not wearing masks, it’s a bit weird.”
Madhu Choubey said her tram was empty early on Monday morning. CREDIT:WAYNE TAYLOR
Madhu Choubey, a hospitality worker from Southbank, took the tram to the CBD at 6am on Monday and said the carriage was empty.
“I felt safe. Before COVID public transport used to be more crowded, but now it’s pretty empty most of the time – 90 per cent of the time I get a seat.”
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said patronage had been climbing steadily each week, but travel patterns had probably changed, with fewer CBD-bound peak-hour trips and more off-peak suburban trips.
“I don’t think there are instances of crowding yet, but certainly the system is continuing to get busy,” he said. “There were a few odd reports on the weekend of tram patronage appearing to be closer to normal.”
But the days of workers going into the office on 9-5 schedules might be gone forever, “so patronage may never come back to what it was”, Mr Bowen said.
The government’s approach of rolling out masks, extra services and off-peak myki discounts was key in curbing the virus’ spread and encouraging people to use the network again, he said.
Jess Mitchell, a high school graduate from East Brighton, said she had noticed trams had become more crowded during peak times in recent days.
She took the train from Gardenvale into the CBD on Monday with a friend.
Jess Mitchell from Gardenvale has noticed more passengers on trams in the evening peak in recent days. CREDIT:WAYNE TAYLOR
“Everyone wears masks,” she said. “I’ve also been on when it’s been packed recently, like coming home from work time around 5-6 pm and everybody has masks on.
“So I think everyone is complying really well with it. And I feel safe, I feel fine, I think we don’t have any cases so I feel fine to use public transport.
“I also think that it’s really quick, to drive would take way longer, it only took us 15-20 minutes from Gardenvale. It’s quite far away, but it makes it quite quick on the train.”
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‘Sickening to watch’: Scale of acquisitions for airport line upsets landowners. Matt O'Sullivan February 1, 2021. 47 comments
Small landowners near the new airport in western Sydney who will be forced to sell their homes to make way for an $11 billion rail line say the state government has failed to justify the scale of compulsory acquisitions planned for the construction of a train station.
They are also upset about a process that led some of them to believe the line would not impact their homes, only to later be told their entire properties would be snapped up for the project.
Orchard Hills residents Christine and Jason Vella will be forced to sell their home of almost 12 years.CREDIT:DOMINIC LORRIMER
Orchard Hills property owner Christine Vella said authorities had not explained why more than 26 hectares needed to be acquired for construction of the station planned for the area.
“It is sickening to watch,” she said, referring to the “enormous emotional toll” the acquisition process is taking on neighbours.
“We don’t have a good reason why we are losing our homes. There are a lot of elderly here, and some of them have had their children acting on their behalf. Many have lived here for over 50 years.”
Mrs Vella and husband Jason are among more than a dozen landowners whose properties will be acquired for construction of the Orchard Hills station. They have been told that the acquisitions for the Western Sydney Airport line will be completed early next year.
Newly weds Jesse and Lauren Vella halted their renovations when they were told their property would be acquired.CREDIT:DOMINIC LORRIMER
“We understand that infrastructure needs to come. We just don’t want to lose our family homes for nothing,” Mrs Vella said.
“We are trying to negotiate in a reasonable way.”
The landowners’ main concern is the government is acquiring more than 26 hectares for construction of the station, compared with 1.57 hectares for a train station at Westmead, near Parramatta, as part of another rail project known as Metro West.
The rail line is due to be completed in time for the opening of Western Sydney Airport in 2026.CREDIT:BROOK MITCHELL
It is a juxtaposition that Sydney Metro, which is delivering both projects, rejects as an “apples and oranges comparison”.
Until September, Orchard Hills residents Jesse and Lauren Vella say they were assured that their two-hectare property would not be affected because the airport rail line would be tunnelled underneath.
“It was made quite clear that our property would not be affected,” Mr Vella said.
The newlyweds’ house renovations were brought to a shuddering halt in September when they were told their entire property would be acquired. “What’s the point [finishing it]?” Mr Vella said.
His grandmother’s property next door will also be acquired. “She’s taking it pretty badly,” he said.
Mr Vella said the landowners could not understand why Sydney Metro was not offering to temporarily lease properties that were not needed once construction was finished.
“We are not against infrastructure at all but we just want it to be justified,” he said.
The Orchard Hills station is one of six to be built along the 23-kilometre rail line from St Marys to Bringelly via the new airport at Badgerys Creek.
Three of the stations will be built on government-owned land, including two on the airport site and another at Bringelly.
Labor’s spokesman for Western Sydney, Greg Warren, said the government must explain why it needs to acquire so much land at Orchard Hills.
“If this government is going to acquire people’s land and homes, it needs to explain and justify those decisions to impacted residents as well as the wider NSW public. All those impacted, whether they be large or small landowners, must be treated with the same respect,” he said.
Sydney Metro said comparing land required for different station sites was disingenuous because each was different and some required significantly more land for activities like tunnel boring machine operations.
“Westmead is an underground station in a highly urbanised environment at the end of the line while Orchard Hills is in a low density area, will be built in a cutting (open to the sky) and will also be required to launch two mega tunnel boring machines,” it said.
The agency said the Orchard Hills station would service a future residential and mixed-use precinct, helping to transform the area into a high-amenity new community.
“As a new area, opportunities for future integrated station and precinct development are being investigated – using the same place making principles as other Sydney Metro lines,” it said.
“[The entire airport rail] project has been refined over the past three years to get the best outcome for customers and the community.”
A confidential report, completed in October 2019, shows Sydney Metro intended to acquire the properties at Orchard Hills at “market value” based on their “existing rural/residential use”.
RELATED ARTICLE Tony and his son Mark Perich on their property; earthworks has begun at the Western Sydney Airport; and an artist's impression of the train station at Bringelly. Billionaire family avoids acquisition after U-turn on airport rail plans
RELATED ARTICLE Major earthworks are underway at the site of Western Sydney Airport. Pushback over land acquisitions for rail line to new Sydney airport
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Mon.1.2.21 Melbourne 'Herald Sun' Passengers get real-time data. ASHLEY ARGOON
TRAIN passengers will be able to get live and future estimates on how busy their platform or line is before they head to the station.
A new website will use realtime Myki data and historical information to inform users in real-time to help keep commuters COVID-safe.
Along with offering realtime passenger density information on station platforms, the RideSpace website could also make predictions on commuter loading of up to four hours into the future.
Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said Myki data had been married up with new timetabling information, which included an extra 450 train services, with the site offering colour coded information to indicate whether a service was busy (red) or quiet (green). “RideSpace will give Victorian passengers information literally in the palm of their hand on how busy their train is or how busy their platform is,” Mr Carroll said.
There were links to Ride-Space from the Public Transport Victoria app, with no plans for it to be housed in its own app.
Meanwhile, off-peak public transport fees have been cut by more than a dollar. Mr Carroll said a two-hour full fare fee would drop from more than $4 to about $2.80 when a 30 per cent off-peak discount applies after 9.30am and before 4pm, or after 7pm.