Fw: Tues.22.3.22 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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1954 royal tour https://youtu.be/o_EXTWvPDeQ Train is at ~50 min

Tues.22.3.22 Metro Twitter
Flinders St: still with a lane closed for tunnel works? [reopened by July]
Pakenham line: All trains will not stop at Hallam from today until the last train of Sun 1 May (level-crossing work).
6.39 Pakenham line: Major delays up to 45 minutes after 'operational issues' in the Hallam area.
- Six buses are available to run between Berwick – Dandenong and assist as required (more on the way). Shuttle buses will operate Dandenong - Hallam - Narre Warren, connecting with trains. No access to station facilities or platforms during this time.
- 7.15 Major delays up to 45 minutes
- 7.27 The issue has been cleared. Trains may be altered/cancelled.
- 8.15 Delays up to 15 minutes, still clearing.
- The VLine driver is qualified, but not conversant with the new infrastructure after recent works (signals, tracks etc).  There will be an investigation with VLine on how this has happened.
- What is a pilot driver? And why was this not known it was required? Sounds like totally unprepared to reopen. Was better off on buses.
- A VLine driver was not passed in the new infrastructure and would need a qualified driver to assist (meaning of pilot driver).  It will be investigated why the driver was not qualified.
15.39 Sunbury Line: Major delays (an equipment fault near Tottenham).
- 16.33 Trains are travelling at reduced speed through the area.  Trains may terminate/originate at intermediate locations. 
- 16.37 clearing
20.30 Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: Buses replace trains Caulfield - Westall from 20.30 until the last train (works), adding 40 minutes.
Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Upfield from 20.35 until the last train  (maintenance works).
Craigieburn line: Buses replace trains Essendon - Broadmeadows from 21.00 until the last train (works).

April 1954 VR News Letter:
OUR FRONT COVER shows HM Queen Elizabeth and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh leaving the royal train at Aircraft Siding platform, to visit the Royal Australian Air Force establishment at Point Cook.
* Head Office Strongpost. The formation of a Head Office strongpost on the lawn at the rear of the building, to greet the royal couple on their journey to Warburton on March 6, was the outcome of a suggestion which the Commissioners adopted.
About 1500 staff and their families turned up to line the track from the south end of Spencer St platform 8 to the beginning of the viaduct.
They had a magnificent view of the Queen and the Duke, who stood on  the rear observation platform and waved as the train crawled (thanks to Driver Frank Myers) past. Everyone appreciated the suggestor’s bright idea, the Commissioners’ ready acceptance of it and the Queen’s very gracious agreement to come once more to her train platform, towards the end of what must have been an extremely heavy day for her.
* Phoenix in Lilliput.  Since 1915,  a departmental scale model of a C-class steam locomotive has figured in innumerable exhibitions and processions.
Operation Phoenix has now manifested itself in a one-third scale model of a B-class diesel-electric locomotive.
A faithful replica of its original, the model is 20 feet long and four feet eight inches high [6100 and 1420 mm]
Almost every section of Newport Workshops had a share in the job.
The coppersmiths shop contributed sheet-metal work, the foundry castings for wheels, and the electroplating division odds and ends.
The main work was done by the pattern shop staff under Foreman Patternmaker Dave Yates, who, nearly 40 years ago, was responsible for the C.
He and his men were quite determined that the new model would be worthy both of Newport craftsmanship and of its place in Melbourne’s floral procession, as a tribute from Victorian railwaymen to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
The small headlights of the model will light up, and both driving cabs are fitted with Lilliputian seats and instrument panels. The bogies, brake gear, and wheels are made of aluminium, steel and wood, and are accurately scaled down.
* Breakdown Vehicles Dispersed.  Because the heart of the city was closed to vehicular traffic at various times during the royal visit, special arrangements had to be made by Electrical Engineering Branch to disperse its fleet of emergency vehicles to deal with possible overhead faults in the suburban area.
Emergency bases were set up at Burnley, Jolimont substation and North Melbourne. Special stickers notified road users that the vehicles were on essential service.
In case the overhead gangs were wanted at Flinders St or Spencer St, the police were told to give them a motor cycle escort.
Fortunately, on Q-Day at least, the day of the triumphal progress from Essendon when many thousands of people travelled by train, the emergency gangs had a trouble free time.
Incidentally, electrical mechanics and overhead linemen of the Overhead Depot staff in Batman Ave were responsible for the erection and maintenance of the illuminated crown on the Flinders St station dome and other decorations at the station.
* First Aid Precautions. For the royal tour of Victoria, 17 railway first-aid posts were established in the country and 16 in the metropolitan area.
Experienced first aiders who manned them had additional equipment to cope with any possible emergency.
Considerirg the many thousands of people who travelled by train to pack strongposts along the route of the royal progress, the number of people who sought first-aid treatment for injuries sustained in crushes was astonishingly small.
Flinders St staff had their busiest time after the fireworks display on the first evening of the royal visit to Melbourne.
The station concourse was jammed with a great mass of people, and many were treated for bruises and abrasions. Four were sent to hospital.
The Department’s first aiders expected to work at top pressure at both rehearsals and on the final day of the schools’ display at Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Fortunately, they had a relatively quiet day, which went to show that Melbourne was on its best behaviour.
* Royal Thanks. After the conclusion of the royal tour of Victoria by train, the Queen directed that this letter of appreciation and a specially-autographed and framed photograph of Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh (reproduced on page 10) be sent to the Chairman (Mr Wishart).
* The Best Way. Proof that train travel is basically the safest and least tiring way to get from A to B was clearly not needed by the NSW royal-tour authorities.
At one stage doubt arose whether it would be safe for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to fly through a heavy storm to reach Evans Head from Williamtown, and an emergency train was ordered to stand by in case the flight had to be cancelled.
Again, on their one-day visit to Wollongong, they left their car at Bulli to return by rail, because, as the Minister-in-Charge of the tour explained, “it was infinitely better for the Queen to be able to relax on the train rather than go back the same way by car”.
One incidental feature of the royal progress by train in NSW was the record sale of platform tickets at Sydney Central Station. People swarmed to buy them in the hope of adding to their glimpses of the Queen and the Duke.
* NSW’s Royal Train. The mother state’s train made history by giving the first reigning British sovereign in Australia her first feel of Australian rail travel.  Like Victoria’s, it was a splendid equipage de royaute.
It had two airconditioned cars, a commissioner’s car, a premier’s car and the airconditioned royal car, containing a lounge, two bedrooms, a sitting room, a dining room and an observation platform.
It was carpeted in deep red. All carriages were painted externally tuscan red, with a yellow band. With its two Alco 1600 hp [1200 kW] diesel-electric locomotives, the train was 469 ft 4 in [143 m] long.
A coat of arms in colour was mounted on the front of the leading locomotive. Cedar escutcheons, with the royal coat of arms in gold and silver, were mounted on each side of the royal car.
When the royal train returned to Sydney from Bathurst, the driver, fireman, guard and senior travelling inspector were presented to the Queen and the Duke.

Push for free public transport as petrol hike hits cost of living Rachel Eddie March 22, 2022
The Andrews government is considering how it can ease household expenses after petrol surged to $2.20 per litre, as the Victorian Greens push for public transport to be free for a month to ease the cost of living.
New Zealand has already halved the cost of travelling on public transport and cut the fuel excise after the war in Ukraine sent the price of petrol up. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has not ruled out reducing the excise in next week’s budget but said he would not support “knee-jerk reactions”.
The price of petrol is continuing to rise.CREDIT:FLAVIO BRANCALEONE
The Victorian Greens will this week push the Andrews government to make public transport free in the state for an initial one-month period, which would be regularly reviewed depending on prices at the bowser.
“There’s still a lot of uncertainty about how long these high petrol prices are going to go for,” said Sam Hibbins, the party’s transport spokesman. “Victorians across the state are struggling with the cost of living.”
Mr Hibbins estimated that free public transport would cost the government $75 million a month.
Public Transport Users Association spokesman Daniel Bowen said the people most affected by high petrol prices lived in suburbs with poor public transport services and would not be helped by the Greens proposal.
“It’s not going to help people with a service they can’t practically use.”
Mr Bowen’s stance was echoed by independent economist Saul Eslake, who told the National Growth Areas Alliance congress on Monday that people living on the fringes of cities were disproportionately squeezed by the rising cost-of-living.
“A lack of local employment opportunities means its residents are forced to commute into the CBDs,” Mr Eslake said.
In response, Mr Hibbins said: “I think in this instance, even if it can reduce someone’s need to use their car, even if it doesn’t eliminate it fully, that will still have benefits.”
The Greens – hoping the government will seize the opportunity to push people away from car dependency – also want a $5000 rebate for people who get rid of their old petrol cars and instead use public transport, an electric vehicle or e-bike, as part of a longer-term plan.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan would not be drawn on the measures being considered by the government.
“We’re looking at these issues very closely,” Ms Allan said.
A Victorian government spokesman said household budgets had been kept afloat through government support over the past two years. “We will continue to examine what further support we can provide,” he said.
To offset the cost of travel in Victoria and revive the struggling tourism and entertainment sectors, the government’s travel voucher scheme will reopen to applications online from 2pm on Wednesday.
There will be 140,000 rebates of $200 available on a first come, first served basis for people who stay at least two nights in paid accommodation and spend $400 on the trip between April 8 and May 27.
Public transport fares were frozen in Victoria in 2021 because of the pandemic, and increases were below inflation this year – rising 2.3 per cent for the city and 1.1 per cent in the regions. The government also temporarily reduced fares at off-peak travel times to minimise crowds earlier in the pandemic.
Dr Jonathan Spear, chief executive of independent advisers Infrastructure Victoria, said there was room to cut the ticket-price of fares for some underused public transport services.
But he said making all travel free would mostly benefit high earners, who made up the largest group of public transport users during peak periods before the pandemic. People on low incomes were more likely to use the underused bus network and travel at off-peak times.
“Infrastructure Victoria does not consider free travel either fair or efficient,” Dr Spear said.
Mr Morrison has signalled next Tuesday’s budget will include measures to ease the cost of living, but said cutting the fuel excise would not return petrol prices to their usual retail price anyway. The excise, a 44 cent tax on every litre of petrol or diesel, will raise $19.2 billion in revenue this financial year to help build infrastructure.
On Monday, The Age revealed Melbourne’s public transport network experienced its sharpest increase in activity since 2020 on Thursday last week. Usage hovered at 63 per cent of the pre-COVID baseline, a 9 per cent rise from the same time the week prior.
Ms Allan believes that was mostly driven by people returning to their offices in the CBD in greater numbers, rather than petrol prices.
Public health experts say public transport for commuters was low-risk at this point of the pandemic, with high-vaccination rates, particularly as face masks are still mandated on the network.
RELATED ARTICLE Passengers alight from a crowded tram on Swanston Street on Sunday. Experts ease infection fear as commuters drive up public transport usage
* Myki fare to the footy, or work, or 'out' for dinner - $9.20 per person.
That's a huge disincentive to use public transport, and our roads are congested as a result. If there is parking available, the car is cheaper and faster and more convenient for just one person If parking has to be paid for, the car is cheaper and faster and more convenient if there are two people making the trip.
And you've already paid for the car, for the Rego, for the insurance. It's right there in the driveway, ready and waiting. If we want to get people out of their cars and into public transport, it has to be much much MUCH cheaper. Zero cost is actually better than 'low' cost - because the entire MYKI infrastructure, including ticket inspectors, could be removed (and they're both expensive, fixed costs, no matter how much the fare revenue is).
* Free? You mean, paid for by the taxpayer, regardless of whether they use it.
* Remember the petrol excise doesn't go into roads, it goes into Consolidated Revenue.
* The fuel excise needs to go. Funding for roads should not be dependent on the sale of fossil fuels. Outer suburbs and regional areas rely on private transport. For those areas the answer to higher petrol prices is a transition to electric vehicles.. Governments federal and state could assist there, if they had the political will.
* As usual Greens have come up with a plan that only benefit the the affluent suburbs which have great access to public transport The public transport system in the outer suburbs is zeros
* Work from home - problem solved. Or if you have a job that demands an office presence - change jobs to one closer to home.
* Many peak hour, Friday and Saturday evening services were overcrowded before the pandemic. We need more frequent services, with more capacity, and an expansion of the bus network. Journeys on the Vline network can be quite expensive, so reducing fees, say by half, could be helpful. But if we don't want to have trains and trams packed liked sardine cans again, I think we need to address service and capacity issues before we think about free travel.
* Seems like a sensible idea to me, but it needs to be combined with campaign to increase public transport options in the the suburbs and regional Victoria (which, as noted by in other comments, are sadly lacking). We really should divert some of the funds being wasted on ever bigger freeways that will be clogged shortly after completion and use it to improve public transport instead.
* Stop making many of us do a pointless CBD commute, and we'll stay off public transport and the roads! Think about people beyond 4km of the CBD. I'll get on a train again when I am satisfied masks are fully enforced, especially in the lead up to winter.
* I agree train and tram services are high in use by those is more affluent areas. Those riding are already riding; a free ride will just give something for free already budgeted and using anyway. PTA complaining busses won't help in growth areas is pathetic, drive 10km to a bus stop ride catch the free bus the other 30km to destination. That's already a significant amount of fuel expense reduction. With growth areas who should be blamed for lack of transport, developers for not designing and implementation. Buyers for not demanding more from the developers before buying. But why? I sometimes wonder if the bus network has enough so called brand awareness in the community. Are they scared of it, confused by signage, influenced by a nightmare tail, other misconceptions, even cultural around historic shaming of bus users that seem to exist at an early age.
* If the price of petrol is 212.50 c (as in the graphic), then the GST component is 19.38c, not 21.25.
* The people who catch public transport are not generally the ones who are feeling the price at the petrol pump. The reason people are staying away from public transport is because of the Covid risk. Maybe it would be better to spend money improving bicycle paths. or reducing the fuel excise. Housing is expensive and traffic is horrendous. Public transport is expensive and many suburbs are poorly served for public transport anyway. Its not like high fuel prices are our biggest problem, just another to add to the list. High fuel prices may be unavoidable but unaffordable housing, traffic congestion and poor public transport have all been the result of decades of rapid population growth. We have the city we voted for when we voted for Governments that are addicted to high immigration rates.
* Fat lot of good free public transport will be for rural people. Where I live, public transport is practically non existent.
* Just wondering about bus services in the outer suburbs. When I was in Geelong, forty years ago, there was a bus service that could be used to travel around Geelong and get into the city centre; otherwise I would ride my bike. From the Geelong City centre I could get the train to Melbourne. It would be helpful if The Age could do an article on the public transport options in the outer communities, especially with buses. People could drive/ride/bus to local train stations and get trains from there. Outer suburbs are ripe for solar panels, EV and eBikes. We need to get, much, smarter than petrol driven cars being the answer.
* One of the main reasons I (and I'm sure many others) are currently avoiding public transport is to reduce the risk of catching COVID. Making public transport free won't change this risk factor; ensuring mask wearing on public transport will. I'm lucky that I'm able to work from home, and so I'm definitely avoiding my CBD based workplace as much as possible. This proposal seems like a classic political band aid solution that will have very little impact on many.
* How about buying out skybus and put a free shuttle to the airport - would save you $10 billion plus in building a not viable airport rail
* By all means put on a free shuttle to the airport while the rail line is being built. Under no circumstances should any government buy out a monopoly business they allowed to operate - the cost would be phenomenal, it would be much cheaper, and will keep the Liberal party happier with its homage to the competition gods, to set up a functioning competing business/service (otherwise known as public transport). The airport rail link has been needed for decades. It will be viable. Only carefully selected consultants and 'experts' with self-interests to promote, could stuff it up (which is entirely possible).
* Unlikely. The company that owns Skybus has just taken over from Transdev in Melbourne and is running the old Transdev routes as Kinetic. Unlikely they will give with one hand and take away with another. The better solution is to simply pay the bus companies an operating fee direct and scrap Myki. All buses, trams and trains, including Skybus would be free or, say a gold coin as some US cities have.
* Does that include VLine -free Melbourne - Geelong trains would be great
* Maybe instead of commuting we could do something else. What I ask? Anyone heard of working from home? It comes from the future a time called 2020/21. Look it up in your history books Dan and co.
* Everyone has heard of working from home; but it's not suitable for every type of employment is it. A chef cannot work from home, nor a mechanic, electrician, plumber, check-out person, and so on.
* Not really fair to blame Dan. This whole thing is a Greens proposal. And color me shocked that none of the supposed benefits wouldn't reach those who need it the most.
* Can't clean a toot or lay a brick through Zoom.
* Yes, but they want people spending money on lunch in the CBD.
* Yes, further support inner city green types with a free train to go with their free tram zone they already have. Doesn’t help outer suburb people much. Just more socialist garbage we can expect from Andrews and greens.
* But it would very lower much road traffic in Melbourne and it's Suburbs for you to drive in!
* Who would want to drive in if we had better quality trams, trains and buses that are either free of a nominal cost only. We once had the largest tram network in the world, but no longer. And compare our trams to those now running Sydney and Adelaide. Ours are decidedly prehistoric. Even the newer ones are rubbish. We see "super stops" being built to allow wheel chair access whereas other cities around the world have moved to ultra low floor trams with hydraulic ramps that make EVERY stop wheel chair accessible. This applies for buses as well. Buses in Honolulu for example have had wheel chair ramps for over 30 years.
* No, it's further subsidising people who already use public transport and don't drive anyway. Doesn't impact traffic volumes.
* I know what you mean Ryan but just for the record the free tram zone is really only within the CBD itself. Ot was only grudgingly introduced because it was judged to be impossible to police tickets in the CBD where trams arejam packed and so many users get on and off at every stop.
* Why couldn't an outer suburbs person also ride the train for free? Most trains actually fill up in the outer suburbs, not the inner suburbs (where trams are more popular). Outer suburban train stations also have large car parks so people can just drive 2-3 minutes to the station, rather than an hour into the CBD. Surely that would massively save on petrol?
* I live in rural Victoria, free public transport will definitely be beneficial, I don't think so!! But it would be beneficial to the Greens as most of them live in inner suburbia.
* Agree entirely. This scheme is needed more in regional areas than the inner city. People need to travel further to do anything and public transport is essentially non-existent (for example, if you want to travel from the South Australian border to Horsham, to say, go to your closest Coles or Woolworths, or maybe even a Bakers Delight, you need to stay overnight in Horsham as there is no way to get back by public transport in the same day - and no, there are no trains, it is all buses once you get past the commuter cities). So, yes, more frequent, free, public transport would provide a functional, viable option to people who can't have food/groceries delivered and have to travel over 100kms to get to services/businesses city people have within a short distance. Maybe, they could do a pilot program in regional areas with a shuttle bus from say Ballarat to the South Australian border - with electric buses (as there is, apparently, zero chance of any one in government making use of the rail lines for the transport of people, or much else).
* There is, certainly, a case to be made for bringing back off peak travel charges. Spread out the usage to reduce the crowding on public transport.
* Doesn't matter that it's free. Most people on my bus don't pay anyway!
* But honest people would also use them more and what Ihave observed,MOST BUSES ARE UNDERUSED and Buses should be much more frequent.
* Buses are way underused , and heavy polluters...its tragic ...they need smaller more frequent electric buses...every 10 mins , and see how it goes.
* Yes that's true. Instead of free transport, it would be nice for our bus to be more than a once an hour service during the day and on weekends. Anyhow no amount of free transport would coax me back into the city, now that I am working full time from home, saving three hours a day travel. And less than 50% are wearing masks, even though compulsory.
* A perfect plan for Greens voters in central Melbourne being paid for by the rest of the state who this doesn't help. Spend the money increasing bus services!
* If not free, please review public transport costs. Current pricing is the same regardless of if I travel a short distance to take the kids to school or travel to the other side of the city. If I take the kids to the park, we can only stay for 1h 30 mins to avoid the price doubling after 2 hours.
* Even Perth trans west charges for distance travelled rather than time and has a $5 bus to /from the airport to city
* Public Transport absolutely costs far too much. Especially short trips, like 2 or 3 km. The NZ model of halving the ticket price seems like a fair compromise. Remember - even if *you* continue to drive everywhere, shifting (some) other people on to public transport will take (some) cars off the road and give *you* less congestion and easier parking. You still win.
* If the only house you can afford is in a new outer suburbs usually public transport is poor or non-existent. Consequently you probably drive to work (assuming you do not work in the CBD) so making public transport free will not help you at all. Sounds good but not well thought out.
* What's really not well thought out is peoples choices to live in some areas that are public transport deserts. To the west of Melbourne, particularly along the Ballarat line and to a lesser degree the Wyndham Vale line, there are several new housing developments, right in the middle of former 'green wedges' set aside decades ago...but I digress and they have relatively good public transport with new stations with bus and rail connections.
* No what is not thought out is government approving developments in areas that will become public transport deserts. An efficient infrastructure plan would ensure all services, transport, schools, shops etc, are included in any area set aside for expansion. This is failure by both sides of politics over many decades as it seems both sides have tended to park their biggest dullard in the planning minister role.
* People can still travel to the nearest train station and park. Thus staying away from the clogged roads that waste a lot of petrol. However, a lot depends on the start/end points. A transition to renewables and EVs might be the answer. Outer suburbs would be good for solar cells, batteries and an EV car or bike. If only the Feds had been pushing towards this for the last ten years. The average punter has lost the weekend to petrol prices; a fuel that we have little control over the pricing because we import it from cartels. Tradies, and their Utes, would be feeling the pinch as well. The comments of this government are coming back to haunt them. If only Australians had seen through their nonsense in the first place we would be less exposed.
* There isn’t much parking at train stations unless you live in a marginal LNP or true LNP seat.
[There is never any justification for free public transport: why not free water, free gas, free electricity, free coffee and free hamburgers?
Two bad calls with public transport were one party scrapping zone three; and the other bringing zone two fares down to zone one levels.  Instead, new zone four should have been created, to reflect urban sprawl.  To add insult to injury, those outer zones then want express trains, which soak up track capacity.]

Expressions of interest for Greenline project to open. Kieran Rooney March 22, 2022
A major riverside project being touted as “the biggest transformation” of Melbourne in years is now a step closer to becoming reality.
Work on Lord Mayor Sally Capp’s much-touted Greenline project could soon become a reality, with expressions of interest for the project to open at the end of this week.
In a speech to be delivered for Melbourne Design Week on Wednesday, Ms Capp will reveal a bid for global and local companies to design the signature project.
First announced as an election pitch, development on the $300 million proposal of the CBD is ramping up and the EOI process will seek designs that help to transform the heart of the city as it recovers from the pandemic.
The Greenline is a proposed trail of parks and walkways between Birrarung Marr and the Bolte Bridge which would include major landscaping efforts and new spots for hospitality, entertainment and cultural venues.
“Over the next six years this northern bank of Melbourne’s riverfront will transform before our eyes,” Ms Capp will say.
“It will become the stunning centrepiece of our city, bursting with environmental, economic and social gains.
“I am a lover of parks and green space and Greenline is one of my passion projects.”
How Batman Hill Park in Docklands could look.
Ms Capp will also say the project will have five different precincts.
“You can imagine it now – balmy January nights wandering uninterrupted from a match at the Australian Open to the waterfront bars, restaurants and night-life of Docklands.
“Many cities have superb river banks and that’s what we’re creating here in Melbourne.
“Greenline is the biggest transformation of our city since the completion of Southbank Promenade in 1990, and the opening of Fed Square in 2002.”
The City of Melbourne is forecasting that the completed project would lure up to 1.1 million extra visitors to Melbourne and increase visitor spending by $23 million.
“The original concept was inspired by the Highline project in New York,” Ms Capp will say on Wednesday.
“It is now the Big Apple’s most popular tourist attraction.
“It has the power to deliver more than $1 billion in economic activity in the next two decades, and create up to 6,400 new ongoing jobs over the life of the project.”
Flinders Walk along the Yarra River.
“When complete we’re projecting it will encourage the development of some 4,000 additional dwellings and up to 110,000 square metres of commercial floor space.
“It will also return the harsh concrete to its natural riverbank state, improving the flora and fauna of our river and increasing canopy cover by 40 per cent along the north bank.”
The council is asking for $100 million each from the state and federal government to help fast-track its construction.
In a final plan released late last year, the City of Melbourne rejected a proposal by Yarra Pools for a series of pools and wetlands but backed landscape and art installations for Enterprize Park.

Unqualified driver sparks major train delays on Pakenham line.  Brooke Grebert-Craig and Kieran Rooney March 22, 2022 Cranbourne Leader 44 comments
Frustrated commuters were hit with delays on the Pakenham line after an unqualified driver was unable to operate a train over a newly built bridge.
Commuters were hit with delays on the Pakenham line on Tuesday morning.
Frustrated commuters were hit with major delays on the Pakenham line after an unqualified driver was unable to drive a train over a newly built bridge.
Commuters faced delays up to 45 minutes on Tuesday when a train came to a halt in Hallam around 6.30am due to “operational issues”.
It’s believed the driver wasn’t qualified to navigate the train over a bridge so another driver was called in to finish the job.
Herald Sun understands the incident took place near a level crossing that had recently been removed at Hallam Rd.
Boom gates at the road were taken away on March 17, meaning the level crossing had only just become operational for everyday services.
Supplied Editorial Deleted tweets from Metro Trains about Pakenham line delays.
It is also believed confusion about the need for a pilot driver was sparked after V/Line staff had noted a Metro train on the same railway line had two drivers up front.
In deleted tweets, Metro Trains said the driver wasn’t “conversant with new infrastructure” after recent works.
“Unfortunately a VLine driver is not passed in the new infrastructure and will need a qualified driver to assist,” it said.
Within the rail industry, new tracks, bridges and trains are often required to be repeatedly tested and used before they can receive passengers.
In some cases, each driver may be required to have already travelled along a new rail corridor before taking passengers so that they know about speed restrictions and bends in the track.
Victoria’s High Capacity Metro Trains must complete hundreds of hours of testing before they are deemed safe for regular service.
Angry commuters said little information was given at the station, with many turning to social media for updates.
“It’s just outrageous,” Johanna Schick said.
“Buses yesterday worked great, back to issues all over again this morning.”
Kon Mellas said the delays were a “joke”.
“What type of an excuse is this?” he said.
“How can an unqualified driver end up on a train when they aren’t actually qualified?”
Buses replaced trains between Berwick and Dandenong with delays clearing around 8.30am.
A VLine spokesman said trains resumed as normal following the “operational error”.
More Coverage
Thugs allegedly bash three women on bus
Crane operator crushed to death by steel beams
The Herald Sun understands V/Line will complete a full investigation into what exactly led to the incident.
* Everyone driving trains must be fully qualified for all circumstances.
This highlights that passenger safety is not a priority for Metro or this government
Where is their duty of care
We don't give car driving licenses that say you can drive but  you cannot do right hand turns.
Absolutely pathetic -
* How many bridges did the driver cross to get to Hallam??
* How can we have unqualified train Drivers?
We place our lives in the hands of these people and they are not all qualified. 
We need to have a full inquiry into safety issues with our drivers.
How are we able to have unqualified drivers in charge of thousands who use trains?
This is a disaster waiting to happen. 
I call for the minster of transport to stand down for this major error.
* The trains on rails -all he needs to know is the speed limit.
* Surely just another instance of following “the science” in relation to train driving,
* How could they let someone unqualified drive a train alone what if something happened. 
* We get what we deserve . We vote in the government who controls who runs these facilities who in turn are run by the unions who sadly often protect people who are bludgers. What a mess. Question, What length of time does a trainee driver take to be qualified
* How could a driver that is not qualified to undertake a specific task be allocated/rostered to a route where this particular task exists?
* the new Westgate tunnel will be useless, as drivers, none of us have been trained in driving in and out if a tunnel
* Surely training is not required for a new bridge crossing.  Do Bus drivers get retrained after roadworks?
* Just another day in life on the Pakenham line. Every day it's something different, but today .. 'operational issues' - what a joke
* More Union nonsense.
* VLine is a joke.
* Metro is given taxpayer dollars to provide training to drivers who have not used the new sections of track previously. Two issues here, firstly, where has this money gone if drivers are not undertaking the two day training course? Secondly, I would not like to be a passenger in any train where the driver is not familiar with new signalling, track changes and so on. Well done to the driver for considering the lives of passengers over Metro’s penny pinching.
* The article states it was a VLine driver not a Metro driver that was not qualified. Not metro’s fault.  
* it’s VLine, not Metro. Metro run the infrastructure but are not responsible for training Government train drivers.
* What a load of crap. This will be union nonsense. There would be no reason the train couldn’t proceed over the bridge, even slower if necessary, whilst adhering to the same signal system that is used every where else in the network.
* The driver would have been aware that there was new infrastructure on the line. The driver should have looked at the new signalling diagram to become aware of the location of signals, then run at reduced speed to be able to stop in the distance seen and continued running. It is a Velocity, not a 2000 tonne goods train. These Velocity trains are easy to drive and they do not need extensive training to operate them.
* Rio Tinto’s 35,000 tonne iron ore trains in the Pilbara don’t even have drivers, they are almost all automated. Maybe they should bring the technology down here. I’m sure they could be programmed to drive over a bridge.
* Slowly but surely, each one of these delays just adds to the business case to eventually go driverless. Once all the level crossings have been removed from a particular line, that creates the opportunity to start the trials.
* Automation is closer than we think. Much closer. Just waiting for the proverbial to hit the fan when the choo choo drivers kick up a stink
* The Pakenham Train Line. The gift that keeps on giving.
* Steering wheel on trains? Learn something new everyday.
* Best they have a stop work meet over this, everyone stand down until after peak hour.
* Train go forward, train go backwards, train stops. It sits on rails which determine everything else. What is this rubbish about steering.
* That’s a beauty
* Call in Dan, Brett and Jeroen, "Out of an abundance of caution".
* And tomorrow boys and girls, we will learn how to toot the whistle. Golly, can’t wait !
* Thanks Adrian. LMAO over here.
* Surely not another investigation. Do we have enough qualified public servants left to form a quorum.
* A train driver who operates a vehicle running on a fixed track which can only go forward or backwards at a speed the driver controls doesn’t know how to drive the train over a bridge? Unbelievable!!

Tues.22.3.22 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Letters:
* WITH the advert every day about better roads to ease congestion, when is Victoria's Big Build going to fix the worst intersection in Melbourne, the one at Tyabb & Racecourse roads, Mornington, so we can get home sooner and safer?
* UNLESS you work in the city, why would you bother to drive there to shop? You can get anything you want/need at virtually any large shopping centre, where parking is free.
* $1.7M to install 28 bollards in the city seems a bit rich. That's $60,700 per bollard. Who won that contract?
* To the tip-truck drivers with their heavily subsidised fuel costs — welcome to the world of the rest of us drivers. Rather than roll up in a convoy to Spring St, maybe you should be sending a deputation to Moscow.
* Creating bright future. LAST week I met Nick, who started his career on Regional Rail Link, then went on to work on the Metro Tunnel and Mernda rail extension and is now a project manager on the North East Link. A strong project pipeline underpins a strong economy — it not only delivers massive job creation and skills development, but it also builds a transport system more people can access. For every 100 jobs on our Big Build projects another 206 are supported across the community
On level crossing removals alone, we have created more than 65 million hours of work for Victorians.
Massive projects like the Metro Tunnel, removing 85 level crossings and duplicating the Cranbourne line are being delivered more than a year early.
The Liberals claim deciding to remove 10 more level crossings is a cost blowout - that’s just wrong. It's an investment that will last decades
The Liberals also claim a longer tunnel on the North East Link is a cost blowout — it’s in fact listening to the local community.
So many transport projects have been long talked about and never delivered — for the first time in a long time Victoria has a pipeline that gives Victorians certainty of work.
Victorians voted for projects like Melbourne Airport Rail, North East Link and the Suburban Rail Loop and we continue to reject the calls to cancel them.
These projects are needed now and into the future as Victoria continues to grow. And these are the projects that give people like Nick a job now and a career forever
(Jacinta Allan, Transport Infrastructure Minister)

Tues.22.3.22 Melbourne 'Herald Sun'.  Canberra's taking us for a ride.  MITCH CLARKE
TRANSPORT Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan has lashed the federal government for failing to give Victoria its fair share in transport project funding.
It comes after a report from the Grattan Institute revealed that despite 26 per cent of Australia’s population living in Victoria, the state only receives 18 per cent of the federal transport money.
“This has been an issue for a little while now here in Victoria,” Ms Allan said.
“Of course we’d love to see a federal government invest in Victoria that’s proportionate to our population share. We’d love to see those funds come into our state like they do for other states.
We just want some of that fair share of funding here in Victoria.”
“There is heaps of work going on here in Victoria and yes the federal government are a partner in some of these projects but there is so much more than that we are doing that they could support us on.”

Public bus trips in Tasmania to be free for five weeks in effort to ease cost of living pressure.  Adam Holmes March 22 2022
Public bus travel will be free from March 28 until the end of April.
Public bus travel in Tasmania will be free for five weeks in an attempt to ease cost of living pressure and reduce congestion.
Transport Minister Michael Ferguson made the announcement on Tuesday morning, with the free trips to start on March 28 and run until the end of April.
The free travel covers school and general access buses for all operators, and includes all fare types - adult, concession and students. Mr Ferguson mentioned Metro, Redline, Merseylink, Calow's and Tassielink as being included.
He said the measure was designed as an incentive for people to consider public transport.
"We want to see a sort of greater shift occurring, and we felt that off the learnings that we had from a fare incentive on the Derwent Ferry, we really want to give people the greatest possible special incentive," he said.
"That's why it's for a limited time, for five weeks.
"Also, it takes away the possibility that people might say, you know, 'I don't want to do that'. We want to design this so we get the maximum benefit to the family budget, but also the maximum benefit long-term."
The government provides $100 million in annual subsidies to several private bus operators. The free fares are effectively a short-term subsidy to cover the cost.
Mr Ferguson said the measures would only be "temporary" and it was "not the position" of the government to make it longer term.
He said fuel prices were a key consideration.
"We also see that it's something that the state government can do. We're not able to solve the high petrol price, we know that that's a global phenomenon that's occurring directly as a result of what is going on in Europe at the moment," Mr Ferguson said.
"We've found a measure that we believe is appropriate for the Tasmanian Government, for us to be able to provide a meaningful difference to a family budget, but also something that long term is a value proposition with ongoing subsidies going forward of more than $100 million a year."
Public transport operators will monitor and assess services during the five weeks to identify new demand.
Mr Ferguson said services could also become busier, and thanked passengers in advance for showing patience during peak times.
Call for long-term strategy
Tasmania's peak social service organisation has welcomed the move, but wants a longer term view beyond the five-week period.
TasCOSS chief executive officer Adrienne Picone said there were large parts of Tasmania where public transport options were limited.
"Free public transport for five weeks will undoubtedly assist Tasmanians with commuting costs and provides an alternative to taking the car, however we know for many Tasmanians living in under-serviced areas public transport is simply not a viable option," she said.
The not-for-profit community sector also welcomed $2000 one-off grants to provide relief for the industry to handle rising fuel costs.
Ms Picone said cost of living pressures would continue to be a concern, and the federal government should step in and increase rates of JobSeeker and Commonwealth Rent Assistance.
"Affording the essentials has become increasingly more difficult over the past year, with the cost of housing, health, transport, education and recreational activities, all rising by more than general wage increases," she said.

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