TABLE TALK

AUSTRALASIAN TIMETABLE NEWS

No. 286, June 2016 ISSN 1038-3697, RRP $4.95

Published by the Australian Timetable Association

www.austta.org.au

TOP TABLE TALK

V/Line timetable 26 June – V/Line crisis ends

All V/Line trains will be back on the tracks from 26 June. The final 11 V/Line train services replaced by buses due to excessive wheel wear will return to being train services.

In addition, the timetable changes planned for introduction on 31 January will be introduced. At this stage, there seem to be no crosses scheduled at the new Rowsley Loop on the Ballarat line (see article below).

All weekday outbound Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong line trains will depart Footscray one (usually) or two minutes earlier.

Adjustments to some Ballarat line services are aimed at reducing delays on the busiest sections of the line. Some trains have altered departure and arrival times to better reflect the trip durations and altered stopping patterns.

  • The 0514 from Melbourne to Wendouree will leave Southern Cross at 0510 and the 0513 from Wendouree to Melbourne will leave one minute earlier. These changes are to reduce congestion at Bacchus Marsh.

  • The 0510 Melb-Wendouree and the next train, 0613 Melb-Ballarat will not stop at Bacchus Marsh, although they stop at all other stations. This is also to reduce congestion at Bacchus Marsh. There is an unusual solution to serve Bacchus Marsh. Both of these trains will connect with supplementary buses from Melton to Wendouree and Ballarat respectively, which will stop at Bacchus Marsh.

  • The 0704 and 0740 from Bacchus Marsh will not stop at Ardeer.

  • Most trains will depart earlier from Deer Park and Ardeer.

Adjustments to some Geelong line services are aimed at reducing delays.

  • Four AM peak Geelong trains will not stop at Sunshine.

  • The 0716 from Wyndham Vale will now depart at 0713 and stop at Ardeer instead of Deer Park. It will arrive at SX one minute later.

  • Two Wyndham Vale AM peak trains will have adjusted times to reflect that they are operated by Sprinter trains. The 0736 will now depart at 0735 and arrive at SX three minutes later at 0814. The 0755 will now depart at 0754 and arrive at SX four minutes later at 0834.

  • Some off-peak Geelong line trains to Melbourne have adjusted departure times.

Two Warrnambool trains will have adjusted timetables.

  • The morning train will leave Warrnambool eight minutes earlier at 0600 and arrive Melbourne at 0931 instead of 0934. The new timings are aimed to reduce delays which have been experienced due to a cross with the Pacific National down freight train at Camperdown.

  • The 1912 Mon-Fri from SX will have five minutes recovery inserted, and so arrive Warrnambool five minutes later at 2249, to better reflect the actual journey time.

Connecting V/Line bus times will be adjusted to reflect the change in train times.

There will be one additional morning train and an extra PM peak service on the Bendigo line.

  • A new three-carriage VLocity train from Epsom 0700, Bendigo 0708-0710 to arrive Melbourne at 0907. This will be an off-peak train.

  • An additional three-carriage train from Melbourne at 1602 arriving in Bendigo at 1755. This will help ease some of the demand on the 1625 train which is typically very busy.

  • The 1415 SX to Bendigo (Monday to Friday) will be altered to stop all stations and is scheduled at Bendigo eight minutes later at 1608-1613 and then be extended to Epsom 1626.

  • Trains extended from Bendigo to/from Epsom will be extended from four to 14 each weekday (in addition to Echuca trains);

  • An additional train is extended from Bendigo to Eaglehawk on weekday evenings; and

  • All trains will stop at Kangaroo Flat.

V/Line buses also have timetable adjustments to reflect traffic conditions and journey times. Other routes will have an extra stop while some are changing by a few minutes to ensure better connections with trains.

Buses will now stop at Congupna, causing minor changes to timetables on the Murraylink bus between Albury and Kerang and also on the Shepparton-Cobram and Seymour-Tocumwal routes.

V/Line buses between Dandenong and Inverloch will have scheduled stops at Deep Creek Street near Grantville, Wonthaggi North and Inverloch Police Station, and some departure times will change by up to 19 minutes. The Bay Road stop on this route has been renamed Jam Jerrup.

There will be minor changes to:

  • Mildura and Swan Hill/Bendigo
  • Warrnambool and Heywood/Mt Gambier
  • Ouyen and Ballarat/Ararat
  • Dandenong and Yarram
  • Maryborough and Castlemaine
  • Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo
  • Speedlink Adelaide-Albury
  • Canberra – Albury (now departs Canberra five minutes earlier at 0810, and arrives Canberra five minutes later at 2025, the extra time being accounted for by additional time at Gundagai, the half way stop).

The new Public timetables are available online on V/Line’s website at https://www.vline.com.au/Timetables/Additional-pages/Timetable-list and - in a different format – on Public Transport Victoria website at http://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/timetables

Geoff Lambert comments: I think the different formats is a consequence of the adoption of GTFS, which is structured to allow this sort of thing. I also believe all these PDFs are constructed on the fly and don’t actually exist until you ask for them. This would explain why the PTV and V/Line PDFs look different. PDF on Demand is an increasingly common feature and, if you are quick, when you click on a TT in the V/Line timetable list, you first see that the URL is not a link to a PDF then you get a message “Your PDF is being printed” after which the download of the freshly-created PDF commences. If you have (e.g) Acrobat Pro and can see the metadata, you see that the PDF was created about three seconds before it was downloaded.

RAIL AND TRAM NEWS

Federal Budget

Railway and public transport related expenditure announced in the Federal Budget presented on 3 May is:

Project Funding 2016-7 Total Funding 2013-20
Sydney Metro $1.7 billion contingent upon the Asset Recycling Initiative (ie, sell-off of State government assets).
Sydney’s Rail future $98.4 million contingent upon the Asset Recycling Initiative
Parramatta light rail $78.3 m contingent upon the Asset Recycling Initiative
Concept design for railway to Badgerys Creek Airport, Sydney $26.2 m
Melbourne Metro $857.2 m contingent upon the Asset Recycling Initiative
Murray Basin rail $20.2 m contingent upon the Asset Recycling Initiative
Murray Basin rail $220 m conditional on the Victorian Government matching dollar for dollar
Northern Sydney Freight corridor $25.0 m $691.6 m
To Australian Rail Track Corporation for the Brisbane-Melbourne Inland Freight Railway for land acquisition, due diligence and market testing $593.7 m
To ARTC for Brisbane-Melbourne Inland Freight Railway for pre-construction works $80.7 m $300.0 m
To ARTC for implementation of the Advanced Train Management System $17.1 m $50.0 m
Melbourne Metropolitan Intermodal Terminal System $5.0 m $38.0 m
St Albans grade separation $60.9 m $151.0 m
Gold Coast Light Rail stage 2 $47.5 m $95 m
Moreton Bay rail link (Kippa Ring line) $100.0 m $583.0 m
Forrestfield Airport link, Perth $490.0 m Not stated
WA Portlink inland freight corridor concept plan to investigate improved road and rail links between Esperance, Port Hedland, Geraldton, future port of Oakejee and an intermodal terminal at Kalgoorlie $0.5 m $0.9 m
Tasmanian rail freight revitalisation to improve the quality of lines $20.4 m $59.8 m
Rail overpass north of Alice Springs $4.3 m $24.1 m

Australian Rail Track Corporation: Future

Tucked away in the 2016 Federal Budget papers was a statement that the Government will retain the ARTC in public ownership. This is to enable it to access funds at the lowest cost for the Brisbane-Melbourne Inland Freight Railway.

Promises, promises

Possibly this is the only Federal election where both major parties have tried to outdo each other in promises to fund public transport projects. Definitely it is the only Federal election where the two major leaders have vied to be photographed travelling on trains and trams. In the early stages of the campaign, the Prime Minister was ahead on the visuals, but the Opposition ahead on promises. At the time of writing the following were promises made. There will, no doubt, be more to come.

Coalition: Extension of Tonsley line to Flinders University (Adelaide) $43 million. Improvement of rail freight access to Townsville port, by construction of the Townsville Eastern Rail access 8 km, $150 m. improvement of passenger facilities and rolling stock Puffing Billy tourist railway (Melbourne) $6.5 million.

Labor: On 5 May Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor would provide Infrastructure Australia with a new $10 billion funding facility. He said Labor will invest directly in the Melbourne Metro, a rail link to the new airport in Western Sydney, Brisbane’s Cross River Rail, Perth Metronet, the electrification of the Gawler Line, and the ambitious, multi-line AdeLINK tram network in Adelaide.

On 23 May he committed $1 billion to the part-funding of WA Labor's Metronet rail project, but said he would cut all federal support for the WA Government's Perth Freight Link. Labor says it will contribute $760 million to the project by 2020, and a further $240 million over the following two years. The funding would be contingent on Infrastructure Australia's approval. State Opposition Leader Mark McGowan originally presented the Metronet plan at the last state election, when it was estimated to have a total cost of $5.2 billion. Mr Shorten's federal funding would prioritise planning to build the Morley to Ellenbrook rail line, extend the northern suburbs line to Yanchep, extend the Armadale line to Byford, and start a circle line, linking the Mandurah line to the Thornlie line. It would also go towards removing "unsafe level crossings that slow traffic" on the Midland, Armadale and Fremantle lines, and build a new station at Karnup on the Mandurah line.

Also promised are Glendale (Newcastle) Interchange $13 million; Schofields (western Sydney) station carpark $5 m; Develop business case for Frankston-Baxter (SE Melbourne) duplication and electrification $1.5 m., Extension of Tonsley line to Flinders University (Adelaide). $500 m for AdeLINK suburban tram network; improvement of rail freight access to Port Botany (duplication Cooks Loop-Botany and new crossing loop at Warwick Farm on the South Sydney Freight line) $175 m.

Pacific National: Future

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has raised a number of vertical integration concerns over the proposed acquisition of port and rail giant Asciano by a group led by smaller logistics firm Qube, and global infrastructure investor Brookfield. The ACC released its draft statement of issues on the takeover on 26 May, and pushed back its final ruling to 21 July, to allow the industry to respond to the paper.

The current takeover offer is the result of months of competition between a Qube-led consortium, and a Brookfield-led consortium, for the acquisition of the massive group, which includes rail business Pacific National and ports giant Patrick. Once rivals, Qube and Brookfield teamed up their financial backers to submit the current takeover bid.

“The ACCC has received a very large number of submissions from industry stakeholders expressing a broad range of concerns about the proposed acquisition,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. The industry has raised concerns over the level of vertical integration that could result from Patrick container terminals being in cahoots with both Qube and ACFS – “the two largest landside import-export container logistics providers in Australia,” he said. “The ACCC is concerned that Patrick container terminals may provide preferential access to Qube and ACFS vehicles, and Qube regional export trains running into Port Botany, and raise rivals’ costs.

Sydney Trains: WTT 11 June

A new Working Timetable, version 5.2, will come into effect from 11 June (Book 2 Weekends) and 13 June (Book 1 Weekdays).

ARTC: WTT 12 June

A new Working Timetable will come into effect from 12 June. A copy is online on their website at http://www.artc.com.au/customers/operations/mtp/2016-01-24/

John Holland Rail NSW Country Regional Network: WTT 11 June

A new Working Timetable will come into effect on 11 June. A copy is online on their website at http://www.jhrcrn.com.au/Documents.asp?ID=67 Alterations are:

Addition West

7SP7 Pacific National Intermodal (1500m) Saturdays will run as tabled by Sydney Trains to pass Hermitage (Lithgow) 0344, Coxs River 0355, Wallerawang 0357, Tarana 0423, Raglan 0454, arrive Kelso 0458, depart 0503, pass Bathurst 0511, Newbridge 0551, Murrobo 0607, Blayney 0610, Polona 0620, Spring Hill 0627, Orange East Fork Jct 0636, Borenore 0652, Molong 0704, Manildra 0723, Bumberry 0745, Parkes Sub Terminal 0811, Parkes 0816, CRN/ARTC Boundary Parkes 0818 thence as tabled by ARTC.

Alterations West

6SP7 Pacific National Intermodal (1500m) Fridays will run as tabled by Sydney Trains to pass Hermitage 0128 (next day), Wallerawang 0143, Tarana 0212, Raglan 0247, arrive Kelso 0252, depart 0312, pass Bathurst 0320, Newbridge 0400, Murrobo 0416, Blayney 0419, Polona 0429, Spring Hill 0436, Orange East Fork Jct 0445, Borenore 0501, Molong 0513, Manildra 0532, Bumberry 0554, Parkes Sub Terminal 0620, Parkes 0625, CRN/ARTC Boundary Parkes 0627 thence as tabled by ARTC.

9835 Pacific National (575m) Fridays will run as tabled by Sydney Trains to pass Hermitage 0403 (next day), arrive Wallerawang 0419, depart 0427, pass Tarana 0458, Raglan 0533, Kelso 0537, arrive Bathurst 0544, depart 0601, pass Newbridge 0652, Murrobo 0711, arrive Blayney 0715 – terminate, form 8934.

Deletions West

6AS8 Great Southern Rail Indian Pacific eastbound Fridays.

7SA8 Great Southern Rail Indian Pacific westbound Saturdays.

6SP6 Pacific National Intermodal westbound Fridays.

Deletions North

1565 QUBE Tue, Thur, Sat to Narrabri West.

5166 QUBE Mon, Wed, Fri ex Narrabri West.

Sydney Trains: Epping-Thornleigh Relief road 11 June

On 11 June the Epping to Thornleigh down relief road will be brought into use. This is the final section of the North Sydney Freight project. It will enable slow-moving northbound freight trains ascending the 1 in 40 gradients to be kept moving, without having to be refuged to avoid delaying passenger trains. It was mainly financed by the Federal Government. This new track extends from 23.693 km to 29.197 km and is electrified. There are now three or four tracks on most of the North line as far as Thornleigh – except for Rhodes to West Ryde, where the gradients are gentle. There are new platforms at Cheltenham and Pennant Hills. It is controlled from the Homebush Control Centre.

Overcrowding on Sydney's trains worsens for passengers during morning peak, by Matt O’Sullivan, Sydney Morning Herald, 27 May

Overcrowding on trains running through central parts of Sydney in the morning peak is getting worse, new figures show, making it more difficult for services to run on time. Average passenger loads on trains across all lines in the morning have surged 10% in the past year to 114%, a sign of the rapidly rising demand for public transport and the strain that is placing on the aged rail network. Trains stopping at Redfern Station on the Inner West Line have the highest average passenger loads between 8am and 9am, at 141%. Passengers begin to suffer from overcrowding when trains have loads of 135%, which is the benchmark used by transport officials. The length of time a train needs to stop at a station when it becomes overcrowded is likely to blow out and cause the train, and others following, to run late. Trains running on the Illawarra Line via Sydenham and Hurstville in the city's south recorded average loads of 136% in the morning peak, according to the data collected in September by Transport for NSW. The third most crowded trains on Sydney's suburban network at peak hour were on the Northern Line via Strathfield. Trains on that line via Redfern had loads of 135%.

But what is striking is the rate of increase in crowding in just a year. Average loads on the Western Line – the city's busiest – surged by 21% to 134% between September 2014 and September 2015. Transport officials collect the train load data twice a year – in March and September.

Passenger loads are usually higher in March, a month that also tends to be less affected by seasonal factors. In a sign of the rapidly increasing demand for public transport, all but one suburban and intercity line in NSW recorded higher loads in September. The greatest increase was on trains to the Central Coast, which had passenger loads of 121% in September, up from 76% a year earlier.

A load factor of 100% means the number of passengers on a train is equal to the number of seats. Commuters can take some solace from the fact that trains are less crowded during the evening peak between 5pm and 6pm than in the mornings. Suburban trains running at that time had average loads of 90% in September, compared with 89% in the same month a year earlier.

NSW TrainLink: A bad day

Friday 27 May was a memorable day for NSW TrainLink, for the wrong reasons The up train from Armidale/Moree ran 90 minutes late “for mechanical reasons”; the 1212 Sydney-Canberra and 1725 Canberra-Sydney – among the most popular trains on this line – were replaced by buses “due to mechanical reasons”. And TrainLink’s internet booking site was shut down because it was hacked. The database does not contain sufficient credit card information for it to be used in any transaction, but nevertheless NSW TrainLink notified Police and Transport for NSW engaged AusCERT, Australia’s leading Cyber Emergency Response team to manage the investigation of whether the data had been accessed. Transport for NSW also notified the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

V/Line: Albury line services

Following the Victorian Budget (see May Table Talk page 5), it is unclear whether Albury line services will be improved or not. $15 million was earmarked for North East line improvements, including refurbishment of rolling stock. The present three five-carriage sets on this line will be replaced by four four-carriage sets. The extra carriage set might be to add to the reliability of the existing service - two back up sets for two operating sets! This is what is implied in the Victorian Budget Papers. Premier Dan Andrews’ Press Release of 27 April entitled “Getting it done for North-East Victoria” says “…four train sets of four carriages on the Albury. This will improve reliability…..” What is notable is what is not said. The equivalent Press Releases for the other regions of Victoria specifically mentioned additional V/Line services. This one does not. However, a local rumour is that there will, in fact, be four train services daily. The four train Weekday timetable would be:

Albury depart: 0600, 0745, 1245, 1745 (at present: 0635, 1245 and 1720).

Melbourne depart: 0705, 1200, 1530 and 1802 (at present 0705, 1205 and 1802).

With this timetable, there would be three train sets in use, with the maximum number of trains running in the AM and PM peaks. There would be two sets overnight in Albury and two sets overnight in Melbourne. An additional service would remove much of the present unhappiness in the North-east about the standard of the V/Line service.

V/Line Rowsley Loop

Rowsley Loop, at approximately 55 km from Melbourne, on the down side of Bacchus Marsh on the Ballarat line, was brought into use on the weekend of 28-29 May.

V/Line VLocity trains

The last 2-carriage VLocity DMU set was converted to a 3-car set at the end of April. The April Victorian Budget included funding for 9 additional 3-car VLocity DMUs.

V/Line trains on Metro Trains tracks

Since the opening of the Regional Rail Link, there are so few trains between Werribee and Manor Junction that the rail surface cannot be guaranteed free of contamination and trains may not be reliably detected by track circuits. Consequently, since 19 October 2015 VLocity and Sprinter DMUs are not allowed. Since 15 March 2016 VLocities are also prohibited Newport-Werribee (direct and via Altona), North Melbourne Junction-Upfield, Southern Cross-South Morang and Hurstbridge, Southern Cross-Belgrave, Lilydale, Alamein and Glen Wav erley, Caulfield-Frankston-Stony Point, Richmond Junction-Sandringham.

Metro Trains Melbourne: Additional platform for West Footscray

An additional platform and track to the north of the station will be built for up trains in the peak periods. The existing platform one will be used for trains travelling from the city to terminate and commence services at West Footscray station. This will assist trains to run on time and reduce delays. Providing an additional platform and length of track for Sunbury line trains will also facilitate an increase in the number of services at West Footscray station during the morning and afternoon peak. Works at West Footscray station involve realigning regional, suburban and freight tracks, construction of new tracks and turnouts, and alterations to the existing station concourse. Track and station work would likely be conducted in stages to limit disruption to commuters and the local community.

Metro Trains Melbourne: Closedowns

Grade separation at Blackburn and Heatherdale will necessitate a four-week closedown, probably during December 2016. Grade separation at St Albans will necessitate a three-week closedown, probably during October 2016.

North Adelaide underpass

South Australian Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan and Federal Major Projects Minister Paul Fletcher announced on 6 May a $238 million tender to separate Adelaide's Outer Harbor passenger line from the ARTC freight route. The joint Commonwealth and State-funded project will see a rail underpass built for the passenger line to ease congestion for freight carriers and reduce traffic bottlenecks byremoving l;evel crossings at Park Terrace and Torrens Road. The tender process is expected to last a few months, with construction completed by 2018.

Great Southern Rail: Slower Ghan timetable

The timetable for the “Ghan Expedition”, the very tourist-orientated version of the southbound Ghan which runs from 3 August to 26 October, has been slowed by two hours to allow tourists a longer time in Coober Pedy. The Coober Pedy stop is serviced by the train stopping at Manguri. The amended timetable is:

3 Aug - 26 Oct

Wed
Darwin dp 1000
Katherine ar 1340
dp 1820
Thur
Alice Springs ar 1000
dp 2145
Coober Pedy ar 0900
dp 1940
Sat
Adelaide ar 1250

On Sunday 22 May, at the start of the winter tourist season, the Ghan departed Adelaide with 44 carriages and two locomotives, with a length of 1096m – more than 200m longer than a standard Ghan service. GSR claimed that this was the longest passenger train in Australia since the inaugural Adelaide to Darwin Ghan journey in 2004 which had 43 carriages. The Ghan’s 22 May departure had 327 passengers. The train comprised 3 platinum sleepers, 18 gold sleepers, one platinum lounge and dining car, 4 dining cars, 4 lounge and bar cars, one red sitting car, one red café car, 5 crew cars, 3 power vans, one luggage van and one motorail wagon. It was split across three platforms at Adelaide Terminal. The total weight was 2156 tonnes. There were 55 onboard crew members who, over the return journey, made 1300 beds, served 100kg of barramundi and 190kg of vegetables, and cooked more than 3000 eggs for breakfast. This was the first of nine consecutive weeks of kilometre-long trains departing Adelaide.

SA Leigh Creek line

The Port August to Leigh Creek line, out of use since 29 April with the cessation of coal mining at Leigh Creek, may come back in use. Bowmans Intermodal, a company backed by Toll, and Archer Exploration, are investigating use of the line to transport Archer’s magnesite deposits which are about 20 km north west of Leigh Creek.

WA Budget

The WA Budget was presented on 12 May. It included the following funding related to public transport:

  • $104 million in 2016-17 towards the $2 billion total cost of the Forrestfield-Airport railway
  • An additional $13.7 million for Future Urban Railcar Procurement, primarily for infrastructure works to accommodate extra railcars. Total cost of project - $198.7 million
  • An extra $5.3 million across 2016-17 to 2017-18 to construct the Northbridge Bus Layover
  • $49 million for the Ellenbrook Bus Rapid Transit project from 2016-17 to 2017-18. The premier, Colin Barnett, said the project offered a cost-effective way to provide Perth's north-eastern suburbs with access to fast public transport. Previously, a tram had been proposed to this area (see Bus News below).
  • $11.5 million over six years to continue the Fremantle container rail service subsidy.

New Zealand Budget

The NZ Budget was presented on 26 May. It included a two-year $NZ 190.2 million funding package for KiwiRail. However, this was accompanied with a warning by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that ongoing subsidies at that level are "unsustainable". The 2016 Budget takes total investment in the company since 2010 to $NZ 1.4 billion. Mr Bridges said, "KiwiRail has made good progress in increasing customer numbers, becoming more reliable and upgrading assets. However, the Government expects it to continue to improve its productivity and efficiency. The Government is committed to a national rail network, but ongoing subsidies at this level are unsustainable. The funding is a two-year package to help KiwiRail make further gains so future government support can be reduced."

Thanks to Tony Bailey, Scott Ferris, Victor Isaacs, Geoff Lambert, Geoff Mann, Len Regan, Michael Smith, www.railexpress.com.au, www.railpage.com.au, Age, Australian, Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun, Semaphore (Signaling Record Society Victoria) and Sydney Morning Herald for Rail news.

EDITORIAL

Some readers might think it is peculiar that this magazine gives details of alterations in the latest Working Timetable of John Holland Rail NSW Country Regional Network, but not in the equivalent re-issues of the much more important Australian Rail Track Corporation WTT and Sydney Trains WTT. The reason is simple: If the information for the latter had been available, it would have been provided. This gives an excuse to repeat the mantra of every magazine editor: Please submit your articles, news and information. The more the better. Details of where to send your contributions is on page 11.

ODD SPOT

In V/Line’s 26 June timetable, on weekdays a bus is scheduled to depart Ballarat at 0510, the overnight bus from Mildura – V/Line’s one and only overnight service. A train then leaves Ballarat at 0519. Despite departing nine minutes later, and having five intermediate stops against none for the bus, the train is scheduled to arrive Melbourne Southern Cross nine minutes earlier than the bus. Similarly, V/Line’s overnight Melbourne-Mildura bus departing Southern Cross at 2125 is matched by a train departing at exactly the same time. Although the train is scheduled to make eight intermediate stops, and the bus none, the train arrives Ballarat twelve minutes earlier than the bus.

Famous for its bullet train, Japan is now set to launch an “invisible” train that will hit the tracks in 2018. Designed by Japanese architect Kazuyo Sejima, who is known for making buildings that blend into the environment, the trains will sport a semi-reflective surface to give the illusion of invisibility when speeding through the city or countryside.

Sejima was commissioned to design the train by Seibu Group, who are famous for their high-speed bullet trains, to celebrate their 100th anniversary. The brief was to create a “soft” and “gentle” design to “blend in with the landscape”. Sejima will also design the interior to have a “living room” feel.

http://www.news.com.au/travel/world-travel/asia/japan-to-launch-invisible-trains-to-its-tracks-by-2018/news-story/69821606dbdea491558f2ff94510ea41

Thanks to David Cranney and Victor Isaacs for Odd Spot.

BUS NEWS

Interstate

V/Line: Not hitherto recorded, but probably from 21 June 2015:

  • The Bairnsdale-Narooma bus on Tue, Wed, Fri and Sun diverts via Bermagui. Similarly, the bus from Narooma to Bairnsdale on Mon, Wed, Thur and Sat diverts via Bermagui. On the other days of the week, when the bus continues to/from Batemans Bay, the diversion does not apply.
  • On Tues and Thurs an additional bus operates from Wangaratta at 1005 (connecting with the 0705 train from Melbourne) to Corowa.

New South Wales

Sydney Buses Service Changes 5 June

  • Timetable adjustments for routes 253 285 288 292 293 294 297 458 303 500 501 502 504 506 507 515 518 520 M52
  • Routes 288 and 292 will start and end in Sussex St at Erskine St. They will no longer operate to and from King St Wharf
  • New route 289 will operate from the Lane Cove Industrial Area to City via Mowbray Road and Centennial Avenue
  • Additional trips for 301 324 338 348 370 373 394 M54
  • Evening services on X74 will now depart from Spring St near Pitt St rather than Circular Quay
  • Some peak hour 393 services will be changed to operate as X93, a new express service. Some peak hour 394 services will be changed to operate as X94.
  • 520 will operate all night seven days a week to give Victoria Road a 24 hours a day service
  • 525 The following trips no longer operate: 1716 and 1736 from Olympic Park Station to Strathfield Station, 07:34 and 08:35 from Strathfield Station to Olympic Park Station.
  • 526 Burwood to Olympic Park Wharf will be extended to Rhodes via the new Bennelong Bridge across Homebush Bay to Rhodes Shopping Centre. Additional peak hour trips will be introduced and on weekends, buses will now depart every 30 minutes throughout the day.
  • 533 Chatswood to Olympic Park will be altered to operate via the Bennelong Bridge rather than Homebush Bay Drive. These changes to 526 and 533 replace temporary 529 which had operated from Rhodes to Newington via Bennelong Bridge.

The following timetables effective 5 June are on www.sydneybuses.info

251 252 253 254 Lane Cove West and Riverview to City
258 285 289 533 534 Sydney Olympic Park, Ryde and Lane Cove Industrial to Chatswood and City
286 287 288 290 284 297 Epping and North Ryde to City
292 293 Marsfield to City
301 302 303 X03 San Souci and Eastgardens to City
323 324 L24 325 New South Road to Edgecliff and City
338 339 X39 X40 Clovelly to City
348 Wooli Creek to Bondi Junction
370 Leichhardt to Coogee
372 373 X73 Coogee to City via Randwick Junction
374 X74 Coogee to City via Bream St
391 392 X92 La Perouse and Little Bay to City via Bunnerong Road
393 394 L94 X94 399 X99 La Perouse and Malabar to City via Anzac Parade
395 396 X96 397 X97 Maroubra to City via Anzac Parade
458 459 Macquarie University to Burwood
525 X25 526 Parramatta and Rhodes to Burwood.

State Transit are no longer able to supply multiple copies timetables to ATA from their head office at Strawberry Hills. Any timetables that appear on the Distribution List are provided through the goodwill and hard work of members who visit Sydney timetable outlets and the ability of staff, who are very helpful, to supply multiple copies. State Transit will provide timetables to individuals on request.

Due to construction work at Balmain East Wharf, buses on routes 442, 444 and 445 were replaced by a mini bus shuttle between Balmain East Wharf and Gladstone Park from 15 February until mid-May.

Northern Territory

The NT Budget presented on 24 May provided $1 million this year and $1.4 million over 3 years for operational costs for a Tuparipiya bus service on Melville Island each weekday, providing a regular service between Pirlangimpi, Paru, Pickertaramoor and Milikapiti. The service will also operate on weekends when community events are scheduled. The operation will be based in Milikapiti and be managed by Bodhi Bus.

Tasmania

The Tasmanian Budget presented on 26 May included funding of $31 million over four years for 100 new buses for Metro Tasmania. These will be Disability Discrimination Act compliant.

Victoria

SkyBus will introduce a high-frequency bus service from St Kilda to Melbourne Airport following its takeover of the route that was managed by Frankston and Peninsula Airport Shuttle. SkyBus will significantly increase the frequency with departures leaving St Kilda every 30 minutes from 0630 until 1930 seven days a week.

Western Australia

TransPerth: With the opening of the new Perth Busport in Wellington St due later this year major changes to northern bus services are proposed. Currently the Flinders St corridor comprises:

  • 354 Perth-Mirrabooka via Nollamara Shops
  • 370 Perth-Mirrabooka via Nollamara Avenue All Stops
  • 870 Perth-Mirrabooka via Nollamara Avenue Limited Stops.

It is proposed that 354 will be replaced by 384 operating via Wanneroo Road instead of Flinders St. 370 will be renumbered 970 and 870 will be renumbered 370 and operate in the peak period only.

Currently the Alexander Drive corridor comprises;

  • 885 Perth-Edith Cowan University Limited Stops
  • 886 Perth-Alexander Heights via Marangaroo Drive Limited Stops
  • 887 Perth-Alexander Heights via The Avenue Limited Stops
  • 888 Perth-Mirrabooka Limited Stops
  • 889 Perth-Balajura Limited Stops.

It is proposed that 885 and 888 will be replaced by 960 Mirrabooka-Curtin Uni via Alexander Drive, Perth Busport and Victoria Park Transfer Station all stops. 886 887 889 will be renumbered 960, 961, 962 respectively. The new route 960 will operate between Mirrabooka Bus Station and Curtin University via Edith Cowan University's Mount Lawley campus and the new Perth Busport from late 2016. It will have a peak headway of five minutes between Curtin and ECU Lawley. It will require 20 new buses and one million bus service kilometres. It will operate along the $1.4m Fitzgerald St peak-period bus lane, which is to be completed soon. The renumbering of 800 series routes frees this series for regional routes.

Route 28 East Perth-Claremont will be shortened to operate Perth Busport-Claremont.

When Aubin Grove Station on the Mandurah line opens in early 2017 the following is proposed:

  • 525 Cockburn Central Station-Hammond Park West via Baningan Avenue to be split into 525 Cockburn Central Station-Aubin Grove Station via Baningan Avemue and 535 Aubin Grove Station-Hammond Park West
  • 526 Cockburn Central Station-Hammond Park East via Wentworth Avenue to be split into 526 Cockburn Central Station-Aubin Grove Station via Wentworth Avenue and 536 Aubin Grove Statiion-Hammond Park East
  • 527 Cockburn Central Station-Wandi via Atwell to be split into 527 Cockburn Central Station-Aubin Grove Station via Atwell and 537 Aubin Grove Station-Wandi
  • New Route 535 between Aubin Grove Station and Gaebler Road adjacent to Hammond Park Primary School
  • New Route 536 between Aubin Grove Station and Rowley Road, Hammond Park
  • New Route 537 between Aubin Grove Station and Honeywood Avenue, Wandi (existing Route 527 terminus).

Meanwhile on the Joondalup line it is proposed to alter 471 Joondalup Station-Kinross via Currambine to Joondalup Station-Burns Beach via Currambine to serve a new residential area north of Burns Beach Road.

Ellenbrook Bus Rapid Transit

The WA Budget of 12 May included funding of $49 million for an Ellenbrook bus rapid transit line. This will connect Ellenbrook Town Centre and Marshall Road. The WA Government promises that it will provide shorter, more reliable journey times to Bassendean Station and a new bus connection to Midland Town Centre. There will be a two-lane continuous, dedicated bus transit way from Ellenbrook Town Centre to Marshall Road, about 9 km, to take pressure off Lord St and support urban development.

It will reduce the average bus journey time between Ellenbrook and Bassendean Station by up to ten minutes in morning peak hour, with three new bus stations along the route to provide an important public transport connection and lessen commuters' reliance on cars.

A design and construct contract is expected to be awarded, with construction commencing by the end of 2016, with completion in late 2017. The project comprises:

  • two-lane continuous dedicated bus transit way from Ellenbrook Town Centre to Marshall Road – 9 kms
  • bus stations at Ellenbrook Town Centre, Gnangara and Marshall Roads, with a future station planned for Youle-Dean Road
  • cycling facilities at the new stations to improve accessibility
  • New Lord St will be a 4.8km single carriageway road constructed between Gnangara Road and Park St then continuing between Youle-Dean and Marshall Roads
  • a further 700m of dual carriageway road will be constructed to link to Reid Highway
  • dual bus underpasses or bridges will be provided at Gnangara Road, Park St and Youle-Dean Road
  • dedicated crossing will be provided at Marshall Road with priority given to buses
  • currently about 2,000 passengers travel on more than 100 buses between Ellenbrook and Bassendean on an average week day
  • four new buses will service the bus route between Marshall Road Bus Rapid Transit station and Midland
  • 300 car parking spaces will be available at the Gnangara Bus Rapid Transit station and 100 at the Marshall BRT station.

The WA Government remains committed to the MAX light rail project, despite Treasurer Mike Nahan admitting it will only happen if it is built by the private sector or after State assets are sold. The WA Budget papers show $427 million has been set aside for the $1.9 billion project to 2019-20, with planning work scheduled to recommence in 2016-17.

MAX was a centrepiece of the Liberal Government’s 2013 election policy, but was shelved shortly after the election. The WA Budget also flagged $49 million for an Ellenbrook bus rapid transit line, as outlined above, another project beset by controversy and broken promises. Promised as a rail link in 2008, the Barnett Government began planning a BRT in 2012 but cancelled it when the cost ballooned to $110 million. Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the only option for Ellenbrook was a train line.

Thanks to Tony Bailey, Paul Brown, Hilaire Fraser, Victor Isaacs, Transit Australia and the West Australian for Bus news.

FERRY NEWS

An eight-week trial of a passenger ferry service between Werribee South and the Melbourne CBD started on 16 May. Port Phillip Ferries is holding the trial and the service runs from Wyndham Harbour at a fare of $20 if purchased online, or $25 on the day of travel. The cost of parking at Wyndham Harbour is included in the fare. There is one weekday service departing Wyndham Harbour at 0640, arriving at Docklands 0754, departing Docklands at 1740, arriving at Wyndham Harbour at 1854. There is a weekend service departing Wyndham Harbour at 0830, returning at 1600.

Hobart City Council unanimously supported a proposal on 9 May from Ald. Damon Thomas and Ald. Philip Cocker to sponsor a report on the viability of the operation of a network of commuter ferries on the River Derwent. Council expressed concern at the increasing level of traffic congestion in Hobart and the apparent lack of interest within State Government agencies to undertake appropriate planning and implementation studies. In sponsoring this report, Hobart City Council intend to urgently discuss solutions with the Clarence, Glenorchy and Kingborough Councils, (three Local Government Areas which surround Hobart City), Metro buses, private ferry builders (such as Incat), and ferry operators in Brisbane and Sydney. [Incat has recently supplied ferries to Sydney operators and is currently building six ferries for the NSW Government].

It is interesting to note that Council believes that a network of ferries would be a more viable solution to Hobart’s traffic woes than a Northern Suburbs rail service based on the unused right of way – a leftover following the cessation of all rail freight operations in Hobart. Deputy Lord Mayor, Ron Christie, emphasised that the provision of park and ride facilities was important for the success of a ferry network.

Thanks to Ian Cooper and Transit Australia for Ferry news.

AIR NEWS

Domestic

Brisbane-based JetGo will commence Brisbane to Albury flights on 20 June. Return flights will operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. JetGo also has flights Brisbane-Dubbo-Melbourne (Avalon), Brisbane-Tamworth and Gold Coast-Rockhampton-Townsville.

Newcastle-based FlyPelican will commence Newcastle to Dubbo flights on 18 July. A morning and an evening round trip will operate on Mondays to Fridays. FlyPelican also has flights Newcastle to Ballina, Sydney and Canberra, and Sydney to Mudgee.

An air service between Kununurra and Halls Creek will start on 1 July as a trial for an initial 12 months, with an option for a 12 month extension depending on passenger demand. It will be operated by local provider Aviair, and will fly three days a week.

Thanks to Tony Bailey and Paul Brown for Air news.

About Table Talk

Table Talk is published monthly by the Australian Timetable Association Inc. (Registration No. A0043673H) as a journal of record covering recent timetable news items. The ATA also publishes the Times covering timetable history and analysis. Contributions are invited and are very welcome. Please send these to the appropriate Editor. ABN 74248483468.

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