The West Gate has a few more years in it yet

The West Gate has a few more years in it yet
The West Gate has a few more years in it yet

This report in today's Age makes no mention that come late 2015 / early 2016 at the completion of the Regional Rail Link project the Werribee line, servicing the growing Wyndham growth area, will be freed from the current metropolitan and regional service mixing constraints. The aim of the Regional Rail Link is to separate regional and metropolitan services inside Melbourne thus providing a capacity increase to both tiers of rail service.

It's quite extraordinary to omit this key piece of information.

As clearly stated on the Regional Rail Link's own website (2nd last FAQ), the project will allow a further 23 metropolitan and 10 new regional services to enter the city in morning and afternoon peaks.  It's safe to say that near 30-40% of the increase (7-9 new peak services) in capacity will be on the Werribee corridor encompassing the Werribee line itself plus the Altona Loop and Williamstown line which branches from the Werribee line at Newport.

If we're to have any 2nd (lower) Yarra crossing, it should be the PTV's planned Fisherman's Bend line connecting with the existing network at Newport.  A single high-capacity train line would have a far more positive impact on traffic congestion compared to building a new road bridge or tunnel - and given the PTV plan is to make Fishermans Bend a new cross-town line from South West to North East, it will likewise provide even further incentive for people to get out of their cars by opening up new inner-city areas to high-capacity public transport.

Similarly the article made little mention of the types of jobs people moving to this area are employed in.  Is everyone moving to Wyndham, Melton, Hume working in the centre of the city?  Doubtful.  Many will work in the inner city, but not at all - and the Regional Rail Link + the 15 new X'trapolis trains - to be used to increase capacity once regional services are off the existing tracks - will be in pole position to capture many of the new residents who will be traveling from Wyndham, Melton and Hume to the city for work.

Perspective needs to be maintained when we start screaming for more road capacity, as more often than not there will invariably be a public transport project more worthy of funding (or one underway that is not entirely understood by the community) which will have a greater impact on reducing congestion, reducing carbon emissions and boosting productivity in our knowledge and other service industry jobs that are located around central Melbourne.

The West Gate has a few more years in it yet

Image credit Simon Whitehead wikipedia: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Westgate_Bridge.jpg

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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Riccardo's picture
In fact they could have done the Fisho Newport line INSTEAD of the RRL, as it would have done all these jobs and more.

Build as a fast line from SXS to Fisho and Newport, with one tunnel under Newport to Altona Junction, the other outlet at Brooklyn and a second pair of tracks to Albion, it would provide extra capacity for Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Werribee and even Seymour and the airport.

Only a vestigial Williamstown and Sunbury service would then need to use the existing route through Footscray.

The line would be two tracks only, except for the section to Fisho which would be built wide enough for four tracks, two initially, and when a future north east to south west underground line through the cbd is built, would occupy those four tracks.
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