I’ve noticed that in my recent post on alternatives to Eddington’s plan that I failed to have a good look at the service standard for the western lines. The need for a better service standard was the key reason for the works I was proposing, but for some strange reason I neglected to spell them out properly.
My views on service frequency have changed somewhat over the last few months. If you’d asked me 6 months ago what I thought the service level on Northern Group lines should be, I would have said that 6 trains per hour would be an acceptable off-peak frequency, with the exception of Williamstown with 5 tph. However, the more of Riccardo’s blog I read, the more convinced I am that at train every 10 minutes may not be enough for the busy lines. Below is what I’ve been thinking about for the western suburbs.
I’m not entirely happy with the result – I still don’t know what do to about services to Melton and Sunbury. If the northern loop can take 22 tph, and Craigieburn is taking up 10 tph, then there’s 12 tph available to Sunshine, and 6 tph towards Melton and Sunbury. If electrification were to occur to Melton and Sunbury, I’d run 6 tph to Sydenham and Ravenhall, and maybe only 2-3 tph beyond that to Melton and Sunbury. I’m hoping a S-Bahn frequency Ravenhall line would take some pressure off Sydenham-Sunshine. Here’s what I’m thinking of:
I just don’t know whether 6 tph is going to be good enough between Sydenham and Sunshine, or whether simplicity of operation alone justifies electrifying all the way to Melton if it stays a satellite town. I’d be really interested to hear some alternatives. Riccardo’s GO Transit style alternative has a lot of merit, and it’s another 16.5 kilometres from Ravenhall to Melton, so electrification could be costly and the line probably wants duplication as well.
I sense everyone is getting a bit sick of Eddington, so next post I promise I’ll look into something more interesting – I was thinking rail to Chadstone and Monash.