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Article: Kosky flags long trains
« on: June 21, 2008, 05:24:45 AM »
From The Age click here!

Kosky flags long trains

Kosky flags long trains

SOMETIMES the most obvious solutions prove the most elusive.

A possible fix to the public transport crisis has dawned on the State Government: make the trains longer.

Public Transport Minister Lynne Kosky yesterday said her department was looking at making Melbourne's trains run seven carriages at peak hour, instead of the current six, in a bid to relieve extreme overcrowding.

"We are looking at ? providing an extra carriage for some of the trains that come in during the peak period and go home at the end of the day," Ms Kosky said.

Train operator Connex warned on Wednesday that some of the city's busiest train lines were nearing capacity, fuelled by a 33% jump in patronage since 2005 due in part to soaring petrol prices.

Ms Kosky yesterday agreed it would soon prove impossible for more passengers to squeeze onto trains on several already packed lines.

"The Sydenham line is close to capacity, because we've got amazing growth there," she said.

Adding an extra carriage to peak-hour trains would make them 165 metres long ? three metres longer than 162-metre platforms on the City Loop, meaning the driver's cabin would not be accessible from the platform.

Other platforms around the city could easily accommodate the change. Most suburban platforms were extended in the 1950s to make them long enough for the then seven-carriage red, and later blue, trains.

An extra carriage would add space for about 130 extra people on each peak-hour train.

Sources within the Department of Transport said that, while the change would be possible, it would have an effect on train speeds because of the added weight. It would also be a "logistical nightmare", they said.

And rail expert John McPherson, a former vice-president of the Public Transport Users Association, said that while extending a train by one carriage would be possible, "it would not be easy because trains run as three-car sets".

The extra carriage proposal by Ms Kosky came as Melbourne's transport crisis remained in the spotlight yesterday.

At a Melbourne Press Club lunch, public transport activist Paul Mees ridiculed the proposals by Sir Rod Eddington to build an $8.5 billion rail tunnel linking Footscray to Caulfield and for bolstering train services in the west. "We built the City Loop in the 1970s. The then shadow transport minister, Barry Jones, said at the time: 'We don't need this. We need new lines to growing suburbs.' And here we are once again, poised to repeat the mistake."

Dr Mees, senior lecturer in transport planning at RMIT, said that if Sir Rod's rail tunnel proposals went ahead, not a single suburban rail extension would happen until 2019 when the rail tunnel was scheduled for completion. The rail network was overcrowded because it was so poorly run, he said.
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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