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Offline ozbob

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Article: Commuter train crush
« on: June 21, 2008, 12:12:09 PM »
From the Geelong Advertiser click here!

Commuter train crush

Commuter train crush

Jessica Craven


V/LINE gridlock is set to get worse as soaring fuel prices drive thousands more commuters onto trains.

Record numbers of workers have been cramming peak hour trains for the past three months, but many services are at standing room only.

And with the RACV tipping petrol to hit $2.30 by early next year, community leaders are desperate to ease the squeeze.

The State Government has been urged to consider duplicating the line or introducing double-decker trains, such as those operating in Sydney.

Extra train services added last year were filled completely within weeks of introduction, with an additional 22 carriages to be added over this year expected to make little difference to overcrowding.

In May, this year, 250,000 trips were taken on the Geelong line, up 35,000 or 14 per cent on the same time last year.

More carriages cannot be added to the VLocity trains unless platforms on the Geelong line are extended.

V/Line spokesman Daniel Moloney said no extra services could be run during the peak periods.

"At the moment, only Geelong, North Geelong and Southern Cross have platforms long enough to cope with seven carriage trains so we are in early discussions with the Department of Infrastructure about looking at platform extensions for key parts of the network," he said.

He said Geelong passengers were forced to wait for the next train at least once a month because of overcrowding.

Community leaders yesterday said there was a need for all levels of government to consider what infrastructure investment was needed.

Corangamite MP Darren Cheeseman pointed to duplicating the line to increase services and creating a seamless link to a Melbourne underground system.

"All big international cities have a metro underground to relieve transport issues. We may need a direct link into an underground system," Mr Cheeseman said.

Committee for Geelong executive director Peter Dorling said there needed to be a dedicated Geelong line, as suggested in the traffic study by Sir Rod Eddington.

He also said there could be some merit in examining double decker trains.

Public Transport Users Association spokesman for Geelong Paul Westcott said commuters were sick of excuses and that there needed to be more forward-thinking with public transport planning.

He called for an investigation into the possibility using double-decker commuter carriages in Victoria.

"The idea is that you build them within the existing loading gauge so that the bottom level is below the platform level. There is not a reason I can see for completely vetoing the idea without investigation," he said.

G21 chairman Ed Coppe said the State Government needed to further upgrade signalling so that more train services could be provided.

"The current signalling means every train has to have a 2km shadow but if the State Government upgraded to more modern signalling systems you could run more trains on the existing network because the shadow for each train would be shorter," he said.
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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