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Author Topic: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?  (Read 3603 times)

Offline DVR

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Hobart City Council last night ordered a report into light rail to link the city and the northern suburbs.

The move was part of a motion to prepare a list of major infrastructure projects to lobby political parties

for funds before the federal election.

Alderman Jeff Briscoe produced a thesis on the feasibility of a return to rail in Hobart to support his motion.

The 2000 study concluded that battery electric rail vehicles would provide Hobart's northern suburbs with a "much improved public transport system, and lend themselves to Tasmania's clean-green image".

Ald Briscoe said a passenger rail service would make living in the northern suburbs more attractive.

Ben Johnston wrote the thesis when an engineering student at the University of Tasmania.

He found rail would be clean, efficient, fast, convenient, reliable and low-maintenance.

"The proposed Bridgewater to Hobart section time is around 34 minutes, which is around 15 minutes less than the Metro Express bus service in peak times," his thesis said.

"Rail vehicles are immune to traffic congestion and restrictions experienced by road vehicles."

The rail service could use the existing Hobart to Bridgewater line and only additional passing loops would be required.

"Nearly all the original suburban station platforms are still in place, requiring minimal restoration," the thesis said.

"Much of the infrastructure required is in place, the main elements outstanding being the vehicles themselves and the charging infrastructure.

"Incorporating AC drives and VRLA batteries into the rail vehicles makes them virtually maintenance-free with battery replacement approximately every 10 years."

Rail vehicles would stop at 17 locations, including New Town, Cornelian Bay and Glenorchy, and would only require six-minute turnaround to charge batteries and allow the driver to change positions.

Ald Briscoe said the move made even more sense with the proposed relocation of the rail hub from Hobart to Brighton.

His motion won unanimous support. A report was expected to be ready next month.

Hobart's suburban rail service was abandoned in 1975.

Premier Paul Lennon wants to introduce daily tourist trains between Hobart and the Derwent Valley and a light-rail commuter service linking Hobart's growing northern suburbs, such as Austins Ferry.
Z [Tas]

Online ozbob

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2007, 06:43:35 PM »
Excellent DVR, thanks for the report!

 :)
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Online ozbob

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2007, 06:58:02 PM »
Story in Mercury click here!

Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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Offline DVR

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2007, 07:04:35 PM »
There was more coverage in today's 'Mercury' with an excellent supportive editorial entitled "Rail's time has come" stating that the re-introduction of a rail commuter service is now justified with increasing congestion on the Brooker Highway through the Northern suburbs growing towards gridlock. The old joke about Hobart's charming "rush minute" is now a memory with serious congestion now a growing problem for a considerable part of the morning and evening. With Hobarts geography not condusive to road widening or bypasses, the Hobart commute is well on its way to matching the worst of the major mainland capitals. Additionally there was a story about Lisa Singh MHA (ALP Denison) endorsing the proposition with suggestions about using dual mode (road / rail) vehicles or other exotic contraptions such as Parry People Movers. However, I think the obsession growing out of this proposition with exotic rail vehicles is misguided and could overshadow and eventually collapse the proposal. I have submitted a 'Letter to the Editor' stating that case. [See following post]

Cheers,
SZ
Z [Tas]

Offline DVR

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2007, 07:08:54 PM »
LETTER TO THE EDITOR _ 'MERCURY' NEWSPAPER

Dear Sir,

I commend the interest from the HCC and Lisa Singh, MHA for Denison, in the re-introduction of suburban commuter rail to Hobart, however there are some issues being floated that are an unnecessary distraction to the basics of getting a commuter service back in place.

Firstly this unnecessary obsession with "light rail" and experimental and exotic technologies like battery electric rail vehicles etc. The priority should be to get a service established first utilising standard proven technologies like railcars or push-pull carriage sets - second hand, possibly, to start with. Then once the service is well and truly established, "New Age" technologies could be considered then, if still desired. To get hung up on "having to have" the latest, trendiest, bright idea in light rail transport would, through its additional expense and unproven nature, undermine the whole viability of the proposal from the very start.

The council needs to investigate how numerous cities in North America, which have re-introduced commuter services many years after having previously closed them, have done so. Closer to home, even Auckland can be looked at. It will be found that most have started with 'meat & potatoes' push-pull carriage sets or in Auckland's case, second hand railcars (from Perth) and carriages (from Brisbane and the U.K.). Not 'off the wall' experimental vehicles - just the basics. It would also be found that most start with peak hour only services, only growing to off peak service when patronage grows sufficiently.

Any proposed service should be designed to run as far as Brighton to take advantage of the fast growing population. To terminate at Bridgewater would be silly and deny the service of a major patronage source. There is no need for "light rail" to access Hobart's CBD. The wharf line out across Evans St. could be refurbished and deviated at Victoria Dock Bridge to continue up the dead end stub of Hunter St. to terminate as a loop inside two platforms fashioned like Melbourne City tram "Superstops" (just a bit higher). Of course, there are no traffic issues in the Hunter St. stub, bar some lost parking (which is meant to be eliminated from the waterfront anyway).

The operator needs to be closely aligned with 'Metro', if not 'Metro' themselves. 'Doorstopper' buses feeding the stations from the remoter western extremities of the Northern suburbs would enhance the service beyond the immediate vicinity of the stations.

Yours sincerely,
Z [Tas]

Offline DVR

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2007, 07:26:23 PM »
One more post on this topic from me is to note that the "Street Talk" vox pop the 'Mercury' conducted in Hobart yesterday and published today asked the following question, "Would you support the development of a passenger rail service between Hobart and Bridgewater?"

Of the 9 respondents published, they UNANIMOUSLY endorsed the proposal! This is unusual, as normally in "Street Talk" vox pops, there is usually at least a couple dissenters even to otherwise uncontroversial propositions. Not so long ago, the proposition would have attracted a significant proportion of negative reaction by car lovers. However after finding it harder and harder to find easy parking in the city and spending anything from 10 minutes to an hour (especially after accidents close the Tasman Bridge with Eastern Shore traffic diverted north to the Bowen Bridge) stuck in a tailback between Clearys Gates and Elwick, the love of the car is getting tested!

Cheers,
SZ
Z [Tas]

Online ozbob

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2007, 07:49:44 PM »
Excellent letter DVR.  Keeping it 'ontrack' with more traditional rail motor units and approaches is sound.  Hybrids are now a practical solution and would fit the the green image too.

Regards
Ozbob
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Online ozbob

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2007, 04:16:23 AM »
RAIL Back On Track Media Release

30 Aug 2007: Tasmania - Support for suburban rail plans for Hobart

here --> http://backontrack.org/mbs/index.php?topic=211.0
Half baked projects, have long term consequences ...
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Offline DVR

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2007, 05:35:35 PM »
Yesterday's 'Mercury' editorial as mentioned earlier.
Link:
http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,22330312-5006549,00.html

Cheers,
SZ
Z [Tas]

Offline DVR

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2007, 05:39:30 PM »
The counter argument;

See link:
http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,22332616-921,00.html

Cheers,
SZ
Z [Tas]

Offline DVR

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2007, 05:38:50 PM »
An interesting thread on 'Railpage' discussing the merits of reviving a Hobart commuter service:

http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11331399-0-asc-s15.htm

Additionally more discussion on the Tasrail Yahoo! group:

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/tasrail/

Both include major contributions from yours truly!

Cheers,
SZ
Z [Tas]

Offline DVR

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Re: Extract from Mondays 'Mercury' re revival of Hobart commuter rail?
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2007, 05:51:52 PM »
Further 'Mercury' stories on the subject:

http://www.news.com.au/mercury/story/0,22884,22338736-3462,00.html

Cheers,
SZ
Z [Tas]

 

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