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Apart from confusion, a huge problem is that during peak hours, when the rail network is at its busiest, half the Frankston line trains share the Loop tunnel with the Dandenong line. Two of the busiest lines on the network are squeezed onto the same track. In , the Dandenong line will move out of the City Loop into the new metro tunnel.
The Frankston line will then use the City Loop for all its services. Just ask anybody making a cross-town trip say Bentleigh to Spotswood where they should change trains for the quickest journey:. Another example from me personally: Flagstaff is my usual stop, closest to work, so I use that if the train goes there.
Consistency is one of the keys to making public transport easier to use. The peak express trains make sense to speed up long journeys and make use of the Caulfield-Moorabbin third track, but the Loop variations should be removed. Each City Loop tunnel can take a train about every minutes. To make the Frankston line trains fit into the Loop, the Dandenong line timetable has gaps. The Dandenong line serves a huge growth area. The gaps create an irregular frequency which means some trains are more crowded than others.
Currently a third of Caulfield Loop paths are given to the Frankston line on roughly a 9 minute cycle. Giving the Loop tunnel over to the Dandenong trains exclusively would allow a more consistent frequency, allowing all the paths to be used, with a train every 3 minutes between the City and Dandenong, better catering for patronage demand.
Untangled from the Dandenong line, they could also run more Frankston line trains. Currently in peak these are tied to the same 9 minute cycle 2 trains every 9 minutes. Freed from this, they could increase to fully use the capacity of the line, relieving crowding at the height of the peak. The current interaction of the Frankston and Dandenong lines means that if one is delayed, both are delayed.
When that train gets to North Melbourne, it then effectively dictates the position of all the other trains that come through North Melbourne.
Add the Cranbourne single track as well, and no wonder there are constantly delays in peak hour! Some of those intertwinings are not easily severed until the metro tunnel opens in , but Frankston and Dandenong can be separated now, reducing the effect of late running.
Frankston trains are regularly altered to bypasses the City Loop. Statistics from PTV show that in the past 12 months, Frankston trains were altered to bypass the Loop, or about 10 per week. The Pakenham and Lilydale lines had more bypasses. Spontaneous changes like this play havoc with passengers, and add to pressures at interchange stations like Richmond. In the PM peak, Loop bypasses often mean people miss their trains home, delaying them even more, and causing crowding on other services.
If Frankston trains never ran via the Loop, some people would have to change trains, but others would adapt their travel patterns to avoid the Loop in the first place. In fact, so many Frankston trains are bypassing the Loop that people are getting used to it. When my morning train is altered to bypass the Loop for instance, yesterday , I see fellow regulars who usually go to Flagstaff who are as I am staying on to Flinders Street and walking from there.
The same thing happened on the Sandringham line removed from the Loop in and the Werribee line removed People adapted their travel patterns. Those lines are now busier than ever. Watch the Sandringham line at Richmond — many people change to the Loop, but more people stay on it to Flinders Street. Of course nobody likes losing their one seat ride, but history has shown that in the long term, these types of changes allow a lot more trains to run, fewer delays — and that helps get more passengers on board.
This is precisely how most big city metros work. Think of London Underground: interchanges galore enabled by frequent services. More immediately achievable is that all day frequency also needs to improve.
These lines do quite well at most times of day, but evenings and early morning need attention, and running more lines at 10 minute or better frequencies all day would help people get around all of the network. Fortunately, the planets have aligned. Ultimately, moving Frankston trains out of the Loop will cause some inconvenience and consternation — even if only for the 6 years until the metro tunnel opens.
Leave a comment below — but remember, the public transport system is run for the benefit of everyone, not just you personally. A change like this about making the overall rail service more reliable, cutting delays and unplanned bypasses, and better using the capacity to its fullest, to cut waiting times and overcrowding.
What is preventing them from implementing or testing them. The time saved on an express service meant I had to change trains to get where I wanted to go. But changes were easy — either at Richmond, where City Loop trains depart from Platform 8 with exceptional frequency, or the slower option at Flinders Street where City Loop trains depart from Platform 1. I have also been a Sandringham Line regular, and your observations about that line are correct.
Demand for City Loop destinations is not any lower amongst Sandringham Line passengers. Some people change at Richmond, many more change at Flinders Street. The regular weekday Flinders Street direct pattern of the Sandringham Line is a thing of simple beauty. I can see your points but I would hate to lose frankston loop trains.
It would add mins to what is already a drawn out trip to Bentleigh stopping all stations. I can see it would be less inconvenient if both dandenong and frankston trains arrived on the same island platform so interchange woukd be much easier. It seems to work really well on platform 7 and 8 in the morning.
Bit weird, requiring a knowledge of where the train originated in order to guess its destination. Would also be great for accessing the sports precinct on weekends, which currently necessitates changing for everyone who comes through North Melbourne.
Arthur: As far as is known, PTV and Metro are for this, because it had been planned for along with a bunch of other upgrades when Regional Rail Link opened, and was only blocked by the then new, possibly nervous state government. In particularly, it appeared the Frankston line change enabled extra Werribee trains.
See my blog from the time and also this Age article. Belinda M: Yes it would add a few minutes to change at Richmond. The increase in train frequency and the reduced delays would also save time. The other option is to consider your final destination. Daniel as a Sandy line passenger, I disagree with you and Michael Bell.
Definitely not a thing of beauty. However, due to congestion, etc, I accept that some painful aspects of PT need to be shared across users.. I see hundreds of other people do it, too. They should probably do the exact opposite of what they are doing now. That is, run off-peak Frankston trains through the loop while taking peak Frankston trains out, in order to run more Pakenham trains and alleviate crowding.
Not only would fewer people have to change trains, but those that do would not have to wait as long, particularly late at night. The easiest way for afternoon City Loop commuters to access stations on the Frankston line beyond Caulfield is to take a Dandenong-bound train from a City Loop station, express through the MATH stations and change at Caulfield. To relieve overcrowding here more Westall short starters are needed, which should provide room for City Loop passengers from Caulfield Frankston line and South Yarra Sandringham line.
Simjapo: In the inter peak, Laverton and Williamstown trains through-route with Frankston and Werribee trains terminate at Flinders St. As to the blog post, I agree wholeheartedly with you, Daniel. This is somewhat unrelated but it would be really cool to have an interchange ability on the PTV map, so you could type in your interchange station and your destination and find out every option is it worth running to platform 1, or should I take my time and walk to 7, etc.
I find that getting off at Richmond and changing for the city loop is often a guessing game as to which platform to go to. It would be nice to quickly find out what was going on while on the previous train, with real-time information and what not. Otherwise, I agree. The Frankston line should undoubtedly be taken out of the loop. I would argue all of the time.
Would ease a lot of confusion, and allow West Melbourne to be utilised more on weekends as an interchange.
We should also start talking about city loop reconfiguration. Might as well get the planning done now. I like that a number of the Frankston trains are also cross-town service to Williamstown and Werribee. I think this should be a consistent thing, and keep them to run only on platforms 8, 9 and 10 for predictability and to not tie it up with other lines.
Regarding cascading delays, impact to the Northern Group can also affect Burnley group services using platform 4 at Flinders Street; and if that delay happens at just the wrong time, it could also impact the Clifton Hill group when some Burnley trains are scheduled to arrive in Flinders Street platform 1, or some Clifton Hill group trains in Platform 2.
Consistency is great for helping people understand and use a system. I love that the Clifton Hill loop always runs in a clockwise direction making the loop stations always accessible from Flinders Street and Southern Cross. Similarly whichever line runs through the Caulfield loop should permanently run in an anti-clockwise direction to give access to Flinders Street and Southern Cross from the loop stations at all times.
It might not be popular initially, but there is always opportunity to change trains at Richmond or Caulfield for direct services. The middle subway at Richmond shows next trains to Flinders and City Loop on the screens.
No guessing, no running,. Daniel are there any details you can share about the rumoured new timetable on March 31 and whether this will be part of it? An all-day anticlockwise direction in the City Loop for the Caulfield Group would reduce a lot of other problems in the CBD — reduce pressure on east-west trams to access Southern Cross Station, because a Caulfield Group train would be quicker and more reliable from Parliament and Melbourne Central, to connect to Vline or Werribee line services — reduce pressure from Vline passengers using Sunbury trains from the City Loop and connecting at Footscray, because a Caulfield line train to Southern Cross would give them more chance of getting a seat — reduce pressure on Swanston St trams for passengers from Melbourne Central for passengers accessing services that commence at Flinders St.
It includes lots of very worthwhile service upgrades. Most trains between those two points are packed in peak. Once the HCMTs start coming online not only can more trains be timetabled, but there will also be more room to fit more passengers from the loop. So time to look at it again. One benefit that is sometimes forgotten is still how busy Flinders St is despite the loop stations. PIDs in the Elizabeth St subway would help this too.
On weekends in the loop most will naturally go to platform 2 at the loop stations for a one-seat ride home, but the more savvy will go to platform 4 for a train to Richmond and get the service 10 mins earlier.
Changes to the Frankston line timetable
From June 6th, metropolitan trains will run to new timetables. These and some other lines will get extra services. The changes allow more trains to run, and Metro and the government say it will improve reliability and cut crowding. If you currently use Cheltenham to Caulfield express trains you will need to consider your options, depending on your destination. If your destination is within blocks of Flinders Street, you may wish to walk from there instead of using a loop station. Some trains will also serve Southern Cross, but check the timetable. You may also be able to use a tram from Flinders Street.
Sign up for Email updates. Sign up for SMS updates. Due to the removal of the level crossings at North, McKinnon and Centre roads, the Frankston line will have a new weekday peak timetable from Monday 16 November until mid During this time, all Frankston line services will become stopping all stations from Frankston to Flinders Street Stations, with no express trains in the morning and afternoon. All current City Loop services will continue to stop all at stations within the City Loop. These changes are necessary due to the need to close the third train track between Moorabbin and Caulfield stations so we can safely carry out construction and keep trains running on the Frankston line at the same time.