Sunday, 14 December 2014

Primer - Patronage versus Coverage

Public Transport has two primary goals, which actually compete with each other rather than complement each other - Patronage and Coverage. This distinction between the two functions matters a lot for how public transport networks are designed, and which projects are worthy of funding - but it's a distinction that's rarely made explicit. So you'll often have one group of people arguing for a project on the basis of Coverage and the other against it on the basis of Patronage - neither side is really speaking the same language, so the debate goes nowhere.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Railway Archaeology - Ballarat's Phoenix Foundry

Ballarat's Phoenix Foundry began producing various iron components for local businesses in 1856, moving onto stationary steam engines and eventually steam locomotives in the coming years. Initially one of many foundries in Ballarat, it came to dominate the locomotive business in Victoria and played a key role in transforming Ballarat's economy from being based solely on gold into the more diverse economy it has today. Despite this, it seems to be relatively unknown to most Ballaratians today.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Should we have free public transport?

A campaign was recently launched for free public transport in Victoria. The group behind this, Free PT Victoria, had a Twitter account and a website asking you to join, but both seem to have disappeared now, despite gaining a lot of approval from some of the people in my Twitter feed. Nonetheless, they're not the first to push for this and they won't be the last.

The website didn't seem to have any kind of detail on why they think it's a good idea, or how it would work. This is not that surprising, really, as people who advocate free public transport seem to think that it's fairly self-evident why we should have it - just as many of those who think we should pay for it think that's self-evident. So I think it's still worth exploring.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

The Greens' Goldfields Rail Revival

The Greens' proposal (Source)
Yesterday the Greens announced a commitment to the return of passenger trains between Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo, calling the project the Goldfields Rail Revival.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Railway Archaeology - Balaclava

Bothwell Street in Balaclava (via Augustus Brown)
Something happened on Twitter the other day that I thought would provide some insight into how this whole Railway Archaeology thing generally goes. Fellow train nerd @AugustusBrown noticed that Bothwell St in Balaclava looks like it diverges from the Sandringham line just south of Balaclava station, which suggests the street might have been built along the rail alignment. He then traced it out and suggested that it might connect up to St Kilda station since it was only a minor diversion to do so.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

New PTV livery for the VLocity

The new PTV-branded VLocity livery (via VicSig)
VicSig tweeted a picture earlier today of the first VLocity to wear the new PTV-branded livery, which no doubt is being prepared for the grand opening of the Ballarat and Bendigo legs of Regional Rail Link next month.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Railway Archaeology - The Ballarat Tramways

Trams have become pretty closely associated with Melbourne nowadays - I know when I was younger I thought of them as a uniquely "Melbourne" phenomenon. At 250km of track, Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world, with only a few major European cities even coming close. But things were not always this way - many other cities in Australia had tramways, with Sydney's network being even bigger than Melbourne's. But most of Australia's tramways were ripped up during the 20th Century, and have by and large been forgotten until quite recently.

Friday, 9 May 2014

Railway Archaeology - Ballarat Heritage Weekend

This weekend (May 10th and 11th) is Ballarat Heritage Weekend. One of the many events planned for the weekend is the steam train shuttles between the historic Ballarat Station and Lal Lal, on the line to Geelong. The trains will be run by Steamrail Victoria, a preservation group, and will run with one locomotive at each end, with restored carriages in the middle.
Y112 in 2013

Thursday, 8 May 2014

The Misguided Metro Rail Capacity Project

Seemingly willing to promise almost anything to win Public Transport points after sticking too stubbornly to the unpopular East-West Link, the Coalition have been announcing as many rail projects as they possibly can. Some of these are just re-announcing things that were already going to happen, like the delivery of individual trains. Some are projects the government has been promising for years without actually making progress on, like Airport Rail. Some of them are fantastically worthwhile projects I am very glad the government is doing, like the St Albans Grade Separation or the Mildura line Standardisation (more on which soon). And some...well, some are just desperate.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

The Free CBD and the Unfair Fare

The Victorian Government has recently announced plans to significantly alter the fares for Melbourne's public transport system. Firstly, the CBD and Docklands will become a free zone, so anyone can jump on a tram in the CBD without charge; and secondly, Zone 2 will be, to some extent, abolished.

Source: Premier of Victoria