How easily can you travel between Victoria's second, third and fourth largest cities exclusively by rail?
All have train stations in their CBD. And their lines intersect somewhere in metropolitan Melbourne. So the answer boils down to how good the connections between them are. That's what I'll try to answer today.
From Melbourne all three lines head west to Sunshine and then fan out. Bendigo branches north while Ballarat and Geelong separate just west of Deer Park. Hence Deer Park serves as an interchange point for Geelong - Ballarat travellers.
Footscray does the same for those travelling to Bendigo. This involves backtracking from Sunshine as, despite hopes about it being a transport 'superhub', Bendigo trains don't currently stop there.
I'll look at Saturday times only. Sunday timetables are generally similar except for later starts and earlier finishes. Weekday timetables are more frequent, particularly for Geelong and Ballarat (20 and 40 minute interpeak services respectively). Scheduling to ensure connectivity is more important when services are less frequent so I think looking at Saturday times is fair to gauge its quality.
What is a good connection? You don't want it to be so tight that even the slightest delay to the arriving train will cause it to be broken. Conversely you don't want to be waiting an hour around on a platform in the middle of nowhere especially late at night.
Due to V/Line's difficulty in meeting punctuality targets, the prudent passenger may distrust scheduled connections of less than say ten minutes, especially if a timely arrival is critical. I'm going to make a stab in the dark and say 10 to 20 minutes is OK as a planning aim. Some might see these somewhat longer times as legitimising poor punctuality performance while others view this as prudent robustness based on 'what is' today.
Geelong - Ballarat
The earliest you can reach Ballarat from Geelong is just before 9am. Because both lines operate hourly at this time connections are a reasonable 19 minutes at Deer Park for the first two trips. Total travel time is 2hr 11 min.
From late morning the pattern changes as Geelong trains improve to every 40 minutes while Ballarat trains stay hourly. These unharmonised frequencies mean varying wait times. Typically either 19, 39 or 59 minutes. In other words a 1 in 3 chance of making a reasonable connection.
Note: Morning and evening ex-Warrnambool trains do not stop at Deer Park
What does a 59 minute connection mean if the train you’re changing to comes hourly? It means that if you are arriving you will likely see the previous train departing. It’s a bad experience for passengers and should be avoided. It happens six times on Saturdays at Deer Park under current timetables. This puts the onus on passengers to carefully choose trips that connect rather than on the network to provide it as a matter of course. This reduces effective frequency, travel flexibility and thus network usefulness.
A special problem happens in the mid-evenings where Ballarat trains drop to every 90 minutes before recovering to hourly. Waits are never less than 39 minutes between 18:55 and 21:35. The longest wait is 91 minutes. The 18:52 train from Geelong arrives Deer Park at 19:35. Passengers on it would see the lights of the Ballarat train that departed a minute earlier at 19:34. Thus they must wait at Deer Park until the next train at 21:06. The two 90 min evening gaps in the Melton/Ballarat timetable is an issue in itself, independent of connectivity concerns discussed here.
Ballarat - Geelong
There’s fewer trips here as I’ve only shown Geelong trains that have a connection from the less frequent Ballarat service. Interchange times at Deer Park are mostly :04, :24 and :44. None are ideal with 4 minutes too tight for good reliability and :24 and :44 adding to journey time.
The main after 7pm issues are lowfrequency (with a 128 minute gap between second last and last train) and anearly finish with the last train leaving Ballarat before 9:30pm. There isn’tthe very long mid-evening wait we saw from Geelong but there is one tight (4minute) connection.
Ballarat - Bendigo
Unlike what we saw between Ballarat and Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo trains operate at close to an hourly headway during the day. This means that connections are likely to be either consistently good or consistently bad.
The earliest a train – train trip will get you to Bendigo is 9:55am if starting at Ballarat. This is the second Bendigo train from Melbourne as there was a first, departing Southern Cross at 7:01am, arriving at 8:58am. The V/Line timetable shows an early coach leaving Ballarat at 5:35am. However this arrives Southern Cross at 7:05am, missing the Bendigo train by 4 minutes. This illustrates the effect of a few minutes in determining how early and late you can and cannot reach a place.
As for the rest of the day, waiting times at Footscray are typically 36 minutes out of a 3hr 37 minute trip.Why Footscray and not Sunshine, when both lines go through there? The answer is that Bendigo trains don’t stop at Sunshine.
If they did and timetables were optimised then Ballarat to Bendigo travel time could be cut by 20% to about 3 hours. Removing such backtracking and speeding overall travel times are the sort of ‘quick wins’ that should be the 'bread and butter' of Department of Transport and V/Line planning work. Where constraints exist to not currently permit this then this should drive investment and reform in areas like infrastructure and operating practices.
What happens at night? There are some quick trips (3hr 9 min) but these are based on tightish (7 min) connections. Maybe they’re not tight by Japanese and Swiss standards but we don’t have their reliability. It can sometimes be hard to make the business case for better reliability and even basic maintenance stack up on assessment criteria used. Flashy new station roofs are sometimes seen as having greater electoral appeal even while tracks under them rot. However I should point out that the 2022 Victorian state budget has a $248m allocation for 'V/Line efficiency and reliability'.
There is again a >2 hour gap between the second last and last inbound train from Ballarat like we discussed before. Those in Ballarat would be wise to catch the second last train if at all possible and forego any food or entertainment they might have had. Why? It’s because the last train reaches Footscray at 22:46. When did the desired train to Bendigo leave there? 22:45 – 1 minute earlier. The result is an unsatisfactory 77 minute wait at Footscray for the next and last train at three past midnight.
To summarise, unless you are lucky taking a train from Bendigo to Ballarat on a Saturday (or likely Sunday) is a mugs’ game and you wouldn’t want to do it unless a stopover in Footscray was part of the plan.
Bendigo - Ballarat
Travel is happier for those going to Ballarat, provided there are no disruptions. Waiting time is 8 minutes for much of the day. Good if everything is running to time, but if not ...
The earliest you can reach Ballarat by train is 9:43am – a little earlier than going the other way. Again there’s an earlier train but the first train from Bendigo reaches Footscray 13 minutes too late to meet it. The subsequent and one other connection involves 47 – 49 minutes at Footscray until the pattern (mostly) settles down. Nothing operates at a suitable time to meet the train that arrives at 11:43am.
Evenings present 32 to 58 minute connections. The latter is because the last train (Footscray at 23:26) is two minutes after the Ballarat train at 23:24. However night owls have a coach option where they can go in to Southern Cross with a 15 minute change there. Total time is however still slower than earlier train trips.
Note: Last trip is coach via Southern Cross.
Geelong - Bendigo
Here we're back to unharmonised frequencies and thus varying connection times at Footscray. Mostly they're about 26, 46 and around 60 minutes. The last happens if you choose an unsuitable train at Geelong; if you delay your departure to get the next train in 40 min time then you cut your waiting by that amount and end up on the same train to Bendigo. There are some reasonable 17 minute connections in the evening and a tight 6 minute connection in the afternoon.
Bendigo - Geelong
Like with Geelong - Bendigo you can get there by 9am on the first trip. Waits can be up to 39 minutes in the morning but settle down to an alternating 4 minute and 24 minute connection time in the afternoon. A problem arises at 17:58 where a train from Bendigo arrives at Footscray at exactly the same time as a Geelong train departs. This results in an impossible connection unless the Geelong train is serendipitously delayed.
Some evening connections are more consistent, though the 7 minutes for the last trip would be tight for the conservative traveller. Again Bendigo's 90 minute evening headways limit journey time flexibility. Like Ballarat and unlike Geelong (which has later trips) the last inbound service leaves at about 21:30.
Coach services operate from Geelong to Ballarat and Bendigo. The Geelong - Ballarat coach trip takes about 1 hr 35 min while Ballarat - Bendigo is about 2hr 15 min. Both these are faster than all-train trips. However trains, though less direct and involving a transfer, win out on frequency, particularly on weekends. With a coach travel speed 4hr 30 min (including a 40 min break at Ballarat), trains are always faster for Geelong - Bendigo travel.
Findings and solutions
Trying to travel between our largest regional cities in Victoria by train requires significant planning on the part of the passenger to avoid long waits or exposure to fragile connections with a high chance of failure. While trains on these lines are typically every 40 or 60 minutes at most times, the period between instances of good connections can be longer due to incompatible frequencies. For Ballarat to Bendigo frequencies may be harmonised but poor connections can repeat over most of the day.
Amongst the most cost-effective way to speed regional train travel and make the rail network less 'Melbourne-centric' would be to review timetables to optimise connections for inter-regional trips. This is likely to assume increasing importance given the regional-based nature of the 2026 Commonwealth Games.
As Melbourne outer areas grow, shorter trips like Tarneit to Melton are likely to grow in importance. These lack direct buses between them. For them V/Line is their local train service. Thus what's been written here about connectivity between regional cities applies in equal force to them, with travel time comparisons even less favourable compared to driving.
Need for higher frequency
Even ignoring connectivity concerns, higher frequency is needed to accommodate crowding. Adding carriages (where available) may be cheaper but, while it improves comfort, does not reduce waiting time or end-to-end travel speed like boosting frequency would. The most urgent need for improved frequency is at night where services frequencies drop to 90 - 120 minutes on the Ballarat and Bendigo lines. Inserting one or two extra trips to improve this to 40 - 60 minutes would make a substantial difference, especially if the day timetable pattern can be extended consistently into the night.
Also desirable are weekend daytime frequency increases, notably on the Geelong and Ballarat lines that have a significant suburban transit function. A 20 minute frequency would bring these lines up to weekend frequencies that operate on most electrified Metro lines. Added frequency on a line doesn't guarantee perfect coordination with other lines but it does put a ceiling on maximum waits and provides capacity to avoid scenes like above.
A network planning approach that explicitly considers and promotes to the public connectivity between lines is essential. The idea is to harmonise frequencies and optimise connections at key interchange points, which in this context means Deer Park and Footscray (or Sunshine).
Because rail planners have done the painstaking planning and scheduling the passenger often does not need to. Thus they can hop on any train and expect good, reliable and repeating connections to important destinations.
The Swiss and German approach to achieving this is "First the timetable, then the infrastructure".
This is based on a vision of state (or country) wide mobility based on good connectivity across the network. This requires significant work in scheduling. Where this isn't efficient (eg a train's run time is too long for it to reach an interchange point in time) then consideration of infrastructure that would allow improved timing is given.
We could potentially make a start by reviewing the extreme cases of services missing one another by a few minutes and considering the scope for rescheduling. This is particularly the case early and late in the day where a change of a few minutes can extend the period that travel is possible by an hour or so. More detailed work could look at the practicality of a more regular and consistent harmonised pulse pattern over the day and night.
The nearest we get to this is the Regional Network Development Planand the Western Rail Plan. The recent Ballarat Line Upgradeincreased frequency from 60 to 40 minutes on weekdays interpeak but not weekends. Neither were the long weekend evening gaps plugged. A 40 minute off-peak service remains as an aspiration for the Bendigo, Seymour and Gippsland lines on any day of the week.
Direct transport options
Faster rail to Geelong,Ballarat and Bendigo would mainly improve connectivity to Melbourne. There may be some indirect effects for inter-regional travel provided the speed increases are in the outer portions of the lines and interchange points are preserved (and if possible pushed out to improve geometry and reduce backtracking). The latter is not assured and results can vary. For example if Geelong trains are routed via Laverton to go the 'old way' (as proposed in the Geelong Fast Rail Project) then there's more back-tracking for Geelong - Ballarat travel while that for Bendigo is may be lessened (assuming interchange at Footscray).
Electrifying Geelong and running via a Melbourne Metro 2 tunnel from Newport would further improve geometry and speed for the CBD but make the interchange an even less direct Southern Cross Station for regional trips to adjacent regions eg Melton and Ballarat.
Options could include continuing to run some Geelong trains via Wyndham Vale, Sunshine and Footscray. That gives extra choice but there's the risk of splitting frequency (and lengthening some waits) unless service is vastly improved over now. Ideas for restoring direct rail service between Geelong, Ballarat and even Bendigo also bob up with local advocates including the Rail Revival Alliance. Hopes were raised by the Coalition parties before the 2010 state election (which they won) but their feasibility study found it would cost $935 million and not be viable.
Improved coach services to be more than a few trips a day are eminently possible and could offer good travel times, especially between Geelong and Ballarat. However in terms of public and political profile this seems to be even lower than metropolitan buses. Little has been done despite their cost-effectiveness. There's certainly some opportunities here. Notwithstanding this pursuing rail connectivity remains essential since there are growing populations in places like Tarneit and Melton that could and should benefit from better rail access to regional cities.
We’ve identified three main problems with regional train timetables. Low frequencies at important travel times, unharmonised timetables and planning that doesn’t necessarily consistently optimise regional to regional trips.
Money invested in service, work done planning timetables and infrastructure priorities driven by network connectivity have big payoffs in saved time for passengers and likely higher patronage as more trips are made consistently easier.
See other Timetable Tuesday items here
vline.com.au. Victorian railway network in 2014. Overview. Headquarters.What do V Line trains run on? ›
VLocity trains run on the Geelong, Ballarat, Ararat, Maryborough, Bendigo, Echuca, Seymour, Shepparton, Traralgon and Bairnsdale lines.Are Vline trains Electric? ›
The V/Line VLocity, sometimes called the VLocity 160, is a diesel multiple unit train built by Bombardier Transportation (later Alstom) in Dandenong for V/Line, the regional rail operator in Victoria.What is V line in Melbourne? ›
V/Line, as a brand, has provided public transport services to regional Victoria for over 30 years. Each week, V/Line schedules more than 1,997 train services between Melbourne and: Geelong and Warrnambool. Ballarat, Maryborough and Ararat.How fast is V line? ›
The new VLocity trains provide all passengers with a premier travelling experience. VLocity trains can run at faster speeds (up to 130km/h) than classic fleet trains. wheelchair spaces with nearby companion seats, an accessible toilet, wide doors and improved handrails.
The transversus abdominis is that deep v-shaped cut in the abs of bodybuilders. Also known as "sex lines", the transversus abdominis wraps around your body, supporting your spine, and the muscle's visible edges are an indicator of a super-strong core and low body fat.When was the V train discontinued? ›
As part of a series of service reductions to close a budget gap, the V train was eliminated on June 25, 2010. With the exception of service at Second Avenue, it was combined with the M train, which was rerouted from Lower Manhattan and South Brooklyn via the Chrystie Street Connection.How many volts run through train tracks? ›
Trains are powered by electricity carried through overhead lines or a conductor rail, sometimes called the third rail. The third rail has 750 volts passing through it. That's enough to kill or seriously injure you if you step on it.How many volts does it take to run a train? ›
Railway electrification systems using alternating current (AC) at 25 kilovolts (kV) are used worldwide, especially for high-speed rail.Is Vline reliable? ›
Vline generally speaking is reasonably reliable and efficient. 1 star down for the fellow clientele; Their main problem is the passengers, like anywhere in society. I've suffered two significant delays in the past fortnight due to violent passengers requiring police assistance.
ABB had previously developed energy storage system (ESS) solutions for 750 Volt rail lines in the US and Europe, but in the southern states of Australia, mainly Victoria and New South Wales, rail lines run on 1,500 Volts.What is the fastest train in Australia? ›
|High-speed rail in Australia|
The V-shape or line is located where the obliques meet the transversus abdominis muscles. This line can be a physical display of hard work in the gym and discipline in the kitchen. To develop V-cut abs, target your lower abs and obliques.Can you eat on Vline? ›
V/Line train services vary depending on your origin station, but all have a friendly conductor on board to assist you during your travels. Some services have reserved seating including first and economy class while others have unreserved seating. Café bars with refreshments are available on some long-distance journeys.Can you take bikes on V line? ›
Generally, V/Line coaches do not carry bicycles, surfboards, surf skis, sailboards, canoes and similar items. There is an exception for coach services along coastal routes where surfboards and boogie boards may be carried subject to available space on the day of travel.Can you drink on Vline? ›
Some trains on regional service V/Line have buffet cars with hot and food options available, and passengers can bring their own snacks and non-alcoholic drinks on board. Cold foods can be consumed on V/Line coach services, but hot food or drink is not permitted. Alcohol is not permitted on any V/Line service.Why is the Victoria line so fast? ›
The Victoria line runs faster trains than other Underground lines because it has fewer stops, ATO running and modern design. Train speeds can reach up to 50 miles per hour (80 km/h).Are V lines hard to get? ›
“Sex lines,” aka that abdominal V line are one of the hardest parts of your abs to sculpt. That V shape is created where two muscles meet: the lower abs and obliques. So in order to make them pop, you need to perform specific exercises that hit both muscle groups.What is a man's V line called? ›
The Adonis belt – sometimes called Apollo's belt – refers to two V-shaped muscular grooves on the abdominal muscles alongside the hips. This feature of the abdominal muscles takes its name from Adonis, the legendary god of fertility, youth, and beauty.
The scientific term for the V-shaped body is called the Adonis Belt. The area of the Adonis Belt that creates separation between your hips and abdominals is made of the inguinal ligament and hip bone, neither of which you can train.Why is there no V train? ›
V service was discontinued in June 2010 due to budgetary concerns, being replaced entirely (except for service to the Second Avenue station) by a rerouted M train.Does the V train exist? ›
The V, a local train that made 24 stops on weekdays between Manhattan's 2nd Avenue Station to the Forest Hills–71st Avenue station, was originally meant to reduce overcrowding on the E and F trains, which both also ran to Forest Hills. At the same time, the G train ran differently than it does today.What is Railway V? ›
DC motors are used in a wide variety of industries, from the workplace to leisure. However, one of the main industries they serve is rail. DC motors are commonly used to power trains and their individual parts, such as windshield wipers.What happens if you touch a train track? ›
"The electricity is so strong that if you touch the rail or step on it, you will stick to it like glue and won't be able to get off. "The electricity is likely to kill you - and, if you do survive, you will suffer terrible burns.Are train tracks AC or DC? ›
Railways and electrical utilities use AC as opposed to DC for the same reason: to use transformers, which require AC, to produce higher voltages.How much power is needed to pull a train? ›
A short line railroad or branch line with the same tractive effort requirements might require up to 2000 horsepower to move the train because of the higher speeds involved. Main line locomotives may need over 4000 horsepower each with multiple units because of both high tractive effort and speeds.How many volts are in a light rail? ›
Most light rail or tram systems get their power from overhead catenary systems. Typical voltages range from 600V–750V DC, with more recent installations tending towards higher voltages. These voltages are lower than those used by traditional electrified railways, which use much higher AC voltages up to 25 kV.Why do trains have 110 volts? ›
A) At a low voltage of 24 Volts, the current draw was very high and thus it required very thick wires, that increased wiring costs. Thus they decided to increase the voltage of the DC system within coaches to 110 Volts so that the wiring costs could be saved.
The top brands include:
- Athearn (HO, N scale)
- Atlas (O, HO and N scale)
- Arnold (N gauge, owned by Hornby)
- Bachmann (HO, N and G scale)
- Lionel (O scale trains).
- Walthers (N and HO scale)
- Toy train near Shimla.
- Batasia Loop near Darjeeling, Source.
- Dudhsagar Falls near Londa, Source.
- Mandovi express Source.
- Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary, Source.
- Pamban bridge Source.
- Indain Maharaja Railway Source.
The following railway lines are electrified with a 25kV AC overhead wire: Seaford railway line.What is the line voltage in Australia? ›
Australian electricity runs on 220-240 V and 50 Hz. Please make sure your electronics accept 220 – 240 volts (V). If your device uses 110 – 120V, common in North America, you will need a step down transformer.How many volts is in the 3rd railing of train? ›
Energized at 600 volts DC, the third rail provides electrical power to the power-train, and ancillaries of the subway cars.Which Australian city has the best train system? ›
Summary of commuter rail systems.
|System Name||Metro Trains Melbourne|
|Average daily patronage||660,300|
Plans for a 250kmh bullet train connecting Melbourne to Sydney and Brisbane are moving ahead with the federal government establishing a high-speed rail authority.What is the most famous train in Australia? ›
The Ghan. It could be Australia's most famous – The Ghan. The iconic Australian rail journey from the north to the south; Darwin to Adelaide. The Ghan has a long-standing history with origins dating back to 1878 when construction started.What is the least used station on the Victoria line? ›
Which is the least used station in Victoria?
- Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit. Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit has the highest customer satisfaction in the world, with 86 percent of riders happy with its services. ...
- New York Transit. ...
- Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway. ...
- Berlin U-Bahn. ...
- Tokyo Metro.
Wondabyne railway station.
Adjective. V-line (not comparable) (fashion) Cut in the shape of a "V", producing a flared effect.Do Vline trains have power points? ›
V/Line trains don't offer Wi-Fi or power outlets (these have been promised in the future, but they're not there now).Do Vline trains have wifi? ›
The V/Line does not have Wi-Fi – free or otherwise – and attempting to use your own internet connection is a good way to discover which parts of Victoria have terrible internet coverage.Do V Line trains have toilets? ›
Trains. Intercity and regional trains have toilets on board.What are V lines on a girl? ›
Some women seem blessed with the perfect abdomen and a deep indention that slopes down from the hips. This V-shaped muscle, also known as the Adonis belt, begins at your hip bones and runs diagonally until each side meets in the pelvic region.What is the technical term for V line? ›
“Sex lines,” aka that abdominal V line are one of the hardest parts of your abs to sculpt. That V shape is created where two muscles meet: the lower abs and obliques. So in order to make them pop, you need to perform specific exercises that hit both muscle groups.What is a Vline coach? ›
V/Line Train & Coach Services [country] V/Line is Victoria's regional public transport provider, operating rail and coach services throughout Victoria. All train and the majority of coach services operate to and from Southern Cross Station.Is Vline a word? ›
VLINE is not a valid scrabble word.
- Hanging leg raises. Share on Pinterest. ...
- Boat Pose. ...
- Mountain skater. ...
- Supine leg lifts. ...
- Reverse crunches. ...
- Farmer's walk. ...
- Cable crunches. ...
- Ab wheel rollouts.
The V line is often coveted by fitness buffs -- guys and girls alike. This shape to the midsection is created when your body fat levels are low enough to show the separation between the oblique muscles and your hip flexors.Does everyone have the V line? ›
While everyone has an inguinal ligament, not everyone has V line abs. “[The V-line] will show up on very slim people with minimal belly fat who also have a developed rectus abdominis muscle,” Marko says. In other words, V-line abs take some work.How do men get V lines? ›
And that means the best course of action to make your V lines pop is consuming fewer calories than you're taking in to stimulate fat loss. At the most simple level, creating a caloric deficit is the only thing that matters for fat loss. You must eat fewer calories than you burn or you won't lose fat.Are there toilets on Vline trains? ›
Conductors and station staff are available to assist you throughout your journey. Accessible toilets are available on all Sprinter and VLocity trains. Limited accessible toilets are available on locomotive-hauled services. To find out more about V/Line's fleets types visit the On board page.Why do Vline trains honk? ›
Sounding the horn is a safety requirement to notify people of a train approaching a level crossing. The location is determined on the distance from the crossing and the speed of the train.Is it V line or beeline? ›
Many dictionaries list the word with a hyphen—bee-line—and it sometimes appears as two distinct words. But English's compounding impulse has done its work. This ngram indicates that the one-word, unhyphenated beeline overcame the alternatives over half a century ago.What are the V muscles on a guy called? ›
What is an Adonis belt? The Adonis belt is the V-shaped muscle that runs diagonally from your hip bones to the pelvic region. It's made of the inguinal ligament and the transverse abdominis (TVA). It's the deepest core muscle group in your abdomen.What is a mans V? ›
The senior boasts a feature found only on the fittest of men – the “man-V.” Rock-hard biceps, washboard abs and a camelback chest are all nice and dandy. But look out below: those chiseled, V-shaped indentations that outline a male's midsection and suggestively lead elsewhere have girls swooning.