With the Rail Industrial action going on, there is a lot of misinformation being spread around but nobody seems to be asking the really important questions.
WHAT IS A METRO SYSTEM?
A Metro is a Railway Network that is designed to ferry large numbers of passengers short distances using rail cars. It is characterised by a complete segregation from pedestrians and roads (usually underground). It is a system used in extremely large and populous cities. Because passengers are only traveling short distances the rail cars are distinct in their lack of seating. Metro systems often require a lot of interchanges to get from one side of the city to the other.
WHY DO WE NEED ONE IN MELBOURNE?
The simple answer is: we don’t.
Melbourne doesn’t have the population density that requires a ‘Metro’. Our system brings in people from the Suburbs of Melbourne and outer regional towns into two central locations in the city (Southern Cross and Flinders Street) with the most populous areas of Melbourne serviced by the City Loop. Passengers then often walk or use trams to get to other destinations in the city.
This works fairly well for Melbourne. Do we need a Metro? No.
IT’S NOT A METRO, IT’S A METRO STYLE
MTM don’t want to turn Melbourne’s Rail Network into a Metro though, they want to turn it into a “Metro Style” Network.
MTM want to remove all connections between lines, so that there will be (in the end) 16 entirely separate lines.
SO, WHY ARE METRO TRAINS MELBOURNE TRYING TO DO IT?
- There are substantial contracts to be found in ripping apart a rail network
MTM stand to pick up a 500 million dollar contract to dismantle the connections between Richmond and Flinders Street.
Their own documents state that trains traveling between Richmond and Flinders Street will save 10 seconds.
500 MILLION DOLLARS for 10 SECONDS.
Then of course there will be more money to rip up connections between Flinders Street and Southern Cross, then ripping up the connections at North Richmond.
- A Network completely separated requires duplication of resources
Once again MTM would be able to pick up substantial contracts. Each separate line would require its own maintenance facility, its own train wash, its own wheel lathe. Each of these are million dollar contracts. Each line would require its own management structure and its own separate workforce.
- Once the network is entirely separated (Into 16 different systems) it can then be sold off.
It is difficult to find a company willing to invest money in running our network. Once each line is completely separate, it would be easy to sell it off entirely (tracks and trains and all) to different bidders. This was the Liberal Governments ultimate end-goal. MTM would be a lot happier to buy its own line or two without the restrictions of having to perform maintenance to a government dictated ‘standard’. England did this and now they are trying to fix it: Time to end the disaster of Rail Privatisation.
IT’S ALL ABOUT FLEXIBILITY
There are two ways the Melbourne Rail Network can go. It can go further towards a flexible network or flexibility can be removed in favour of rigidity.
MTM claim that they need to separate the network physically in order to isolate incidents to one line. Where flexibilty allows smaller delays to be spread across the network, rigidity forces entire shutdowns of a single line.
If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.
SO WHO IS RESPONSIBLE?
Ian Dobbs was the head of PTV when the ‘Network Development Plan’ was made up. He is the highly paid public servant who came up with the Shambolic plan to split the network into Hillside and Bayside trains back in the nineties. Ian Dobbs then took up a post in London when they split up their network, he then came back to Melbourne to re-implement his plan. Victoria paid a steep price putting the network back together again after the split disaster. London is now facing a huge problem putting their network back after Ian Dobb’s failed privatisation plan. We have a chance to stop that here before it even begins.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO FIX THIS MESS?
The “Metro Style Network” is written down in the PTV Network Development Plan.
All it requires is the Labor Government to announce that they are moving away from the Network Development Plan.
If the Victorian Government announce that they are moving away from a “Metro Style System”, MTM will not be able to destroy the Melbourne Rail Network.
Why not email Jacinta Allen and ask her to publicly denounce the PTV Network Development Plan.