A key priority of the Committee for greater Frankston is the extension of the metropolitan railway line past Frankston, where it currently ends, to Langwarrin a distance of just five kilometres.
Duplication and electrification of this line would provide viable public transport links through all “sandbelt suburbs”. Benefiting two of the region’s most car-dependent suburbs, Karingal and Langwarrin, by connecting 37,000 residents including 19,000 who commute to work.
The three stations would service Karingal, the Frankston health and education precinct (Monash University’s Peninsula campus, and Frankston Hospital), and Langwarrin.
The Frankston line is a significant public asset and extending it to Langwarrin would encourage people out of their cars and off the peak hour congested M1 (Monash Freeway).
There is plenty of affordable land at Langwarrin for a “park and ride” commuter car park.
Mornington Peninsula residents would be able to drive to Langwarrin, park and ride, and access the metropolitan train service. Moving commuter car parking to Langwarrin would free up valuable CBD land at Frankston.
The Greater Frankston region has fewer than 28 local jobs per 100 residents. This means two things:
- We need to bring jobs, jobs, jobs into our local economy.
- We need to better connect our workers with job markets outside our area.
Rail patronage on the Frankston line has remained relatively constant since 2008. However, trips initiated from the sandbelt suburbs have almost halved. This shift away from rail in the sandbelt suburbs can be linked to a relative decline in the quality of EXPRESS services. Even where multi-billion dollar rail infrastructure exists, a neglected express service is detrimental to system usage, and consequently a community’s economic opportunities.
Issues on the Frankston line include:
Commuter trips to Melbourne now take too long.
- Timetable changes to improve efficiency in inner Melbourne – like excluding the City Loop from Frankston’s express services and adding time buffers into the schedule – have made outer suburban journeys longer. Allowing for connections and transiting, a daily Melbourne commute is 90 minutes each way.
- Improvements to the Monash (M1), Eastern (M3) and Peninsula Link (M11) freeways have decreased road travel times relative to rail.
Getting onto a train at Frankston is difficult because:
- The Stony Point line is a “ghost train”.
Infrequent trains – only 10 trips per day in each direction – and frequent cancellations – one in every 20 – have made the Stony Point line very inconvenient, and few travellers use it. On average a Stony Point train carries 27 passengers.
- Commuter car parking at sandbelt stations is inadequate. For example, Frankston station has 416 official commuter car parks but more than 3000 people claiming to access the station by car each day. Frankston station car park is full by 6.30am on weekdays.
… and insufficient car parking has material repercussions for Frankston’s local economy.
- Affordable all-day car parking in Frankston CBD is occupied by train commuters leaving CBD workers with insufficient car parking.
- Frankston CBD businesses struggle. CBD access is a hassle for their customer and high car parking charges – at $12 a day – penalise businesses located in the CBD.
Much-needed Frankston line service improvements such as more trains more often, renovated stations and Protective Services Officers have not addressed comfort issues associated with a long train commute. The proposed reduction in seats – to a ratio of 10 seats to 90 standing – with the introduction of Metro Trains’ new rolling stock will be most detrimental to suburbs with longer commute times.
To create fast links to work for all Melburnians, the rail transport strategy needs to differentiate between:
- Turn-up-and-go services stopping at every stations, and
- express services linking urban Melbourne’s activity centres.
Establishing a robust express service on the Frankston line requires:
- Electrification and duplication of the existing Stony Point rail corridor to Langwarrin, with stations at Karingal and the proposed Frankston health and education precinct.
Young professionals are coming to live and raise families in Frankston, Karingal and Langwarrin. We need to connect them with jobs right up the train line. An additional 8 kilometres of electrified track would bring metropolitan-grade public transport to two of Melbourne’s most car-dependent suburbs, benefiting 37,000 residents and 19,000 workers.
By 2020 Monash University’s Peninsula campus and Frankston Hospital will form a critical part of a vibrant and integrated health, business and education precinct with 4500+ students, 4200+ staff and 6000+ daily hospital visitors. Access will be an ongoing challenge, and a railway station is the solution.
- Creation of a major park-and-ride facility at a new Langwarrin station.
Sufficient commuter car parking near metro-grade stations allows more people to use trains. And importantly, relocating commuter car parking on relatively cheap land at Langwarrin frees up valuable land in Frankston’s and Melbourne’s economic hubs.
- Express timetabling – fill the trains and then run them fast…!
Timetabling must consider the need for a dual operating model – the “Turn Up And Go” (TUAG) model (which is PTV’s current focus) and the Express model. With TUAG, you don’t need a timetable, you just “turn up and go” as trains are running, for example, every 10 minutes. The Express model would see trains running from Langwarrin to Frankston and through to Carrum to be filled and then running express to Melbourne.
Work must commence on extending the Frankston line’s express rail infrastructure. This work would include a third track to Mordialloc, high-speed signalling, and passing loops.
- Keep seats on all express services trains. A journey from Frankston to Melbourne is too long to stand.
The new 90 standing and 10 seated train configuration, with faster loading times, is beneficial for a stopping-all-stations service but doesn’t suit an express service.