The Werribee railway line is a commuter rail passenger train service in Melbourne, Australia, operating between Werribee in the western suburbs to Flinders Street in the central business district. The line traverses the flat plains of Melbourne's western suburbs, and after leaving Footscray, has no significant earthworks. The area around the outer end of the line has seen significant residential growth in recent years, resulting in strong patronage growth. It is part of Melbourne's metropolitan rail network operated by Metro Trains.

Infrastructure

The Werribee line is made of multiple tracks (shared with other lines) from the City Loop until South Kensington, where it reverts to double track. From shortly after Newport, the two tracks are signalled for bidirectional operation, although it is rare for trains to not use left-hand running. At Altona Junction, just after the start of bidirectional operation, the Altona branch diverges. This is a single-track branch, which rejoins the main line at Laverton. A passing loop is provided at Westona.

Automatic Block Signalling applies to Newport South (beside the Champion Road level crossing), and from Newport South through to Werribee (and all the way to Geelong), the line is controlled by Automatic and Track Control safeworking via Westona and the main lines. Terminating facilities are provided at Newport and Laverton. Newport is also the location of the Newport Workshops, formerly the main workshops of the Victorian Railways. Stabling facilities are provided at Newport Workshops, and trains are also stabled overnight in the platform at Werribee.

Next generation passenger information display screens(PIDS) have been rolled out at most stations along the Werribee Line. Currently, all stations except South Kensington, Aircraft and Spotswood have passenger information display screens.[1]

Services

Local (Stopping all Stations)

Direct

Direct stopping all station services operates in both directions on weekdays and outbound only on weekends. Trains travel direct via Southern Cross and stops all stations on the Werribee Line. Combined with stopping all stations trains on the Williamstown line, stations between Newport and Flinders Street enjoy double frequency (Trains every 10 minutes) during the day until 8:20pm at Night on weekdays.[2]

On weekdays, citybound trains in the morning peak and outbound trains in the evening peak will skip South Kensington. Weekday daytime trains terminate at Laverton. The average journey time from Flinders Street to Laverton is 35 minutes,and to Werribee is about 47-50 minutes.

  • Every 20 Minutes Daytime and Night
  • Every 18-22 Minutes Peak Times
  • Every 22-30 Minutes Early Mornings

City Loop

Werribee trains operate via the City Loop only on Weekends and Public Holidays. Trains stop all stations between Werribee and Flinders Street via the City Loop(Counter clockwise travel). Citybound trains from Werribee enter the City Loop after North Melbourne Station and stop at Flagstaff, Melbourne Central and Parliament before arriving at Flinders Street. Citybound trains will usually form a Cragieburn, Upfield or Sunbury service. Outbound Werribee services travel direct via Southern Cross from Flinders Street.(See Direct Local Above)

  • Every 20 Minutes Weekend Daytime and Saturday Mornings
  • Every 30 Minutes Saturday Nights
  • Every 40-60 Minutes Early Mornings and Sunday Night

Night Network

Night Network services operate on Friday and Saturday Nights after the last trains until the first trains of the following morning. Trains travel direct and stops all stations between Flinders Street and Werribee. Trains skip Southern Cross and all City Loop Stations.[3]

  • Approx Every Hour (60 Minutes)

Limited Express

Operates in both directions during the daytime and peak hours on weekdays. Trains travel direct from Flinders Street, stopping at Southern Cross, North Melbourne, Footscray, Newport, and Laverton, then stops all stations to Werribee. This stopping pattern applies to citybound trains in the evening peak.

Peak hour limited express trains make an additional stop at South Kensington, however, citybound trains in the evening peak will skip South Kensington. The average journey time between Flinders Street and Werribee for limited express trains is around 37-39 minutes.

  • Every 5-11 Minutes Peak Hour (Citybound Morning Peak, Outbound Evening Peak)
  • Every 10-20 Minutes Peak Hour (Outbound Morning Peak, Citybound Evening Peak)
  • Every 20 Minutes Daytime

Express

Operates outbound in the morning peak on weekdays from Flinders Street to Werribee. Only 4 trains operate to this stopping pattern per weekday. These run to the Limited Express pattern but do not stop at Aircraft Station as well, with the train departing Flinders Street at 8:01 running express between Laverton and Werribee.[4]

Station List

Legend - Stations

  • Premium Station - Station staffed from first to last train
  • Host Station - Usually staffed during Morning peak, however this can vary for different stations on the network.

Legend - Stopping Patterns

  • ● - All Trains Stop
  • ◕ - Trains usually stop, except for citybound trains in the morning peak and outbound trains in the evening peak
  • ○ - Trains usually pass and don't stop, except for citybound trains and outbound trains in the morning peak and outbound trains in the evening Peak
  • ▲- Only Citybound Trains Stop
  • ▽ - Most Trains Stop except for the 8:01 Werribee Service Departing Flinders Street
  • ▼- Only Outbound Trains Stop
  • |, ↓, ↑ - Trains Pass and Don't Stop
Werribee Line
Station City Loop

Local

Night Network

Local

Direct

Local

Direct

Ltd Express

Direct

Express

Flinders Street
Southern Cross ▼ ↑ |
Parliament ↓ ▲
Melbourne Central ↓ ▲
Flagstaff ↓ ▲
North Melbourne
South Kensington |
Footscray
Seddon | |
Yarraville | |
Spotswood | |
Newport
Seaholme | |
Altona | |
Westona | |
Laverton
Aircraft |
Williams Landing
Hoppers Crossing
Werribee

Note:

  • During Peak and Inter-peak hours, certain trains operate with altered stopping patterns.
  • This applies primarily to trains travelling in the counter peak direction during peak hours. Some trains may also terminate or start at intermediate stations.[5]
  • For example, during the morning peak, certain outbound counter peak services run express between Footscray and either Williams Landing or Werribee, always stopping at Newport and Laverton.
  • A few outbound services start at Laverton,and stop all stations to Werribee.[4]


Interactive map of the Werribee line in western Melbourne, showing the Altona loop.

Rolling Stock

A Comeng train on an Express Werribee Service. Picture taken on the Werribee line near the site of the former Galvin railway station

All trains are operated as 6 car trains


History

Early in 1857, the Geelong and Melbourne Railway Company opened the Werribee to Little River section of the line they were building between Newport and Geelong, then in June of that year, opened the section between Werribee and a temporary station near Newport, known as Greenwich. The intention was to connect to the Williamstown line being built by the Melbourne, Mount Alexander and Murray River Railway Company, with whom they had arranged permission to run the former company's trains over the latter company's tracks to Melbourne, but the Williamstown line was not yet ready.

However, by October 1857, construction of the Williamstown line was sufficiently advanced to allow the Geelong trains to run to the terminus at Williamstown Pier, so Greenwich was closed and a connection was made to the Williamstown line towards Williamstown. From Williamstown Pier, passengers could connect to a ferry across Hobsons Bay to Port Melbourne.

The Williamstown line opened in January 1859, so the connection near Newport towards Williamstown was removed and replaced with a connection to Newport, and through running of Geelong trains to Melbourne commenced.

In April 1885, a short branch was opened off the Werribee line just past Newport to Williamstown Racecourse, and in November 1888, a branch was opened off the Racecourse branch to Altona, terminating at a station named Altona Beach. This branch was opened by the Altona and Laverton Bay Freehold and Investment Co. Ltd. in order to encourage people to buy their land in the area. However, the line closed less than two years later, in August 1890.

A portion of the Altona Beach line near Williamstown Racecourse was leased by the Victorian Railways (VR) in 1906 to store race trains, and sometime between 1911 and 1919, the line must have been reopened for goods trains, as a siding was built from Altona Beach to the Melbourne and Altona Colliery Co. mine. From November 1917, the VR worked the line on behalf of the then owners, Altona Beach Estates Ltd., but to a relocated Altona Beach station, short of the original terminus.

The VR electrified the Williamstown line and the branch to Williamstown Racecourse in August 1920. In October 1924 the VR took total control of the Altona Beach line, and electrified it in October 1926.

Automatic Block Signalling was commissioned between South Kensington and Yarraville in August 1927, and then on to Newport. The Automatic and Track Control system was installed from Newport South towards Geelong, enabling bidirectional use of the then single track line.

The Williamstown Racecourse branch closed in May 1950.

Duplication of the Werribee line occurred in the 1960s, the first section being between a crossing loop named Rock Loop and Laverton in May 1965, followed by Newport B Box to Rock Loop in October 1967, and Laverton to Werribee in September 1968. The Altona branch was converted to Automatic Block Signalling in October 1967.

First announced by the then Transport Minister, Joe Rafferty in 1977,[6] electrification was extended from Altona Junction to Werribee in September 1983, whilst in January 1985, the Altona line was extended to Westona. In April 1985, Altona to Westona, which had temporarily been operated by Staff and Ticket safeworking, was converted to Automatic and Track Control, and a few days later, the line was extended to Laverton on the Werribee line. Initially almost every Werribee suburban train ran via Westona, but a complete timetable re-write in May 2011 has seen this section converted to a separate service most of the time.[7] The 2011 timetable rewrite introduced the controversial[8] practice of having Altona Loop trains run as a shuttle between Laverton and Newport during off peak hours. The shuttle was finally ended in August 2017, with direct services to and from the city being reinstated[9] to the Altona Loop.

Up until June 2015, Geelong and Warrnambool Line services ran on the Werribee Line to Southern Cross. These V/line service stopped at Werribee, Newport and North Melbourne before arriving at Southern Cross. With the completion of the Regional Rail Link, Geelong and Warrnambool service were rerouted through 90 km of new track constructed in West Werribee.[10] Separating suburban and regional trains has reduced overcrowding, increased capacity for new services and improved service reliability on the Werribee Line.[11] A new bus link was introduced which linked Werribee Station with Geelong trains at Wyndham Vale Station. However, the Werribee line is still available to be used by V/Line services in special circumstances should the Regional Rail Link lines be out of action for some reason.

Level Crossing Removals

As part of the Level Crossing Removal Authority's (LXRA's) Western Package, 5 level crossings along the Werribee Line have been earmarked for removal.[12] As of December 2019, 2 crossings have been removed.The crossings identified for removal are:

  • Kororoit Creek Road, Williamstown North (Completed July 2018)
  • Aviation Road, Laverton (Completed September 2019)
  • Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing
  • Cherry Street, Werribee
  • Werribee Street, Werribee

Kororoit Creek Road[13]

The Altona Loop section of the Werribee Line intersects Kororoit Creek Road in Williamstown North. The crossing is located in an industrial area. A rail bridge was constructed over the roadway, allowing trains to pass overhead.

The project scope also included partial duplication of the Altona Loop,[14] allowing trains to pass on the Altona Loop without affecting the main line. The crossing was fully removed by July 2018.[15]

Aviation Road[16]

Prior to removal, the Werribee Line intersected Aviation road on the citybound side of Aircraft station. The crossing created significant delays during peak hours as it intersected a roundabout which connected Aircraft Village, Laverton North and the Princes Freeway (M1).

The Aviation Road level crossing was removed using a Road Bridge which raised the road above the tracks. The new road bridge improved connectivity between Laverton North, Aircraft Village and the adjacent RAAF base. Bike lanes have also been provided on the rail bridge. The project was completed by the end of September 2019, months ahead of schedule.[17]

The Level Crossing Removal Authority will also partially rebuild Aircraft station in the future when removing the other 3 crossings on the Werribee line. This is to minimise disruption to train services. Planned improvements include the redesign of the station forecourt, construction of a new pedestrian underpass which will connect the forecourt to the platforms, and the RAAF base.[18]

Old Geelong Road[19]

A road bridge will be constructed to separate Old Geelong Road from the rail line.[19] Hoppers Crossing Station will also be upgraded with a pedestrian overpass.[20]

Cheery Street[21]

Constructing a road bridge is the preferred option for removing the crossing.

Werribee Street[22]

A rail bridge will be constructed over Werribee Street. [20]

References

  1. ^ Daniel (15 October 2018). "Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) at stations are evolving". Daniel Bowen. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  2. ^ "More Train Services For A Growing Melbourne". Premier of Victoria. 4 June 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  3. ^ Victoria, Public Transport. "Night Network". Public Transport Victoria. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Werribee Line". Public Transport Victoria.
  5. ^ Victoria, Public Transport. "Werribee Line". Public Transport Victoria. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  6. ^ "Works". Newsrail. Australian Railway Historical Society. October 1977. p. 228.
  7. ^ Daniel (29 March 2011). "Quick review of the new Metro timetables". Daniel Bowen. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  8. ^ Butt, Adam Carey, Craig (8 July 2013). "A tale of two rail lines: Altona slumps while Werribee soars". The Age. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  9. ^ "DIRECT CITY SERVICES FOR ALTONA LOOP RESTORED, AS PROMISED | Jill Hennessy". Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  10. ^ "Victoria's new regional rail link opens to cater for busy western suburbs". ABC News. 14 June 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  11. ^ "Commuters moving to new stations". www.heraldsun.com.au. 17 August 2015. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  12. ^ "Western Package Community Update – May 2017 | Level Crossing Removal Project". levelcrossings.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  13. ^ "Kororoit Creek Road, Williamstown North | Level Crossing Removal Project". levelcrossings.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  14. ^ "Work begins on Melbourne's Level Crossing Removal Project". Global Railway Review. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  15. ^ "Altona Loop Returns Early With Another Level Crossing Gone". Premier of Victoria. 23 July 2018. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  16. ^ "Aviation Road, Laverton | Level Crossing Removal Project". levelcrossings.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  17. ^ "Victoria marks level crossing removal milestone". Infrastructure Magazine. 30 September 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  18. ^ "Aviation Road, Laverton". Your Level Crossing. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  19. ^ a b "Old Geelong Road, Hoppers Crossing | Level Crossing Removal Project". levelcrossings.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Designs confirmed for Werribee Street and Old Geelong Road | Level Crossing Removal Project". levelcrossings.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 10 April 2020.
  21. ^ "Cherry Street, Werribee | Level Crossing Removal Project". levelcrossings.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 13 December 2019.
  22. ^ "Werribee Street, Werribee | Level Crossing Removal Project". levelcrossings.vic.gov.au. Retrieved 13 December 2019.

External links

Further reading