A train banged into another train on the regional Geelong line. R heard Altona and said, well the main line is not blocked then. I am pleased he knows that much. I did make him take a ride on the loop not so long ago. But he was wrong, although it was Altona, it was the main line and not the Altona Loop, a suburban diversion off the main line.
I thought, ah well the trains can use the Altona Loop to bypass the crash and in theory they could, but in practice no as most of the Altona Loop is single track. You can't have trains going in two directions on one track very frequently. The suburban trains to Werribee did use the Altona Loop, but I can't imagine at the normal service level. Geelong trains terminated at Werribee and passengers were transferred to buses to complete their journey to So Cross Station.
Melbourne still had quite a lot of single railway tracks and in 2014, it is quite absurd. Single lines totally screw up the Hurstbridge and Lilydale trains, restrict the Upfield line to a twenty minute service even in peak times and as mentioned, are problematic for the Altona Loop. Some might argue that it would not be money well spent where there are light loadings. I might argue that the light loadings might become heavier if the service is more efficient.
Would you believe there was once a dual track to the large country town of Bendigo but a faster more frequent service was promised, which involved making the track a single line.Single tracks with passing loops may work in theory, but as soon as something goes wrong, it all falls apart. To actually remove dual track and replace it with a single line is extraordinary.
I am only guessing of the veracity of this. Where in the world is the longest railway line that was de-electrified and converted to diesel? Our state of Victoria's line from Melbourne to Traralgon would have to be a world contender. Wires were removed, supporting steel poles taken down, along with all the other infrastructure and now diesel electric trains service the line, instead of electric locomotives pulling train carriages. Progress, eh.
Here is a photo of the crash posted on Vicsig. I can't work out whose photo it is, possibly one by Ian Green. A V Line (regional) crashed into a Metro (suburban) train.