Mon, 09 Jul 2007

Gunzellation // at 23:59

G524, 1201, N461, wtf? Oh dear, those are the trains I saw on the ride to work today! I only wrote them down when something else came up with 461 in it and reminded me... then I wondered what the name of N461 was — the City of Ararat, ah, of course! Scary thing is that I could find a fan-site that lists them all! Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear....

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Sun, 13 May 2007

Train in vain — part #2 // at 23:59

After yesterday's V/Line farce, what wonders would the train home bring? At least we'd be spared the platform announcements, Garfield's station is rather sparse — a small half-enclosed shelter on an open platform is all the protection you get, there's a timetable pinned up away on the other side of the line, and a confusing sign telling us that the trains travel through Garfield on either the left or the right... depending on what time of day it is!

Prior to 2pm on a Sunday they drive on the left, so platform two was correct — although this was the same platform we arrived at yesterday!

We sat in the sun and waited... and waited....

Yay, a minute or so after noon and the train appeared, we're not sure whether it was meant to arrive at 11:41 or 11:51 so I've no idea if it was ten or twenty minutes late.

There seems to be a constant amount of stuffing about that has to be added to any trip I make on the trains, it just isn't worth it for a trip of only an hour!

That's enough from the both of you V/Line and Connex, stop appologising for the lousy service, please just fix the damn train system!

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Sat, 12 May 2007

Train in vain // at 23:59

Oh well, “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. Famous last words... Jo and I decided to catch the V/Line train out to Garfield to visit friends for the evening, a chance to try these shiny new purple V/Locity trains and see what all the fuss is about and whether they live up to the gov'ments hype about the “fast rail” service or the opposition's “farce rail” retaliations.

So far I'm tempted to go with the latter. A month ago my first ride on one was appalling; a two-carriage train put on from Geelong to Melbourne in the school holidays, crammed in so tight that people sat in the aisles and were packed sardine-like in the exits. Today we only had to endure a 50 minute trip that started life 45 minutes late! By the time we finally got on the train in Caulfield we could have been comfortably sitting at Mark and Lesley's house if we'd chosen to drive... and it wouldn't have cost anywhere near $12.20 in petrol!

Quarter past four we left home for the suburban train back to Caulfield, to then sit and wait on platform four — the V/Line trains always use platform 4... Then there's the announcement that it is running late and will use platform 2, so we troop down through the underpass and the stench of greasy fried things and up to platform 2. From about five to five until quarter past we had at announcements at ten minute intervals telling us that the train was having mechanical problems and that it had “just left” Southern Cross station.

Bah, hardly a great start to the evening.

Once (finally) on the train it was comfortable and quick and a pleasant trip, but the stuffing about that accompanies it will make me think twice...

The evening's company, the food, and the red wine were as good as ever and its always good to catch up with friends... but next time we'll drive the car.

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Thu, 03 May 2007

One derailment, and it all turns to muck! // at 23:59

An exciting morning, first we woke to the very unusual sounds of thunder, hail and rain on the roof — all very welcome in the drought and with Melbourne's water storage dipping below 30% of capacity for the first time in 40 years. Next, Jo went out to pick up the newspaper and came back in with the news that a train had derailed itself just out of Oakleigh station, right outside our front door.

Connex sent out their SMS warnings that no trains were running between Springvale and Caulfield, and with thoughts of how hellish the replacemenet buses would become I offered to drive her the 5km to Caulfield.... Its a very long time since I've driven anywhere in morning peak traffic and yet again I'm reminded why, creeping and crawling along, fifteen minutes stuck in a log-jam on Murrumbeena road, people hooting, people swearing, people pushing in. One of the major annoyances was sitting in that logjam while the boom-gates on the level crossing were down and watching three trains full of people go past from Oakleigh to Caulfield — these were the trains that Connex had told us didn't exist!

Finally got Jo to Caulfield, then re-entered the maelstrom and crawled my way back to Oakleigh, ran inside to get the bike and tried to refresh myself on a routine ride to work. An hour to drive the 5km to Caulfield and back, then fifteen minutes for me to ride the bike the same distance to Clayton!

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