Sunday, January 22, 2012

I'm still around!

Rumours of my demise are incorrect.

1. I still work in Melbourne and live in Geelong.
2. I still commute daily on V/Line
3. V/Line still has many of the issues previously mentioned
4. Sorry anonymous from comments in last blog entry, I can't hand over the blog as it is linked to a google account that is mine.
5. I may yet revive VlineWhinger and if it's available add a Twitter account!

That's all for now, see you on the platform!


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bye for now!

Been quite a few months since my last blog about Vline.

It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, that the service has not improved or been anything but woeful since October last year. The past few weeks have been particularly bad, what with train delays, track work (on a track only a few years old?) and general cock-ups that wouldn't be out of a place in a bad b-grade comedy script.

Add to that the myopic view of our state government and senior management in Vline when it comes to overcrowding. Duh ... petrol prices go up, (and will continue to do so) means you better add more capacity to the network at a rate faster than ONE carriage per month (see the recent trumpeting announcement which if you read it carefully means it will actually take close to TWO years for the "extra" 1600 seats to come in operation).

I really don't care anymore and I've not cared about the performance of Vline for quite sometime. I know eventually I will either get home or get to work, but I know it will never be on time! And I know there will be inexplicable delays at various points of the journey as Connex always gets priority in signalling, a signal system that is more suited to the 19th Century than the 21st ... come on ... 3 days to fix a fault signal at Werribee?

There are too many examples of complete incompetence to write about here from the past few months, but I can say this on behalf of my fellow travellers on V/line. They are all fed-up with the service, the overcrowding and the delays.

Will things improve? To be honest I do not believe they will. I've spoken to the complaints line (hello to the lovely Wendy), I've spoken to the "show the flag" senior managers and talked about the issues I've written about here and nothing has really changed.

Vline just doesn't get it. The government & the cloth-earred Kosky doesn't get it. Maybe one day they will actually have an idea and a vision and cut the bullshit and fix the problems and provide a world class service.

In the meantime, I'm taking two months off travelling on the trains, and indeed working and going to enjoy myself on a holiday to Europe.

I may be back here, who knows ... but in the meantime farewell & good luck to everyone still stuck on the trains of hell run by Vline.

Oh, as an addendum, I don't have any problems with the conductors on the trains (mostly) they are stuck doing a thankless task, so hopefully none of my blogs can be seen as an "attack" on the guys and gals on the coalface!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Just when V/Line thought it was safe! I'm back!

The rumours of my untimely cessation of blogging were unwarranted, I've just been slack in keeping this blog updated (very slack!).

Has V/Line improved that much that my incessant whinging is not required? Nope, but I'll be the first to admit, if you don't have anything negative to say on a blog with the title "Whinger" then say nothing at all! ;-)

Okay, I'll stop with the "cute" comments (someone, allegedly a V/Line conductor, left a comment a while ago that this blog was a "cute little website" ... ahh gotta love such biting sarcasm, I'm still bleeding!).

I've actually been on holidays the past few weeks, but I still get occasional updates from friends who are travelling about various incidents, think I've missed a few good ones! On the whole, since my last post in June, things have been for the large part reasonably okay.

Good grief, I hear you say ... is that an admission that the service level has been tolerable? Well for the most part in my experience it has been. I suppose my expectation level is that I'm going to encounter at least one stuff-up a week, which you can't avoid.

On the whole, the 4.40pm homeward train has been good ... aside from the couple of times when it stuffed up multiple times in a week, usually the same old issue of V'Locity carriages either not being there on time at the platform or some 'technical' issues. Unfortunately those are the nights when things really go pear-shaped and impact not only that service but usually the 4.55pm and 5.13pm after it (and even the 5.29pm).

One such occurance happened a few weeks ago and by happy coincidence, although I'd jumped across to the 4.55pm, I still got to speak to some V/line Management about the situation and my wider complaints, criticisms and compliments.

I'm not sure if she has ever read this blog (I was a little hesitant to give out the address, thus blowing my relative anonymity) but I'd like to thank Ursula of V/Line Management to listening politely and attentively to the various things I had to say. Yes, I was polite & diplomatic, despite the complete cock-up (the second day in a row) but with a grain of salt I have to say, whether things get acted upon, I'm not sure but kudos for at least showing your customers (passengers) that you are not sitting in Ivory Towers and leaving the conductors to cop all the grievances on the coal-front.

The other week I did spend some time perusing the V/Line website reading statistics and information regarding performance results. There was an interesting chart that showed by percentage, the majority of Melbourne-bound trains were on time until they hit the suburban network. No surprise there. I just hope that some of the clever bureaucrats and consultants can come up with some solutions around this.

I'm not going to be smarmy and suggest "just build more track" as the quick-fix solution, because obviously that is a longer-term (and difficult) solution, but surely there is a way to improve how efficiently the track we have is used. Ideally, analysing the choke points on the system, perhaps building "passing" tracks where possible, improving signalling, changing to a system where multiple trains can safely be used on the same part of track.

Ah well, enough waffling (it's not really whinging!) and I'll see how my return to the trains goes next week. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The logic of V/line yet again ........

Sorry, been absent for a bit. Have kind of given up on regular whinging and settled into the apathetic chant of "at least I get home eventually".

Tonight deserves special mention for a good demonstration of V/Line logic on how to piss off the maximum amount of customers as possible at once.

This was achieved by various means. Firstly by cancelling the 4.13pm (which is a stop all stations train) and obviously not informing those passengers that the next train (the 4.40pm service) is an EXPRESS service & the next stop all stations is the 4.55pm

The end result? An overcrowded 4.40pm which did not depart on time & whose passengers were left uninformed (as usual) as to what the delay was. To add insult to injury, the charming conductor cheerfully announces that we would now become a stop all stations service due to the cancellation of the previous train.

So bad luck to anyone who had any plans for tonight or who were hoping to make it to Geelong on time (for the record we were 30 minutes late eventually).

Amazingly, we still sat at the station until 4.50pm! So the logic of making the 4.40pm a stop all stations was made a mockery of when 5 minutes later the 4.55pm would leave anyway!

Let's not mention the faux pax from the lovely conductor when she announced "let's hope we get to Geelong in ONE piece" ... ummm even I cringed at that callous & thoughtless remark. Given the trajedy recently in Kerang, you'd have hoped she would have engaged her brain before saying something as stupid as that.

Well done V/line, for continuing the poor service & failing to inform your passengers in a timely fashion and choosing the most illogical way to solve issues.

let's not mention the two or three times when the 4.40pm hasn't run (or run late) and the 4.55pm was overcrowded. Luckily each time that happened I'd already bailed on the 4,40pm and gone and got a seat on the 4.55pm - no thanks to lack of announcements from Vline about what was going on!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lucky for V/Line this is not Argentina!

It's been a while since my last post, aside from the usual ups and downs (4.40pm late at least twice a week & mornings getting slower) there haven't been too many "whinge-worthy" events. Or maybe I am becoming desensitised!

Not so the commuters in Argentina, who apparently went on a riot due to poor service!

Lucky for V/Line we are more docile here and the worst they can expect from me is this blog :)

It's a bit late, but apparently this blog (and connexwhinger) got a mention on the Age website (again)

Read the blog here

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Vline screws up YET AGAIN!

Once again my previous posts naming the V'locity trains as White Elephants are proved true once more. Yet another debacle on the 4.40pm service saw it delayed until aroun 5.10pm & leaving with barely anybody on it ... as most people had crammed onto the 4.55pm service or given up and gone to the 5.13pm service (like me) ...

Meanwhile due to the late late late departure of the 4.40pm, the 5.13pm got delayed & sat at the "Telstra Stop" (ie in the yards opposite the Telstra Dome) due to some signal issue for around 3 minutes .... cumulatively this added up so by the time we got to Geelong station, the 5.13pm was nearly 20 minutes late from the time it *can* arrive at Geelong (around 6.08pm on a good run ... 5 mins earlier than the scheduled 6.13pm)

So what was the wash up of tonight? 4.55pm over-crowded and LATE .... 4.40pm run over 30 mins LATE ... 5.13pm nearly 20 minutes LATE and as for the 5.29pm who knows what time it got it ... but no doubt very LATE as well, as it didn't pass us (I don't think). So four trains screwed up and hundreds of rather annoyed people ...

All this after the much trumpeted journey of Vline Senior Management on the 4.40pm on Monday night (which of course ran great ... at least they can get it right when the big bosses travel .... to bad the said big bosses were not able to walk through the whole length of the train to talk to all passengers. .... because as we all know the White Elephant V'locity's are three sets of two "linked" carriages .... too bad they couldn't find three senior managers to go in the three separate sets ....

And too bad there was no Senior Vline Managers on any of tonight's services??

Ahh Vline, you make it too easy to write this blog ... woeful service at least several times a week!

Another small whinge ... a guy who sat beside in First Class tonight was obviously one of the "free-loader" types (I think he was a National Rail or something on his shirt) I really object to these types NOT showing any ID to the conductor. Maybe I should get a shirt with some logo that looks like either Yarra Trams or Connex or National Rail or something and travel for FREE too??

Don't mention FAT people to me either ... I had a contender for next year's THE BIGGEST LOSER sit next to me this morning. I don't mind so much, but when you can't even be bothered to SMELL half decent in the morning and then try to take over half of my seat too when you sit down, do you wonder why I make your journey HELL by delibrately elbowing you in the ribs & bouncing up and down on the seat when you fall asleep and snore right in my ear you fat ignorant bastard??

Yes ... the vlinewhinger had a great set of train journeys today! I must have pissed off the gods of travel .... time to go sacrifice a goat or two & burn the entrails to appease them!

p.s. I feel sorry for the conductors I really do ... they obviously are not really kept informed, and do their best, many thanks to both the 4.40pm and 5.13pm conductors for keeping us informed as much as possible & being apologetic for the bad service, small things like that (however token) IS appreciated.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

An okay week ....

Well last week was a fairly quiet week for whinging, most trains I caught were on time, aside from one of the morning services, which was due to the now semi-regular stop just before North Melbourne in the mornings.

I caught the 6.00am from Geelong most days, and the 17.13 twice and 16.40 twice. Happily both the afternoon trains were actually on (or near on-time) and were actually at the platform to board before departing on time.

There also seemed to be a lack of the "pause" in the yards after leaving Spencer Street Station. Although I think it did happen on Thursday night, but we made the time up.

Not wanting to jinx myself for the coming week, but as most people would be back from any Easter Holidays, I reckon it will all fall apart for V/Line this week! I really hope I'm wrong!

The train troubles seemed to happen for work colleagues though on Connex, with the Hurstbridge (I think) line being stopped due to some nutter wandering on the tracks.