Sunday, May 15, 2005

Friday the 13th Strikes Back!

Yes well, to those who have been checking for the regular whinges (mostly thanks to a link from connexwhinger) about V/line, it has been (mostly) smooth sailing aside from the usual lateness or delays when I've caught the 16.40 Service from Melb to Geelong. My regular ride of the 16.55 is quite punctual and lacking the usual annoyances. I believe this is also due to me wearing the extra expense of a first class ticket.

First class, hmmm it really should be named "normal class", because in essence the only advantage is that the seating arrangements allow for only one person to sit next to you, and they would have to be an elephant size to squash you, as the seats about twice the size as in "cattle" class. Oh and you can recline the seats (particularly good for scaring the breakfast out of the person behind you if they have been playing with the tray on the back of your seat & annoying you ... ).

However, I am digressing from the main point of this entry, which is to relate the homeward journey I experienced on Friday the 13th.

Having had an 'interesting' week at work, and with enough time up my sleeve, I decided to catch the 16.07 service from Melbourne to Geelong.

It wasn't really a promising start when at 4pm, when we boarded the train, the conductor came around and told us we had to get off again. Apparently the driver was most upset that we boarded before he had docked the train properly. Never mind it was late in doing so in the first place!

So everyone disembarked and then five minutes later were allowed to re-embark. This placed us seemingly at the normal departure time. I had mentally noted this fact and made a wager with myself that luck was not on my side tonight and we would most likely be slightly delayed.

At almost 16.25 we finally had an announcement from the conductor that we were delayed and the brakes were being checked and we would get under way shortly.

At around 16.30 we finally did.

Just as we entered Werribee, the conductor again announced we were running twenty minutes behind and due to the length of the train, the driver would not be able to make up any time.

At this moment I felt like jumping out of my seat and singing "R.F.T.L" to the tune of the Village People's song "Y.M.CA."

Think about it "Regional Fast Train Link" .... I'm sure you can make up the words to the song as well as me (and appropriate actions).

So resigned to the fact we were going to be late, I thought that 17.30-35 was not so bad, after all, it was the normal arrival time of the 16.40, which would be stuck behind us anyway!

Finally we arrived at North Geelong. And never left.

Five minutes passed, with no announcement.

Ten minutes.

Given that I lived within thirteen minutes walk of Nth Geelong, the only reason I was still on the train was because my car was at Geelong Station, having driven there to meet up with a workmate who was driving up that morning. If only I had gotten him to pick me up at home!

Fifteen minutes and still no announcement. I decide to walk. Meeting up with an ex-workmate in the same predicatment, he walked home with me, and then onto Geelong.

What a total sham. Fair enough if the train had broken down, but at least let passengers know! From what I could see the conductor was going from carriage to carriage telling people he had no idea if or when the train would go again. I felt sorry for the other two trains that were banked up behind us (the 16.40 and I think the 16.55 was further back).

Well done V/Line, you managed to prove yet again that your fleet of locomotives are poorly maintained & your contingency planning sucks like a dog-slobbered tennis ball.

A special mention for Peter Batchelor here, how about you up the purchase of 38 V'locity trains to about 50, so we have some spare ones because like the "Sprinter" trains, I am sure the new trains will spend most of their time being "maintained" instead of being in service.


Anonymous Matt F said...

I was on the 4.40 train and we didn’t even see our conductor. He locked himself in the little room behind first class and didn’t say a word. 1 hour late home was not bad I guess.

It got a write up in the paper, that was only because it made the footy crowd miss the game. We have a late train at least once every couple of days but no one ever hears about it. We complain and no one does a thing. We do get a free return ticket once a month though. That makes it all better !!!

16/5/05 11:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It could be worse! You could end up in a car, stuck in peak traffic, behind a 4 car pile up. Maybe if you got home 1 hour later, you would be lucky.

16/5/05 11:44 am  
Blogger vlinewhinger said...

At least with a car if you listen to the traffic reports you can seek alternative routes (as the sign famously says) on the train, you're at the mercy of the track gods!

18/5/05 9:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"At least with a car if you listen to the traffic reports you can seek alternative routes (as the sign famously says) on the train, you're at the mercy of the track gods! "

Perhaps...assuming you are lucky enough to hear about it BEFORE you are committed to a section of road/freeway such as CityLink, Westgate, etc.

2/6/05 9:23 am  

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