Tuesday, October 24, 2006

From V/Line with love & kisses ....

I'm in a fairly whimsical mood tonight, this being my first day back on the trains after a short break between contract jobs. I'd planned to catch the 5.13pm, but was slightly late away from the new workplace and as it was such a lovely warm afternoon, wasn't really in a hurry to run just to get the last set of traffic lights, hence I missed the 5.13pm.

So I sauntered over to platform 5 to see the familiar sight, no 17.29 sitting there. I looked long and far into the shimmering heat of the yards, no sign of any V'Locity trains. Ahhh, I chuckled to myself, of course ... the first 'hot' day we get this week and of course, the trains break down.

Turns out I wasn't far wrong.

When we eventually got going (yes the train did arrive!), they had also cancelled the 5.36pm (so those people had to squeeze onto our train or the 5.47pm, if they were the hapless Lara travellers). The our conductor announced (whilst we were still at the platform) that whomever had pressed the emergency button in one of the carriages should go to the intercom system .... Ummmm how about he actually get out of the train as we are still at the platform?? Logic that obviously escapes me!

Along with numerous (and almost inaudible announcements on the platform about the delay), tonight was an excellent comedy of errors to welcome me back into the V/Line embrace.

When we did arrive at Geelong (around 18.40 or so) there was an announcement about the issue being caused by an earlier defective V'locity ... probably the 4.07?? I heard that got cancelled or something. Yay for the white elephant trains, they seem to be able to win design awards, but not work very well in hot weather :)

My travelling companion was blaming me, calling me a jinx or something. I was rather insulted! Surely V/Line can't be cocking up delibrately to provide me with material for the blog! :)

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Quick few lines ......

Not much V/Line travel in the past two weeks for the proverbial whinger, aside from two days last week and one day this week. One 'white elephant' trip to confirm mediocracy is the norm (51 minutes), Friday was able to catch the 5.13pm, which is a limited express with a first class, so much happiness there.

Yesterday was two off-peak trains, as I wasn't required in Melbourne until later & not the whole day, so dodgy old carriages (the ones with the hand-operated sliding doors) and one class - sorry I'm not a train-spotter so I can't tell you the exact designation or serial number.

I'm off work for the rest of the week as I'm between contract jobs so taking the opportunity to catch up on family stuff and personal stuff that has cropped up.

But this wouldn't be a proper blog without a whinge - my target is the Geelong City Council and the millions spent totally screwing up the road design through the CBD of Geelong and making it almost impossible to get around smoothly. Well done, someone to rival the incompetence of V/line and the State Government ... I'm trying to think of a name for an award to hand out ...

As for those who want to comment on this blog and have a go at me, well, it's pretty obvious by the title of the blog what the subject matter is, so why bother reading it if you don't agree. Go and start your own blog "vlinefanboi" or something. It's about as logical as going to a blog that complains about mother-in-laws when you are a mother-in-law and trying to expect people to listen to you! (true story, my sister told me!).

Monday, October 02, 2006

V'locity Trains = White Elephant

After my trip on the 17.13 limited express train (that stops at Lara and is a loco-driven train), I've had my mind made up. I officially dub the V'locity trains as "white elephants". After a promising start and doing the journey in 45 minutes a few times, it seems that V/Line are content to run the service at 51 minutes.

Unfortunately, that's the time that a loco-driven express can do it, and at 55 minutes with a stop at Lara, the 17.13 comes pretty close. Tonight we did the journey from Southern Cross (spencer st) to Werribbee in 28 minutes, again pretty much the time that the V'locity does it.

From Werribee to Lt River in 8 minutes (only 2 minutes behind the V'locity time) and each waypoint that I'd timed on the 17.29 V'locity, the loco-driven 17.13 was only a minute or two behind.

Perhaps I'm expecting too much, but in all honesty, these 'fast' trains should be doing the journey consistently at 45 minutes or less otherwise they are white elephants.

Why? Well simply because if we are not getting faster speeds then passengers (not customers!) are losing out as the trains are not as 'great' as V/Line would like us to think. They're noisy (brake noises & ambient cabin noise), the seats are not that comfy, there is no way to shut out the very bright afternoon sun and last but not least, there is no first class carriage.

Ok so I'm elitist, but I like my first class and I PAY for it. If I don't have access to a LARGE reclining seat, curtain to shut the sun out, and tray to put a laptop or write on & lack of 'plebs' around me, then at least make the journey FAST (ie 45 mins or least). V/Line can't even do that.

Hopefully I'll be moving jobs again soon, closer to Spencer St and I'll be aiming for the 5.13pm or 4.40pm if I can swing it occasionally. V/Line can keep it's White Elephant 'Flagship' service. It sucks like Echuca.