Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hot Days = Slow Trains


Well just when the hot weather strikes we have the 'reduced speed' restrictions. Yet again I question whether this is actually necessary on a brand new track between Werribee & Corio that is obviously constructed with modern methods that reduce the risk of 'sun kink'. Maybe it is the sparks from poorly maintained carriages/engines that could start a fire beside the tracks if they do more than 90 km/h on a day like today.

Either way, what it means for commuters is a longer journey home - and you can bet your bottom dollar that air conditioning on some carriages will not be working and services will be cancelled due to locomotives not working (even the new V'locity's!)

My only dilemma is do I aim for the early 4.40pm or work back late to catch a train after 8pm when it will be slightly cooler and a faster run home (even if the services are stop all stations at that time).

Mehhh .... :)

Friday, January 12, 2007

Vline gets it's man aka the Whinger cops it!

Yes silence does sometimes mean everything seems to be okay, and mostly it has this week! Almost a total whitewash for the whinger, not able to complain about anything!

Unfortunately for yours truly, I knew Friday afternoon is always D-day. Even after yesterday's Vline Cock-up of only 4 V'locity carriages for the 4.40pm, I still had a seat and it was on time, so can't really complain about that.

Tonight I aimed for the 4.40pm again, only to have the familiar sight of no train at the platform and Vline conductor and customer relations staff looking confused (along with several hundred despondant Geelong commuters).

The 'missing' carriages eventually turned up and we were under way at 5pm, only 20 minutes late. As we departed I heard a platform announcement that the 17.13 had been cancelled. Obviously more problems finding trains ... or rather I'd say if the 4.55pm left after us (being a stopping all stations) they didn't bother running the limited express after it and made the 5.29pm stop at Lara.

Who knows, I'm pretty sure Vline makes it up as they go along as evidenced by tonight. My own personal theory is the blokes responsible for shunting or driving the carriages from the yards were probably too busy watching the cricket on TV and forgot they actually had a job to do.

So it wouldn't have mattered if I'd aimed for my regular 17.13 train, Vline still would have got me! At least they actually drove the pants off the White Elephants and we ended up only being a bit on 10 minutes late, not a bad effort and yet again proves that the Geelong express trip could possibly be done in 40 minutes flat (given that it was at 35 minutes when we were just past Corio). It is just that Spencer St>Werribee run (which we did in 23 minutes today) that is the hold up.

All in all, not such a bad week. Next week it looks like another couple of scorchers, so I wonder how the trains will cope with the heat.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Defective locos & fires by the track

Waited for the 17.13 last night (Wed) ... waited waited, and unfortunately it apparently had a defective locomotive, so we had to wait for another one.

Inquired as to whether it was expected to go before or after 17.29, helpful answer was "We don't know". So I made the decision to head for the 17.29.

Sat with a friend of mine for a catch up after new years, so that was all good, but then saw the 17.13 depart before us with just a few minutes before the 17.29 was due to go. I don't understand, a service is already late, which is going to hold up the express service after it, so they allow it to go ... meaning TWO services will be late on arriving.

Add that to some supposed "fire by the track" which delayed us even more, and the 17.29 got in around 15 minutes late ... even on holidays it seems the Flagship service has settled into an hour journey, the promise of 45 minutes long forgotten it seems.

One more journey tonight & then another break until Monday at least.

6.01am from Geelong ran on time arriving just on 7.01am at Melbourne.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Holidays ending .....

My short break is about to end, and although I only face a few days this week on the Vline, I sit here and ponder, will 2007 be the year I can finally retire my blog? Will there be a miraculous culture change in VLine and the Government towards public transport meaning that logic and true customer service and reliability become the by-words are ingrained into the organisational culture.

Will "5 minutes is close enough" become like the Japanese credo of "1 minute is still LATE"!

We can but hope.

I draw some hope from the planned fare reductions coming in March and the introduction of '1st class upgrade' vouchers that have (very) quietly been launched, which enable regular commuters such as myself not to be disadvantaged by services lacking a 1st Class carriage/section.

All steps in the right direction. I really do hope I can retire this blog this year, but I'm not holding my breath.

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