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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

On a totally different subject..
Having had my ticket inspected by the conductor a few minutes before getting off at Footscray (coming from Geelong), I'm 'accosted' by 5 Connex ticket inspectors blocking my path, asking quite forcibly to see my ticket. Hell, they saw me getting of the Vline, I'm leaving the station - what possible jurisdiction can they have?

5/10/06 9:40 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the transport act is their jurastiction.

Vline will have them soon

5/10/06 3:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your so called white elephant and the expenditure of the rail upgrade that has been experienced in this state is only equivalent to building 12kms of Freeway! updating equipment that was out of date was a necessity not a waste of money. Don't be suprised if Vline do get revenue enformcement officers either but at the end of the day if everyone did the right thing they wouldn be needed

5/10/06 9:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still don't understand why any passenger, whether they have a valid ticket or not, getting off a Vline service (which has it's own conductor checking for tickets and short-trip freeloaders)and immediately exiting the station has anything to do with Connex. If they don't have a ticket and somehow evaded the conductor, isn't it Vline's problem? Hell, it's like Telstra checking if I've paid my Optus bill. Oh shit, I just realised I haven't..

5/10/06 11:56 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Onto a different whinge: Doors!

a) Why (Oh why oh why) dont they open immediately when you press the button. Its very annoying, they should be able to open the micro-second the train has stopped.

Maybe Vline need to remember, its not so much the actual speed the train goes, but the illusion of speed.
If you make all the little things fast then the whole trip seems fast.
(And the illusion of speed would be greatly improved if the trains never had to actually come to a stop, but the Ballarat line needs much more double track to achieve this)

b) They've got wear and tear already, I've seen 3 doors in the last few weeks that failed to open.
(I had to manually open one this morning)
If updating these trains was a neccessity, surely making sure they didn't break within a year would be a priority.

c) Toilet doors..ahem.
Lets just say if you're gonna make the toilet door electronic and the person has pressed the "Lock" button, make sure the bloody thing actually locks. (Like with a LOCKING pin).
I was sitting down on the throne the other day and noticed the gap in the door sliding open a couple of cm's despite the fact I'd pressed the lock buton.
I feel sorry for the poor soul sitting with their pants down and it fails completely going around a fast bend, exposing them to the view of the whole carriage.

6/10/06 8:44 am  
Blogger vlinewhinger said...

Re: white elephants, I think the comments mostly support what I've said.

I've never disagreed that the track upgrade was necessary (especially on the geelong line) as anyone who travelled on them beforehand knew - especially around Lt River>Lara you were litterally shaken out of your seat at times.

The vlocity trains were the waste of money, especially since they do not allow a conductor free access through the carriages. They'll need ticket enforcers at platforms seeing as conductors cannot do their job properly due to the trains not actually fitting the requirements for use!

If vline's proposed 'enforcers' are anything like connex, then you wont see them unless it's out of peak hours or weekends.

6/10/06 1:22 pm  
Blogger Interface said...

For all you youngsters out there, listen to the wisdom of Da Writa.

In my youth (OK VW, I heard that, it was Pos- WWII), I commuted Geelong - Melbourne for a number of years in my first job.

Vic Rail had ticket inspectors then. The exit from the platform was through a gate (or gates) which was manned by one man. Who looked at each and every ticket as you passed by.

One of the reasons why I tried to be in the front carriage pulling in to Geelong and be one of the first off.

Strolling conductors during the journey was a big improvement.

6/10/06 1:44 pm  
Blogger vlinewhinger said...

Da Writa has hit the nail on the head.

Conductors not being able to walk through the train is a step backward not forwards!

Especially when the trains don't even do the journey much faster than existing trains!

6/10/06 1:57 pm  
Anonymous Brad - Jades boyfreind said...

"I'm 'accosted' by 5 Connex ticket inspectors blocking my path, asking quite forcibly to see my ticket. Hell, they saw me getting of the Vline, I'm leaving the station "

Maybe they thought you looked like you had something to hide

6/10/06 1:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well getting home on the Ballarat line today sure did suck.

Not sure what exactly happened, news sites have no mention of a train crash, so I assume that someone jumped in front of a train on the Ballarat line. (The announcer at north melbourne mentioned train accident and fatality, but she had no confidence on the PA so we barely heard a full sentence)

So very late buses to Ballarat then...

6/10/06 8:50 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So vline whinger If the government came to you and said we want you to build us a new train how would you improve on the velocitys? In the future you will see the velocitys being fitted with a middle section this will iron out the prob of no conductor in a carrige on some trains.

Vline are quick with knee jerk reactions especially when it comes to passenger incidents. You could nearly bet that if a number of incidents occurred together than conductors would be introduced on every velocity carrige.

But why would passengers complain about having no conductor in each carrige? By catching the 717 service to melb in the morning and the 1729 service home you can play it smart and pretty much travel for free everyday of the week saving near $100pw! Thats why these trains are totally packed! Go Vline

If gettin on it at North Geelong in the morning always board in the carrige where the conductor isnt same goes for coming home from North Melbourne!

Every new announcment that has been introduced in the past has come from passenger incidents! (hence Vlines stance on knee jerk reactions) eg. Please ensure the platform is available. To release the door wait for the door release button to become green. Toilet door is locked when lock light stoops flashing.

The doors can only open when there is a certain amount of brake pressure this is for safety because people have fallen out of open doors in the past.

10/10/06 2:24 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is unfortunate that the above comments have come from an employee. but at the same time he/she/it has proven once again that there are a minority that are too dumb to be doing the job.
the following is incorrect- "The doors can only open when there is a certain amount of brake pressure this is for safety because people have fallen out of open doors in the past."
yes some of the other is true but when conductors do not even try to check tickets when there are more than one on board it makes you wonder if they wish to keep there Jobs. fortunately not all staff are this short sighted. and to state that it is a problem that they react to incidents passengers are involved in is reaching a new low. LIKE IT OR NOT THEY ARE OUR BREAD AND BUTTER.

10/10/06 8:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You dont have to be an employee to find out facts there are always people that know people!

All a passenger has to do is ask any conductor a question about the train and they will soon tell you about them or what is going on.

Ive always found out information from conductors about whats going on with our trains.
Maybe the person who left the previous post can enlighten us all on why the doors do take forever to open when arriving at our destinations?

How did a conversation about the trains become a discussion about conductors not checking tickets, from what ive seen on the 717 service we only get one conductor for 3 units and it is impossible for them to travel through these!

11/10/06 9:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

why abuse the conductors, they are the ones you turn to when things go bad or you feel threatened.
Agreed, 99% of passengers are worth their weight in gold, the other 1% are the left over semen in the cesspool of life.( and that gene pool needs a good dose of chlorine )
Before i go on let me clarify a few points-
1- YES i am a conductor and proud of it.
2- We ( conductors ) try to the best of our abilities to help all passengers, be they the elderly to the obnixious and all in between.
3- Yes, alot of conductors read this page and agree with most of what is said, if not all ( so why the annonimity towards us?? )
anyway i digress.
A few facts not know to the public,

-our new fast trains are not very new at all, lets just say they have a small vintage before they shipped them "NEW" from the factory.

-the majority if not all the V/Locity services between geelong and melbourne are now running at 160km's

-160kms can only be achieved until the trains hit the metropolitan line( IE werribee )

-Conductors try to get through all carriages, even on the flagship services, and we do get through a majority of the train ( to the person who thinks they can avoid tickets, lets just say it wont be long until your caught, and lets see if you like the penalties that go with it HA HA)

- conductors dont like keeping passengers in the dark in relation to any issue, but as most of you will hear, our radio's are silent when an incident happens. what would you passengers prefer?? a) we make up some crap, be it however plausible
or B) remain silent.. until we find out exactly whats going on??
anyway, i hope to add some more comments soon.

Keep up the good work Mr Whinger, we the lackies at v-line enjoy the read.

Sincerely yours, a CONNIE

16/10/06 2:42 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

there are a few connie's that dont try at all to do many tickets .
lucky we know who they are. saves us a lot of money.HA HA HA HA

16/10/06 10:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Conductors hey dont they make you laugh, we are fortunate that we are able to experience people of all walks of life coming through checking our tickets! Round of appluase to Vlines recruiting officers!
Last week on the 1736 one day there was an older conductor who didnt even do one ticket! His announcements sounded like he was about to leave us for a better place (I was ready to pounce on the emergency button if I heard another groaning sound)

17/10/06 4:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"3- Yes, alot of conductors read this page and agree with most of what is said, if not all ( so why the annonimity towards us??"

Did you mean animosity?

25/10/06 6:29 am  

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