well… my first trip went without any problems.

There were several minor “glitches” on the way, e.g signs at stations not working east of Blackburn station, displays in trains stuck on “Welcome to Connex”[1], and a reasonable wait before stopping at Blackburn station, but nothing of concern to me. I still made it on to the scheduled train from Box Hill with about 1 minute to spare.

I also noticed that when I got to Blackburn, while my train was mostly empty, there already was a crowd of people waiting, and the buses seemed very full. Makes me wonder what it is going to be like when school starts again.

However, it appeared that construction of the temporary interchanges was still in progress, so it might get better.

Curiously, the train from Box Hill to the City was an ex-Bayside Comeng train - I haven’t seen one of these trains on this line before.

There was also media presence at both Blackburn and Box Hill stations.

I also heard that at Upwey, the automatic voice message was announcing that there were no trains running, and the validators weren’t working either.

The driver of the first train announced that the works would be 4+ weeks.

Some thoughts concerning my trip back:

  • speed control device on road next to Blackburn station not bus friendly - busses have to run over the top.
  • trip back to Blackburn is longer due to congestion at right hand turn traffic lights.
  • as a result of delays (both before Box Hill station and then before Blackburn station) the time table implied connections are overly optimistic.
  • fortunately, there seem to be plenty of train services, at least in peak hour.
  • they still haven't opened the walkway to the East of Blackburn station yet - not sure why - the underground walkway was kind of cramped making it difficult for faster walkers to get past the slower walkers.