(note: trains were pretty much on time, possible 1-3 minutes late to be precise - times below are scheduled times).

Melbourne Central

5:20pm - Train full to the extent that nobody else can fit in the doorways.

5:24pm - Train cancelled. Excuse: Defective train.

(in the wait I caught an Upfield train to Flagstaff)

Flagstaff 5:25pm - all seats taken, little standing room

MC 5:27pm - much the same, slightly less standing room

Parliament 5:29pm - train full to the extent that nobody else can fit on, including isles. There were still crowds of people waiting to get on.

I have never seen the trains so crowded on a train from the city. Not even when trains are cancelled during the same peak period, or when they use a 3 carriage train in “off-peak” time.

Anyway, I will seriously consider catching a tram tomorrow down Swanston Street to Flinders Street station - it might increase my chances of getting on a train.

Too bad for the passengers at Parliament station… Lets see now: 5:22 full before it arrives, 5:26 cancelled, 5:29 almost full before it arrives, 5:35 ???

Also, at Blackburn station they seem to have restrictions on who can use the walkway at the west side - not sure if they have made it one way, or if it is closed to passengers from the upper bus stop (possibly because it would require crossing in front of buses on the lower stop as they are moving away from the station). Some information wouldn’t hurt…

At least today, the express service really was an express service.

My conclusion so far is that they have generally done a very good job with this bus replacement service, with the exception of the City to Box Hill train service, which I would rate as poor, even if the crowds are outside Connex’s control (alternatively the crowds are because a large number of trains are being cancelled).

Lost train

Date: 2007-01-08 21:08:26

Got a SMS message from somebody I know:

Got misrouted onto Glen Waverly line! All change at Heyington.


I thought Glen Waverly points at Burnley would be operated by computer - how can this happen?

Last day stuff up

Date: 2007-01-25 23:43:18

I must saw the effort and coordination involved in the bus replacement service has been pretty good. Up to and including this morning.

However, every major project deserves a major stuff up, and it looks like it was tonight (for me).

  1. Catch 9:10 train at Flagstaff - automatically announced as stopping all stations to Box Hill. (yes - I had seen the signs about closures tonight, but didn't make the connection; it seemed that many other people had forgotten too).
  2. Train is 3 carriages and jammed pack full (same train Tuesday was 6 carriages). Already starting to get irritated.
  3. Camberwell - driver announces all passengers are to change. Huh? Why? The driver didn't say. Station staff said "track works", but didn't saw where or why. It took me several minutes to wake up and remember that there were no trains between Camberwell and Ringwood. One passenger started yelling abuse at stations staff.
  4. Camberwell - announcements made that the express buses go express to Ringwood, in actual fact they also stopped at Box Hill too - this caused confusion, as the 2 women (with limited English skills) next to me wanted to go to Box Hill, and I thought they were on the wrong bus.
  5. Camberwell - delays as bus drivers were caught be surprise by disabled passenger, and weren't sure what to do (not sure why the confusion).
  6. Box Hill - lots of people thought our bus was the stopping all stations bus, and had to be told repeatedly it wasn't. Even the staff were confused.
  7. Box Hill - I got the impression a disabled passenger in a wheel chair was left waiting for some time as the previous two stopping all stations buses had no support for a wheel chair, and staff at the bus stop didn't know anything about the bus arrangements.
  8. Ringwood - bus driver gets lost - we end up doing a left hand turn from the right hand turn only lane - and a 3 point U-turn on Maroondah highway at the traffic lights to get back to the station.
  9. Ringwood, I had to ask three officials before I got an answer to my question "which platform" - the first two responses where misleading "just enter the station". I had to cross the top to the middle platform.
  10. Ringwood, 30minute wait for next train. I suspect we just missed the previous train (although station staff denied this). I got there about 10:05-10:10, the train left at 10:39 (10:37 lilydale).
  11. Ringwood, as the train was leaving we saw the next buses coming in to Ringwood. No doubt those people would have 30 minutes wait too....

I got home at 11:05, 2 hours after I left.

Really not happy about the 30 minute wait for the next train at Ringwood.