Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Angry 1

It was hot in Melbourne yesterday, 37C or something like 100F. Thankfully we don't get too many days like this in summer but we do get a few. But it seems that this is an extraordinary event for our train system, seeming like it has never been experienced before. Power supplies fell down, tracks buckled, air con units failed. A total of 28 evening peak trains cancelled, many people who could not fit onto a train and one train load of passengers delayed for two hours plus.

Being a person of experience in a vaguely related area, I believe it was pretty well only air con units failing, reinforced by Daniel's comment on this post, in response to mine (ha Daniel, better you don't acknowledge my comments, lest you get quoted).

Buckling tracks either cause trains to go slow, or to not run at all. Slow going would not cause so many cancellations. Power supplies knocked out by heat??? New one to me.

Air conditioning failure and poor maintenance of such is the only thing that makes any sense to me, and for that the blame can be fairly laid at the feet of the operator of the trains, Connex. This is perhaps only slightly ameliorated by the fact that the tracks, the power supply and the trains are all government owned, so the government is ultimately responsible.

Great to see some buck passing happening......not the government's fault, says transport minister. Not Connex's fault says Connex spokesperson who goes on to moan about ageing government infrastructure. Minister Kosky and Connex are only going through the motions. They both know that they are for the chop very soon.

Points, a la as The Age has started inserting in their online editions.

Trains and trams and infrastructure are pretty well government owned. Blame the government, not the operator.

Trains and trams are operated by private companies. It follows, minimise expenditure, maximise profits. The operators are employed by the government, so if the operators don't perform, then blame the government.

The State Opposition Liberal Party can bang on all they like about how little the government has done for public transport over the last ten years, and they may well have a valid point, but who screwed it up in the first place, resulting in innumerable private companies operating our public transport, umpteen different types of trains maintenance companies and ditto for trams.

Links to make sure that media monitors pick up this post. Connex , Yarra Trams , Kosky , Victorian State Government , public transport .


  1. Well said, Andrew. There were some seriously profuse apologies for the inconvenience.

  2. Can't stand either of them and they'll be replaced with something even worse.
    Brumby is a car-lovin' dickhead...oops, was I thinking out aloud again?:P

  3. Profuse apologies are easy Reuben. I recall thirty odd years of them.

    Yep Jayne, something worse. That is why I keep my Connnex/Yarra rants to a minimum.

  4. So many trains, so many tracks, so many PT users, so little competence, so little accountability ... so much Lynne "Never my fault" Kosky.

    Or to be more accurate, so much Goebbelian guff from her media adviser Stephen Moynihan.

    At least it seems he's earning his wage by working 24 hours a day, 7 days a weeks, 365 days a year and will be doing so for quite some time.

    Life in the not so fast lane.

    ... and so much the whole issue in a nutshell, Jayne.

  5. But isn't it wonderful though? The way it's all constructed - They pass the buck for a few days, then people forget about it. This is perhaps one of the main reasons I believe the Labor government persisted with the already discredited privatisation process. Even after nine years, people still don't know who does what (check out some of the herald sun comments on those articles if you don't believe me).

  6. "Buckling tracks either cause trains to go slow, or to not run at all."

    You want to try living in Blighty. Our trains get cancelled when a leaf falls on the line.

  7. Reckon Moynihan's blood pressure would be higher than ours combined LS.

    I did glance through comments yesterday and noticed one RK having his two bobs worth Rob.

    I believe yours also suffer from the scourge of millipedes too Brian.

  8. Pardon the pun Andrew, I might "get off track" of the subject here but bear with me..
    I had to turn off my radio in my bedroom yesterday morning because I was starting to get cross listening to some of the callers on 3AW. The callers who made me cross were blaming the whole kit and caboodle on Connex... I just wish people could sit back and look at the big picture. Just as you have. You looked at the Governement, and you looked at Connex and what share of the blame sits where. Problems have been ongoing for about 20 odd years I believe, which kind of pre dates Connex. And, as Rob Kemp said above the hand balling between the two parties does make alot of people confused as to who ought to take care of what when it comes to our transport system.
    Close to home is the fact that other half and colleagues get the typical "Trust Connex...can't get trains here on time....make us get on a bus...make us late..." and worse comments still. Sometimes trains are delayed or cancelled due to matters other than weather and air conditioner malfunctions...jumpers(not the woolly kind), cars on tracks, kids leaving shopping trolleys on tracks, thugs throwing rocks through the drivers' or passenger's windows etc. All the workers know initially is that they have to divert the customers to other relocatables. Usually buses which are not always that easy to round up. Especially if all this happens at peak time. If the workers could only say, "Look, stop whining, someone just threw themselves on the track...or someone's car just got smashed into by your train so now that''s why you are going to be late home" it might make a difference. Then again, we know it would not make a difference. Simply because people have to have someone to blame, a buffer of their disgust perhaps. It is also not professional to tell people these things. However, they would hear of it on the NEWS if their cancelled train was due to a fatality. Too late for apologies of bad behaviour to employees of Connex (thick skins requisite) and to their fellow passengers.
    What is needed? Maybe a suggestion box put forward for employees of transport companies (just imagine what would be written)... and a company and a government who listen and go through each problem to correct the faults. Change, as we know it, takes a long long time, as the list would be very long. And I am just living in fairy land right?

  9. Thanks Cazzie. I am sure you other half gets a lot worse than what you quote. It is the nature of people to blame the nearest representative. Of course getting buses in the peak times is very difficult. Bus companies don't have drivers just sitting around waiting for the call, but if things don't improve soon, Connex may well have to pay to have bus drivers on stand by.