Friday, November 20, 2009

The Loony Report

Back in the dark ages, like 1979, when I first started my present employment, Murray Lonie was beavering away on a report to be given to State Transport Minister Robert Maclellan. He was assisted by Robin Underwood.

The report was published In 1980 and titled the Lonie Report. It made recommendations for transport in the the state of Victoria. The great unwashed protested and the public transport unions were outraged.

Now, what you need to know is that Murray Lonie had been an executive at the monster Aussie mining company BHP. Yes the one that bolted to the Netherlands to allegedly attempt to avoid paying compensation to asbestos victims. He was also an executive at General Motors. The other chap, Robin Underwood, was head of the Country Roads Board, the quango responsible for country roads and freeways.

So we have an ex BHP and GM executive and another in charge of roads. What sort of report did they bring down? Can you guess that it perhaps was not going to be in favour of expansion of public transport?

Here were some of their recommendations. Public protest stopped many of them being implemented. Can you imagine how much worse off Melbourne would now be if they had?

All country passenger trains should be replaced with buses with the exception of the Geelong line. Many were closed. A couple have since re-opened.

Buses should replace Sandringham, Port Melbourne, St Kilda, Alamein, Altona and Williamstown train lines, and replace the Hurstbridge train between there and Eltham with buses. With the exception of St Kilda and Port Melbourne trains being replaced by light rail, none of this was implemented. In my view getting rid of the St Kilda train was a mistake. The loading on St Kilda trams is now so heavy, the light rail should be converted back to a train.

All night time and weekend trains should be replaced by buses or taxis. The Upfield line was curtailed at night, but later reinstated.

Footscray/Moonee Ponds, Camberwell, Kew/St Kilda, West Marybynong, South Melbourne Beach, South Melbourne and St Kilda Beach and Chapel Street trams should be replaced by buses. Laughable from today's view and thank god it did not happen.

Public transport fares should be significantly increased to eventually cover running costs.
The first sign of turning public service authorities into businesses perhaps.

Premier at the time, the now late Sir Rupert Hamer, may now be seen as kindly figure who did wonderful things for the arts. But there is no forgetting he was a Tory and he and his henchman Transport Minister MacClelland would have gone right ahead with the plans.

I wrote this with the assistance of Wikipedia to aid my failing memory.


  1. Dickheads, the lot of 'em.
    I agree with your idea of turning the "light rail" (what a wankerish name) back into a train line proper.

  2. I should make a note of the ever lengthening list of NSW Government's public transport proposals that disappear into the eather.

    Apart, that is, from the ridiculous Rozelle metro proposal that seems to be rushing ahead like some giant tsunami.

  3. The numbers of passengers nearly warrant a conversion to train Jayne.

    I can only roll my eyes Victor. I can't understand why money is being spent on the metro and not building heavy rail to the outer areas that aren't served. North west and south west is it.

  4. Hubby and I both read this one together. He had a few things to say.. I am guessing anyone in the industry would have sme great ideas falling on deaf ears of anyone who ough to give a toss :)
    You know, I used to take the Leongatha Leongatha..alot. At least twice a month when I was at Uni. I loved the freedom of walking about talking o passengers on the train. When they screwed it up and replaced that with buses it was such a pain in the rear journey..and so boring..I was glad when I got my car license..I drove. But, I would have taken the train even so, if it was still running. Of course, that was all later on in the 90's when things changed.

  5. Cazzie, I am sure A does have a view or two. To be fair, some staff come up with great ideas and then some do come up with some very loopy ones. I used to meet the train at Yarram to collect stock when I lived down that way. It wasn't a fast train, but it worked and much better than buses.

  6. Hehe, loopy ones, I bet they do!