Monday, October 07, 2013

Our country trains are a disgrace

When a friend moved to East Gippsland, having lived in London for many years, she looked at the train service and thought, ok, less than a two hour train trip from Bairnsdale to Melbourne. No, it is at best a four hour plus train journey, as against three hours by car. It is credit to our road system, I guess, but certainly not to our country train system which should be much faster than travelling by car.

Never mind that she has suffered months of having to catch a bus onwards between Bairnsdale and Traralgon because the tracks have rusted and trains weren't triggering level crossing boom gates. It has taken VLine a long time to fix this problem. I might suggest that more trains should run on the tracks to prevent rails rusting. It really is hard to imagine how such a thing happened and led to, I think, more than six months of no trains running from Traralgon and Bairnsdale.

I don't think VLine ever had a cunning plan to attract people from there to come to Melbourne by train rather than drive.

Tradie Brother came for lunch with Step Mother this day, before she caught the Echuca train home. R was not here to make lunch, so I got everything out for Step Mother to make a left over meat loaf sandwhich. SM queried where the meat loaf came from. R cooked it. A leg of lamb is quite expensive at the moment.  Unlike Mother, SM is a good cook and noticed that R is too.

Tradie Brother dropped us at Spencer Street Station coach area as SM had to initially catch a bus to Sunbury and then transfer to her train because of train track works. I went along to make sure she was in the right place. She could have found it herself, but it was my day off and I had go into town anyway.

There is only one train a day in each direction to Echuca. There are more services made up of coaches or train and coach combinations. SM was supposed to catch the single train, depart Spencer Street 3.15, arrive Echuca 6.36. Again, that does compare well with driving.

But the really odd thing is that the normal train is an express, stopping only a few times before reaching Echuca. With the bus substitute, the train stopped all stations and there was a fifteen minute allowance for the change from bus to train at Sunbury. SM will have to cart her luggage over a footbridge.  With all that, the train was only twenty minutes later into Echuca than normal.

I don't know where I got this thought from, but our country trains should be travelling at least at 160 km/h and beating car traffic on the best of our roads. Don't even let me start on the Melbourne to Sydney train.

Hashtag: Third World Trains

12 comments:

  1. You lost me after the third train connection Andrew but I hope you realise how lucky you ar that R is a good cook :))

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    1. Oh yes Grace. I know that very well.

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  2. I lived in Bendigo for a few years and loved the train service. Five trains a day in each direction, clean, fast, buffet car,... altogether very pleasant.

    This was, needless to say, pre-Kennett.

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    1. Hels, that was before, sad to say, our Labor government turned it from dual track to single track.

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  3. I'm sure it was less than 2 years ago I caught a train Gippsland way. Sat at SoCro for yonks before we were shuffled from one train to a smaller one, and people were crammed in everywhere the whole way - until we had to change to bus, of course.

    Not quite third world - roof surfing would be dangerous.

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    1. FC, that may have happened once in a whole year, yet for you it is your train experience. It isn't good enough.

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  4. It's a shocking service. I know we aren't usually crammed in like sardines like overseas, but country trains are long distances, should be more comfortable than they currently are, and I agree - faster than a car trip. Make it worthwhile for the user.

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  5. Rae, it is quite pathetic that people have to stand on country trains and that they are so slow. They just aren't a good alternative to a private car.

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  6. A long while ago I dated a lad that lived in Albury. It was a nightmare on the train. They couldn't go too fast in the heat coz the tracks would buckle. What a JOKE! Vline seems to be a complete shambles.

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    1. That's hopeless Fen. There is always some reason why trains can't run at the speed they are built to run at.

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  7. More trains. There's a fine idea, right Jayne?

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    1. Jayne will certainly agree, River.

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