Sunday, April 04, 2010

Balaclava Station, the bad

About three weeks ago I looked and after much searching managed to find Connex, nay Metro's train update sms system. It was just to amuse me and as no one sends me sms, I must create a 'friend' to send me sms. I rarely use trains now, but I used to be a frequent user of the Sandringham line. Sadly the Sandringham line has been running very well and I have only received one sms. I was alarmed when I received it. Who would sms just after 7am? Ok, the 7.57 at Balaclava has been cancelled.

You can only specify a 45 minute period to cover with each addition to the system. I added Balaclava to Flinders Street and Flinders Street to Balaclava. One sms in the three or so weeks. What a great train line to live on.

I have never thought about it, but I have just learnt that Balaclava Station is the only train station within the City of Port Phillip.

Reports in the media say that Balaclava Station is one of Melbourne's worst. I never liked it much for aesthetic reasons. Maybe in the future pebble-dash will be fashionable but it is not quite yet. Among blogmates I think we concluded Rockbank railway station was the worst and also that the original Balaclava Station burnt down.

Apart from the aesthetics, the complaints about Balaclava Station seem to be that the ramp up to the station is too steep and the platform is too shallow and becomes dangerously crowded.

The ramp is probably too steep for the less than hale, but platforms too crowded? I occasionally caught peak hour trains when we lived in Balaclava. Platform dangerously crowded? Not when I used to catch the train. Obviously things have changed.

Might I suggest that there are not enough trains to move the people, rather than a lack of platform area to store the people?

The Public Transport Users Association is pushing for at least a ten minute service on all lines during the day for Melbourne's train system to almost resemble a Metro train system. This is very sensible. But uneven service intervals in peak time services troubles me more. How that situation was ever allowed to arise, I don't know.

It should be a five minute peak hour service on all train lines, but how will this go with motorists who use train/car level crossings? Road level crossings on the Pakenham and Cranbourne line will almost be permanently closed.

I used to enjoy going to Sister's in Murrumbeena on the train and meeting R who came directly from work by car and then taking Little Jo out. Then we went home and did battle with the road crossing over the train line at Murrumbeena. A good bit of our time travelling home time was spent at the Murrumbeena level crossing. Train after train and yet a not a great service for the train travelling public.

I can't see a great increase in the train service happening until level crossings in congested areas are removed. But much could be done by evening out the service intervals and some increase in service could happen by having traffic light control of level crossings work smarter.

It seems our new train operating company Metro is not doing so well. I don't really understand how anyone thought they would. Same trains, same tracks, same wires and same signals. Ho hum.


  1. Was just looking at Carnegie and Murrumbeena crossings the other day - both are too narrow for over-passes like at Oakleigh and possibly too close to shops/infrastructure to put the track up over the road. Have seen some doozies of near-misses with idjit drivers weaving around the boom gates at both xings *shudder*.

  2. Is there really a Balaclava station???Not a joke is it That word always brings to mind bank robbers and the like

  3. it is a weird station. I got acquainted with it this year before my sister left, as she was staying at her partners place for a bit.
    I've given up on trains, I love our tram system.

  4. Balaclava, Inkerman, Alma. My history is not good but was it Battle of Waterloo?

  5. C'mon Fen, now you are giving up on tram, train, bus and bike to zoom around in a motor car. I suggest you read Wind in the Willows and focus on Toad.

  6. Overpasses are so ugly too Jayne. The rail must go under.

  7. The only solution is to either raise or lower whole sections of line through the inner and middle suburbs. My vote is under. They did it 80 years ago between south Yarra and Malvern and at Camberwell, again in the 70's at Watsonia, and most recently at Nunawading. No reason it can't be done today with improved modern engineering practices (as used for Nunawading)

    I think those place names are from the Crimean war. Never understood why the British would care about a place on the black sea but there you go.

  8. Ben, it would be just be too destructive to go over, so yes, underground the trains. Crimean war, yep, hence Crimea Street.

  9. Isn't Ripponlea also in Port Phillip? I know that Connex/Metro have a nasty habit of doing trackwork on that line any time there's any event on in the general area, like the 2009 Grand Prix or this year's St Kilda Festival.

    You wouldn't want to run too many extra trains on that line, you can't have the culturally elite waiting too long to cross the line down in Brighton!

  10. In a quiz I would say it is in Port Phillip, but it must be in Glen Eira. I remember the detonators on the tracks very well.

  11. Nup, not giving up for the car, merely substituting some rides. I'll still catch the tram & ride when it's convenient. I do need exercise afterall!

  12. Ah Fen, I still see Toad roaring around in his motor car.

  13. HEY, who you calling Toad? LOL!


Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.