I don't mind So Cross station and I think it works quite well. A friend who visited the station recently complained to me about non working escalators. While it is a bit of a walk, there are lifts at the other end of the platforms. What I don't like about it is the stench of diesel fumes from idling trains. I don't remember it being a problem in other station I have been in.
I have written about Melbourne trains before, identifying different trains, including old models that are no longer in service. This is a simple identification of our four train types that you may travel on now and how to know which kind of train you are catching. There are trains and sets, six carriages or three carriages, but who cares. We know what arrives at the platform as a train.
This is a Hitachi train. It is very silver looking and with minimal branding. It is heated but does not have air-conditoning. There are only five or six of them left and I really want to ride on one before they disappear. While they were ever so modern when they first arrived, with driver operated closing doors and heating, they really are not very good compared to our newest trains. Driver air con was added at some point. The government sold them all and then as passenger numbers increased, had to buy some back at premium prices. Does that sound like what a government would do? They are easy to identify, as they feel old and they are quite noisy and each carriage is quite separate, with a connecting door and the windows open. Apparently they were a joint Japanese Australian project with 59 built between 1972 and 1981.
Next off the ranks is the X'trapolis built by Alstom of France. There are 74 of them, built between 2002 and 2004, and they seem to have been our best trains for reliability. The air con works well and they have push buttons on the doors for passengers to open and close the doors. They are very quiet and have sliding doors between carriages.
In the early noughties, with the operation of the government owned metropolitan train system privatised, two companies ran the trains, the lines being divided between them. In absolute madness, as happened with trams too, the other company bought different trains, Siemens Nexas from Germany, between 2002 and 2005. There are 36 of them and they caused a lot of trouble with malfunctioning brakes and being slow to load and unload because, as the picture shows, there are only two doors per carriage, rather than three. Having said that, I like them the most, with the carriages open to each other inside without internal doors.
Tech Stuff: I say trains, meaning six carriages. Technically our trains are three carriages, with two trains to make up a set. You train to board is approaching, so you need to say, here comes my train set. Try it and see what looks you get.
Here is a bonus photo, I think a Gippsland bound country train, pulled by a diesel locomotive. The carriages are old, but superbly quiet and smooth, without a diesel engine thumping away under the carriage as in the case of the more modern Vlocity trains.
You may be able to see the etching on the train window. Less obvious are the riveted black metal strips at the side of the glass. These had to be added to stop the youf kicking the glass out. I maintain, the stocks would be the best way to deal with them.