Thursday, June 02, 2005

Thu 2 June - Back to normal...?

That was certainly an interesting 24 hours - thanks to everybody for your support. To those who sent me emails with a return address, I will try to get to them all - I'm fairly full on at work and have a big exam Monday too, so the spare time is very limited at present. But I do appreciate all the positive comments and I think we are right to hassle Connex, after all it is the public face of the suburban rail network.

I might be over-simplifying, but it seems the main criticism being levelled at me is that I don't understand the complexities of running a rail network. In a comment on yesterday's blog, somebody helpfully pointed to the Railpage forum to prove that I don't know what I'm talking about. Well thanks anonymous poster, but I already made it clear in my very first post that this blog was primarily about recording my experiences to see if they matched my perceptions (so far they do). I've added an extract to the profile section on the right, thanks for the idea D-word.

I don't think I ever claimed to have any expertise in any facet of running a railway network. However, I do have a pretty fair understanding of technology and I don't have to be Einstein to recognise that Connex is somewhat behind in its use of currently available technology and that the lack of same has to be a limiting factor in many areas of their operations. Their core computer systems are around 25-30 years old. Think about that - they pretty much predate the entire personal computing revolution! Your average PDA has more grunt than a 25-30yo PDP-11.

Any debates that I was involved in at Railpage were along the lines of me whingeing, somebody challenging me to suggest improvements, me suggesting improvements, then a whole load of people bagging me because I don't have a clue how to run a rail network! Well duh...

The other theme that our detractors are running with is that this is not all down to Connex - and I agree that is a valid point. But Connex is running the front end. If their back end is failing them then surely they have sufficient knowledge to understand the specifics and sufficient clout to change things that are impacting their service delivery? In which case they are certainly the right people to target with our complaints.

This blog was never intended to become a debating ground, I'll be going back to Railpage for that when I get some free time back into my life. So I'll be refraining from further comments on the various feedback received after this. But I would like to close this side of things with a correction. Never have I berated Connex staff, nor have I ever advocated anybody else doing so. Question them, challenge their apathy, don't accept the ridiculous bureaucracy, such as not allowing any superfluous comments on their complaint forms, but don't lose your temper and don't berate the staff, it's not their fault that Bruce Hughes is not competent to run a rail network!

On the 06:59 again today... by choice. It's just about on time too, obviously the lack of a third door in each carriage is no impediment to progress this morning.

Home on the 18:24. That third door ensures that we get home on time.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Phil, the age of the technology doesn't matter at all. It's really whether they fulfill the requirements demaned of them. In this case, signalling. Who cares if your PDA is more powerful that their 11/70s! I worked for the company that maintained them, BTW. Fact is, successive gummints won't allocate the R&D funds to replace them. (They even made them demolish part of their Metrol building where the PDPs were housed!!!)

Part of the issue is the techology that sits between the PDPs and the outside signalling world. Unfortunately, it isn't quite as simple as buying a couple of Dells (or PDAs, for that matter!).

02 June, 2005 09:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So this morning a 2 door train didn't slow your progress, surely it can't be, those 2 door trains are so slow to load according to you and your imagination. I've travelled on the sandringham line for 8 years and sure we have some cancelations and late running but you must be really unlucky to cop all your problems. As for 2 door trains I get one almost everyday and the only problem with loading people I see is, people or kids holding doors open for others that are not even on the platform yet, which happens on all trains 2 or 3 doors.

02 June, 2005 20:26  
Anonymous sam said...

Ah yes, the train enthusiasts favourite angle - us lowly passenegers (or pax) don't know how to drive a train or run the system so we don't have a right to complain. Funny how they forget that we are the only reason the passenger rail system exists - it's not so pimply faced kids can take photos as they drive past. I do not give a fat rat's arse about what computer does what and how many fucking valves it had in 1914. I pay an ever increasing price to use the system and the system is failing. End of story. I buy my tickets from Connex run stations, with Connex signs, to get on Connex trains so when i think I'm getting ripped off, I'm going to complain to Connex, just like Phil is.
And I dare any of the people who are saying that everything is fine, to shout out in the crush of a late and packed Frankston train in peak hour, that Connex are doing well and we shouldn't blame them. See what sort of on the spot response you get. I know that I'd give you a mouthful, if it wasn't stuffed with someone elses elbow.

03 June, 2005 12:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Sam, you write crap like that and then wonder why no-one takes any notice of you!

Try and actually INTERPRET what others are saying without all the guesswork, use a bit less bile and invective, leave out the perjoratives. Actually, if you did all that, you probably wouldn't have much to say!

Have a lovely weekend.

Anon #7

03 June, 2005 13:29  
Blogger vlinewhinger said...

Wow Mr Anonymous #7 you must have had some time at lunch to utilise that thesaurus.

;-)

Pity you miss the point Sam is making entirely as you're too busy trying to look intelligent.

03 June, 2005 19:41  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pity Phil sees the need to delete the comments off here. Sneaky sneaky, and rool transpearent.

05 June, 2005 23:59  
Blogger Connex Whinger said...

Not at all. Given that this is a publicly accessible website and I know that school-age kids are viewing it, I've removed any posts that contained extreme profanities.

You're more than free to criticise or abuse me, I can take it - you'll see I've left plenty of such posts intact. Perhaps you might consider expressing yourself in more adult terms without the need for profanities?

06 June, 2005 05:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, I thought I saw someone looking over my shoulder when I was writing earlier on....must have been you!

Yes, I guess I was a bit hard on poor old Sam. It's too bad when you sit on a Connex train for an hour and the best you can hope for is to end up in Franga! Nearly as bad as 'sleepy hollow'. I suppose anyone would be just itching to let fly with the f...-word after that.

Actually, VLW, Sam's point is quite apparent but adding all the dross* to it (* another one of them funny words) only detracts from whatever good points he's making. Point is: if you tell someone they're a f...king idiot (in a roundabout sorta way), I'd figure that you're facing a bit of an uphill battle to convince them of your arguments legitimacy thereafter. (Sorry, there I go again with them fancy-pants words!).

P.S. I altered the Eff word to suit Phil's last post.

06 June, 2005 07:33  
Anonymous Sam said...

Well, well, well anonymous, how dare we offend your delicate sensibilities by using some profanity to emphasize a point. And using some colloquial Australian slang to boot! My, my I bet the Literary Society was abuzz when you related that one to them! You should have heard the boys in the lock up at Frankston when I told them that story (after a Saturday night doing drugs and destroying property around that little Sleepy Hollow)!
Wait a minute - there's a good twenty or thirty kilometres of suburbs between Melbourne and "Franga" - including Armadale and Toorak! Could I per chance, reside in one of these leafy and affluent locales? Could Anonymous be avoiding the argument simply to pick on my choice of language? You better fucken believe it!

06 June, 2005 13:11  
Blogger Daniel_Bowen said...

You should all be riding bikes to work anyway. We at the PTUA believe in bikes and optometry.

07 June, 2005 13:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, whatever. You could have just edited the posts to remove the profanities, and it's a lame excuse anyway. Doesn't your beloved MX whinge time and time again in the letters section about foul-mouthed kids anyway? I recon what we posted in there was incriminating, correct, and stuff that you just couldn't hack being left up there.

Rool accountable, as I said.

07 June, 2005 17:36  

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