Saturday, August 13, 2005

Summary 8-12 August

Overall it seems that things are improving, well in fact the numbers show that the service is more reliable than when I started this blog. But the thing that's rankled almost as much as the delays and cancellations is the lack of information when they occur - if anything I'd say this has deteriorated. Yesterday evening there was no announcement, no apology, no nothing. We just stand and wait and wonder when the next train will show. So when the less frequent, but still inevitable, cancellation occurs we're all left guessing. Is it really so difficult to advise the long-suffering commuters when to expect their next train?

OK, now that whinge is out of the way, here's the stats. 58% truly on time, 26% fairly late and 16% very late or cancelled. Nothing like Connex' published stats!

Mon 08/08Tue 09/08Wed 10/08Thu 11/08Fri 12/08
Mon 01/08Tue 02/08Wed 03/08Thu 04/08Fri 05/08
Mon 25/07Tue 26/07Wed 27/07Thu 28/07Fri 29/07
Mon 18/07Tue 19/07Wed 20/07Thu 21/07Fri 22/07
Mon 11/07Tue 12/07Wed 15/07Thu 14/07Fri 15/07
Mon 06/06Tue 07/06Wed 08/06Thu 09/06Fri 10/06
07:1407:14N/AN/A N/A
Mon 30/05Tue 31/05Wed 01/06Thu 02/06Fri 03/06
Mon 23/05Tue 24/05Wed 25/05Thu 26/05Fri 27/05
Mon 16/05Tue 17/05Wed 18/05Thu 19/05Fri 20/05
Mon 09/05Tue 10/05Wed 11/05Thu 12/05Fri 13/05
Mon 02/05Tue 03/05Wed 04/05Thu 05/05Fri 06/05
Mon 25/04Tue 26/04Wed 27/04Thu 28/04Fri 29/04
Mon 18/04Tue 19/04Wed 20/04Thu 21/04Fri 22/04
Mon 11/04Tue 12/04Wed 13/04Thu 14/04Fri 15/04
Mon 04/04Tue 05/04Wed 06/04Thu 07/04Fri 08/04

Friday, August 12, 2005

Fri 12 August - Only 30 seconds...

The 07:14's customary stop in the yards is just 30 seconds this morning, thus managing to arrive in time to get a green indicator. Good effort!

Not so for the homeward trip...

We're at the Flinders Street entrance at 17:33, the sign says the next trains are the 17:49 and the 18:01. That's odd, Shaz and I check our phones, no SMS alert to say the 17:38's cancelled. Up the ramp, plenty of people around, no announcement. Waiting, waiting, waiting. Train comes in at about 17:43, has to be the 17:49. It's announced to be just that. Get on board. 17:45 we both receive the SMS alert to say the 17:38 is cancelled. Umm, thanks for that Connex, but I think you're kinda missing the point!

So Connex, don't bother to tell people on the platform and don't bother to send an SMS - then maybe nobody will even notice!

For good measure, the 17:49 rolls in to Ripponlea about four minutes late.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Thu 11 August - A lucky break...

At 06:30 I get an SMS to say the 07:14 is cancelled - I suppose that's the logical progression after the delays. That would've been too late to do anything about it, but I have a doctor's appointment this morning so I was not intending to catch it anyway!

I end up on the 10:17, which is more or less on time... until we have the customary two minute wait in the Flinders Street yards.

On the 17:49 coming home. It's on time. I have to say that if I have a choice between mucking around with the inbound trains or the outbound trains, I'll take the outbound trains running smoothly every time. Having the inbound trains slightly disrupted is a small price to pay!

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Wed 10 August - Stap me vitals...

Well stap me vitals**, the 07:14 is late! Arrives at Ripponlea late, sits in the yards at Flinders Street, pulls in three minutes late. Don't get me wrong, I'm not that anal that being at my desk three or four minutes later ruins my whole day, it's simply the fact that this has started happening for no obvious reason. And it's going undetected because the trains are "on time".

** From the Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams - see "Corriedoo" entry.

At least the 17:38 is on time.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Tue 9 August - Two steps forward...

Two steps forward and one step back. The number of overall cancellations seems to have decreased in recent weeks, as have the ones in my usual travelling time (yesterday notwithstanding). But the trade-off seems to have been punctuality, especially in the morning. In the past, we've had a whole week of morning trains being on time under my slightly tougher definition than Connex'.

However, lately it seems the 07:14 is at least a minute or two late from Ripponlea and ends up later still when it finally gets to Flinders Street. I'd look at the time in the lift and it was usually 07:33 or 07:34, more recently it's been 07:37 or 07:38 at best. I know it's only a few minutes, but why is it slipping? Because the trains still count as "on time", so nobody is noticing, I suspect.

The 17:38's waiting for me when I get there. We leave on time and get home on time.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mon 8 August - Uh oh late again...

The 06:59 was cancelled this morning, so the 07:14 is fairly crowded - just the way we like to start the week! It's only a couple of minutes late from Ripponlea but we do the wait in the yards thing for platform 13, even though there's nothing there, so come in five minutes late.

I really have serious doubts about the ability of these PDP-11s to handle the simple signalling needs of the network. How hard can it be?

Just when you're thinking "Hmmm while we've had quite a few delays, there's not been many cancellations lately..." they cancel the 17:38, my favourite train. Then the 17:49 departs seven minutes late. Bet that was cosy, with 170% more passengers than normal!

Anyway, I wait for the 18:01, as do many others judging by the numbers piling in at Richmond. Thanks Connex, I promise I won't take you for granted again. Arrive at Ripponlea a couple of minutes late for good measure.