Thursday, February 16, 2006

Thu 16 February - A bit of fat...

I never really noticed before, but there's a bit of fat in the timetable that explains something that's been bugging me for a while. Often the 07:14 train pulls into Ripponlea a minute or two late, but generally we disembark around 07:28, which is the scheduled arrival time.

Today I happen to glance at the platform clock at Balaclava and it's 07:17:30 - the scheduled time is 07:15. In theory we're over two minutes behind. Yet it's 07:28:30 when we pull into Flinders Street - on time.

The answer is that there's an extra minute or two in the timetable. Outbound journeys to Ripponlea are either 12 or 13 minutes, while inbound are either 14 or 15 minutes. Just an extra bit of padding to avoid the penalties. Add these couple of extra minutes to the five minutes and 59 seconds that still counts as "on time" and you have a buffer of just a whisker short of EIGHT MINUTES up your sleeve before you're penalised for being late!

How long before 16 minutes counts as "on time"? I'll give it five years. So in 2011 when the 17:27 pulls in 16 minutes past its scheduled time, as it does today, that'll get a big tick in the Connex log book (or maybe in the PDP-11's database, they're bound to still be running) for another service satisfactorily delivered. And I can also bet, that just as today, there will be zero announcements to tell us where the hell the train is as we stand on the platform wondering and the departure time of the following train rapidly approaches. Pathetic Sir Topham.


Blogger Carolyn said...

Yes Connex's definition of late is a very rubbery one indeed.
It was back to the Frankston line for me today, after a month on the Sandringham line. The SMS informing me the 7:23 from North Brighton was cancelled didn't bode well, so when I got to Glenhuntly I wasn't surprised to see there were issues on the Frankston line too - the 7:24 was 8 minutes late and so crowded half of us stayed behind on the platform, but then the 7:33 was only a couple of minutes late and gloriously empty. Was still 10 minutes late for work though.

16 February, 2006 09:48  

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