10 November 2008

New timetable - better or worse?

Today is the first day of a new train timetable - with big changes to the Werribee line and how it connects to the city.

The changes are:

Werribee weekday peak services will travel direct to Flinders Street via Southern Cross Station allowing for two extra morning peak services on both the Werribee and Sydenham lines. This will occur during morning peak 6.42am and 8.23am, and during the afternoon between 4.08pm and 5.48pm.
Werribee passengers wanting to travel through the City Loop can change trains at Southern Cross or at North Melbourne Stations.
The 9.51am Werribee to Flinders Street service will no longer run.

Share your experiences of the new timetable ... Add your comment ...


Anonymous said...

I just want to say my experience with Connex this morning was appalling. I was under the impression by going to Flinders on a Werribee Line train, I could simply change platforms & get onto a connecting Loop train to Parliament.

Oh No. Fist thing was the fantastic new service (which was the same train that used to go through the loop), stopped at the Aquarium for a good 5 minutes. I didn't realise there was a station there!! Apparently these 'phantom' stations are popping up all over the place.

Second thing, up arrival at Flinders St, I find the Epping/Hurstbridge trains do go through the loop, but in the reverse direction from where I came!! So far Brumby/Kosky have added 20 minutes on to my morning travel.

Upon checking my options to catch the same train home that I normally would, will result in me having to leave work 15 minutes earlier than I normally would.

So Brumby/Kosky work out the maths. I'm one of how many people on the Werribee line that just lost over 30 minutes of productivity every day?

And also please tell me how Flinders Street handled the extra traffic better than the loop!!

Bring on the election!!


Anonymous said...

Come on Ian, have you been asleep for six months. You get off at North Melbourne or Spencer St to change for a loop train. Pesonally I have been walking from Flinders St to top of Collins St for the last 12 months

Chris from Williamstown

Anonymous said...

Utter rubbish...easier/quicker for me to drive in.

Scatter said...

Courtesy of the phantom stations outside North Melbourne and between Southern Cross and Flinders, my direct Yarraville to Flinders service got me to Flinders St at about the same time the Loop service used to, a 24 minute trip.
This was what I expected and is the reason I don't catch the later 8.21am train as I cannot afford the extra time given over to random stoppages.
In a related matter, I've carefully examined the new Werribee line timetable and cannot see where the 'new' services have been added. Certainly not in the morning or afternoon peaks!

Anonymous said...

Rubbish! I travel from North Melbourne to Altona and although the 8.33am left only a few minutes late, we ended up being booted off at Newport as the train went express to Laverton for no apparent reason.

The next train to pass through Newport also went express to Laverton, so finally got a train going to Altona at 9.30am. 45minutes late for work.

Anonymous said...

Again, the people travelling from Yarraville/seddon miss out. We watch werribee trains sail through our station each day, and get a service only every 20 minutes even in peak time. The new timetable means the service from 8.14, which was the only one that went through the loop, no longer does. Back to the scrum at nth melbourne, where frequently I have to watch several trains go through that are too crowded to board. We are only 8 km from city but a trip in is usually 40 minutes. Unacceptable.

Jo said...

I'm on the Sydenham Sardine Line & the so-called improvements are hard to spot on the timetable. Earlier this year, Connex introduced a train that started at Sunshine & therefore had empty seats when it got to me at Tottenham at 7.20am. According to the new timetable this service has now been 'extended' to commence at St Albans.....however, the commentary neglects to mention that it no longer actually stops at Tottenham West Footscray or Middle Footscray. Thanks Connex - not!

Anonymous said...

Flinders St is my stop, I was looking forward to shaving off 5 or so mins by avoiding the loop. But as Ian said, the train came to a halt just shy of the station and thus sucked up those 5 mins. Maybe they're still working out the kinks...I'm hoping it'll be better tomorrow.

T Downie

Daryl said...

I think it is highly premature to be commenting on the good and bad side of the new timetable. Any change like this will invariably mess with people's routines and will probably lead to a majority complaining that the change is for the worse. I think we need to wait for a few weeks/months and see whether a) on average, how many extra passengers are coming to/from the city in peak hour, and b) on average, how much longer/quicker is it taking passengers to get to work? For the time being, I think everyone should chill out, try and find a new route if your old one got screwed up, and let's hope that, in time, there is a net benefit from these changes.

Wildsnow said...

This morning, travelling towards Werribee, to Altona,I was firstly informed by a Connex employee that the train would leave from Platform 10 so went to the platform to find that this was the Williamstown train. I then had to wait for the Werribee train, which was supposed to be all statins. The train arrived at Newport and the driver anounced it was going through to Werribee. The abandoned passengers and myself had to wait over 40 minutes for a train that went to Altona. All together, the usual one hour trip from hawksburn to Altona took two hours. I could not get onto three trains taht passed throguh hawksburn due to overcrowding. Improvement or stuff ul! I hope the timetable settles a bit iover the next few days.

RVB said...

It's a start; but it's not going to solve the long-term problems of the system, namely:
a) Subsidies for Connex that instead of benefiting commuters, benefit shareholders of Veola environment.
b) Freeway construction in an era of peak oil and global climate change. Vancouver, for example, has active legislation against freeways due to their congestion-exacerbating nature and tendency to annex sections of a city.
c) No planning; the Tarneit line (proposed) undoes the work of the Geelong Fast Rail project. How could two projects along the same stretch of rail, that undo each other, be forgotten so 'deliberately'? The Tarneit line, for example, will increase journey times for travellers from Geelong (an issue the fast rail project was allegedly meant to address).
d) Our bus routes are a mess; spaghetti-planning would be an appropriate term. The Hitrans institute - a Norwegian planning institute that researches the best transport planning models - would probably be astounded by what goes on in Kosky's department.

The Greens have perhaps the best transport plan, but it's not the best. Of course, failing that, we'd have to stick with Labor (whose collective planning-integrity equates to one pint of Ginger Ale).

Anonymous said...

where are the new services exactly? Maybe they are talking about the new phantom stations they have added to the line! I am pregnant and morning sick, and was trapped on a crowded train where I had to vomit while the train was within 20 metres of flinders st station!!
My husband and I both get off the Sydenham train at flagstaff- now we have to pile off the train at north melb with 90% of the passengers as we all try to cram onto an already ovrcrowded other train that IS actually going where we need to go. But while everyones complaining about Metlink, the passengers are just as bad- I shouldn't have to prove I am pregnant to be able to ask someone to give up their seat - not one person would give up their seat for me on request, until I vomited. You people should be ashamed.

Anonymous said...

I stopped using trains approximately one year ago because of inefficient services. I now drive to university every day, and save on average around two hours of each day. I think that it is about time we started asking; why does Victoria need a private operator to run its public transportation system?

Anonymous said...

The new changes are utter rubbish. I had to leave work 20 minutes earlier so that I could walk to Flinders street station this afternoon to get a seat. The station was packed! There was a substantial increase of people on the train this afternoon which is just unacceptable.

I have a friend who has difficulty walking and cannot stand for more than 10 minutes at a time. She is now forced to walk all the way to Flinders street in an attempt to get a seat or simple get on at North Melbourne and stand until Werribee. People can't move on the trains, let alone give up their seats for someone else.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Connex no extra services in Seddon in the morning, try the change at North Melbourne, could not get on the next two trains,so total travel time increased by 15 minutes! Coming home tonight where are all those extra trains on the loop?? Have you tried to change platfroms at North Melbourne?? This is a joke we have been taken for granted again it is time to vote the changes back or make the members of parliment live in the electorate adn use the trainms Ms Marsha Thompson

Anonymous said...

Thank you Connex no extra services in Seddon in the morning, try the change at North Melbourne, could not get on the next two trains,so total travel time increased by 15 minutes! Coming home tonight where are all those extra trains on the loop?? Have you tried to change platfroms at North Melbourne?? This is a joke we have been taken for granted again it is time to vote the changes back or make the members of parliment live in the electorate adn use the trainms Ms Marsha Thompson

Lois said...

Re Daryl's comment yesterday about being premature - Daryl you obviously don't catch the Epping/Hurstbridge line or Werribee line - nor do I, but I have co-workers who are having to leave early and are gettingin late. As for my line the Sydenham line, fine in the morning if you get on near Watergardens, otherwise, no difference - in the afternoon at Parliament we are now "competing" with Werribee line passengers trying to get to North Melbourne. The service is a disgrace and Connex should go!

Anonymous said...

Most frustrating as to board a train for city loop at Nth Melbourne - those trains are already packed. And we're competing with v-line passengers who disembark at Nth Melbourne for city loop as well.Has not saved time and in fact increased time to travel to work by 15 -20 minutes. Train services have not improved at all.
Why not keep previous services running through loop and the new extra services (we're still waiting for) don't run through loop.
I don't think Connex or government realised just how many commuters board the Werribee train through the loop! (It also includes the Williamstown line commuters who change at Newport).
New system is not working.
Next time try getting the commuters' ideas before such a major disruption to their travel.

Anonymous said...

Lynne Kosky and her cronies in DOI deserve to be sacked. Changes on the Hurstbridge line have so far rendered what was once a reliable service into a complete shambolic series of unnecessary delays. Judging by the number of people who are now disembarking at Jolimont there are few loop passengers prepared for the delays that are experienced between Jolimont and Flinders Street and then again at Flinders Street itself. We were promised that the change would stop the delay caused by changes crossing lines at Jolimont. So far I have experienced only delay where previously there was always a clear run from Jolimont to Parliament. I would have given the benefit of the doubt and assumed that this was early teething problems until I checked the timetable and discovered that the new timetable has trains arriving a minute later at Southern Cross than under the old timetable. So to go Jolimont, Parliament, Melbourne Central, Flagstaff and Southern Cross was actually quicker than it is now to travel Jolimont, Flinders Street, and Southern Cross! I’m all for untangling the network but this looks like an exercise in institutionalising incompetent rail management. If the smooth flowing of services through the city loop without delays could not be assured with these new changes, then why were they made at all?

jacquelyn said...

Melbourne is one of the worst cities in the world in terms of the layout/setup of the train system, not just the delays/cancellations/etc. And for quite some time I have been pondering different ways for Connex to fix up their train problems.

Firstly I wish to comment on the layout/setup of the Melbourne train system. Unlike most major cities around the world (London, Paris, New York, even Sydney) all of Melbourne’s metropolitan train lines start on the outer edge of metropolitan Melbourne and aim toward the centre of the city.

The aforementioned cities do not do this. They all have lines that travel from one side of town and head toward the other side - some passing through the city, some not.

To think of this in terms of Melbourne, it would be as though the Craigieburn line went from Craigieburn to Belgrave, using Southern Cross and Flinders as the only city stations.

I have firm belief that if we were to fix the Melbourne train system correctly – this would be the only way to do so. However, it would cost billions of dollars and would require many new train tracks and would take a lot of time, so this idea is quite pointless.

Another way to fix this would be to have an “outer loop” stopping at those stations on the edge of zone 1 and 2. However once again, it would cost billions of dollars… etc.

In terms of the new services Connex has provided – they’re on the right track (no pun intended). I will admit that I am not a Werribee line user, I catch the Craigieburn line - so I cannot say I have, or will experience the change of service.

I believe that if all metropolitan services were to terminate at one station in the city (Southern Cross for North Melbourne bound trains and Flinders Street for Jolimont and Richmond bound trains), the delays we all experience would be significantly lower.

Of course this would mean that we would need trains circulating the City Loop at all times of the day, but this just makes sense.

If you have not been in the city for a while, you would not know that after 12:30pm on weekdays you cannot catch a train from any of the City Loop stations to either Southern Cross or Flinders Street. You will arrive at North Melbourne, Jolimont or Richmond and you will have to back track. Of course, you could catch a tram, but if you are disabled, or are already in the underground station, getting back above ground for a tram, and waiting for it could be a long process.

Therefore having trains circulating the City Loop at all times would allow passengers to get from any city station to any other city station, as they wish to do so.

Back to my original point. If all trains terminate at one of the city stations, they would then catch this “City Loop train” to their ideal station – much like the Werribee line is doing now.

The logic for my point is this: If taking the Werribee line out of the loop is said to lower delays for all other lines, wouldn’t taking all trains out of the loop lower delays much further? And if everyone has to change trains somewhere, it makes the system fair, equal.

You may email me if you wish to discuss this.

Luaph said...

Too early to say about the benefits of the new timetable, but it is ridiculous when the driver of a train from Williamstown this morning advised people to change at North Melbourne, contrary to the campaign and the signage to get people to change at Spencer St, where the trains have at least emptied out a little. Suggesting that people try to get on the loop trains (particularly joining the Sydenham Sardines) at North Melbourne is ridiculous. Get your message straight Connex.

Scott said...

Naturally the reduction in service is worse.

Perhaps it will be possible to get on a Werribee train at North Melbourne in peak times when there are more trains, but for now the penalty is exiting work early and the run across town to Southern Cross.

A section of the population including Werribee has been sacrificed - I hope someone is better off as our situation is plainly worse.

Anonymous said...

I was disappointed to find that there are still 20 minute gaps between peak hour sydenham trains in the morning from west footscray. It's just ridiculous.


Outraged of Heidelberg said...

Because I have trouble dealing with change I’m half agreeing with Darrel to chill a little...but my trips in from Heidelberg are so painful. I hope the people who get off at Flinders Street are getting the benefits. I am catching a train 1/2 hour earlier, waiting 5 - 8 minutes at Flinders, then maybe 4 minutes at Southern Cross, so nearly 20 minutes later to Parliament. Connex was right about more seats - I can sit down between Flinders and Parliament while I wait to get there!

So I'm thinking about the [spaghetti planning] bus options now, while I wait another 10 years for those line duplications we keep hearing about.
When I hear of the wonderful resolutions overseas, or even in Perth, I could cry with frustration at our ridiculous state government and their privatised, short term solutions.

Anonymous said...

I got on at Footscray and had a seat to Flagstaff, then coming home I got on at Flagstaff and had a seat to Footscray - nothing to complain about from me.

kmac said...

Lois, travelling on sydenham line, please contact Kit - klmcd_77@yahoo.com.au; interesting in sharing ideas about this with you.

Anonymous said...

The hype promoting the changes was over the top. We were lead to believe that we would get better service and more trains. This is not my experience. The Werribee and Williamstown services I catch from Newport now take longer than before and the overcrowding is just the same. One wonders if the 300 odd new services are made redundant by 300 odd service cancellations. Sounds like a deck chair shuffle to me. Not happy at all.

Anonymous said...

Connex isn't the only one that has updated its timetable. Vline has also updated its time table, here is the rundown of the goings on of the 5.08pm Southern Cross to Bacchus Marsh

Monday: 5.08pm train late into Melton by 10 minutes

Tuesday: 5.08pm train late into Melton by 2minutes

Wednesday 5.08pm Canceled (due to hot weather, official explanation by Vline conductor). 5.24pm Late into Melton by 20 minutes. Seriously over crowded at two peak our trains converge into one, plus no air conditioning.

Thursday 5.08pm Canceled (again due to hot weather, official explanation by Vline conductor). But to cap it off so was the 4.45pm, so the 5.33, which was 30 minutes late into Melton had three peak hour trains in one and still no air conditioning. But on a funny note Sundry vline ran on time apparently vline trains are only affected by the head on the Ballarat line. What a disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Going into the city from Yarraville in the moring is OK - the change over to Epping etc line for the loop at Southern Cross is good.

Getting home from the city to Yarraville in the evening is much worse. It is much harder to get on a Sydenham/ Broadmeadows etc train at Parliament to get to North Melbourne. They are very crowded and they seem to all be running at least a few minutes late.

There are no improvements for commuters from Yarraville, we lose the two morning trains that went through the loop, don't get any extra trains, have to do the change over at North Melbourne in the evenings with hundreds more commuters.

Diana Rice said...

The new Werribee timetable and service is a disaster.
Trains are consistently late, cancelled, still overcrowded when they do run - and entire trains of passengers are grumpy at having their daily commute increased by at least 15 minutes on top of delays.
I'm advising all affected passengers to write to the Minister. I will be. It's one thing to ask Werribee line passengers to sacrifice a city loop service at peak times for the benefit of the network, but to take away the reliability of the few trains that do run (one every 20 Minutes), and especially those that pass through the Altona loop, is insulting and infuriating.