Saturday, November 29, 2008

New modus opperandi: City Loop

As most people will be aware by now 2 or 3 weeks ago changes were made to the way the Epping/Hurstbridge and Werribee lines use the city loop. In peak times the Werribee line has been removed completely running direct to and from Flinders Street via Spencer Street. At non peak times and on weekends and public holidays it operates as normal.

The Epping and Hurstbridge lines have been altered to run in a clockwise direction during the week, direct to Flinders Street before going around the full loop, and anti clockwise around the loop direct to Parliament on weekends.

I for one am in favour as it makes my life for about half the week much easier. I no longer have to travel to Parliament, change to a Northern loop train to get to Flinders Street and then get my Belgrave/Lilydale train from there. The alternative was to travel the whole way around the loop which could take nearly 20 minutes if you got halted a few times on the viaduct between Southern Cross and Flinders Street. Often changing at Parliament was the difference between catching a train and not...

Now I go direct, sure there is sometimes a bit of a crawl between Jolimont and Flinders Street, but that is to be expected when there are only 2 platforms that my train can use, plus conflicting moves with trains on the Burnley Group going the other way. Actually that last part is probably the most contentious issue, as both the Burnley Group and Clifton Hill groups now vie for one piece of track from opposite directions if platform 14 at Flinders Street is occupied. That part really sucks. In general my connections are much smoother than they used to be.

I don't really like the arrangement on weekends though, as I used to like getting off at Flinders Street on a Saturday morning and walking up through the city to where ever I needed to go. I guess I will learn to live with it. From my understanding it is run this way to keep the outbound track from Flinders Street to Jolimont in working order and to keep train drivers knowledge of this track up to date. On the first weekend of this operation I recall the confused expressions of other people on the train as it went into the city loop.

It all seems to have bedded down rather well now, although I understand the Werribee line pax are still having issues with transfers to loop trains at North Melbourne and Southern Cross.


Andrew said...

Good to hear of a personal experience of the changes.

From my understanding it is run this way to keep the outbound track from Flinders Street to Jolimont in working order and to keep train drivers knowledge of this track up to date.

Where did you hear this? Just curious.

PS I used to be terrified when, was it the Glen Waverley line?, changed direction about 11am. I always thought someone would make a mistake and two trains would be heading towards each other on the one track.

Now I am older and wiser, I realise that the system is computer and human controlled and therefore I had good reason for my fears.

Ben said...

Didn't really hear it anywhere, it is just what I deduced. At risk of repeating myself if you misunderstood, if train drivers don't drive over a section of track for a certain time period, they have to be re familiarised with it. Plus running this way every weekend ensures all the signals and track circuits etc are in working order.

I guess anything could happen. Look at the train that ran away from Broadmeadows and ended up crashing into another train at Spencer Street about 5 years ago.

Andrew said...

The report on the runaway train made fascinating reading Ben.