Magical Mystery Tour

A somewhat circuitous commute this morning.

9:05. Get to Glenhuntly station. Note large crowd on platform — never a good sign that late in the morning.

9:10. Connex lady is leaving for the day, but mumbles something about problems. Green button for latest info refuses to talk to me. I hang about at the front of the station looking out for a tram. By this point four have gone down towards the terminus, so surely some must eventually come back.

9:15. PA announcement about trees over tracks, overhead wire down, and general train mayhem. And it uses the phrase “Expect massive late running.” A bloke gets off yet another tram going the wrong way and tells me the Sandringham line is out too. I wonder about the nearby Dandenong line, but given no SMSs are coming through about any of this, figure Connex’s SMS machine has suffered from meltdown. (I heard a figure of 114 train cancellations between 5am and 10am.)

9:20. Two trams arrive. I board the first one, and note the driver’s frustration at the doors not entirely behaving. We proceed at a snail’s pace.

9:25. Get to the tram depot whereupon they boot everybody out onto the second tram. PA announcement about trams disrupted further up the line. Uh oh.

9:30. We get to South Caulfield Junction (aka Glenhuntly Road and Hawthorn Road). Some consultation between staff at the front of the tram. Looks like they’re diverting onto Hawthorn Road, which involves first turning in the wrong direction, then reversing at the crossover. They do this, partially confusing some people who didn’t overhear what the plan was.

9:40. Tram pauses a couple of times as we lose power momentarily. Perhaps because of diversions, too many trams in the area sucking out all the juice?

I try to ring 131-MET to find out if I should get out at Malvern to catch a train, but can’t get through, so decide to stay on the tram, which at least I know is moving. Ring my sister, get her to check some web sites. No info on them.

9:45. Rolling along Dandenong Road. Consolation: the cars are moving much slower than we are.

9:55. St Kilda Road. Mostly a smooth ride, plenty of cars banked up. One noted broken down in the middle of a traffic lane.

10:15. Get off tram in city, only about 35 minutes later than usual. Thank the tram driver, who after all had got me to work.

Not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

Who else has storm stories?

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “Magical Mystery Tour”

my storm story is a whole lot less exciting. just lotsa rain and lightning, while trying to sleep in a tent last weekend and hoping it didn’t hail :-)
seems like you weren’t to worried though, a lot of people in your situation blame anyone and everyone. extra time to chill and enjoy the company of your fellow passengers…

I should have stayed on the Number 3 when I caught it at Caulfield Junction, I mistakenly got off at St Kilda only to find there wasn’t a No. 96 or 112 tram running. Ended up catching the Port Melbourne bus and then the 246 bus. Only arrived 15 minutes later. Some cheeky bastards arrived at 10am and still left at 4pm.

I think Broadmeadows line was running only one train because of flooding at Essendon station (50 minutes in between trains!). Inspection of the connex site said the line was fine – stupid connex. I caught the 503, and then another bus to take me further east until I hit High street in Northcote, and getting on the 86 in the opposite direction to which I normally take it. My 50min trip ended up taking 90min after all delays. Why don’t stations with subways also have a raft to move the commuters over the inevitable flood waters? Or possibly proper drainage? Why couldn’t they run a regular service up to Moonee Ponds station and then turn the train around, with a bus bypassing Essendon? Not very fault tolerant.

On the upside, the new house doesn’t seem to leak, in spite of funny stains that were on some of the walls.

Metlink was the only place I could find that had belated information. Not much use after the event. Pity, the net could be a great resource in such situations. Tim did well with his knowledge of the system.

Comments are closed.