It’s days like these that you begin to appreciate why some people go and spend thousands installing and running home airconditioning. Yikes. I suppose we should be grateful it didn’t quite reach the forecast 43°, but stopped short on a mere 42.4°C (108.3°F) instead.

I spent some time today listening to the bushfire updates on 774. It also makes me grateful I live in an urban area, where the risk of things like burning embers is minimal, and the worst I faced today was excess sweat.

Nylex sign

By the way, I think they’ve fouled up the Nylex sign renovation. It’s very hard to read now. Admittedly not quite as bad as this picture suggests, but what is almost impossible to read in a picture (it says 41° by the way, taken this afternoon) is very difficult to read in person.

(Compare: May 2004)

PS. A trip into the city in a nice airconditioned train and a walk around Melbourne Central seemed like a good way to escape the heat. The plan went to pieces on the way home when the trains were messed up, leaving us waiting for 15 minutes at Flinders Street in the heat, and when a working train turned up, it was one of only 6 non-aircon Hitachi trains left. Opening every window can only help so much.

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.

17 replies on “Scorcher”

I seem to recall when the new trains started coming in that there were stickers up saying that by the end of 2004, every old train would either have been replaced or refurbished. And yet we still get these old, unairconditioned (the worst part) trains, seemingly only on hot days. Ah, Connex :) If I see Harry Connick Junior, I may punch him in the nose.

I actually saw the Nylex sign whilst on the South Eastern on Saturday afternoon and it was as clear as a bell so it must be an angle thing. I also sweltered at the tennis on Saturday and wonder why they didn’t close the god damn roof earlier. Maybe if Mr McNamara had been forced to sit in the seats which were unshaded for 5 mins. the decision would have been made b4 one of the players had to retire due to heat exhaustion. I was lucky enough to have a corporate seat in the shaded area. I would have been outta there if not. Also, could not believe the number of babies at the tennis. Insane parents if you ask me.

I call them the Hitachi Shitbox 9000. I got one a few weeks ago. Typical, with only six left I’d get one.

What’s happened to those double decker trains they bought? Why wouldn’t they still run the one or two they have instead of just keeping them in a shed at Bayswater?

Why ARE those damned Hitachi trains still running? I felt so sorry for people on Friday last week who were faced with an ugly trip all the way to Broady on one. I was going to Upfield that day and these trains are rarely (if ever now) on that line. Good grief. Having them in winter is one thing (the stifling heat is welcome when it’s 2 degrees outside) but in summer? Seriously, I’d rather they cancel the bloody train than make people travel on those things.

And that Nylex sign, I haven’t seen it for years since we stopped needing to head out that way onto the freeway. I miss it.

if you managed to open ALL the windows on the old train, you should take out a Tattslotto ticket! Most of them are jammed shut.

All but one, I think Rog. I agree, a miracle!

The 6 Hitachi trains are still in service because they’re being kept for the Commonwealth Games, then scrapped after that. They’re using them occasionally because it’s easier to run them regularly than to leave them unused until March then have to get them back up to speed. And you’re more likely to see them on hot days because… (unbelievably IMHO) the Comeng trains are not designed to handle heat of more than 34 degrees, and are likely to fail in the heat!

Personally, I think given it’s only a dozen or so days per year when you really *really* need aircon (as opposed to just opening all the windows) I reckon they should keep them until they can get another new 6 trains built to help with every day (not just Games) overcrowding.

From what I have heard, Sunday had quite a lot of ‘tachis due to air con failures apparently.

Daniel, what would and the PTUA you prefer: For a service to run, using a Hitachi train as that is the only available one, OR for any service that was supposted to be a Hitachi on hot days to be cancelled, leaving people on some lines a 1 hour gap between services (or 2 hour gap at night for the outer SE suburbs). You appear to be leaning towards the latter.

You misread me, I’m afraid. The former, of course. Anybody who’d rather wait for the next train is free to do so. (I could have, but didn’t.)

But ultimately what should happen is we have a train fleet that is bigger (able to cope with current and future patronage), all airconditioned, and (here’s the clincher) that doesn’t break down due to aircon failure.

Face it, aircon that breaks down in the heat is one of the sillier attributes an airconditioning system could have…

Think of all the people who lost power over the weekend.

Like me.

Power went off at 10:20pm saturday night, they did not get it working again until 5pm Sunday. Everything in the fridge died.

Sorry Daniel, but you DO need A/C on even cool days. Eighteen-odd years of using public transport has taught me that much. It gets awfully stuffy when you’re stuck on a train that only gets warmer as more and more people get on it and stay on it for an hour.

Those Hitachi trains are a disgrace to travel on even without the A/C problems.

We’ll have to disagree on that. As when in a car, if it’s below 30 or so, it’s fine if you just open the windows and let the breeze in. Problem is on the trains that most people have forgotten they can do that and/or by the time it’s so crowded you need to do so, are too polite to reach over those seated to do it and/or the damn windows are stuck shut.

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