music transport

Deli Meat Tray

A post about music… and evening public transport.

A post about music… and evening public transport.

I’ve been listening to the mysteriously named band Del Amitri for 30+ years, but hadn’t heard the nickname “Deli Meat Tray” before this week.

Remember that show Countdown Revolution – the short-lived music show that came after Countdown finished? I think I first saw them on there, with the video clip for Nothing Ever Happens – I still think this is an incredible song.

(If they updated the lyric “every third car is a cab” to “every third car is an Uber”, they wouldn’t be wrong, but most of it is timeless.)

Songs like that make stop and make you think. And I’ve always liked that most their love songs have a bitter twist.

And then there was the 1992 album Change Everything, where about every second song had a public transport reference. It helped make it all feel very grounded and real for me.

Del Amitri toured back in the day, but I was an infrequent concertgoer back then – probably largely because I had no money.

This week they finally came back, playing the Palais on Thursday night, so I booked in – my first concert since 2019.

I spot the venue, the Palais Theatre and the entrance to the old funfair, Luna Park and I’m transported to 1990. I was 25 and in the throes of our first success. Did it ever occur to me then I wouldn’t be back until I was 58?

Justin Currie’s blog – “Melbourne

I’m still COVID-cautious, so wore a mask. This didn’t dampen my enjoyment. It was great. A mix of well-known classics and others off their latest album – starting with When You Were Young, the one that sounds like it’s a newly written nostalgic song by middle-aged men, but actually dates back to 1992.

There was a big (and funny) roar from the crowd when theatre staff decided to stop hassling a superfan for standing and dancing up at the front. Another when the band had a false start on Roll To Me.

Songs that I’ve known for decades elicit a strong emotional response for me, and there were so many greats – even if those public transport-referencing songs from Change Everything were thin on the ground!

Del Amitri playing at the Palais in Melbourne 23/2/2023

Moving the crowds

The Palais has a capacity of about 2900. Being St Kilda, at least some people arrive by public transport, but plenty more drive despite high parking fees.

Seeing the crowds waiting for trams afterwards always makes me wonder if more would use public transport if the evening services were better.

Crowd waiting for a tram after an event at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda
Luna Park tram stop after the Del Amitri concert, approx 10:45pm

The trams only run every 20 minutes in the evenings (and 30 minutes on Sunday evenings), and you’ll wait up to another 20-30 minutes if you then need to make an onward connection to a train line.

Most of the buses are hopeless at that time of night (and make the 20-30 minute waits look good, even though in this context they are not).

Unlike most inner-city event locations, St Kilda Beach has a two-track terminus where you could theoretically park a tram for filling timetable gaps when busy evening events finish.

Fortunately it appears route 16 and 96 (and 3a on weekends) trams towards the City are somewhat staggered in the evenings, but clearing crowds quickly and efficiently is something that would be easier with better frequencies in all directions, and for onward connections.

Of course most venues in Melbourne have only one tram route in each direction, not three.

Luna Park and the Palais Theatre, St Kilda

The ultimate solution is better night time frequencies befitting a city of 5 million where there’s always something happening – so everybody can easily get moving without a long wait.

Turn Up And Go should not just be about peak hour. Nobody should pretend that trains and trams every 20-30 minutes after dark (and most buses not running at all) is good enough for inner-suburban car free or “car light” living.

He appeared like magic
And he left you on a late night train
Yeah some things never change

Del Amitri – The ones that you love lead you nowhere

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.

8 replies on “Deli Meat Tray”

On a similar theme, last night (7pm) I was on the busiest Melbourne-bound Geelong train I’ve been on for a while – three cars only, the previous (6.36) train didn’t run and there would still have been some Harry Styles fans heading in as well. (I was only heading home.)

Which leads to the next question – how could V/Line run multiple special trains to Ballarat and Geelong after 11pm following the Harry Styles concert when they’d already replaced trains with coaches earlier in the evening? I think I’d seen that on social media earlier, but the conductor made an announcement about it and I think even commented that it was a bit confusing to be running both replacement coaches and trains!

@Steve, I was wondering that too. I guess it depends where and when precisely they are doing works.

Theoretically they could run Geelong trains via Werribee; likewise they could run Ballarat or Geelong trains on the suburban tracks as far as Sunshine.

When I was a teenager in the 70’s, Melbourne had just reached 2.2 million and there was sweet-F-all to do after the shops shut and on Sundays, and trams ran every 20/30min at night, and had done for as long as I could remember.
The city is now a metropolis, its population has more than doubled, heading towards triple. We have Sunday trading, the night-time economy has exploded, and we still have a trams running to 1960s timetabling.

@Steve, I found this on the V/Line FB page:

A lot of people have been asking why we can’t run special trains on the Geelong and Ballarat lines like we did after last night’s concert. The answer is that works started late last night and will continue throughout the weekend. The special trains were able to run right before the works started.

We decided to drive this weekend – all the way in to Glenferrie station, to then get a train to Richmond for the soccer. We did this because the replacement buses are not at all fun, even though the staff work hard. The absence of Ringwood-Parliament express buses on the weekends makes it very likely that most people will get into their cars and clog up the roads, and that is exactly what happened. And the buses we saw were packed too.

Yes I saw that explanation for Saturday night, but that still doesn’t explain why on Friday night they could run trains between 11 & 11.30 but not between 10 & 11.

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