Posted 5/3/06 


A Couple Of Weeks In The Life Of A (Somehow Still Employed) Kyneton Commuter


See also "Log of Lateness"



Dear Diary,




Got to Kyneton Station.  Surprised to see bus at station as train was waiting.  Advised to take bus as only two carriages on train, overcrowded.



Got to Kyneton station.  Told not to take bus as yesterday bus trip took two hours.  Take overcrowded train instead.



Evening.  Upgraded to first class, needing uncrowded space and seat after bad week travelling on the train.  First class invaded by 50 - 60 passengers who couldn't get seat on overcrowded non-first class carriages.  Cost of upgrading to first class refunded.



Great excitement and anticipation.  7.30am train from Kyneton was the first ever V-locity train.  Train heads off towards Melbourne but soon switches to track used by trains going to Bendigo.  At Woodend, Melbourne-bound passengers have to cross tracks to catch Melbourne-bound train.  At Macedon, Melbourne-bound passengers have to cross track to catch Melbourne-bound train, including blind lady with seeing-eye dog.  As no station staff anymore (station no longer manned) blind lady and dog helped across tracks by other passengers.  Approaching Gisborne, V-locity suddenly swings back to Melbourne-bound rail as Sprinter in Gisborne station, heading for Bendigo, needs track back.  Had thought double track meant each had its own.


At North Melbourne, the lucky passengers get off, unlucky ones wait 30 minutes for a platform at Southern Cross to become available.  Train due to arrive at Southern Cross at 8.40am arrives 9.05am.


3.52pm train to Kyneton.  260 passengers compete for 208 seats.  50 stand to Kyneton. 


4.32pm train to Kyneton.  Train behaving oddly after Footscray - stop, start, stop, start, lights flashing, doors opening. Conductor pushing buttons; electricity and air conditioning not working. 


 5.30pm train doesn't get through to Kyneton - signal failure at Carlsruhe.  No trains for rest of evening (cancelled).



3.52pm train to Kyneton.  260 passengers compete for 208 seats.  50 stand to Kyneton.  Amputee given seat in toilet.


4.32pm train to Kyneton.  Stop, start, stop, start. Brake failure.  Conductor pushing buttons. Didn't work.  Passengers told to get off at Sunshine, get next train to Sunbury.  Sunbury train chockers, 200 people already on it look in horror as another 200 try to get on.  Some passengers had to stand on platform between carriages (at least no known amputee today).  Charles of Kyneton abandons train at Diggers Rest, takes bike and rides to Kyneton, gets there before train passengers.  At Sunbury, many disappear into buses.  Get on bus stopping all stations to Kyneton.  Overcrowded.  Kyneton passengers told to get off and get on bus going to Castlemaine.  40 minutes late getting into Kyneton. 



am  Told everything fine, all working.  V-locity train.  4 carriages and still not everyone fitted in.  Dumb passengers didn't get off at North Melbourne.  Again, 30 minutes' wait at North Melbourne for platform at Southern Cross.  8.40am arrives Melbourne 9.10am.


4.32 pm train to Kyneton left out in sun.  Leaves only five minutes late.  Doors shut.  Act like insulators, turn carriages into microwave, passengers sweating, couldn't breath, cooking.  Air con doesn't kick in until Clarkefield.  Good news, train not jammed to capacity and beyond.  Slight breeze when doors open at stations.



7.30am train from Kyneton. One carriage.  Advised to take bus.  Seven smart cookies take bus - first time ever it arrived in Melbourne on time but only after negotiating with driver (a good Kyneton lad) to go on to Southern Cross despite VLine telling him to stop at North Melbourne. 


4.32pm train to Kyneton.  Leaves 22 minutes late - no explanation given.  Arrives Kyneton 25 minutes late.  Otherwise uneventful journey.



am.  Catch V-locity.  Faithful are rewarded, uneventful journey, only 5 minutes late into Southern Cross.  Under Bachelor's definition of 'on time', on time. 


Catch 4.32pm to Kyneton.  Another hard week.  Decide, with long-suffering train comrades, to upgrade to first class.  Arrive at platform.  Train at northern end of Platform 2, as always practically a walk to North Melbourne.  Arrive at train.  Horrible scene, carriages only.  No engine to pull them. Carriages left out in open again.  Time ticks by, no announcement.  20 minutes after advertized departure time VLine says it's looking for another engine, first one defective, won't be long.  Time ticks by.  Hostile mob on platform increasingly joined by optimists who normally catch 5.03.  Crowd continues to grow.  Engine finally arrives.  Board train.  Feeling harassed, take up position in first class with similarly harassed comrades in arms.  Train eventually pulls out about 5.05. 33 minutes late. Travel at snail's pace as caught behind dawdling metro train.  After North Melbourne, take frustrations to bar. Overhear conversation between two train employees.  Senior member tells junior, 'just shut doors after each station, don't check tickets, keep low profile'.  Returned to seat with coke.  Junior member mirrors instructions: smiles, walks by, shuts doors, doesn't check ticket.  At last got freebie out of VLine.  Arrive Kyneton 40 minutes late.  Adjourn to recently refurbished Albion Hotel.  Catch up with friends - talk through traumatic week with counsellor friend, while drinking fizzy apple juice.  Equilibrium returns after half hour of tranquil discussion and counselling.  Go home and watch footy on TV.


6.30pm from Melbourne.  Two carriage sprinter.  At Woodend, second carriage not on platform.  Passengers can't get off.  Conductor asks driver to move forward. Apologetic driver says 'can't, just hit dog'. 


Really looking forward to next week.  Probably be looking for something stronger at the Albion next Friday, assuming I can make it to Kyneton.