I’m running a bit behind in my blogging due to general business.
Here are some pictures from the brand new shiny West Footscray station a few weeks ago.
The platforms seem uncluttered, and there are Passenger Information Displays (PIDs) and a clock, which are becoming the standard now for new stations:
There’s a pretty big car park, in part to make up for the parking lost at Footscray. You can also clearly see the space for the new Regional Rail Link lines which are being added:
There are bike cages as well as car parking, as well as a bike path/ramp from the concourse to the streets on either side. The main concourse/bridge over the tracks is pretty imposing, very visible from the surrounding areas.
Chris Hale from Melbourne Uni presented at the PTUA Annual General Meeting recently. He remarked that Roxburgh Park station looks like a jail.
Although I wouldn’t say it’s beautiful, happily the same can’t be said for West Footscray. At the very least, it’s more colourful, with blocks of green, and areas of wood on the ceiling (apparently to help the acoustics and reduce noise).
Looking east towards Footscray (central) through a tiny hole in the concourse wall, you can see the amount of development that’s going on there:
Minister Mulder’s decision to provide ramps as well as steps and lifts means there’s plenty of choice for getting between the concourse and the platforms. At least if the lifts break down, now there’s an accessible alternative. As you can see from the hoarding, despite having been officially opened, the work wasn’t quite complete when I went through:
All in all, not half bad for what will become a busy station as urban renewal takes hold in the area.
It’s not staffed, apart from PSOs. I would hope and assume that space was set aside for future staff facilities and toilets should they ever be needed — it appears so from the amount of closed-off space on the bridge.
One local I know seems to like it. As an occasional user of the old West Footscray station, I’d say it’s an improvement.
Hopefully future stations will continue to look less like jails and more like a welcoming spot to catch a train.
- Related: Lynbrook station design
Analogue TV has been shut off in most parts of Australia in the last few months.
Sydney was yesterday morning, and one enterprising bloke managed to record the last moments of all five stations. Have a watch, it’s great. Note Channel 7 (top right) which actually marked it by playing an old animation. The others just went blank as if in some horror movie:
Channel 7 also made an effort when their Brisbane analogue signal ended back in May:
Melbourne makes the final switch-off next Tuesday at 9am.
I assume most people have switched already, and thankfully the household assistance package has meant people shouldn’t get left behind.
The extra channels should have been motivation enough for most of us. And the government’s motivation? Lots of revenue from selling off the old analogue spectrum.
The big question will be when we start to get more high definition (HD) channels. Will there be another switch date in the future when standard definition equipment is no longer supported? How many SD-only setups are out there, who can’t get ABC News 24, 7Mate, and GEM?
Oh and by the way, if you’re culling the duplicate channels in your tuner, you might like to know that SBS HD and SBS1 are not actually identical. SBS HD usually shows SBS1, but sometimes shows SBS2 for movies and sport and other programming that benefits from HD.
On the road to Rutherglen a few weeks ago, we came across this: the old railway. Some photos below.
Apparently it opened in 1879, with passenger trains running until 1962, and freight trains until 1995. These days the nearest operating railway is at Springhurst a few kilometres away, on the main line to Albury and Sydney.
If you take a look at Andrew Waugh’s excellent VRHistory web site, you’ll see maps that show just how extensive the Victorian Railways were. By 1940, the network reached most populated parts of the state, before it contracted in the decades following.
By the way, it’s notable that some argue that not only should the South Morang line be extended to Mernda, but also another 10 kilometres to Whittlesea where it used to run. I’m not convinced. Just because there used to be a line to Whittlesea doesn’t automatically mean it should be rebuilt. The Urban Growth Boundary doesn’t extend out that far. Serving the population, not empty fields, is the priority for public transport upgrades.
The term blog is a shortening of web log… well, this blog post is a log for primarily my own purposes, though it may be of interest to others.
Seems the cluster headaches are back this morning.
They often return at the change of season, but I haven’t had them since about two years ago.
(That blog post went into some detail about them — and this point is particularly worth noting: no conventional painkillers are effective against them. Not paracetomol, not aspirin, not Nurofen. Nothing works. It is not the same as migraine.)
So, this time around, so far:
5:40am, for about fifteen minutes. Started to fade when I went outside for some fresh air. Thankfully at this time of year it’s light, not too cold outside.
7:30am, about the same length of time. Again went outside, which seemed to help.
9:10am, I thought another was coming on, but it only gave the warning signs (pain in starting in the nose and moving to the left hand side of my forehead), without the main event, the searing pain through the left side of my head, of the earlier ones.
This time around they seem to go for about 10-15 minutes — in the past it appears mine have gone for longer. It’s always a little hard to tell what is helping, or if it’s simply disappearing by itself. That said, oxygen is recognised by many as providing relief.
I’ve found in the past that consumption of caffeine and sugar (that is, a Coke) can also help. My GP long-ago prescribed medicine, and I’ve never really determined if it helps or not, but on the off-chance it does, I’ll be getting some more.
While I’m not afflicted by them as badly as other sufferers, the pain is intense, and When it fades, there’s a feeling of immense relief.
I’m hoping they don’t hang around for long.
Update Sunday 1/12/2013 — Thankfully, no further recurrences… quite unlike previous episodes, but hopefully it was just the two yesterday and that’ll be it for now.
Update Tuesday 3/12/2013 — …however, I have had another, more conventional headache, since Sunday night. Not clear if it’s related. It’s not as strong, but it’s almost constant.
I spotted this a while back, but forgot to blog it. It was published by the ABS in October 2012, but it’s still worth noting:
“While the household car is still the preferred method of travel to work for most Australians, the train has overtaken walking as one of the most preferred modes of transport,” Mr Henderson said.
“The proportion of people opting to take the train has increased from 3.4 per cent in 2006 to 3.9 per cent in 2011, putting the train in the top three methods of travel to work.”
Trains being in the top three is pretty amazing given that while walking and driving are more-or-less universally available in every area in Australia (the latter subject to income and ability), travel to work by train is confined to a much smaller proportion of the population.
Of course, driving still dominates because most people have no viable choice — as I’ve said before, if we want more people to choose efficient modes, they have to be given the choice… which, remember, is the sort of investment that what most people want.
Car (driver) 60.2%
Car (passenger) 5.3%
The Melbourne General Post Office was built in the 1860s, and served as GPO until 2001. Nowadays it’s a shopping centre.
Australia Post moved its retail operations a little north, to the other side of Little Bourke Street, with a big (but no doubt cheaper to run) Post Shop.
Now that too has closed, in favour of a new one a little further north again, on the corner of Lonsdale Street. I assume it’s still under construction — at least, it looks that way.
Inside the most interesting thing of note is the self-service checkouts and vending machines.
There are still humans serving, in what appears to be a similar fashion to other post offices. But PostPaks, stamps and other products can be bought via the machines.
This, at last, means you can buy postal products without having to queue behind dozens of people wanting to buy gifts and pay bills (something I only ever do online these days).
And a bonus: the frontmost section is open 24/7. It’s got parcel pickup lockers, and snack-style vending machines. If you’re ever in the vicinity and in urgent need of a 10-pack of stamps late at night, you’re in luck.
Well, here we are. Some more thoughts on the Doctor Who anniversary… Warning — below are spoilers for those who have not seen the special episode yet
Anniversary day finally arrived.
The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special episode “Day Of The Doctor” aired in the UK at 7:50pm GMT Saturday night which is 6:50am AEDT on Sunday morning. Thankfully the technology for the simulcast is a little more sophisticated than streaming video — otherwise we might have seen this!
It made me wonder… the ABC self-regulates its programme ratings, and rated the episode as PG, which is a safe bet.
But with the same episode showing at numerous Australian cinemas today, and them advertising it also as PG, does this mean it had already seen by people at the Classification Board?
The answer seems to be yes — there is a listing on their web site showing it was rated PG for mild impact themes and violence on 7th November… which I suppose means copies have gone to all the broadcasters as well.
Full points to ABC2. The geniuses in their programming department managed to get their weekday Doctor Who repeats to conclude on Friday with the episode before the special. Well done!
The Popup Shop
BBC Worldwide (their marketing arm) are running Popup Shops around the country too. We went along to the Richmond one the other week (it may have finished up already), and it was very busy.
The episode — Spoilers!
And the special episode itself? Well I got up to watch it, and will watch it again tonight.
Fantastic. A great balance between nostalgia/tribute and a fresh story that wouldn’t put off the Newvians (as Isaac has called new Whovians).
Nostalgia is a powerful force. The episode managed to tug at the collective memories of decades of episodes via millions of viewers.
At the start it referenced the very first episode (which I’m too young to have seen on original transmission, but first saw in the mid-80s on a very fuzzy copy of a copy of a VHS tape), but there were also many more recent memories — including some from the 70s and 80s — I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who found myself delighted but also a little emotional while watching.
The Zygons — happily little changed since their 70s appearance.
The Curator — what a surprise.
From the mini-episode Night Of The Doctor we now know 8th Doctor Paul McGann regenerates into John Hurt. It’s implied in this episode that he becomes Christopher Eccleston. But what happens to the numbering now? Is Matt Smith actually 12 instead of 11? If so, is Peter Capaldi (glimpsed briefly today) set to be the 13? If so, what happened to The Valeyard, who was supposedly going to be between the 12th and 13th?
Or did McGann to Hurt institute a reboot, given he was actually brought back to life by the Sisters of Karn? That would make Hurt the 1st, and so on. It seems not, if the credits were anything to judge.
The 13th is meant to be the last Doctor. Not that it really matters — if the makers of the programme want to bend Timelord lore and go beyond the 13th, they’ll find a way — it’s science fiction, after all. (They did it years ago with The Master.)
A loose end was tied up — in The Shakespeare Code, we saw the Tennant Doctor being chased by Queen Elizabeth the First. Now it seems we know why.
Though we never saw what happened to the negotiations between the two Kate Lethbridge-Stewarts. And why is Clara now a school teacher? (Or did we already know that?)
This episode turns around the result of the Time War. But would the Daleks really have destroyed themselves when Gallifrey disappeared? Seems a tad unlikely, though maybe that’s why the Eccleston Doctor is so surprised any of them survived.
Maybe some of these things will be explained later. But I for one thoroughly enjoyed this episode.
And like all good stories, it ended with a cup of tea.
Here’s to the next fifty years!
Doctor Who “Day Of The Doctor” Australian ratings: 424,000 at 6:50am (!) and 922,000 at 7:30pm plus it was apparently ranked number 2 for Sunday cinema box office takings ($1.5 million). (Source)
In Britain it was second-highest programme of the night, watched by 10.6 million. (Source)
PS: The Google Doodle
Surely everyone’s seen this, but just in case not, here’s a link to its permanent home: the Doctor Who Google Doodle, including a multi-level game inside it. Over a few tries, I eventually managed to complete it in 3 minutes 28 seconds.
News from London is that they are planning 24-hour Tube services on five lines from 2015 at weekends.
It’s tied to a grand plan which will also see staff taken out of ticket offices (in favour of helping customers more directly, for instance with ticket machines), more Wifi on stations, and contactless bank card (eg Paypass) payments.
All interesting, but let’s focus on the all-night trains.
Running all-night services on weekends only is an interesting balance between meeting big city passenger demand, helping late-night economic growth, and still allowing time for maintenance — which can still happen on weeknights.
Could we do it in Melbourne? Would we do it in Melbourne? Nightrider buses might well be adequate for demand on weeknights (but don’t even run at present), but on weekends (Friday and Saturday nights) are frequently swamped with users. Particularly on the busiest lines, and particularly over summer, trains would cope better with the loads.
Here’s the interesting thing: early planning for all-night weekend trains appears to be already be under way.
For such a thing to happen, there’s any number of factors that would need to be carefully planned — maintenance regimes, rosters for drivers, signalling and support staff, stations, PSOs…
One obvious step is ensuring that any future development on the rail network doesn’t get in the way of it.
The planning for Southland station includes such a clause. In a document obtained via FOI by The Age, the requirements clearly state that the infrastructure should allow for a future timetable with trains running 4:30am to 1am on weekdays, and “Friday 0530 through to Monday 0200″ — in other words, continuous services from Friday morning through to late Sunday night.
It doesn’t mean 24-hour weekend trains will be starting any time soon, nor that they would necessarily run on every line — a more likely initial outcome is the busiest lines only, where Nightriders don’t cope.
But it does appear that the early planning for it is happening now within PTV — ensuring that no new initiatives get in the way of doing it in the future. Great to see it’s on their radar.
Want to see it happen? Then get busy making your voice heard in the media and with your local MP.