How much has really changed?
I still go there even though I live in Bentleigh, on days when I’ve dropped off the kids at school.
In that time, about the only thing that’s changed is that there used to be a booking office and a lady selling tickets. She could whip through a queue in seconds flat when there was a train approaching.
She was replaced by the Metcard machines in the late-90s, and for a while there were no staff there at all, although at one stage there was a shortlived coffee stand.
Then a few years ago the station hosts arrived; two staff for just a few hours each morning peak-hour. Station hosts were allocated to the busiest stations that didn’t already have staff, which included Glenhuntly.
Other little things have changed. Green and red buttons arrived many years ago. Brighter lighting. CCTV. New paint.
But the most visible difference over the years is the logos used on the trains and on the timetables, which have gone through four completely different names and designs over the past decade… from The Met, to Bayside Trains, to M>Train, then to Connex.
And what about the thing that really matters: the number of trains?
How has that changed?
Here’s how AM peak looked in 1997, versus now, between 7:01am and 9am trains to the City:
That’s right — despite record patronage growth across Melbourne’s train network of about 70% in the last decade, there is in fact one less service now than there used to be. That’s because it got turned into an express that no longer stops there. Apart from that all they’ve done is fiddle the timings a bit.
Admittedly, other lines have got extra trains, and many of them have worse crowding, so it’s well-deserved. But more trains are needed right around the network.
Later this year we can apparently expect another new name for the trains. One that stays for good.
But who knows how long it’ll take to get more services running.