Retired

The other day I retired one of my oldest web pages, an FAQ on Melbourne public transport.

It started life (I think around 1993, before the Web was around) as a Usenet FAQ for the misc.transport.urban-transit group.

In 1994 it was posted (with an incomplete attempt to convert it to HTML) on Railpage — where unfortunately it is still online, as I haven’t been able to find someone who can remove it.

When I wrote it, there was little information available online about public transport. But from about the late-90s, official sources of information on public transport became more prevalent online (and in the last few years, more accurate and useful), so now keeping a separate FAQ is largely pointless, and potentially confusing, so I’ve taken it offline, though it lives-on in the Internet Archive.

The page had a slightly awkward format (designed by someone on the Usenet group) to allow better comparisons between cities, but (like this old video) some of the detail means it is something of a time capsule.

Fare procedures: Tram: pay conductor (or show valid ticket). On Z class trams, when paying, place your money in the tray in front of the conductor. On driver only trams, pay the driver. Exact change is not required, although large notes may not be accepted. Keep your ticket as proof of payment until you alight.

Here, just for laughs, is the old FAQ’s rail map (remember, it was originally posted on Usenet, which takes plain text only).

MELBOURNE METROPOLITAN TRAIN SYSTEM
-----------------------------------
                                                 ZONE 2      .
                                  *Epping                    .
                    ZONE 2        |            *Hurstbridge  .     ZONE 3
        Broad- *             .....|.......    /               .
        meadows|    *Upfield.     |  ________*Eltham           .
               | ...|......       | /      .                   .
ZONE 2        .|.   |     ZONE 1  |/        ..                 .   *Lilydale
             .  \   |             *Clifton    ..               .  /
  St Albans* .   \  | Nth         |Hill         ..Box Hill     . /
           .\     \ | Melb        |               ..    *_______*Ringwood
         .   \__*__\_\_*___*_*_   |       Camberwell.  /       . \
      Footscray/         | 3 4 |  |           *_______/        .  \
        .     |         2*    5*  |Richmond  /   \   .  ZONE 2  .  \
        ______*Newport    \_*__|_/__*______*/     |  .          .   *Belgrave
       /.     |             1        \Burnley\    *Alamein     .
      /  .    *  ~~~~~~~~            |\       \    ..         .
     *    . Williamstown~~   ZONE 1  | \       \______*Glen Waverley
Werribee      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~        |  \       .           .
          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     |   *Caulfield       ..
       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~   |   |\   .         ..
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~..|...|.\.. ZONE 2 ..
  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Sandringham*   |  \    .....       ZONE 3
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    |  .\...
CITY LOOP~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~...|..  *Dandenong
1 Flinders St~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |     \
2 Spencer St~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Frankston*      \
3 Flagstaff~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |       *Pakenham
4 Museum~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~    |
5 Parliament~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Stony Point*

     \___ Rail lines
     __*_ Major stations
     .... Fare zone boundaries; overlaps generally apply over 2-3 stations
     ~~~~ Port Phillip Bay
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5 thoughts on “Retired

  1. Thanks for reminding me of Usenet and mtut, Daniel. For a time in the mid-1990s, I maintained the main international FAQ of mtut. The group was inhabited by an interesting variety of folk, notably one Big Don, of Seattle, who ranted and raved about “LOOT rail” but whose posts usually had quite elaborate ASCII art of trains.

    I remember you from either mtut or aus.rail. Your Usenet email address was @toxic.custard which I realise was to prevent email harvesting bots but which I found amusing.

    Eventually mtut was totally taken over by anti-transit trolls and I haven’t looked in years whether it still exists.

  2. @David, yeah, MTUT still exists (click the Google Groups link above), but doesn’t seem to have any active (sane) posters… I suspect Usenet groups never really die, they just get filled with trolls and spammers.

  3. The passing of an era in online PT info, an invaluable reference in its time, and a real asset that spurred improvements elsewhere.

    @ David – And who can forget BigDon’s ranting about section 8 tenants as well?

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