Metro was already having a bad Monday morning peak with the inner part of the Sandringham line suspended due to a maintenance train derailing overnight. Things didn’t improve when at about 7:15 the outer section of the Cranbourne line also went down, and it just got worse when at 8:10 a train caused an overhead power fault at Caulfield. By 8:40, they were evacuating that train and others, as these snaps I grabbed from a passing Frankston line train show:
They weren’t the best pictures, but thanks to Twitter, what they did do was alert journalists that there was a major disruption emerging at Caulfield. The second pic got picked up by The Age, though far better was a pic and video shot by Gavin Tan on Twitter:
Now, the maintenance train derailing on the Sandringham line could be just bad luck. Metro are pointing at vandalism for the Caulfield problem. And the Cranbourne issue (which seemed to recur on Monday afternoon)? We don’t know.
But it all underscores just how fragile and troubleprone the rail network continues to be.
The political fallout
While Metro might be the operator, it’s the level of investment, and the level of scrutiny of the operator that must ensure a good outcome. And that’s the government’s job.
The last state election was won and lost on public transport — both sides said so.
Not everybody uses the trains, but everybody knows somebody that uses the trains. In the 2010 election campaign, they were a powerful symbol of a government failing to deliver.
Will history repeat in 2014?
- Update Wednesday: Pic also published by Leader