8:17 or so, boarded train train at Mckinnon. Not my usual station. Long irrelevant story. Happily got a seat.
8:36. Train stops at Hawksburn. Driver on PA tells us that the train will be delayed at least ten minutes due to signal failures near Richmond. He advises us to go to platform 3.
8:37. Most (perhaps 80%) of passengers on the train get out and switch. Large numbers of people means it takes a few minutes for everybody to change over. Some wait behind in the train.
8:47. After waiting a few minutes on platform 3, the train on platform 1… departs.
This is the sort of thing that really makes people angry. It’s not the driver’s fault, but if train control had been able to tell him the problem was there in the first place, they could have got a message onto the PA to say it was cleared, with time for many people to get back onto the train. Or they could have told him to tell people to stay put on the train in the first place.
Some remote PA announcements are made. They are telling people at Malvern, Armadale, Toorak and Hawksburn that city trains will be on platform 3, but also (if I heard it right) telling South Yarra people it’s platform 1. This causes confusion, as some miss the “South Yarra” bit.
8:50. A lone Metro staffer says to me “you’re seeing us at our worst”. Yeah. I ask why the original train took off without anybody being told first. He doesn’t know. (I’m not even sure why he was there, since Hawksburn is neither a Host nor Premium station, but there were whiteboard A-frames and timetable booklets out on display, so he wasn’t just passing.)
He apologises to people, he hasn’t got any information other than what’s on the automated departure board. People aren’t angry at him personally, but certainly are at the situation.
A passenger says to me “it’s always like this at Hawksburn.”
The board says there’s another train on platform 3 in 3 minutes. Most of us wander down there.
8:51. A train pulls into platform 3. It’s already pretty packed. A small number of people squeeze aboard, but most can’t. One couple risk jumping on and riding between the carriages. Stupid thing to do.
A train arrives on platform 1, picks up a few passengers, and leaves again. It wasn’t on the board. Perhaps they’d told it not to display platform 1 departures earlier when there was a disruption on that track. Marvellous.
8:55. Another train comes through. Despite space on board, and the fact that another train is in front of it which will cause it to be delayed anyway, it doesn’t stop.
A V/Line train comes through, doesn’t stop of course. Fair enough.
8:59. After a few more minutes, another train arrives. Some of us manage to squeeze on board, but many are left behind.
Penultimate insult: a few minutes later I can see a train on the parallel (formerly disrupted) track. It has loads of space on it, of course.
9:15, just a tad under half an hour late. Final insult: Flagstaff station. Busy escalators, queues to get through the gates. The Myki reader is almost slow enough for me to give up, but eventually responds. A line of Authorised Officers is checking tickets. Nothing against them personally, but on this occasion they might have been more helpful elsewhere providing customer service.
All in all, not a good morning trip, and surely there can be some improvement at how disruptions are handled. In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t a hugely long delay like that suffered on the Werribee/Geelong line the night before, but it was very, very frustrating.
I thought long and hard about the video, and eventually decided to pixellate part of it. All sorts read this blog, and I wouldn’t want officialdom studying it to try and apprehend those people for doing something stupid — they should be spending their time identifying and fixing what went wrong here.