Melbourne Rail Link: has it been properly planned?

As I've written already, both the Metro Rail Tunnel and the Melbourne Rail Link provide similar benefits in terms of rail capacity in the central part of Melbourne's rail network. In those terms, they are roughly equivalent. But MRL does have problems. For example, I think it connects the wrong lines. Connecting lines Both MRL and the Metro Rail Tunnel (I'm going to abbreviate it as MRT,

Melbourne, Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Photos: the loveliness of elevated roadways

It's easy when looking at aerial pictures to see the vast amounts of land taken up by freeway interchanges. (Pic: Google Maps) What is sometimes forgotten is the impact at ground level from elevated roadways. Here are some snaps from around South Melbourne -- which of course being inner-city, has some of the most valuable land in the country. I suppose there's a certain grace to the roa


Transport news: Extra services in July / Rally tomorrow / 2 hour fares

Some bits of transport news worth noting today: July: new services The Herald Sun has the scoop on public transport service upgrades from late-July: Work commute eased as new train, tram, bus services announced (a very narrowly focussed headline given the upgrades benefit a lot more than 9-5 workers). Details are still a little sketchy, but what we do know is: Around 4000 extra servi

Clothes, Toxic Custard newsletter

Waterproof jackets

My old Snowgum waterproof jacket, which I got about ten years ago, is finally wearing out -- self-destructing from the inside, a little like the Snowgum stores themselves. It's been so handy that I want something similar to replace it: reasonably lightweight (but not flimsy and featherweight) but waterproof (not just water-resistant), that can be packed down easily to carry in a bag. And I'm pr

Retrospectives, Toxic Custard newsletter, TV

Who remembers Infinity Limited?

Sometime one morning in 1983 (I think) I was walking through Elsternwick Park on my way to the bus stop to go to school (year 7), when I saw a hot air balloon at low altitude. On the basket appeared to be a Penrose triangle -- the logo for Infinity Limited, the ABC's science show for kids, which we used to watch at school. Turned out they were filming a scene for an episode -- the park is less

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Plea to stay safe – from a Melbourne train driver

This was posted on Facebook by a Melbourne train driver last week. It's well worth a read. Given he says "please share this" (and other copies doing the rounds are screen dumps, making it difficult to read, especially for those with vision issues), I'm posting the text in full here: I try to keep my posts upbeat, but right now, I need to vent. As most of you know, I am a train driver. Today, in


International public transport infographic

I was passed this infographic on public transport from some mob from Ireland called HoogleIt. They seem to be sending it around to various bloggers to get it posted around the place as a promotional tool. Fair enough. It has some interesting factoids on it. Anything about Melbourne in here? Indirectly. The photo illustrating "liveable cities" is Melbourne, snapped from the Arts Centre on


Automatic for the people

Those of you who read the blog regularly might know that it started in my university days in 1990, with a twice-weekly email called the "Toxic Custard Workshop Files". You can still subscribe to it, via YahooGroups -- it's got about 650 members. I never quite imagined when I sent the first edition that it would still be going 24 years later. These days the email is mostly a compilation of my

Going green

Electric kettles use power. LOTS of power.

I have an electric kettle. It's pretty fast to boil water, but wow, does it burn up electricity. Here you can see our live electricity meter thingy on the fridge. On the left, a couple of lights are on, as well as the fridge and I think a computer was on as well. On the right -- the kettle is boiling as well. Conclusion: Put just the water in the kettle that you need; don't fill it up ev