Politics and activism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Border Force farce

If you haven't heard about Friday's Australian Border Force debacle in Melbourne, here's the background: Timeline: How Operation Fortitude unravelled It started with their Friday morning statement, which said, among other things: "ABF officers will be positioned at various locations around the CBD speaking with any individual we cross paths with." The media dutifully reported it. The pros


Impacts of proposed tram and train strikes

Today's tram strike Some media is saying trams will start heading back to depots from 8am -- but Yarra Trams tells me 9am. They also tell me trams will come back out of depots right on 2pm, but it may take until 6pm for things to be completely back to normal. Options during the tram stoppage: Yarra Trams has a list of alternative service -- both regular scheduled bus/train services, a

Canberra 2005, Photos from ten years ago

Photos from ten years ago: Canberra

Almost all my photos from August 2005 seem to be from a three day Canberra trip (actually the only time I've been to Canberra). I remember it being cold but fun. And many of the photos are from around the Parliament Houses (old and new). Old Parliament House: New Parliament House. I think this was the approach from Canberra Avenue. Obviously there were works going on at the time.


Metro rail tunnel ads

Remember the ads for future transport projects that we saw in 2010 and 2014? They're baaaaaack. The metro rail tunnel isn't fully funded. But the ads are a bit different from the ones we saw last year for the proposed (but now scrapped) Melbourne Rail Link (the Coalition's then-alternative tunnel plan) and the airport rail link (on ice for now). Although not yet fully-funded, work on


Regional Rail Link funding: a short history lesson

It must be difficult for Tony Abbott's loyal MPs to defend him in matters like public transport, where he refuses to fund it, while heavily funding motorways. But of course they try. What's fascinating is when they get their basic facts wrong. This morning there was a discussion on Twitter about a Coalition-run forum about Geelong area public transport: @PTNotTraffic @SHendersonMP Yep. Also

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

What if the train lines were given letters?

If you haven't heard, the train and tram stoppages for Friday have been cancelled. Say you know which line you want, you've found the correct platform, but a train comes in with some obscure station on the destination sign -- how do you know if you can catch it? You might have only a few seconds to work out if it's on your line, and if so, whether it stops at your station. If you're luck

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Promoting “Turn up and go” public transport

Nothing makes public transport more usable than frequent services, where you don't need a timetable, you just "turn up and go" -- in transport planning circles this is actually known by the TUAG acronym. Regular readers might know: the Frankston and Dandenong lines now have TUAG trains every ten minutes every day for much of the day. The Ringwood line is every ten minutes at weekends, fifteen o

Retrospectives, Toxic Custard newsletter

August anniversaries

It's the end of the phone call that I remember the most. Before she hung up, she said: "Drive safely". I'm sure it was a standard line, but I'm equally sure she meant it. She was a nurse; the last thing she'd want having communicated the bad news would be the recipient having a crash on the way to be there. I rang my sister, and simply said "He's gone", and we headed to the hospital to see D


That anachronistic level crossing regulation came up for review. It hasn’t been changed (yet)

It's Rail Safety Week, an annual event to highlight the importance of staying safe around trains. It's an important issue, and the official video is well worth a look: Back in 2012, The Age highlighted the issue of level crossing regulations which are illogical, and out of step with engineering practice as well as public perception. Basically, many level crossings adjacent to stations wi

Bentleigh, Toxic Custard newsletter

Bentleigh: old real estate ads

I was looking on the State Library's web site for material related to my local suburb, and found these old real estate ads. This one is from back when Bentleigh was called East Brighton. It's dated 1885. It's the area immediately to the east of the railway station, which opened in 1881, and was renamed to Bentleigh in 1907, the year after the local post office was renamed. (Source: State Lib