Below you can see the current rail network map. As maps go, it’s pretty useless, because it tells you where the tracks go, but not where the trains go.
Looking at it, you might assume that trains run from Sunbury to Upfield — but you’d be wrong, of course. (The latest version does at least have Wyndham Vale and Tarneit added.)
Back when there were three zones in Melbourne, and you had to buy your ticket in advance to cover the zone(s) you wanted, it might have made sense to emphasise this at the expense of route information, but with changes meaning most trips are a flat fare, zones are much less useful now.
You’d recall that during 2014 there were several drafts of a new rail map.
It’s a huge improvement, because it does a much better job at showing where the trains actually run.
But apart from a handful of locations which got them temporarily for the purpose of soliciting comments, it’s never been rolled out.
It’s expensive to do that of course… to replace every single map on every single station and every carriage…
And yet, they’ve managed to replace all the signs on the trains about Authorised Officers. See, they have the new name of the government department that oversees them, the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure. Edit: This has since been replaced by the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources.
So why not distribute the new map?
Possibly they were waiting on other developments: the opening of new stations such as Caroline Springs (coming in January), the timetable changes that were to reduce variations in operating patterns (originally planned for 2015 when Regional Rail Link opened, but postponed), and even a proposal to colour-code platforms at big stations such as Flinders Street.
It’s unclear how the latter points are progressing, but there’s good news. I’m told the new map starts rolling out in January.
It’s no doubt had tweaks since we last saw it in 2014, but it really will be a vast improvement, and it’ll be great to see it replace the old one.