Level crossing removals: a status update

Three years ago in 2014 I attempted to summarise level crossing removals, based on the old 2008 ALCAM list, which is (still) the last public safety evaluation of level crossings in Victoria. Things have moved on a lot since then. Labor was voted in with a policy of grade separating 50 level crossings in 8 years (20 in their first 4 year term). And you'd have to give them credit for storming ahe

Blog sponsorship, books, transport

How the 20th century was almost dominated by electric vehicles, rather than petrol

It's amazing to think that had circumstances been different, the western world might have developed its road transport around electric engines rather than fossil fuels. That's one of the key points made by "A Most Deliberate Swindle", by Mick Hamer - the tale of the London Electrobus company, which pioneered the use of electric buses in London in the early 1900s. I was sent a preview copy -- it

Photos from ten years ago

Old photos from September 2007

Here's yet another of my blog posts of photos from ten years ago: September 2007. Around this time there was a somewhat sarcastic Metlink fare evasion campaign, which pointed out that fare evaders' trips were subsidised by everybody else, and that fare evaders should therefore offer to buy dinner or mow the lawn of a fare-paying passenger. Someone obviously didn't like this. Well before Ub


If services are frequent enough, should timetables be more flexible?

One thing you notice on many of the world's big metro systems is that people don't check the timetable... because there is no timetable to check. Or if there is one, nobody bothers. It's becoming the same way around some parts of Melbourne. Trams -- most people use TramTracker displays at stops or on their phone, or they just rock up at the stop with the (not unreasonable) expectation that t


A quick look at the new Metro and Yarra Trams contracts

It's no huge surprise that the State Government has announced incumbent operators MTM and KDR will continue to operate Metro Trains and Yarra Trams respectively. The current contracts started in 2009, and expire in late-2017. These new contracts will run through to 2024, with an option for another 3 years to 2027. Despite an RTBU campaign, clearly the state government didn't want to take the

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Trains and trams in Brussels and Belgium… any lessons for Melbourne?

My holiday blog is currently up to Brussels. In this (lengthy) post I've looked at the many types of rail transport in Belgium, and I try and ponder lessons for Melbourne. Belgian use of rail ranges from trams -- street-based and on separate alignments as in Melbourne, but also underground "pre-metro" routes -- the Metro, and suburban and long-distance heavy rail. Trams Brussels ha


What should they call the metro tunnel stations?

Just posted on the holiday blog: Brussels -- where I meet my new baby cousin in a tram museum (of course!)👶🚋 The state government are running a competition for naming the new stations to be built as part of the metro rail tunnel. It's a good idea to get suggestions. Some of the working names are a little uninformative, and someone out there might have a brilliant name idea that nobody in off


Metro’s paper timetables mess

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that fewer people use paper train timetables than used to. The proliferation of departure information via the official web sites, Google Maps and the official Journey Planner, as well as the official app (with its real time information) and many other apps, means people can get that information far more readily than they used to. Some stations also