For the big summer works blitz, the Department of Transport has an online calendar showing which lines are affected on which days.
This is good, because it’s much more legible than their usual confusing lists of lines and days.
It includes up to mid-February 2020. The January closures were announced on 21st November, so the disruptions were flagged 6 weeks in advance.
This is an improvement – and allows some people a fighting chance to arrange leave to avoid the works period.
How do other jurisdictions compare?
Transperth has a calendar currently showing closures up to the end of January 2020.
Transport For New South Wales publishes a 3 month calendar – it’s currently showing closures up to February 2020.
Queensland Rail publishes a 12 month calendar – it’s currently showing closures up to July 2020.
Further afield, UK’s Network Rail has a searchable calendar showing disruptions up to March 2020.
Transport for London (including London Underground) has a calendar that shows disruptions for months in advance – it’s unclear if all planned works have been entered, but TfL Rail (aka Crossrail, which is partially open) shows disruptions listed as far ahead as April 2020.
Washington Metro has a list of works up to February 2020.
New York City’s subway lists disruptions up to March 2020.
Back in Melbourne, the fact that passengers can see disruptions as far as mid-February is a big step forward.
But that level of advance warning is unfortunately not routine, and it should be – for more than just the “special case” Gippsland line.
Some major Melbourne rail closures are already planned well into 2020.
For instance, the Upfield line, is expecting a three month partial closure for level crossing removals. I understand this will commence in August.
If they published this information well in advance, there could be a caveat: maybe works would move by a week or two, or the scope of the closure might change a bit closer the date. And smaller weekend-only closures might have to be moved or added with less advance notice.
But often rail closures are locked in months in advance. So why not warn people so they can plan ahead?