Retrospectives, Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Five years ago today: A day on the trains

Five years ago today I posted this video: A Day on the Trains. The footage for it was gathered over the space of a month or two in the dying days of the Connex Melbourne Empire in late 2009, and it was designed to capture a few scenes I thought might be changing in the coming years. Obviously some things have changed, others remain the same. Liveries: Connex (Metlink) became Metro (


The government loves talking about train punctuality. Cancellations? Not so much.

For some reason, while the government have been crowing about train punctuality this week... Our record investment in PT = 23 months of punctuality above 90%. Congrats to staff at @metrotrains #springst - Tez— Terry Mulder (@TerryMulderMP) April 9, 2014 ...they haven't been talking much about Service Delivery, aka Cancellations. I wonder why not? Oh,


The C word still lingers

They haven't changed the seat design with the hidden word "Connex" in it -- it's not very obvious and probably a hassle to do. But even some of the electronic signs stubbornly revert to the former train operator's name occasionally. These two were snapped in the last month or two, both on X'Trapolis trains. Perhaps deep in the heart of the machine, the words of the company that original

Politics and activism, transport

Moving forward

Julia Gillard apparently mentioned "Moving forward" some 22 times during her press conference today announcing the election. "Moving forward." It sounds vaguely familiar. Ah yes: Well, it worked for them. Update: Had a text message from an ex-Connex management person saying they are "very proud" their slogan has been recycled! Also: Renowned author and former Keating speechwrite


Stickers everywhere

Someone's been busy with stickers. In their contract, Metro had until Monday to rid the train system of any mention of Connex. The Franchisee will apply stickers to cover all references to Connex, both internally and externally, on all Rolling Stock. These works will be undertaken at the various depots and sidings where the Trains are stabled at night, while the Trains would not otherwis


Farewell Connex

Connex took over running the Caulfield and Northern group lines on 18th April 2004, and to mark the occasion they put up a Welcome to Connex banner at Caulfield station. Evidently from day one, things didn't go entirely to plan. Over the past five years they've seen the strain of record numbers of passenger trips, with little government investment to help manage it, as well as reliability p


They can’t perform miracles

Contrary to what some people seem to think, in December when Connex are gone and the new operator starts, miracles will not occur. Girl to friend on train: ``I can't wait till the Japanese take over Connex. We can then get to Frankston from the city in, like, five minutes in the bullet train. It'll be totally awesome.'' -- Overheard, MX, 19/8/2009 Err, no. Once MTM (who are from Hong K

PTUA, transport

Connex and Yarra Trams dumped

So, both Connex and TransdevTSL (operating as Yarra Trams) are being shown into the departure lounge, with MTM (MTR) and Keolis to replace them. I don't think the former is a surprise, though the latter is. Some are celebrating. I know this for a fact, as yesterday morning at the station I heard one man say to his wife that he'd be opening a bottle of champagne if Connex got dumped. htt


Who will it be?

The big announcement may well come in the next few days: who will take over running Melbourne's trams and trains from November? Anybody want to put their predictions on the table? Leave a comment! Your choices: Trains: Connex (Veolia, incumbent) or MTM (Hong Kong MTR consortium) or Keolis Trams: Yarra Trams (TransdevTSL, incumbent) or Keolis (I had a Google survey thing here for a sh