The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed the government’s revamp of train timetables. From November the Clifton Hill loop will run in a consistent direction, and more trains will be diverted out of the over-congested City Loop. From mid-2009, more trains will run in off-peak hours.
PTUA president Daniel Bowen said the long-awaited changes meant more trains could be run on the existing infrastructure. “This is precisely what we’ve been calling for, for years”, he said.
Last year the PTUA published a paper calling for a thorough review of the timetable, more direct trains into Flinders Street, more trains in peak-shoulder and off-peak times (including weekends and evenings), and 6-car trains on most lines all day. Mr Bowen said the government was finally moving in the right direction.
“There is more to do. Infrequent services will still be a problem in the evenings and weekends. And some lines are not getting extra peak hour trains yet. But these changes are an important step in the right direction to using our substantial rail infrastructure more effectively, and show that many more train services can be provided without spending billions on new lines.”
Mr Bowen said the PTUA had been consulted about the changes, and while some passengers would face slightly longer journeys, others would have their journey times cut, and the provision of more trains would help with overcrowding.
“Overcrowding in peak hour is rife. It is critical that the current tangled mess of train patterns we currently have is unravelled, to allow for more trains to run”, concluded Mr Bowen.
 PTUA’s Getting Melbourne’s Rail System On Track, 2007. http://www.ptua.org.au/publications/melb-rail-on-track