Government must act on trains

With large numbers of cancellations causing chaos on the rail network, we’re now tracking the number of daily cancellations on our web site. Watch for the last weekday’s cancellations in the top right of page, and daily totals will be listed here.

Trains in peak hour can easily carry over a thousand people. This means that just eight cancelled trains is the equivalent disruption to closing the Westgate bridge for an hour. In the first three weeks of January, each weekday an average of 40 trains have been cancelled, many of them during the peaks.

While Connex can do better at handling disruptions, it’s critical that the government tell commuters what its solutions are to ensuring the rail network runs reliably, because their multi-billion dollar Victorian Transport Plan released in December is silent on these issues.

On other railway systems around Australia and around the world, they have ensured that the infrastructure is capable of handling normal weather patterns. In Perth, a city with warmer weather than Melbourne, a proactive programme of replacing wooden sleepers with concrete ones is ensuring that heat-related delays are reduced to a minimum. The Victorian government should commit to upgrading tracks, signalling equipment and the Comeng air-conditioning units to prevent more heat-related disruptions each summer.

Cancellations by day

Fri 2/01/2009 15
Mon 5/01/2009 27
Tue 6/01/2009 33
Wed 7/01/2009 11
Thu 8/01/2009 10
Fri 9/01/2009 13
Mon 12/01/2009 28
Tue 13/01/2009 93
Wed 14/01/2009 45
Thu 15/01/2009 40
Fri 16/01/2009 24
Mon 19/01/2009 64
Tue 20/01/2009 86
Wed 21/01/2009 48
Thu 22/01/2009 50
Fri 23/01/2009 36
Tue 27/01/2009 48
Wed 28/01/2009 234
Thu 29/01/2009 170+

Line suspensions not included. These generally result in large numbers of additional cancellations along some or all of the suspended line.