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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Recumbent Bike v. 7:09 to Glen Waverley

Well from the title you would probably guess that this post is about some sort of race of bike v. train but in fact the title is about a reliability trial. This page will be a blog within a blog about catching a Melbourne train to get to work one or two days a week. Not very exciting I hear you say. But this particlular train has such an apalling record for punctuality that I consider it to be "almost a work of fiction".

The 7:09 from Richmond to Glen Waverly is the "new as of May 8 timetable" equivalent of the 7:13 to Glen Waverly. The 7:13 was a limited express train stopping only at 5 of the 15 or so stations on the route and seemingly perfect for me to get to work. And yeah, it was pretty good. The 7:13 was occasionally cancelled but the next train usually arrived 2 minutes later and although it was not an express, it usually arrived on time.

So here we go, the blog within a blog thing. Writing about the recent past here but I hope to update this every day that I go to work by bike (15k plus 35k on the way home) and train (20k) from now on. To be fair to the train, I will compare its reliability to that of my home-built recumbent bike. And also to be fair, I must admit to getting lost on the way home a few weeks ago due to a damaged bridge on a bike path: I score myself a lowly 3/10 for this ride!

May 25 2011:
Train: 7:09 from Glen Waverly arrives but due to a switching mistake wound up on the wrong train line and ended up at Hawthorn station on the wrong line. Passengers were advised to change trains and return to Burnley. There was a train right opposite and we were advised to take that, but it didn't wait for us! Several long waits later and I arrive at Glen Waverly too late to get to work on time and about an hour after the 7:09 would have arrived.
Train: 4/10
Bike: No Problems. 9/10

June 1 2011:
Train: 7:09 to Glen Waverly is cancelled and the next train is delayed 8 minutes or so. About 30 minutes late at Glen Waverly. I started talking to a guy who usually catches the same train - about how unreliable the service is.
Train: 6/10 Bike: No Problems. 9/10

June 3 2011:
There was a tailwind behind me on the way to the train station, so as the old adage goes - "I came by bike, but I flew" and got to the train station in time for the 7:03 train. And it looked like the 7:09 to Glen Waverly was going to run on time. I used the time on the train to pump up the back tyre, tighten the front light, reposition the speedo and move the handlebars and start reading Von Ryan's Express.
Train: 9/10, Bike a bit lop sided: 8/10

June 10 2011
Well I arrived at Richmond station about 4 past 7 and was in plenty of time for the 7:09 to Glen Waverley - had it arrived. But it didn't. The next train arrived pretty much on time and I was about 20 minutes late at GlenWaverley. I caught the train home as well as I had to work a bit late and didn't want to ride in the dark the whole way home.
Train: 6.5/10, Bike went fine: 9/10

June 16 2011
It was a cold morning, and I set off under a blood red, eclipsing moon. Oh, I forgot, this is a blog not the start of the great Australian novel. Anyway, it was cold and I was reliably informed there was an eclipse of the moon somewhere, but I didn't see it, hidden behind a building or something.

I had a good run to the station but couldn't validate my 10 x 2 hour zone 1 and 2 card in the machine and just kept going anyway. The 3 past 7 train arrived on time, and I was spared the trauma of waiting for the 7:09. But just as I thought everything was going along all plain vanilla, some ticket inspectors got on. A few people bailed it from the train when they saw the inspectors and there was quite an argument between a homeless guy and the inspectors.

I sat, nonchalantly waving my ticket in the air, hoping the inspectors would not bother to look at it. This ploy did not work, they looked at my ticket, believed me and I didn't have to pay a fine. Arrived on time at Glen Waverley, but maybe it's time for me to invest in a relatively indestructable Myki card thing.
Train: 10/10,
Bike is a bit wonky 8/10.

June 24, 2011
On the way to the station and just near the top of the hill in Nicholson St. , I almost run into a couple of tradesman wandering through a roundabout with a wheelbarrow. Manage to stop in time. "dude!" I yell "dude". "Sorry Bro" says one of the guys.

Soon after that I remember I have some coins in my wallet and can use the small "R2D2" coin only ticket machine at the back of the station and don't need to go round the front of the station and buy a ticket from an attendant or the "Darth Vader" coin and note machine. So I save myself a minute or two and can catch the 3 past 7 to Glen Waverley. I'm reading Huntingtower by John Buchan and, under the influence of the SBS TV show "go back to where you came from" I had seen the night before, start singing Tom Petty's "You Don't Have to Live Like a Refugee" on the bike on the way to work. (When you are imitating Tom Petty, you have to sing like your nose is blocked off.)
Train: 9/10, Bike: 9/10, Go Back to Where You Came From: 10/10

June 28, 2011
Without going in to too much detail, I got onto a Lilydale train when expecting a Glen Waverley train and ended up at Laburnum. After that I caught a train back to Richmond when keeping on going and changing trains at Ringwood for Bayswater would have got me fairly near to work. So I will share some of the bad points.
Train: 5/10 Bike: No Problems 9/10 My Thinking a bit rusty, 5/10

July 6, 2011
Not too much to report. Left home in time to catch the fairly reliable 7:03. Bought a Myki card.
Train & Bike: No Problems, 9/10

July 13, 2011
Ride all the way to work and avoid the train altogether. I get wet and some of my work bits of paper get wet. No great disater but something I could live without.
Bike: No big problems, 8/10

July 20, 2011
Ride to the station and use my Myki card for the first time. It works, and lo and behold, the 7:09 train to Glen Waverly arrives on time. And I decide that at this time, the blog about this particular train has run its course. I will use this blog space to write about something else inane or profound, depending on what comes along. I'll revive the subjects of trains and punctuality should something significant happen on my commute. Like I'm abducted by aliens.
Train 10/10, bike still a bit wobbly, 9/10
Signing Off for now.

Steve Nurse

1 comment:

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