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Sent: Tuesday, 12 March 2019, 13:38
Subject: Mon.11.3.19 daily digest
Mon.11.3.19 Metro Twitter [public holiday, no Melbourne Express]
Today is the Labour Day public holiday: Public transport runs to a Saturday timetable, but some VLine buses will be altered (or not run); trams finish one hour earlier; night network won't run.
Alamein/Belgrave/Lilydale lines: Buses replace trains Burnley - Box Hill until the last train (station 'upgrade' works [platform work at Camberwell]). Trains will operate Camberwell - Alamein to an altered timetable.
- Which stations, and what is the nature of the 'upgrade'? Hopefully, installing information displays at those stations which lack them.
- 6.14 Alamein line: Delays up to 60 minutes (a track-equipment fault in the Camberwell area).
- 6.58 The fault has been fixed. We have residual delays of up to 10 minutes, expected to clear quickly.
- 10.06 Delays up to 20 minutes (an equipment fault in the Burnley area affecting Glen Waverley trains).
- 10.18 clearing.
- 18.34 Lilydale line: Minor delays (police attending to a trespasser near Croydon).
- 18.49 clearing.
- 18.49 I've been trying to get home for 2 hours now. Why does your driver say that I should contact my local MP because they do nothing either?
For DownloadFestAU today take Public transport. There are extra trains Flemington Racecourse, also route 57 trams to stop 30.
18.40 Sandringham line: Minor delays (police attending to a trespasser near Elsternwick).
- 19.16 now major, but clearing.
Werribee/Williamstown lines: Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Newport/Williamstown from 20.30 (tunnel works).
Sunbury line: Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Sunshine from 20.35 (tunnel works).
The NUMTOTs: millennials obsessed with public transport and memes March 11, 2019.
When Angus Bergman posted on Facebook that Melbourne had the largest tram network in the world and - “also, because we are hipster as shit and drink lattes out of avocados, we also paint our trams and make them artsy” - there was a lot of love but also a frisson of rivalry.
One commentator pointed out that while Melbourne has the “largest current” network, some European cities came pretty close and “Philadelphia had y’all beat before they scrapped most of them in the '60s”. (He quickly apologised after being upbraided for his passive-aggressive comment.)
Meet the NUMTOTS: Luke Snelling, Mitchell Sheldrick, Adam Chandler, Matthew Rossi and Andrew Chia (Left to right)Credit:Justin McManus
Welcome to New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens (NUMTOT), a Facebook meme group, whose more than 130,000 members are, to quote one of their own favourite expressions, “gay for public transport” (translation: love public transport.)
Any content, meme or otherwise, relating to cities, public transport and urban planning is welcome although the ground rules warn: “We are not explicitly Leftbook, but we are certainly left-leaning. We won’t ban you for being a capitalist, but don't expect us to defend you either.”
Map by Mitchell Sheldrick of every weird thing that has been discussed in the NUMTOT group, including ongoing memes. Credit:Mitchell Sheldrick
If there was ever going to be a Facebook meme group for urban millennial geeks obsessed with pop culture and trains, it was axiomatic that Melburnians would be well represented.
The niche group - which has been profiled by everyone from The New York Times to The Guardian - was started in 2017 by a couple of University of Chicago students, reportedly following a heated online debate about the US Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.
Of all the cities in the world, Melbourne boasts the sixth highest number of active NUMTOTs, as the Facebook group’s members are nicknamed. Melbourne tram superiority is one of the hot-button topics.
Mr Bergman, a law student, said NUMTOTs from around the world were interested in the perspective of Melburnians on transport-related issues.
“We are growing at quite an alarming rate in terms of population, is infrastructure growing the way it should be?” he says. “We have experienced either ends of the spectrum - we have the largest tram network on the planet in the CBD but we don’t have an accessible system to get to the airport.”
Posted on NUMTOT Facebook pageCredit:FaceBook
NUMTOT Adam Chandler, who is also the chairman of the Melbourne Tram Museum, says “love it or hate it”, Melburnians are actively engaged with public transport.
“Shitposting is a logical extension of that given our Australian way of not taking things particularly seriously.” (Shitposting generally refers to random, mildly amusing memes or videos.)
NUMTOTs riff on everything from Thomas the Tank Engine to urban theorist Jane Jacobs, favourite train station toilet graffiti and the NSW Greens' proposal for $1 metro fares.
Transit themed shitpost designed by Mitchell SheldrickCredit:Mitchell Sheldrick
The pro-development YIMBY movement (Yes In My Back Yard) also features prominently. When someone posted a photo of the new sky rail in Melbourne, they stipulated “Wow reacts only”.
When the T-shirts Mitchell Sheldrick designed out of the (now infamous) Metro train seat covers went viral, someone suggested he should probably become a numtot.
It was suggested to Mitchell Sheldrick that he join the NUMTOTs after a t-shirt he designed using the Metro train seat cover pattern went viral.Credit:Joe Armao
He is now one of twelve international moderators of the Facebook page.
“We break up arguments, wrangle the nerds, basically deal with children,” Mr Sheldrick says.
“I have been called left wing, right wing, convict, bootlegger, communist. Some people get weirdly passionate about stuff. We had to ban people talking about brutalism and stuff like that because it literally created very heated arguments.”
Mr Chandler interjects: “Concrete buildings with no features. Who knew they could be so controversial?”
Shitpost designed by Mitchell SheldrickCredit:Mitchell Sheldrick
NUMTOT has spawned multiple spin-offs including Brutalist concreteposting, Two wheeled Memes for Bicycle-Oriented Teens and the local Urban Sprawl Memes for Hoddle Grid Teens (USMHGT), which already has more than 550 members.
The local group, like its NUMTOT parent, is full of in-jokes. The group’s description "and always remember to touch on your myki, at the start of your journey" is facetiously attributed to Robert Risson, the tramway administrator credited with saving Melbourne’s tram system.
Mr Sheldrick has even arranged a meet up of Melbourne NUMTOTs and USMHGTs (admittedly a more awkward acronym) at the Tram Museum.
Image posted on Urban Sprawl Memes for Hoddle Grid TeensCredit:Facebook
“I have met a lot of people from the group,” he says. “It’s been weird.”
Luke Snelling, who is studying urban planning, says students love the NUMTOT memes. “It’s a way of connecting the planning and transport community.”
Train operator's own college has a lock on training rail workers March 11, 2019.
Metro is reaping millions of dollars as it trains the army of workers needed to work on the Andrews government's rail infrastructure boom.
It is estimated that since 2015, the company has made nearly $8 million in rail safety courses that it offers almost exclusively.
Metro Trains' dominance in the lucrative training market is bolstered by the fact that the company runs the city's railways.
The company's training college, Metro Academy, runs the lion's share of rail safety education in the state for the workers who are employed on key government projects such as the Metro Tunnel and removal of level crossings.
In the past four years, major rail work has heated up across the state, resulting in a whopping 74 per cent increase in people training in rail safety at Metro Academy.
For years, the rail operator has largely refused to hire rail safety workers for upgrades and repairs if they trained at other colleges.
This decision – applying to those trained in medium to advanced levels – raised concerns that Metro had a monopoly in the niche training sector.
Metro owns the content for rail safety courses costing between $500 and $1000, and has been criticised by industry insiders for failing to share coursework with other training providers.
Metro has, however, agreed to hire workers trained at another college owned by John Holland, which is a 20 per cent shareholder in the rail operator.
Metro made another exception for a separate college called Instruction Company, but in the past five years, the college has not trained a single student in medium to advanced level rail safety.
Metro's training college runs the lion's share of rail safety training. Credit:Simon Schluter
The college said this was because Metro delayed sharing its coursework, which must be taught to trainees if they are to be accredited.
Between 2015 and 2018, the number of people undertaking rail safety training at Metro Academy rose from 1445 to 4639.
The number of people renewing their training more than tripled from 667 to 2323.
In recent months, Metro Academy allowed two other colleges to offer a few rail safety units, but it continues to dominate the market.
As the operator of Melbourne's rail network Metro Trains is a major player in Labor’s infrastructure boom.
The company is a member of consortiums picked by the government to carry out major works on the rail network, due to its role running train services.
In 2016, it emerged that Metro had secretly been put in charge of almost half-a-billion dollars worth of work on the Caulfield to Dandenong sky rail project without going to tender, leaving it open to collect a profit of $32.8 million.
Metro was given control of almost a third of the $1.6 billion project to remove all nine level crossings on the line, ahead of other contractors in the rail construction industry.
A Metro spokesman said the company delivered rail safety training "along with accredited providers to ensure rail workers can safely and competently perform their duties".
"Metro works closely with providers to monitor training demand, maximise the availability of courses and maintain quality," the spokesman said.
"The safety of our rail network, and the people who work on it, is our number one priority."
Metro failed to reach its 92 per cent punctuality target in February.
John Holland’s training college did not respond to questions.
Related Article An artist's impression of a proposed sky rail station. Metro Trains to make big profit from sky rail project without going to tender .
'You're joking': Peak-hour meltdown after mechanical issue on Airport line train March 11, 2019.
A train requiring mechanical repairs at Museum Station caused major flow-on delays on Monday evening, leaving peak-hour commuters stuck on stationary trains and causing overcrowding on two Central Station platforms.
A spokeswoman for Sydney Trains said at about 7pm that "regular and frequent services" had resumed but that customers were advised to allow extra travel time after a T8 Airport and South Line train required urgent repairs at Museum Station. By 9pm, services were returning to normal.
Commuters stuck at Central Station after a train had to be offloaded due to a mechanical issue.
"Delays were experienced as a result of a train requiring repairs to its trip gear near Museum Station at around 5.25pm this evening, with passengers allowed to disembark at Central Station as a safety precaution," the spokeswoman said.
Commuters attempting to access platforms 22 and 23 at Central Station were left stuck at the entrances as more than a thousand passengers disembarked. As a result, barricades had to be erected to manage the crowds after passengers were offloaded from the faulty train.
A tweet from Trains Info apologised for the delays and barricaded platforms, saying "due to safety reasons we will need to control the flow of people onto the platforms to avoid any injuries."
Chris Sherlock said he changed his plans when he saw the crowds trying to access platform; instead of catching his usual train to Holsworthy, he was able to getting a lift home from Strathfield.
"I’ve never seen such a huge crush at the entrance to that platform.. It looked pretty dangerous to be honest," he said.
Some commuters said they were left waiting at the packed entrance to the platforms for more than half an hour. "Seriously you're joking aren't you?" tweeted @azzap1987, who said it took him more than an hour longer than usual to get home to Campbelltown, causing him to miss his dad's birthday celebrations.
Others complained about overcrowding on the trains themselves.
Kristina Wilson said she got on a 5.09pm train at Wynyard, where there was no indication of any issue. It then took her an hour to travel to Central, she said.
Commuters experienced delays after a Central station platform filled up with offloaded passengers.
"The train got stuck in a tunnel for about 20 minutes between Circular Quay and St James and then almost half an hour between St James and Museum," she said.
Ms Wilson said she was concerned about safety as desperate commuters crammed on board when the train stopped along the City Circle stations.
"When the train stopped at Museum it just sat there for about five to six minutes and let every man and his dog pile on as it was stuck there and then it did the same again when it got to Central," she said, tweeting: "How is this safe? Clearly no one cares!"
At 7pm, delays continued on both affected lines and buses were supplementing some train services between Campbelltown and Macarthur.
Meanwhile, a power outage at Chatswood Station put its Opal card readers out of action, leaving commuters unable to tap on or off, top up, or purchase new cards at the station.
Sydney Trains advised commuters who require a fare adjustment as a result of being unable to tap on or off that they can arrange it via the Transport for NSW website.
Sydney stations where commuters fall through gaps, get stuck in lifts March 11, 2019. 59 comments.
A significant number of commuters continue to fall through gaps between platforms and trains at Sydney's stations and get stuck in lifts each year, internal government figures show.
About 290 passengers fell through gaps between platforms and trains in the 12 months to last June, compared with about 340 in the 2016-17 financial year and about 305 in 2015-16.
Central Station, the city's busiest, topped the list last year with about 54 people falling through gaps, followed by Circular Quay (about 34) and Redfern (about 18), according to a Sydney Trains report obtained by the Herald under freedom of information laws.
Circular Quay has the second highest number of incidents in Sydney of passengers falling through gaps between trains and platforms.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer
About 120 people were trapped in lifts at stations across the rail network last year, down on the 140 a year earlier, but slightly higher than in 2015-16.
Bondi Junction, Central, Lidcombe, Macquarie University and Wynyard stations recorded the highest number of people trapped in lifts.
The report marked "cabinet in confidence" said the actual number of incidents is "assumed to be higher" because some are not reported or occur at stations without staff.
Central Station tops the list for the number of passengers trapped in lifts or who fall between gaps between platforms and trains.Credit:James Alcock
About 420 people slipped, tripped or fell on station platforms and concourses last financial year, down from 500 a year earlier. The number of people getting caught in escalators also dropped to about 34 last year, from just over 40 in the prior period.
Sydney's rail network is under pressure from what the state government has described as "off-the-charts" demand. Last year passengers took more than 413 million journeys, up 38 per cent from about 300 million in 2013.
The internal report singled out hydraulic lifts as "an asset class that cannot cope with the significant additional daily usage". The average age of the 93 hydraulic lifts on the rail network is 19 years.
Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins said modern technology was being used to prioritise the "right things" to invest in to improve safety, while new trains with better designed doors would help reduce the incidents of people falling through gaps.
Sydney Trains chief executive Howard Collins.Credit:Kate Geraghty
"Wherever possible we ... have been rebuilding the platforms to ensure there is a better gap. We are focusing on those areas where it really is about movement of people," he said.
"There has really been a massive increase in investment [over the past five years] compared with other networks."
The state government has spent about $1.2 billion improving accessibility at train stations and ferry wharves since 2011. A further 68 stations are due to receive upgrades, including new lifts and ramps, in the next few years as part of the third round of funding.
An increase in train services throughout the day to cope with demand has reduced time available for workers to maintain tracks and trains. As a result of a reduction in "touch time", Sydney Trains is looking to carry out more maintenance work at weekends and at nights.
"This will increase the cost of maintenance through the additional overtime payments to staff and potentially increases the risk of less maintenance to the assets, resulting in an increase in backlog," the report said.
While noting that it is "easy to defer maintenance and upgrading works" because of the "long life cycle" of most rail facilities, the report warns that the "effect of postponing this work is to create a backlog that will require very significant levels of funding to address, and may become under-deliverable".
Sydney Trains' internal strategy, therefore, is to maintain funding levels that allows adequate maintenance or upgrading of stations and rail lines.
Related Article The NSW government has ordered another 17 Waratah trains, the first of which is expected to begin services in August next year. Sydney's stretched rail network in store for $900m in new trains,
'Lonely minority whistling Dixie': Liberals ridicule Nationals over coal power March 11, 2019. 21 comments
'I burst into tears': The untold toll of trespassing on Perth's tracks March 11, 2019.
The faces and noises are hard for railcar driver George Pisani to erase from his memory.
The noise of a person making contact with a speeding train is a sound "you'll never forget", he explains.
"I wish I had a hard drive," Mr Pisani says, as he points to his head. "And I could just wipe it."
Clinton Fernandez (left) and George Pisani.Credit:Cameron Myles
A railcar driver with the PTA for more than two decades, Mr Pisani – like many of his colleagues – has experienced many "near misses", incidents in which people almost collided with his train.
But in the most serious and tragic of cases, people have been struck and killed.
Some cases are the result of people trying to self-harm.
But others are totally avoidable, had the person not been trespassing on the tracks, or going around boom-gates which were closed.
In many instances the speed and weight of the train is just too great for people to survive the impact.
“The last one (collision) that I had, I just lost it I was in tears”
"I remember putting my hand on the dash, and I actually burst into tears .... I'd had enough."
The man Mr Pisani's train hit this particular day did survive.
He had walked into the path of the oncoming train near Queens Park station by navigating around some closed boom-gates.
'His face hit the window'
"There was another guy who nearly came through my window," Mr Pisani said of another case, which turned out to be fatal.
"I think about that every day. I still see his face [because] his face hit the window.
"All I can do is hit the emergency brake and it's in the hands of God then."
In an interview with WAtoday, Mr Pisani and Perth transit line supervisor Clinton Fernandez spoke of the tragic consequences of trespassing on train tracks and near level crossings.
Jonathan Beninca, a man run over by a train in 1999, also told WAtoday about the potentially fatal results of trespassing in and around railway tracks..
The three men hope that by speaking out they can get through to those who engage in such risky behaviour and expose the psychological trauma the incidents have on so many people, from PTA staff to members of the public.
George Pisani and Clinton Fernandez. have seen their fair share of near miss cases.Credit:Cameron Myles
Mr Fernandez, who has been in the job 11 years, is tasked with dispatching transit officers to scenes when people have been hit by a train.
It is a horrendous job.
"A lot of people get affected," Mr Fernandez said. "I've attended about three or four incidents."
Mr Fernandez said he and his staff often spoke to young people on train platforms who got 'kicks' from pretending to jump or fall into the path of an oncoming train.
"Whenever we speak to these people, it's just a joke for them," he said.
"If you talk to them properly you can get compliance [but] it is getting difficult now; because before it used to be alcohol [related], but now it is alcohol and drugs."
New figures released by the PTA show there were more than 860 incidents – including near-miss and trespass-related cases – on Perth's railway crossings and train tracks last year.
The figures show there were 869 such incidents last year at level crossings, train tracks and other train property.
There were 85 cases in 2018 of a near miss with a person at a level crossing and a further 13 near-miss cases with a car.
And there were a further 285 cases of a person illegally being on a level crossing and a further 486 incidents deemed trespassing on train property or trespassing close to train tracks.
'It can ruin your career'
Mr Pisani said he knew of some colleagues who had not been able to return to work after a near miss or a fatality because of the psychological impact it had on them.
"One of my friends never came back," he said. "It can ruin your career ... but you learn to deal with it as best you can.
"When you hear of an incident on the track ... it brings you back."
'All it is going to take is just a few moments'
At the age of 19 Jonathan Beninca was run over by a train in Sydney after falling unconscious on railway tracks after a night of drinking.
Jonathan Beninca lost a leg, an arm and two fingers on his hand.Credit:PTA
He'd been throwing rocks at a stationary train as he walked along the train-line, when one of the rocks re-bounded off it and knocked him out cold.
A train which later came along severed a leg, an arm and two fingers on his other hand.
He spent three months in hospital.
For the past 15 years Mr Beninca has been telling his powerful and personal story to teenagers across the country in an effort to highlight what can happen when one engages in anti-social behaviour around train stations.
He will visit Perth later this month, where he will speak to hundreds of school children.
"People become complacent, especially around the train tracks," he said.
"All it is going to take is just a few moments and minutes of our time to stop and wait and cross safely.
"I'd prefer to be 15 minutes late than have the police knock on the door and tell my family I've passed away because I couldn't wait a few minutes."
PTA spokesman David Hynes said the agency was going to great lengths to reduce the chances of incidents like near misses happening in the first place.
"While the safety and security of anyone who interacts with our system is of utmost importance to the PTA there is an expectation that people take some responsibility for their own safety," he said.
"Public transport has many built-in safety features and we go to great lengths to reduce the chance of a serious incident."
Rail Tram and Bus Union PTA branch secretary Joshua Dekuyer said near misses had wide-ranging short and long-term impacts for drivers and transit officers.
"Especially as every incident can be so different and always traumatic," he said.
"Where transit officers have the benefit of mental preparation, drivers have the worse situation with unexpected and direct involvement.
"It is important that people stay off the tracks; it's not worth it."
If you are experiencing mental health issues, contact LifeLine WA on 13 11 14, the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467, or the MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978.
Public Transport Victoria warning train passengers to plan ahead as nine lines hit by March upgrades.
Herald Sun March 11, 2019
video: Archaeologists excavate in Melbourne’s CBD.
Nine Victorian train lines will be hit with replacement buses over the next three weeks, as workers prepare for a major construction blitz.
Transport bosses have warned passengers on the Werribee, Mernda, Hurstbridge, Pakenham, Cranbourne, Frankston, Sandringham, Ballarat and Gippsland lines to prepare for disruptions.
The rolling disruption will initially hit the Werribee line between Laverton and Werribee on Wednesday and Thursday, before buses replace trains on the Hurstbridge line between Parliament and Heidelberg from Friday to March 20.
Mernda line passengers will also have face the same fate between Parliament and Bell for the same five days, before disruptions between Thornbury and Epping on March 23 and 24.
The Hurstbridge and Mernda disruptions will make way for maintenance and renewal works, including the replacement of sleepers on the track on the Mernda line.
The works will force passengers off trains and on to buses. Picture: Rebecca Michael
Gippsland and Ballarat services will also be affected by preparatory work on overhead wiring and signal foundations.
Replacement buses have been schedule to ferry passengers to events, including the start of the AFL, the comedy festival and the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.
Public Transport Victoria boss Jeroen Weimar said the fleet would ensure people could enjoy everything Melbourne has to offer, while the train network was upgraded.
“These essential works will pave the way for the larger April upgrades, including the much-anticipated Metro Tunnel, level crossing works and High Capacity Metro Trains,” he said.
“I want to thank passengers for their patience over the next two months as we upgrade our rail network.”
The rail disruptions come as Yarra Trams will replace Route 64 and 67 tracks along Glenhuntly Rd, between Hawthorn Road and Pearce St, from March 23 and 30.
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