Whilst incidents like this are out of control of the operator, there are very few options to mitigate such major disruptions. As it happened the incident occurred at Hampton, being the second-to-last station on the line. However as there are no turn back points between Flinders Street and Sandringham the entire line had to be suspended leaving no service at all to South Yarra or any of the inner section. If crossovers were available at say Brighton Beach, Elsternwick and South Yarra, you could easily still run a partial service on the line.The bean-counters who seem to control infrastructure look at crossovers as an expensive waste, without considering their possible use in situations like this.
Can’t terminate trains at Brighton Beach Platform 1 as it is fenced and closed off to the public. There are also baulks on its railroad so no way a train can pull into the platform without some work being done.Is Middle Brighton staffed?
You could however terminate at Middle Brighton and run trains empty to the Brighton Beach Crossover to terminate. I don’t understand why Metro sees this as being too hard. They’ve also managed to allow the infrastructure to continue to age and deteriorate which is why the ground frame does not work thus making it risky to terminate at Elsternwick
Elsternwick crossover booked out about a month back, can be used only with high level approval. BrightonBeach could have been perhaps used, but awkward for passengers beyond Middle Brighton (easiest to run an empty cars beyond, with special instructions for an up departure). Either option would have been better for most passengers. As to why Metro did so little with two places that were fine to use before they took over, and which still exist, ask them!
Brighton Beach they were doing the “VICERS” stuff, assume that’s finished. Last I heard they were stabling overnight in 2 and 3 roads. 1 platform still booked out for reasons that I guess Metro can explain (we just assume institutional stupidity, they deserve a chance to rebut).Working in a control room is never as easy as it sounds, often initial reports will be confusing. In a case like this there is a good chance the driver is either in shock or only know something is wrong with the set. In which case maintence staff of the concerned division will need called. Now these people are ALWAYS busy and there may be a considerable delay before they can attend. If any emergency services are needed and its the weekend you will have "Buckley's chance"of a quick response. In fact its normal at these periods that the police will NOT attend unless some one has been killed.
Easy to terminate a passenger train at Middle Brighton then MT cars to BBH to turn back. BBH used to be staffed by a person qualified in the box so they could switch in any time, so that part should be easy assuming no extra poor ideas.
Using Middle Brighton to terminate gives plenty of trains apart from last 3 stations. Passengers usually very understanding with disruptions if honestly explained and they see staff trying.
As to Elsternwick, that used to be so easy. Baffles me why they didn’t use it last night.
Anyone would think Metro is incompetent...
I think there is an institutional issue at play here. We have a lot of people in the industry who have not mentally adjusted to the new realities of patronage and demand. The number of people being carried - even at off-peak times - is growing. The concept you can simply replace a line with buses just isn’t credible now. It’s a major logistical task.
So what’s the solution?
In my personal view we need to explore:
- designating key turn back locations, and staffing them to a level where they can manage this process during disruptions
- ensure stations are designed to cope with this in terms of speakers, signage, etc.
- improve standard bus connections between key stations so that they can start to absorb some of the demand until new buses arrive with more emphasis on cross town connections
- invest in turn back improvements so they can happen efficiently.