It's been a while since one of these was (successfully) organised. Refer to this and to this forum thread - starting from message 54 in that thread you get the build up to and reports on the Challenge of Friday July 1st 2011.
I propose Thursday July 11th coming up. It is school holidays, but there is no midweek trackwork. (At least, not during the part of the day that is relevant.) Ideal opportunity, and timetables have changed since 2011 so it is a new ballgame.
- Make a stop at every Sydney Trains station within the span of that day (a day starts and ends at midnight).
- The limits of the network are Emu Plains, Richmond, Carlingford, Olympic Park, Cowan, Bondi Juntion, Cronulla, Helensburgh, Macarthur. There are 178 stations, but by necessity you will make at least 207 stops (due to back-tracking on branch lines).
- Use trains only to travel, and change trains only within one station. You may leave the station environs to get food, etc, but must resume travelling at that same station.
- This is a team game, with points to be awarded as described below. For that reason, we all start and finish at Central, under the clock in the hall of Sydney Terminal. Do the challenge in teams of between 1 and 300.
- Meet up at 0530 at the clock, and head for a train as soon as you are checked-in. Official timing will be by Facebook posts.
- Photographic evidence will settle any dispute. For this purpose, if your team is deemed to have completed the Challenge if it can return to Central before midnight and show (or post) photos of being stopped at enough stations to prove that you were on trains that stopped at all the rest. (eg, a photo of Richmond station proves the entire branch line, but a photo of Fairfield alone doesn't prove all the stations between Cabramatta and Granville.)
- The winning team is the team with the most points. We'll adjourn to Starbucks for the reckoning.
Challenge Points Scoring
- 10 points for every different station stopped at (maximum 1780 points).
- -1 point for every minute of total travel (maximum deduction 1110 points). Starting time is the scheduled departure time from Central of your first train. Example First train at 0539, reach the clock again at 2339 with all stations done. 1780 minus 1080 equals 700 points at this step.
- 10 points for every separate train service used. When returning from the end of a branch, including Carlingford and Olympic Park, although one likely uses the same physical train, it counts as a different service.
- -20 points for every time stopped at Town Hall. Two stops at Town Hall is the minimum possible, so that's at least 40 points off everyone. This is just a wrinkle to add flavour to the challenge, as are the next few items.
- Finders-fee points for using different set types. Score 1 point for an S, C, K or T set. Score 5 points for an M or A set (Waratah). Score 10 points for an H set (OSCAR). Score 20 points for a V set. Score 50 points for an Endeavour or other non-EMU train.
- 50 points for the team (or, shared amongst the teams) which reach certain stations first. First arrivals at Emu Plains, Macarthur, Cronulla, Bondi Junction, Cowan, Summer Hill and Yagoona will score (or share) these bonuses.
- 50 points SNAP bonus for each and all teams which meet each other on a train or at a station. This is to discourage lone rangers.
Do a few scenarios on those points categories and you will see that sheer speed around the network will not be the sole determinant of success. Indeed, item 3 discourages absolute timetable efficiency! The name of the game is to have a fun day.
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