Saturday, 21 March 2009

Famous again?

My parents actually noticed this photo on the front cover of the “Belair line renewal” brochure (PDF), and then my son happened to notice the brochure and asked “Why are you in this photo Dad?”

Passengers boarding train at Blackwood Station

Have a close look at the tallish guy closest to the left of the train. Yes, I reckon that might be me! You may recall, as a regular train commuter this isn’t my first brush with fame. Moving to ABB Grain (who are on South Tce) I did stick with the Belair train for a while (hopping off at Unley Park station to transfer to a bus down King William Rd), but then realised that the 218 bus is generally quicker.

The Belair line is being fixed up this year, however it’s the only line that isn’t being electrified, which is just ridiculous. I’ve heard that “it’s tricky because the Belair line runs next to an existing freight line and also goes through some tunnels”. Give me a break! These are simple engineering problems that can easily be solved.

The Belair line has never been the same since the government sold off one of the lines to become a standard-gauge freight line. Reducing it to a single track has meant that trains now need to wait on sidings to pass each other, and as a consequence the trains virtually never run on time.

What I would love to see is they fix up the line, electrify and standardise the gauge and lease back the other line so that services could finally return to normal. That seems sensible and logical to me, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

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