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Recent Posts to this Blog

Robert Wilson photo in the heading. Quick Note on this Blog’s Philosophy. The range of topics below is quite varied and readers might wonder what drives the posts written. It is this: The parlous state of much of Australia’s railway networks and industry is not caused by ‘external factors’ like the oft-cited road-lobby, technology, distance, population or economics, and there is certainly nothing ‘special’ about … Continue reading Recent Posts to this Blog

Melbourne Fantasy Maps and Plans

Commiserations to our semi-regular contributor James, a transport planner, who has recently been in the wars with an accident involving a cyclist. His comments will be attached, and this blogger will also respond. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Reshaping Melbourne’s railways (to paraphrase Beeching) is a particular challenge because of the system’s early history: The radial network is an early feature, not because of the need to get vast … Continue reading Melbourne Fantasy Maps and Plans

A blunt knife: the government of Greiner and Fahey

Just as Marc Antony came to bury Caesar not to praise him, this blog post on the occasion of John Fahey’s death will look at the rather odd period of government in the late 1980s and early 1990s in NSW. NSW has a pattern where Labor governments always reek of corruption and the raw exercise of power by the union-backed factions, and the succeeding Liberal … Continue reading A blunt knife: the government of Greiner and Fahey

Making trains again in Australia

Our Glad and her boy Andrew got themselves in trouble again with the unions about remarks suggesting Australia was not good at making trains. The most recent orders of passenger trains in NSW: the long distance trains to replace the XPT (CAF, Spain, who also produced light rail vehicles for Sydney), the medium distance trains to replace the V Sets (Hyundai Rotem, Korea), Metro trains … Continue reading Making trains again in Australia

What’s wrong with Australian rail magazines?

This blog post has been brewing for some time. But the final trigger was the decision to buy yet another UK rail magazine down at the newsagent this morning. It doesn’t matter which one, most are excellent titles. This is not the only foreign press this blog consumes, as a subscriber of some years to USA Trains mag from the Kalmbach publishing house. Of course … Continue reading What’s wrong with Australian rail magazines?

Post-Covid Melbourne Railways

Note: Check first comment for feedback from James (who is cited in the post below) +++++++++++++++++++ The question on every commentator’s lips is: what will our economy and society look like post-COVID. Will the changes endure? More working from home? Social distancing? Preference for driving? And transport commentators are thinking: Will an ‘off-peak’ rail system be the new norm? A controversy among friends has broken … Continue reading Post-Covid Melbourne Railways

Looking Back in Anger – Food Glorious Food!

This blog’s Looking Back in Anger series of posts examines that part of railway history that needs to be condemned – government (usually) incompetence, corruption or bloodimindedness. Topics to date have varied in scale and anger, everything from ripping up the Anzac Parade trams or Ropes Creek railway to scrapping the S class. This post will look at the packaged and process food business in … Continue reading Looking Back in Anger – Food Glorious Food!

Crazy Projects 4: A Timeless Counterfactual – What If the Victorian Railways Cross-Country Lines Became a Genuine Network (Part 1)

This is an old problem – Mark Twain experienced it in 1897. Note the underlined text below: On the rail again–bound for Bendigo. From diary: October 23. Got up at 6, left at 7.30; soon reached Castlemaine, one of the rich gold-fields of the early days; waited several hours for a train; left at 3.40 and reached Bendigo in an hour. For comrade, a Catholic … Continue reading Crazy Projects 4: A Timeless Counterfactual – What If the Victorian Railways Cross-Country Lines Became a Genuine Network (Part 1)