Dear members and friends,
1. Responses invited from readers:
You will notice in this issue I invite you to respond to the following:
p. 4: Send in notes and photocopies of your favourite timetables for
p.10: Advise if you have an interest in reprinting the past issues of The Times in a bound form with a suitable index included.
p.11: Provide details of the best places to obtain train, bus and ferry timetables in each major Australian city so we can publish a composite list in The Times.
p.11: As a response to a letter published from Victor Isaacs in this issue indicate your view about the timing of posting articles from The Times to the AATTC Home Page on the internet.
As you can see I am wanting to encourage your involvement and would be pleased to hear from you.
2. Electronic timetabling:
There is a trend developing among some operators to discontinue publishing paper copies of timetables. As indicated in the February 1998 AATTC Distribution Service list the last Queensland Rail freight train working timetables issued on some lines date back to 1995. This is due to QR now using electronic timetabling from a data base. In other words staff can get a print-out for particular services similar to a Train Notice however you don't get the timetable for all the other trains like you would in a printed working timetable. Likewise Sydney Buses (part of State Transit) now have timetables for a few of their smaller bus routes only on the Internet meaning you can't get a printed timetable over the counter. This is a challenge to all timetable collectors especially if the trend increases. How should we go about collecting electronic timetables? Should we be asking operators to make a computer disc of their electronic timetables available for archive purposes or should we content ourselves to just keep whatever print outs we are able to obtain? I would be interested to know if there is a better solution. Do you know of any?
Yours in the cause of happy timetable collecting, Graham Duffin. Editor, The Times.
This month by Victor Isaacs.
In last month's issue we began an occasional series about member's timetable collections starting with the collection of Victor Isaacs. This month we conclude looking at some of Victor's favourite timetables - the NSWGR Country Public timetable of 15 October, 1905 and some favourites from overseas.
NSWGR Country Public timetable of 15 October 1905 (continued from last month)
Excursion trains (these are shown on page five) played a big role in life then as the main way for people to get out of the city during the weekend. But note that a peak occurred at lunchtime on Saturday, i.e. Saturday was then mainly still a half-day of work. It is interesting that the railways specially catered for, and indeed encouraged, by cheap fares, this traffic, which only occurred once a week. A contrast to today, when catering for occasional traffic is regarded as too expensive and discouraged. The table of Season Tickets to the mountains is a reminder of how affluent Sydneysiders used to escape the "unbearable" Sydney heat in summer by moving to the mountains. The reduced rate for ladies reminds us of how they were rarely wage-earners.
Some overseas timetables
I now offer some overseas examples from my collection.
The first is from the familiar Cook's Continental Timetable (shown on page six). This is from June 1947, one of the first issues after publication resumed after the War. Some things were still far from normal. Table 624 is one of a few showing lines still broken by war damage. The upside-down slogan appeared at the top of pages of Cook Timetables for many years. The theory was that the Timetable would be consulted by Cook's employees while the customer sitting on the other side of the desk would read and be impressed by the slogan.
An extract appears from the Public timetable of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway for August 1945 (shown on page seven). As well as showing an interesting mix of express and local trains, the footnotes are particularly intriguing. The timetable had to distinguish the different types of Refreshment Rooms - unspecified, Hindu (who do not eat cow) and Mohammedan (who do not eat pig). The timetable also indicates at what stations passengers on the expresses should transfer from their carriage to the dining car and at what station they should leave the dining car. Another footnote refers to a train stopping for "I and II class passengers and their servants" - can't leave the servants behind! The "B.G." in the heading refers to Broad Gauge. The timetable also indicates that for a portion of the journeys indicated the trains were running over the line of another railway system.
A particular interest of mine is borders - this combines my interests in history, geography and politics. This is well outside Australian experience, but sometimes, especially in Europe, trains cross and recross borders.
My final example is a temporary but extreme example of this. It is from a facsimile reproduction of the 1941 German timetable. (This is shown on the front page). It shows a mainline in Czechoslovakia. In 1938 Germany had annexed the Sudetenland areas of Czechoslovakia producing a crazy border which trains on this and other lines crossed many times in quick succession. Then in 1939 Germany had taken over the rest of the Czech lands as a "Protectorate". On this line the stations in the "Protectorate" are shown with both their German and Czech names. In the Sudetenland they only have their German names. Every time the line crosses the "border" it is indicated by the words "grenze" (German) or "hranice" (Czech).
This 1941 German timetable is a remarkable volume. In appearance it is hard to believe it was produced in the middle of the war. It is well produced with clear, well laid out timetables with no skimping on space and with clear, well drawn maps. And it is huge - 1514 pages! Closer inspection reveals that the DR (Deutsche Reichsbahn - German State Railways) system in the timetable is greatly expanded in line with the expansion of Germany at that time. The timetable even maintains the fine German timetable tradition of excellent coverage of other European countries (a tradition which still exists today). Of course in 1941 Germany was ruling half of these countries and in this case the coverage did not extend to Britain! It did however even include a good summary coverage of train services in the Soviet Union - very ironic as the timetable is dated only seven weeks before the German invasion of the Soviet Union. This timetable is a very interesting example of how public timetables so often reflect the society in which they are published.
(Ed: I would like to thank Victor for sharing with us some of his favourite timetables from his collection. Readers are invited to send in photocopies of some of their favourite timetables with some notes telling why they are their favourites.)
When I started to think about interesting Sydney private bus timetables which could be featured in The Times, I immediately thought of the timetable shown on page 9. It shows the services run by Menai Bus Service Pty Ltd, which operated between Sutherland and Padstow via Menai in the southern suburbs of Sydney located adjacent to the Georges River and its tributary, the Woronora River.
When printed originally, the timetable was due to commence on 23 January 1984, but the handwritten correction indicates that it in fact started on 10 April that year. Although not shown, the number of the route from Sutherland to Padstow at that time was route 237.
Clearly, the most unusual feature is the fact that trips heading towards Padstow are shown reading from left to right, and those towards Sutherland from right to left, together with the arrows and "S" and "P" direction abbreviations. I am not aware of any other bus timetable in this format. Nor can I recall any similar rail timetable, but there is probably a slight similarity with "read up" and "read down" timetables with a single set of station names in a central column.
Points of inconsistency in the timetable include the "Arr" against the 4.20 arrival, the "S to P dep" against the 4.35 departure from Sutherland, the "P" against the last weekday journey, and the lack of arrows and directions on the Saturday trips.
One theory I have developed as to the general format is that the operator wished to make it easy for passengers to determine in which direction the next bus was travelling from any particular intermediate point. He may have wished to do this, as the route had in 1984 only relatively recently been extended from the Menai area across the Georges River to Padstow, so giving these passengers a choice of destinations. The extension of the bus route resulted somewhat belatedly from the opening in 1973 of the Alfords Point Bridge, which replaced a vehicular punt between Lugarno and Illawong further downstream.
Route 237 started life on 11 February 1935 as a feeder from Sutherland Station to the Woronora River, a mile or so to the west, but down a narrow road with several hairpin bends, which buses on the current routes must still traverse. By the 1960s, the normal outer terminus was at Prince Edward Park, a small community nestled between the river and the cliffs behind. During that period buses (operated at that time by Woronora Bus Company) crossed the low level bridge over the Woronora River only on trips to Prices Avenue and on the school days' Menai service.
The suburb of Menai and nearby Lucas Heights (now Barden Ridge, Bangor, Illawong, and Alfords Point) have all grown enormously in the last 15 years and are now served seven days a week by Routes 960, 962 and 963. These "new series" route numbers replaced the old 237 on 16 November 1987. Another major change occurred only a few months later on 17 August 1988, when this group of routes was transferred to the Deane family, who soon after renamed their operation "Southtrans". (The Deane family had previously run buses on Sydney's North Shore from depots in Turramurra and Lane Cove.)
I do not know what the term "Auxiliary Service" means and will be pleased if any reader can enlighten me.
Where we welcome your feedback, views and comments on The Times and timetabling issues.
1) Duncan MacAuslan - Bus services to/from Sydney airport.
In response to Tony Bailey's letter (The Times No 167, February 1998), you are correct about routes 301-2 no longer serving Sydney airport. This variation of the 302 commenced on 24 October, 1960 to replace a private operator and ceased after the last run on 3 August 1990. A 30 minute service was operated between 0900 and 1600 with a 52 minute runtime. I do remember catching one once on my way back to Melbourne as I had plenty of spare time! This would have to have been about 1981/82 as it was before I moved to Sydney. Only an enthusiast would use it to get there as it wandered through Kensington, Eastlakes and Mascot.
Duncan MacAuslan, Rozelle, N.S.W.
2) Victor Isaacs - Reflections on the first 165 issues of The Times
Congratulations to you on taking over the editorship of The Times and on the first issue under your auspices! It is very timely also (suspicions of nepotism aside) to congratulate and thank Albert Isaacs on his editorship of The Times. He undertook a mighty job editing and writing a high proportion of our magazine for 14 years and 165 issues - a very impressive achievement!
The change of editorship led me to reread my copies of The Times starting with the first issue. I have to say I was extremely impressed with the great range of articles. Equally impressive is the extent to which The Times is both informative and entertaining. I hope other members receive as much pleasure as I did from rereading old copies of The Times.
Victor Isaacs, Kingston, A.C.T.
(Ed: After reading Victor's letter about the great range of articles in The Times over the past 14 years I wondered whether there may be any interest in reprinting them in a bound form with a suitable index to assist in locating the articles. Readers, please let me know what you think.)
3) David Hennell - Difficulties in obtaining timetables.
I sympathise with Derek Cheng (The Times No. 167, February 1998) concerning the difficulty in obtaining timetables, especially bus timetables. It is so obvious that the issuing authorities don't realise (or don't want to realise) that collectors are both public transport users and public transport ambassadors. [My students think that my interest and involvement in railways, tramways and buses is, to put it politely (and they don't), eccentric.]
The self-help section at Wynyard is great but trying to explain to the assistant that he/she has some timetables behind the counter that you also want is impossible, even when you've told him/her that you're from interstate. Thanks muchly to those members who prepare lists of current timetables and make them available via the AATTC Distribution Service as I am then able to work out which ones I still need in order to make many return visits to Wynyard (plus a few to Circular Quay) with little lists of 9 or 10 timetables, thereby gradually completing my holding! Fortunately, one usually is served by a different person on each visit.
The Met Shop and Flinders Street Station information booth in Melbourne are just as bad when one is trying to update one's collection - longer arms would be most advantageous. Prior to the opening of the Met Shop, it was possible to call into 673 Bourke St. (the old tram office building from cable tram days) and help yourself as all bus timetables were out in piles on two sides of the U-shaped counter - and I visited every Wednesday.
How refreshing it was to visit National Bus Company's North Fitzroy depot the other day and be greeted with a friendly smile and an "Oh, you're one of the collectors, are you?". The lady understood me perfectly.
It's wonderful to see the numbers of ordinary people collecting timetables in Adelaide and Perth where they are out for the taking. When will the Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney authorities realise that readily available timetables will only lead to increased patronage? Queuing discourages service usage unless additional information is required.
Also, is it too much to ask that all timetables published by an authority be of a uniform size when folded? The Brisbane City Council is probably the worst offender in this area. However, the Canberra Bus Book of recent years isn't the way to go as one has to break its spine in order to use it easily.
Timetables are not gold, they must be bread and butter for everybody.
Having overcome the problems associated with obtaining timetable information, how does the travelling public (and especially the transport enthusiast) in Sydney survive with such an antediluvian fare structure?
David Hennell, Surrey Hills, Vic.
(Ed: David raises a very important issue here. To help fellow timetable collectors I would like to publish a list in The Times of the best places to obtain timetables (ie. preferably self serve) in each major Australian city. I have prepared a list for Brisbane (where I live) and if readers from other states could provide details for their city (or cities) I would be pleased to publish them together).
4) Victor Isaacs - Appearance of The Times on the Internet
The Association has made another step forward with the placing of the text of articles from The Times on our internet home page (The Times No. 167, February 1998 p3). This is a positive move which will lead to wider dissemination of information and probably more enquires about membership.
But (and there is always a "but") I do have a reservation. I consider that the text should not be placed on the internet until after the respective articles have reached members in The Times - our primary means of communication. I consider it unfair that non-members can potentially access articles before members receive their magazines - for which, of course, we pay a membership of $30 each year. Membership should bring privileges. I wonder what other members think?
Victor Isaacs, Kingston, A.C.T.
(Ed: Readers are invited to contact me by phone, letter, email or in person and let me know what they think about this issue. If a reasonable number of members indicate they would prefer that The Times be mailed out before it appears on our web page, then that can be arranged.)
This month, Graphic Insight looks at the current passenger services between the Gold Coast and Brisbane as documented in the Queensland Rail Citytrain timetable dated 16th December 1997, and the Coachtrans Gold Coast to Brisbane bus timetable effective July 1997.
The 16th December 1997 Citytrain timetable heralded the (re)introduction of rail services to Nerang, and also shows the connecting bus service between Surfers Paradise and Nerang. So, how does the co-ordinated Surfers Paradise to Brisbane bus/train service compare to the direct equivalent Coachtrans bus on this important commuter and tourist route?
The graph below shows two stack bars - one for QR and one for Coachtrans. The segments of the stacked bars each represent the transit time between locations or the waiting times at a location in the case of the bus/train connection at Nerang. The total height of the bar represents the total transit time from Surfers Paradise to Brisbane Roma Street. The times do vary by day of week and time of day, and this graph is based on the times in effect for Northbound services at mid-afternoon on weekdays.
As has been noted in Table Talk, the Coachtrans bus service is actually faster than the bus/train in spite of the speed of the train. Over the section from Helensvale to Brisbane, the train is faster, but for the through traveller from Surfers Paradise, there is a long 16 minute wait for a connection at Nerang, and the connecting bus itself seems to be slower or less direct than the Coachtrans bus. Furthermore, what's not shown on this graph is that the Coachtrans buses also serve other city stops in Brisbane, and they extend south of Surfers Paradise, so they are probably more convenient for many travellers. Significantly, even though the train/bus connection takes 16 minutes, the Coachtrans service is 19 minutes faster than the QR co-ordinated train/bus.
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