Graphic Insight this month takes a look at the speed of country passenger rail services in Victoria over the past sixty years. The graph shows the time taken to travel from selected country destinations to Melbourne as documented in the VR public timetables of 1995, 1992, 1987, 1984, 1981, 1980, 1977, 1969, 1961, 1954 and 1940 as well as "Bradshaws Guide to Victoria" for November 1936. (The markers on the Geelong graph line indicate these years). For consistency in all cases I have used the train which is scheduled to arrive in Melbourne as soon as possible before 0900 on Monday morning, or where no train arrives before 0900, the first train after 0900.
The 1981 "New Deal" shows up as a significant decrease in transit time for some routes, and this is complemented by the impact of Sprinter railcar services in the past couple of years. Geelong and Seymour seem to have been unaffected by these events though. Interestingly, the coming of the Standard Gauge in 1961 worsened Albury's plight, and only the introduction of the overnight XPT from Sydney hase bettered the transit time of the Broad Gauge "Spirit of Progress" of 1940.
On the other hand, Horsham residents have copped the rough end of the pineapple in a big way lately with "The Overland" taking longer than at any time since 1936.
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