Dear members and friends,
1. Articles for The Times:
At the time of writing this editorial (5th April) I have on hand for publication articles about timetables in Queensland (train), N.S.W. (bus), Victoria (train) and South Australia (train). Also I have a number of articles about overseas timetables in New Zealand (train), U.S.A.(train), Great Britain (bus), Hong Kong (multi-modal) and Thailand (rail). In addition to these articles I would really like to have on hand some articles about timetables in Western Australia, Northern Territory, A.C.T. and Tasmania. Also it would be good to have some articles to do with timetables for trams, ferries and planes as there are none on hand to publish. If you have an interest in timetables from any of these states or have an interest in tram, ferry or plane timetables I would really like to encourage you to submit some articles about them. You may like to write about why you have an interest in them and select a couple of timetables to illustrate your reasons. I believe it would be good to have a balance of articles in The Times that reflects the interest of all members and not just those of us on the editorial team.
2. Timetables in N.S.W. Higher School Certificate Exam:
This must be getting fairly close to heaven on earth for a timetable collector. The February 1998 issue of The Railway News (publication of the N.S.W. School Railways Clubs Association, P.O. Box 85, Sutherland, N.S.W. 2232 [$26 p.a.]) reports that Question 32 of Section 2 in the 1997 H.S.C. Mathematics in Practice Examination (2 Unit) reproduced a full page from the current Countrylink timetable for the North Coast Region trains and connecting buses to Murwillumbah, Surfers Paradise and Brisbane. The exam which is set by the N.S.W. Board of Studies then asked students to answer three questions: (i) At what time does the 7.05 am XPT from Sydney arrive in Murwillumbah? (Ed. 8.30 pm) (ii) A passenger is travelling from Sydney to Surfers Paradise by the 7.05 am XPT and then by road coach. What is the earliest time the passenger can arrive in Surfers Paradise? (Ed. 9.50 pm - a trick question as there is a another coach that leaves Murwillumbah 10 minutes earlier and arrives at Surfers Paradise five minutes later at 9.55 pm. Check your Countrylink timetable and you will see what I mean.) (iii) A passenger wishes to travel to Tweed Heads by first catching the overnight XPT from Sydney. At what time does the coach depart Casino? (Ed. 3.36 am - another trick question as there is also a coach departing Casino at 3.35 am which terminates at Murwillumbah.)
I wish they had exams like this when I was at school. I can remember from grade five at primary school that some of my exam results were not as good as they should have been so my teacher wrote in the report card to my parents "If Graham studied his school work as well as he studies timetables he would pass with flying colours!"
3. The Power of Timetables:
Over the years here in Australia we have witnessed the awesome power of bad transport timetables. We only need to remember what happened last year to the Chief Executive of the State Rail Authority of N.S.W. who was removed from his position largely because the Cityrail timetable wasn't working properly. If we remember back further to the mid-seventies we can see how Neville Wran became Premier of N.S.W. by riding Central Coast and Blue Mountains commuter trains assuring voters that if he won government he would fix up the timetables and improve the services. As a result he won office largely by winning the marginal "commuter belt" seats. Yes, he then did introduce new rail timetables providing better services. The reason I mention these examples of how a timetable can make or break a transport manager, consultant or even a government, is that I am regularly asked in conversation (mostly by transport operators) "what makes a good timetable?" How would you answer that question? I invite your responses.
Yours in the cause of happy timetable collecting, Graham Duffin. Editor, The Times.
Introduction by Victor Isaacs and Graham Duffin.
This timetable is the last of the South Australian Railways two colour covers. The cover of the next timetable in 1954 was in full colour illustrating an 830 class loco. From 1954 until the end of the South Australian Railways (and State Transport Authority) in 1977, all the covers continued to be full colour.
The first extract from this timetable is the page showing the line to Kingston (see page 5). The line to Mt Gambier had recently been converted from narrow gauge to broad gauge when this timetable was published. The first through broad gauge train from Adelaide to Mt Gambier ran in June 1953 however the branch to Kingston was still narrow gauge and required a change of trains at Naracoorte. Notice the "Read Down" and "Read Up" format on this page whereas the following suburban line pages use the read across horizontal style which results in two different formats within the same timetable.
Conversion of the Kingston line from narrow to broad gauge was a slow job. It started in 1955 and was completed in 1959. The service was then provided by the luxurious Blue Bird Railcars, on certain days one detaching from the through train from Adelaide then returning to Naracoorte in the evening to connect with the overnight train to Adelaide. On other days this sequence was reversed.
There are many town names duplicated in Australia but, as far as I know, Kingston is one of a very few that are duplicated within a state. Thus in S.A. there is Kingston-on-Murray and this location is correctly known as Kingston SE. There is also a Kingston in Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT.
The next illustration (on pages 6 and 7) shows the Henley Beach branch in the Adelaide suburban area. This line goes right through the middle of the Royal Adelaide Golf Club's links. The last section of the branch, now unfortunately closed, ran along the side of a road from Grange to Henley Beach. There was a one station branch off the branch to a factory at Hendon. Notice that no mileage is shown for Hendon in the timetable. This table follows the SAR suburban convention by being printed in the hard to read horizontal style. It is of interest to note that the number of miles from Adelaide is shown against each station regardless of whether the timetable format used is the read horizontal style or the read up and down style.
The Penfield branch (see page 8) was built during the War to serve a large munitions works. Note the lack of imagination in naming the stations within the grounds of the works - called No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. Also note that alongside the days of operation is shown whether it is an "Up" or "Down" service. This line was extravagantly built for very heavy traffic which did not continue after the War. It was double track, had automatic signals, big stations and beyond No. 3 continued in a balloon loop so that trains did not need to reverse!
As a result of the Webb era South Australian Railways had large engines and rollingstock with plenty of room for comfortable travel. Notice how this concept seems to have been carried over into their timetables. On all the pages illustrated from this timetable there is plenty of extra room, almost to the point of wasting space in some instances.
Another unique feature about the South Australian Railways timetable books was the drilled hole in the top left hand side so it could be hung from a hook or nail. This was a very practical idea as many stations would hang the timetable on a hook or nail (sometimes using a string through the hole) for easy access to the timetable. It never got lost under a pile of other papers!
by Geoff Lambert
(The editorial comment on page three of this issue includes details of some timetable questions in the 1997 N.S.W. Higher School Certificate Examination. They would have been rather easy for timetable collectors to answer. Well here are some harder timetable questions that have been submitted by Geoff Lambert. I must admit I encountered some difficulty trying to work out the answers for some of these questions as my knowledge of the use of some mathematical equations is a bit rusty these days. Anyway see how you go and I will publish Geoff's answers in the next issue of The Times. Ed.)
1. Two Daylight XPT Trips.
At Christmas 1997, I made a return journey on the Sydney-Melbourne daylight XPT. I travelled from Sydney to Melbourne on 23rd December. The train made good time as far as about Harden, but then inexplicably lost time from there on. I returned on 29th December and the train was actually early by Macarthur, where we had to wait for a suburban and ended up about 20 minutes late into Central. Was there a point somewhere along the line that I passed through at exactly the same time on each day?
2. Exactly 100 km in exactly one hour?
If we idealise the XPT timetable so that we regard it as travelling 1000 kilometres in 10 hours, it has an average speed of 100 km/h. Obviously, its speed will vary - the train is slow in the Southern Highlands and speedy near Culcairn. It also stops a lot. Is there a 100 km stretch of the Sydney-Melbourne line which the XPT covers in exactly one hour?
3. My wife's journey to the station.
It is my regular habit to catch No. 29-G, the 5 p.m. train from Ashfield to Campbelltown, where my wife meets me just as the train arrives there at 6 p.m. and drives me home. Just before Christmas, as a bonus, my employer gave us all an "early mark" of one hour. So, on that day, I caught No. 80-F, the 4 p.m. train instead of No. 29-G, and arrived at my destination at 5 p.m.. It being a nice day, I decided to walk towards home, meeting my wife along the way. This duly happened and we arrived home 10 minutes earlier than usual. For how long did I walk?
4. The F-18 and the XPT.
The Melbourne-Sydney and Sydney-Melbourne XPTs, again ideally considered to be travelling steadily at 100 kph for 1000 km/h, simultaneously leave their cities of origin. An RAAF F-18 fighter plane leaves from above Central Station at the same time as the XPT and flies along the line towards Melbourne at a steady 1000 km/h until it meets the Melbourne-Sydney XPT, then turns back towards the Sydney-Melbourne XPT until it in turn meets that train and so on until the two trains pass one another near Bethungra. How far has the F-18 flown?
5. Meetings on the Coal Lines.
In the four track territory between Waratah and Maitland, a down passenger train overtakes a down coal train. The passenger train is x times as fast as the coalie and takes x times as long to pass it than it takes to pass it when the passenger train is returning from Maitland on its up journey and the coalie is still struggling towards Maitland on its down journey. Find x.
Hints for solutions may be found in my earlier articles in The Times.
1) Peter Dempster, Sydney Buses - Availability of Sydney Buses timetables
In reference to your article on Electronic Timetabling (The Times No. 168, March 1998 Editorial p3) you incorrectly state "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."
Sydney Buses is required by Department of Transport contract to provide a printed copy of all our bus timetables to the public.
Up-to-date printed timetables are produced for all Sydney Buses 'In Service' bus routes. Sydney Buses produces approximately 80 individual timetable booklets for the public, along with a number of credit card style timetables.
A list of timetable revision dates is provided on the Internet on http://www.sydneybuses.nsw.gov.au/TT_Revision.html
By checking the dates on the Internet against those on your 'printed' timetable, you can ascertain whether you have the most current version of an particular timetable.
Peter Dempster, Quality Control Officer, Passenger Information Section, Sydney Buses.
(Ed: Thank you for advising us of the above information. It is good to know that The Times is being read by transport operators.)
2) Duncan MacAuslan - Availability of Sydney Buses timetables.
I wish to comment on the above letter from Sydney Buses. The editor's comment (The Times No. 168, March 1998 Editorial p3) was to the effect that there are some timetables for Sydney Buses that are only available on the internet. For example routes 268 (Chatswood Industrial, 2 journeys weekdays) and 342 (Wednesdays only). Both are considered special services and timetables are thus not required to be published, perhaps they should be included in other published timetables. We regret if it appeared that we were implying that this was the start of a trend at Sydney Buses.
One thing to come from this is that The Times and Table Talk are distributed around the Passenger Information Group of STA (State Transit Authority) each month and appear to be read and appreciated!
Duncan MacAuslan, Rozelle, N.S.W.
3) Steven Haby - Obtaining timetables in Brisbane/S.E. Qld.
I read with interest David Hennell's response (The Times No. 168, March 1998 p10) to Derek Cheng's problems with obtaining timetables, and wish to add my own experiences and thoughts.
Last November, a friend and I spent a week in Queensland chasing trains and buses, with one of the objectives being to update my Queensland timetable collection. One of our first points of call was Queen Street bus interchange and the BCC information booth located there. The response from my request for copies of BCC bus timetables was that due to economic restraints and general budget cuts there were not enough timetables to go around (??).
Disappointed, I only managed to obtain about three timetables for BCC services. Enquiries at various depots directed us to the Queen Street bus interchange.
However, we had more success with the private operators we visited, and most were only too pleased to supply us with their timetables, when asked. In many cases we didn't have to ask, as the reception desk/office at the depot more often than not, had timetables available at the counter.
One operator, Clark's of Loganlea, provided me with not only their complete set of timetables, but also some publicity material about their new services including a very glossy and colourful wall route map. The Roma Street Transit Centre was also well worth the visit as all counters of the operators that used the Transit Centre had readily accessible timetables. Roma Street railway station had copies of all their suburban services easily accessible (and what's more they were FREE).
Some of the tourist information offices had timetables available. The office at Nambour, just near the station, had plenty of copies of the Sunbus services timetable. When asked about the service, the staff were unsure as to where they ran, frequency and other vital information (I also asked about the famous sugar tramlines in the area which drew a blank. So much for 'product knowledge'.)
We spent a day in the very pretty Toowoomba region (a must for the Leyland National fan!) and we inspected the large central bus interchange in the CBD. There was an information office which was not open due to a dispute over who should fund it.
Normally I write letters to operators requesting timetables. My modus operandi is to enclose a SSAE and a letter outlining my requirements, and in the letter I include that I am a member of the A.A.T.T.C. So far I have had a 95% success rate, with some operators writing back to me with an invitation to visit them. Now THAT is what I call service!
I hope this is of interest.
Steven G. Haby, Melbourne, Vic.
(Ed: The above letter presents a very practical example of why we should be regularly publishing lists of the best places to obtain timetables [ie. preferably self serve]. When in Brisbane Steven was only one block away from another BCC [Brisbane City Council] bus office on the corner of George and Adelaide Streets where they have self-serve racks with timetables for approximately 70% of their bus routes. If this information is unknown it is very easy to only come away with three timetables like Steven did. So this needn't happen again here is a list I have compiled of the best places to get timetables in the Brisbane area. Updates and lists for other cities would also be appreciated.)
Brisbane Area Locations where Rail, Bus & Ferry Timetables are freely obtainable as at 4/98. Advice of any other locations would be appreciated for inclusion in future lists.
Location Timetables Available
1. BCC Lost Property Counter, Lower level, Central Plaza shopping arcade, cnr Adelaide & George Sts, Brisbane. Self serve racks with approx 70% of all BCC Bus and Ferry timetables. Timetables not on the racks are obtainable by asking at the counter.
2. Roma Street Railway Station Ticket Barrier There is a small wooden box sitting on a seat inside the barrier box from which QR suburban train timetables can be taken.
3. Roma Street Transit Centre Self-serve timetables are usually available from racks at the Greyhound, Brisbane Bus Lines, McCafferty's and Coachtrans counters. Timetables for other bus lines are available if you ask at their counters.
4. Traveltrain Travel Centre, Ground floor, Railway Centre, Central Stn. Has a self-serve revolving rack with QR Traveltrain timetables and QR A4 size timetables of interstate rail services.
5. Central Station Information Counter Has a few self-serve racks on the counter with timetables for some private bus operators such as Surfside (just one or two of their bus routes), some Hornibrook bus routes and some BCC bus routes that connect with trains. Also has ferry timetables for operators from Cleveland to Stradbroke Isl.
6. Railway Shop, Sth Brisbane Railway Stn. Has a self serve rack just inside the door with QR suburban timetables and Traveltrain leaflet timetables.
7. South Brisbane Railway Stn Ticket Barrier There is a self-serve rack attached to the back of the ticket barrier box with QR Traveltrain leaflet timetables.
8. BCC Customer Service Centre, Garden City Shopping Centre, Mt. Gravatt. Just inside the door there is a self-serve rack for all BCC bus timetables covering most of southern Brisbane.
9. Logan Hyperdome Shopping Centre Logan City. At the information counter there are self-serve racks with all the Clark's Bus Service timetables and Network Map.
10. Westfield Shopping Centre, Strathpine The information counter has a rack on the side with timetables for Brisbane Bus Lines, Thompson's Bus Service, Kangaroo Bus Lines and local BCC services. Sometimes it is self-serve, at other times you need to ask. It depends who is on duty.
11. Caboolture Community Information Centre, King Street, Caboolture. Have self-serve racks with timetables for local rail and bus services.
12. Westfield Shopping Centre, Toombul Information counter has self-serve racks with BCC bus timetables for routes that serve Toombul Interchange.
13. Cleveland Tourist Information Centre in park near Cleveland Railway Station. Has self-serve racks with ferry timetables to various islands in Moreton Bay. They also have local bus timetables under the counter if you ask.
14. BCC Customer Service Centre, Westfield Shopping Centre, Indooroopilly. Self-serve rack with most BCC bus routes for the western suburbs of Brisbane. Other routes are available by asking at the counter.
15 Westfield Shopping Centre, Indooroopilly. Information counter has self-serve racks with BCC bus timetables for routes that serve Indooroopilly.
16. Grand Plaza Shopping Centre, Browns Plains Timetables for local operators (Park Ridge, Clark's and BCC) are under the counter and can be obtained by asking.
4) Bob Henderson - Obtaining timetables in Sydney/Gosford/Newcastle/Wollongong - Part 1.
David Hennell's letter in the March issue (The Times No 168, March 1998 p.10) about where he obtains timetables in Sydney prompted those present at the last AATTC Sydney Division meeting to compile a list of locations in the Sydney/Newcastle/Wollongong area where timetables are freely obtainable. Advice of any additions would be appreciated.
1. STA Bus, Sydney - Locations with self-serve racks a) Wynyard Enquiry Office, Carrington Street - Many timetables on rack, but not all. Need to ask for others. b) Kingsgrove Bus Depot - Has two separate racks; c) Brookvale Bus Depot; d) Waverley Bus Depot; e) Newsagents who sell STA tickets sometimes have self-serve racks with local area STA timetables.
2. STA Bus, Sydney - Other locations without racks. a) Bondi Junction Bus Station; b) Circular Quay Inspector's Cabin; c) Ticket Cabin in York Street outside QVB Building.
3. Ferry Operators, Sydney. a) STA Ferries: Circular Quay Ferry Enquiry Office - has self-serve racks; b) All Circular Quay wharves; c)Hegarty's No. 6 Wharf Circular Quay - Rack inside ticket window - may need to ask. d) Matilda Ferries office, Darling Harbour - has self-serve rack.
4. CityRail. No locations with self-serve racks now. However some stations have self-serve racks with bus timetables eg. Jannali has Southtrans timetables, Lindfield has Shorelink & STA Route 207 timetables.
5. Sydney Private Bus Operators. Self-serve racks are at: a) Westbus, Level 12, 100 George Street, Parramatta; b) Southtrans, Lot 2 Old Illawarra Road, Menai; c) Busways Blacktown, 150 Glendenning Road, Glendenning; d) North & Western, 43a Higginbotham Road, Gladesville; e) Westway, Orchard Road, Chester Hill.
6. Gosford - Tourist Office near railway station 7. STA Bus, Newcastle. a) Broadmeadow Station - has self-serve rack; b) Hamilton Depot - has self-serve rack of all Newcastle STA Bus & Ferry timetables; c) Newcastle Tourist Information office just east of railway station - has self-serve racks.
8. Wollongong - Tourist office, Crown Street - has bus timetables for Rutty's, Dions, John J Hill & Busways. Trust this will be of interest.
Bob Henderson, Sydney Convenor, Brookvale, N.S.W.
5) Alan Gray - Obtaining bus timetables in Sydney/Gosford/Newcastle/Wollongong - Part 2.
Referring to David Hennell's letter in the March issue (The Times No 168, March 1998 p.10) here are some of my thoughts on places to obtain timetables:
STA in Sydney - Besides the self help counter at Wynyard Park (Carrington St), there are kiosks at Circular Quay and the Queen Victoria Building (York St), but at these two locations you have to ask for them. Some depots have self help dispensers for their own area: Brookvale (all Manly, Warringah & Pittwater), Waverley (all Eastern Suburbs), Kingsgrove (all South/West area), Leichhardt (all inner west). In addition most newsagents stock timetables for their area.
Turning to Private Operators in Sydney, the following have dispensers: Shorelink, Glenorie, North Western (Gladesville depot), Westbus (Head Office, George St, Parramatta), Busways Blacktown (Counter at Blacktown station), Busways Campbelltown and Interline Campbelltown (Council Chambers, Queen St, Campbelltown).
Turning to Newcastle, self help dispensers are located at Newcastle Tourist Bureau (close to Newcastle Railway Station), Charlestown Shopping Square and Garden City Shopping Square.
In Wollongong all are available at the Tourist Bureau (self help).
In Gosford all are available at the Tourist Bureau (on request).
I have found in my travels around the country that 70% of tourist bureaus have their local bus timetables. A few are on dispensers but most are well hidden under the counter. I believe one reason why some bus companies do not like giving out timetables is the cost of printing, together with the waste. Where I work at Sydney Buses, Brookvale Depot we can go through approx. 250 Airport - Dee Why timetables yet the buses between the peaks are running virtually empty. At Manly Wharf the ticket seller has reported that the same people request the same timetable almost daily and immediately throw them in the garbage bin.
I hope you find this information useful.
Alan Gray, Spit Junction, N.S.W.
(Ed: Thank you Alan for sharing this information. You have listed several places I will try next time I visit the Sydney region. Readers; it would be good if we could have this kind of information regularly available for as many cities as possible so that when we travel we can then go straight to the best timetable supply points and avoid wasting time with the bad ones. That will then give us more time to ride on more of the services in the timetables that we obtain. I would very much like to publish details of good timetable supply points in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Hobart and Canberra. Could readers who are familiar with those cities please send me some lists so I can publish them in The Times. Thank you.)
6) Bob Henderson - A Standard for Timetables.
Your editorial comment (The Times No. 169, April 1998 p3) about a standard for timetables reminded me of the situation in the UK.
If one looks at British bus (or train) timetables, one cannot help noticing that they do appear to be in a standard format. The times always read downwards, 24-hour clock is almost always used and frequently used abbreviations are usually the same from one timetable to another.
These and other matters are dealt with in a document entitled "Legibility of Timetables, Books and Leaflets: Code of Good Practice", issued by the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee, which is a statutory body established under the UK Transport Act 1985 to advise the Government on the needs of disabled people in connection with public passenger transport. It refers specifically to bus timetables, but has wider application. My copy of the document is dated February 1996. Whether this is the original source of the standard for public timetables, I do not know, but it certainly contains a good set of guidelines.
After establishing the need for clear and legible timetables (particularly, as I know, one's eyesight deteriorates with age), it first talks about print style and size, the quality of paper, print colour, background and page size. Under "layout" are discussed route numbers, route headings, operators' names, routing, the use of 24 hour clock, timing points, guidelines (that is, horizontal lines across the timetable page), notes and reference codes. An interesting standard relates to days of the week, where it suggests that "Mondays to Fridays" should be in bold lower case, "Saturdays" in reversed lower case and "Sundays" in lower case boxed.
Where timetables are published in book or leaflet form, the Code specifies what should be on the cover and how the layout, index and maps should appear. Under "periods of operation", the point is made that the starting date should be shown along with the duration of validity, where possible. The final page of the Code briefly deals with timetable displays at bus stops.
Almost all the material in the Code is as applicable in Australia as it is in the UK. Perhaps the AATTC should adopt a project to promulgate the contents of this document as widely a possible in an attempt to improve timetable standards in this country.
Robert Henderson, Brookvale, N.S.W.
(Ed: Readers who would like to obtain a copy of this interesting document [the eleven page UK Timetable Code] are invited to request one from Victor Isaacs at the AATTC Distribution Service [address on page 2]. Please enclose three 45 cent stamps to cover copying and mailing costs. As an alternative it may be able to be obtained from the issuing authority. The address shown on the Code is: Secretariat, Department of Transport, Great Minster House, Zone 1/11, 76 Marsham Street, London SW1P 4DR. The title of the document reads "Legibility of Timetables Books & Leaflets, Code of Good Practice").
This month, Graphic Insight concludes its look at the changes which electrification brought to the Perth suburban rail network by comparing the timetables before and after the massive changes. In the January 1998 edition of The Times, Graphic Insight looked at the number of services provided on each of Perth's suburban rail routes in 1995 and 1984. This month, we compare the service transit times.
The pre-electrification times are taken from the MTT public timetables: Midland line (M1) July 8th 1984, Armadale line (A1) June 10th 1984 and Fremantle line (F1) August 5th 1984. The post electrification times are taken from the Transperth train timetables as follows: Midland line (M1), Fremantle line (F1) and Joondalup line (J1) of March 5th 1995, and the Armadale line (A1) of March 21st 1993. Note that the terminus of the Joondalup line is actually Currambine.
The graph below shows the number of minutes scheduled for trains to travel from each suburban terminus to Perth station. For each of the four routes, times are shown for a weekday stopping all stations train, and a weekday morning peak express train. The lighter (background) bar is 1984, and the darker front bar is 1995 or 1993, post electrification.
Not surprisingly, post-electrification transit times are somewhat faster than for the diesel railcars in 1984. It appears that improvements have been fairly equivalent on all three converted lines (The Currambine line was built as an electrified line).
It is noticeable though that whilst the all-stations services show a significant reduction in transit time, the post-electrification times for express trains are not significantly less than their diesel counterparts. This suggests that the diesel railcars could travel at similar top speed to their modern-day electric successors, but suffered from relatively sluggish acceleration and/or braking which only impacted when intermediate stops were required.
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