Thursday, June 19, 2008

Doing the Tram Stop: Transferring between train and tram at Glenhuntly

In all cases time is of the essence so you must be on the rear carriage (train from city) or front carriage (train towards city) for any of this to work.

(i) Westbound tram (to Elsternwick)

Easy. There are stops near the station both ways you go. The closest one (B - east) requires crossing a road, the further one (C - west) doesn’t. Look for trains, check gates are open and:

From city-bound train walk east (assuming gate on down lines is open). From Frankston-bound trains walk west (assuming gate on up lines is open).

Glenhuntly is a train crossing point (see timetables where they’re normally 1 minute apart off-peak) so both might be closed.

But if you alight from a city bound train and then a Frankston bound train comes along you’re in luck as the boomgate will have held back the tram as well, while the up line will be clear to cross (gates open) on the pedestrian crossing.

(ii) Eastbound tram to Carnegie

Dicey! Again there are two stops - west and east of the line.

The west stop (D) requires backtracking and waiting at a pedestrian crossing. If there is a tram in sight you will almost certainly miss it by the time you’ve walked 4 times the most direct distance and waited for the crossing lights to change.

Unlike in the westbound direction, the stop east of the railway line (E) is about 200m away, near Subway on Grange Rd.

However if stepping from a city-bound train the rear carriages of the train will be passing by the time you’re out of the station. This (just) gives time to cross. Don’t blush as you walk past the dodgy-looking 'adult' shop or the condemned former restaurant (now empty). Then bolt along Glenhuntly Rd towards Grange road AFAP. Even assuming the tram was visible at the boomgate when you crossed, you’ll (just) be able to catch it.

The other choices (ie the nearest stop or crossing at the Grange Rd lights) will probably cause you to miss the tram unless you’re saved by another train keeping the gates down longer (or a wheelchair passenger for ditto).

If a down spark and then a Stony or Long Island comes through then your exertion will have been wasted as you’ll have close to 5 min waiting at the stop, but that’s probably better than missing it, especially during peaks when tram times vary.

Going from a Frankston-bound train to the tram has a much lower chance of success. This is because the train will have cleared the boomgates which will be up again. If you see a tram the chance of boarding it is low unless you’re saved by another train to hold it for you at the boomgates. Again the Subway/Grange Rd stop will probably be superior as you'll be moving while the tram is waiting.

If you miss the tram, don’t despair. Though its shops are decayed, unloved and scummy, Glenhuntly is a great viewing spot if you wish to watch darwin award contestant auditions. Don't become one - obey the rules and use pedestrian lights if within 20 metres of one.

Who is the unsung hero in this story? The answer is the much cursed railway boom gate. In some directions they can be the pedestrian’s friend as they open the barrier of unbroken road traffic and make train/tram access easier than it might be without them. Advocates of grade seperations (though currently popular) need to ensure that their not-that-cheap proposals benefit pedestrians and passengers at least as much as they do motorists.


Daniel said...

Only a tiny proportion of people going to stop D would go back to the pedestrian crossing. Most just sprint across the road.

Unknown said...

Excellent as always Peter.

Your comment about grade separations is spot on - I think they are necessary in numerous areas - but they need to consider public transport users and pedestrians first.

Anonymous said...

Daniel - yep, and at least during the day, sprinting is best done when the booms are down.

But it can't be your train that's holding the booms as the pedestrian gate will be closed. Hence you need the passage of another train (most likely a down).

In contrast, E is much easier to reach (despite its longer distance) since your train (if an up) is the one that's keeping the booms down.