Saturday, May 14, 2011

Melbourne interpeak train service levels - the last 36 years

A graphical or aural representation of what is traditionally written can sometimes be the quickest way to present data or offer fresh insights, such as with aural timetables.

Here's another example, this time for trends in weekday interpeak train frequency on the Melbourne electrified rail network. The thicker the line the more frequent the service. Frequencies are approximate, especially where several lines cross and I've erred on a thinner rather than a thicker line to reflect likely maximum waiting times. You can stop the video at any time. When in pause mode slide the bar to more closely compare timetable changes.

As you watch you'll see electrification extensions in outer suburbs (Werribee, Cranbourne, Sydenham and Craigieburn) and the addition of the City Loop. The Port Melbourne and St Kilda lines vanish when these are replaced with trams. Frequency upgrades to Epping, the Caulfield group, Frankston, Newport and (for a while) Werribee are also shown. The joining of Frankston and Werribee or Williamstown trains starts off as a thin line that thickens as frequency increases.

The dates are effective dates on the printed timetables surveyed. There are some gaps as not all timetables were available for this exercise. However off-peak services are generally fairly slow in changing so few if any amendments would be missed.

The people above the dates indicate patronage - one per 50 million annual passengers. Noticeable is the fall after 1975 (actual patronage bottomed out at less than 100 million in about 1980) and the slow subsequent growth. The 2000s surge is particularly clear.

The slides were made in Powerpoint and are much clearer than you see here. However Windows Movie Maker requires other formats and much clarity was lost in the conversion.

Credits: Craig Halsall for some of the timetables & (hard techno) for the sounds.

1 comment:

mc said...

PowerPoint 2010 now natively allows export to WMV.