After an unexpected week-long delay because I am a moron who can't read trackwork notices properly, I finally finished my Victorian extreme commuting experiment with a trip to Traralgon. How could you not love a route with stations called Bunyip, Moe and Nar Nar Goon?
The trip to Traralgon ties with the journey to Eaglehawk as the longest I'm taking during this experiment, at just over two-and-a-quarter hours. But while Eaglehawk only receives a couple of trains a day, Traralgon is much better served, with a dozen services each day on weekdays.
The 1028 service isn't crowded — I easily get a seat to myself. It has one feature I hadn't noticed before: near where the area for bikes is (itself a useful innovation which Sydney could usefully copy), there's a visible power point. I'm guessing it's used for the cleaners. Unfortunately, passengers running short of battery can't take advantage, since it's locked.
The other technology working travellers need is mobile signal, and this line shows up as the best of the five journeys — there was no drop-out that I noticed.
Traralgon itself is the busiest terminus I've encountered during this experiment: it's actually built into a shopping centre, which is a stark contrast to most of the other destinations I've visited. With that said, it's still not busy enough to need both platforms: the other platform is now used as a community arts centre.
Could you do this commute daily?
Easily: as we've already noted, the timetable is regular enough for any Melbourne CBD office job. At over 4.5 hours every day, however, it would definitely qualify as extreme commuting. And that's something that hasn't really been true for most of these Melbourne journeys when compared to the Sydney experience.
What I still find a more striking contrast is the pricing. On a value-for-kilometres basis, the prices in Sydney are much cheaper than Victoria. Of course, this isn't really an area where there is direct competition: if you need to use public transport, you have to pay the going rate. From that point of view, I'd still rather commute from Wollongong to Wendouree.