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?
Tagged With extreme commuting
I'm a planner. I plan stuff in ridiculous detail. And yet despite having mapped out every element of my trips for this week's Victorian extreme commuting experiment, I foolishly forgot to fully check one of the most obvious factors: trackwork.
Day 3 of my Victorian extreme commuting experiment sees me venturing to the Ballarat suburb of Wendouree, some 120 kilometres from Melbourne itself. This seems like a good time to reflect on the relative cost of tickets in Melbourne and Sydney.
If it's mildly stupid to test the longest train commuter journeys in Victoria, as I'm doing this week, then it's definitely questionable to do that twice in one day, including the most time-consuming trip you can possibly take. But that's what I did over the past 24 hours.
Back in January I carried out an extreme commuting experiment where I travelled to the furthest reaches of the Sydney commuter train network to see how feasible/exhausting/attractive those journeys were. This week I'm armed with a Myki card and repeating the experiment in Victoria -- but with a few new twists.
During Lifehacker's recent Extreme Commuting experiment, I was utterly fascinated by what we might call femto-stations -- stations so small you can only access them from a single train door. And so I decided to spend a whole Saturday travelling to one of them just so I could video it. This is an exhaustive tour of Mindaribba Station.
The last journey in my Extreme Commuting experiment to visit all the outer extremities of Sydney's network sends me to Dungog. You'd never mistake that for a non-Australian place name. Plus: the lessons I've learned over a month of traversing Sydney's train networks like a fake commuter.
The fourth stage in my Extreme Commuting challenge to visit all the outlying locations on the Sydney Trains network takes me to two cities in the south: Bomaderry (Nowra) via Kiama and Port Kembla. Services to these locations are much more frequent than some of the more remote places I've been visiting, yet what this trip overwhelmingly reminds me of is that when it comes to train lines in more remote locations, passengers are rarely the first priority.
Think Bathurst and you think Mount Panorama and bogans in hotted-up V8s. But Bathurst has a train station too, and a big issue in the 2011 NSW state election was demands from locals that a commuter service was added to the once-a-day Dubbo XPT service and occasional strange buses that already existed. So now there's a train. But is anyone using it? I'm experimenting with extreme commuting all this week, so I had to find out.
It's a sunny Friday afternoon and there are quite a few people waiting at Sydney Central for the 1602 Goulburn service, which is the next stage of my Extreme Commuting experiment. In fact, if you want to board this train, you don't even need a ticket.
So I wanted to head to Scone, which is the northernmost point on the Sydney rail network, for the first leg of my Extreme Commuting experiment. There was one big problem: the timetable made that almost impossible unless I elected to spend some time hanging out in one of Australia's less reputable cities late on a drunken January Saturday night.
It's not unusual to spend an hour travelling to work and the same heading home. But what about the extreme commuters: the people who are prepared to spend three hours or more just to get to their jobs? Over January, I've been testing that out by journeying to the furthest extremes of the Sydney train network. Welcome to the land that timetables forgot.