Those arriving at Altona Train Station yesterday morning (Friday 12/10/2012) were greeted with a pleasant surprise. Jostling for attention with the newly-opened station cafe is a reception table right at the entrance to the platform. Manning the table is someone that I know – Gordon. His wife Sandra Wilson has been very active in the local community. Together with Diana Rice, she had initiated the Altona Loop Community Group last year, in response to the train timetable changes which had adversely affected Altona commuters.
While Gordon was busy tending to his post, Sandra was managing the overall situation. Hence, nothing of the sort of “misogynist, sexist stuff” that we hear so often in the media the last few days can be seen in Altona. Only two days ago, I was bemused by Sandra’s Facebook post to Gordon that “his food was turning cold” because he was thrown off a train at Newport and could not get home. This was his second time lucky on the same day as he was also “detrained” at Spotswood earlier in the morning on his trip to work.
Gordon and other volunteers had brought with them a supersized “Christmas Card” for Altona residents to sign on. Christmas is still more than two months away. So you may wonder why is there such a haste. Well, Metro is implementing a new timetable on the 18th of November. And the Altona Loop has rated at or near the bottom in all five of the most recent quarterly Customer Satisfaction Surveys conducted by Public Transport Victoria (Ref 1). Hence, this is now a timely opportunity to make a “Christmas wishlist” (or submission) prior to the change. The wishlist includes:
- Through services to the City and Werribee instead of changing trains at Newport and Laverton.
- Trains arriving on time and no bypassing of the Altona Loop.
- Partial duplication of the single track as a long-term fix.
This special “Christmas Card” will shoulder the mission of delivering the common wishes of the Altona community to the Transport Minister. If you are making a Christmas wish this year, please include your wish for Altona train services. May the force be with us! Amen.
At the time when I left, everything was proceeding smoothly. But I learnt later from the Altona Loop Facebook Group that there was some drama towards the end of the event. I do not know what has happened but it appears that this will be reported in the Hobsons Bay Weekly this coming Wednesday. I will provide a link to the story in due course.