Well, yet again this morning, thousands of commuters from the western suburbs of Melbourne and Geelong had their daily travel severely disrupted, after a power failure at Newport station disabled signals and points.
Now, I’m the first to accept that unexpected things happen all the time, and that running an integrated public transport network is undoubtedly difficult, but the regularity of problems at Newport are becoming monotonous.
Whether it be extreme heat, heavy rain, theft of copper, or intervention from wildlife – as is claimed happened this morning – Newport seems to be a regular spot for massive failures that disables large chunks of the network.
|Commuters Powerless as Possum Zaps Power to Trains, Homes|
Okay, so the problems happen – and despite the inevitable frustration life does go on.
However, many people on the Geelong line in particular gave up completely this morning and went home – how much productivity was lost today?
For many, it would have been the first working day of their year. For others, they would have been starting new jobs today – imagine how they felt and how “good” they looked to their new employers turning up two hours late, as many of us did?
Newport has become a single point of failure. As a key junction on a major line, an outage there is devastating for the on-time running and performance of the entire Melbourne train network, and the regional V/Line network’s South Western line.
Where the problem lies is contingency. There is none. There is a single physical regular point of failure, but elsewhere there are many points of failure – and they have nothing to do with possums electrocuting themselves on power lines.