Friday, April 15, 2011

Hobsons Bay NILS

The Hobsons Bay NILS was officially launched on Monday 11th April 2011 at the Hobsons Bay City Council Chambers.

Councillor Michael Raffoul, Mayor of Hobsons Bay City at Hobsons Bay NILS Launch.

What is NILS?

NILS stands for No Interest Loan Scheme. NILS offers people on low incomes the opportunity to access loans of up to $1000 for an essential household item or service without any fees, charges or interest payments.


These include white goods, furniture, beddings, computers and medical costs. The loans are not meant for emergency relief, bond and rent money, rent arrears, living expenses such as food, bills (gas, electricity or phone), cash advances, debt repayment and consolidation. Cheques for the loan item are not payable to the loan recipient or to a third party for a private sale.

Who is eligible?
  • Applicant must be on low income.
  • Applicant must reside in Hobsons Bay for a minimum of 6 months.
  • Applicant must be willing and able to repay the loan.

How does it work?

This scheme is built on the idea of helping people help themselves. So the process starts with a careful assessment process to work out each applicant’s ability to repay the loan as it is not wished that anyone takes on a debt that will become a burden.

The scheme works on trust. As loans are repaid, the recycled fund is made available for loan to other members of the community. The fund is made available by the National Australia Bank.

How to apply?

Call 9398 2548


History of NILS

The first NILS was established in 1981 by Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service initially to assist women to live independently. Since that time, numerous NILS programs have been established by various local community groups and organizations to assist all sorts of people in need, many with the support of the Ian Potter Foundation. The NILS network across Australia now boasts more than 250 programs.

Recently, the National Australia Bank and the Department of Planning and Community Development committed to expand support and funding for NILS throughout Victoria. This has resulted in the development of further NILS programs, such as Hobsons Bay NILS.

How did Hobsons Bay NILS come about?

The Hobsons Bay NILS has been developed over the past two years by a group of community members keen to provide a service to help provide low-income and disadvantaged members of the Hobsons Bay community with a means of improving their life largely through their own efforts.

The service became operational in late 2010 and was run by a small group of volunteers. Current partners include St Vincent De Paul Society Inc, GROW and individual community members.

Seeking volunteers

Hobsons Bay NILS is seeking committed volunteers interested in building a vibrant and successful service. Informal training in NILS is available as well as opportunities to participate in regional and statewide NILS network meetings. People are needed to serve on the Committee of Management, answer phone calls and enquiries, conduct loan interviews, perform administration and simple database management.

If you are interested in volunteering your service, please register your interest with Hobsons Bay NILS and help the team grow.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Four Nice Folks of Altona

During ancient times, people in China who were unable to address their grievances at the local level would set upon a long journey by foot or horse to the capital at Beijing, hoping that the higher authority would redress their injustices.

5,648 miles on the other side of the globe and a few thousand years later, four nice folks also set forth from Altona on a special journey. They were dressed in their best suits as they will be meeting a very important person, the honourable Minister, who will decide the fate of the Village of Altona for which these four nice folks are representing. The trip is a difficult one for they carry on their shoulders the pleas and hopes of the Community - those of the working families, seniors, students and the physically disadvantaged. They were looking forwards keenly to this much awaited meeting but at the same time feeling uncertain and apprehensive of the outcome. They had already done their homework but could not help worrying that they would miss out something during the discussion with the Minister.

However, they were not alone. The villagers and the Friends of Altona had turned up in full force to show their support and solidarity. Here they are - dads, mums, kids, grandpas and grandmas, all outside 121 Exhibition Street. They came fully prepared with gadgets, placards and visual aids.

Rally 02 Smile

"Don't derail Altona! Don't derail Altona!" echoed through the air and this scene was captured in a video by a nosy Youtube member.

Don't laugh at these unfanciful and unimaginative chants - they are all amateurs and I bet that they have not taken part in something similiar before, if not because of this incident that brings them together in an united front.

Finally, the Meeting is over, with a debrief by two of the nice folks.

Sandra A
The Debreathe

Three cheers to the four nice folks of Altona or the Fabulous Four, as suggested by a reader.

Hip hip hip Hooray!
Hip hip hip Hooray!
Hip hip hip Hooray!

PS. The villagers didn't get to see the Minister after all, otherwise the story may have ended differently. Not forgetting the reporters had also waited in vain .....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Alternative Model

Someone (not me) has come up with a brilliant alternative to the changes planned by Metro. It is an example of thinking out of the box so I will like to share the model here.

Metro said that the single track section of the Altona Loop creates a bottleneck as it only allows a single train to travel in one direction at one time so a train has to wait for the opposite-running train to clear before it can enter the Loop. This forms Metro's argument for turning the Altona loop into a shuttle service so that any delay within the Loop will not be passed on to other subsequent stations along the Werribee line.

The most obvious, permanent solution is to duplicate the Altona Loop. However, this takes time. Somebody has suggested an interim measure to overcome this limitation of the Altona Loop.


During the morning peak as well as the day interpeak period, most Altona passengers will be travelling to the City. Run the Werribee train through the Altona Loop to Flinders Street just in this direction. These are indicated by the dark-blue arrows in the map shown above. As there is no opposite-running train through the Altona Loop, it is possible to double the train frequency from the current 1 train every 20 min to 1 train every 10 min. This will be considered a true increase in the number of services that benefit not just Altona but the whole of the Werribee Line.

Altona passengers getting to Werribee have two options, either taking the City-bound Train to Newport to take a Werribee-bound Express Train or take a shuttle bus to Laverton Station to catch a Werribee-bound Train. Passengers from Newport, Spotswood, Yarraville, Seddon or Footscray getting to Altona can take the Werribee-bound Express Train, alight at Laverton, then take the City-bound Train through the Altona Loop. The Werribee Express Train will help to reduce the impact to these passengers.


During the evening peak and at night, most Altona passengers will be getting home from the City. So now reverse the train direction through the Altona Loop, that is, running towards Werribee. These are indicated by the red arrows in the map shown above.

Under this model, trains will be running unidirectionally through the Altona Loop at all times except during weekends and the bottleneck problem will be solved. Most importantly, the train frequency can be greatly increased. If the Altona Loop Shuttle Train is running, this shuttle train may still cross path with the Werribee Express Train at the connecting stations, for example, at Newport, as it needs to turn around. This will probably still require one train to wait for the other. With the suggested model, this problem will be eliminated.

This is not a perfect model as it will still bring inconvenience to some passengers. But it is one that merits serious considerations from Metro and the Transport Department, as I think it is viable and will bring about real service improvements.

Werribee Line Commuters misled by Claims of Extra Services

The following are taken from Colleen Hartland's website. Click here for further details.

Greens MLC Colleen Hartland has accused Metro of misleading Werribee Line commuters by claiming Altona Loop shuttle services will benefit them.

"The 185 extra services that Metro is claiming are in the new timetable on the Werribee Line are in fact just Altona Loop shuttle services. The Altona Loop shuttle doesn't benefit Werribee line users whatsoever," said Colleen Hartland.

"Even the Altona Loop commuters are strongly opposed to the shuttle service as it will replace trains to the city which will be cut."

"Under the new timetable Werribee Line commuters, such as those using Werribee, Hoppers Crossing, and Aircraft stations, will receive significantly fewer services, not more."

"Weekday services from Werribee to the city will reduce by 16 services, and from the city to Werribee will reduce by 14 services per day."

"The Greens today called for a parliamentary inquiry into the new train timetable. That debate is ongoing."

"We cannot just sit back and let Metro design a new timetable that increases its profits by reducing our service. This is a classic example of why we need an independent transport authority."

"Werribee Line commuters should join the Altona Loop community in calls for the proposed train cuts to be rejected."

"The West needs public transport improvements, not cuts," said Ms Hartland.

Greens table Altona Loop petition, call for inquiry


Greens MLC Colleen Colleen Hartland has tabled a petition in Parliament today of 15% of the Altona / Seaholme population objecting to the cuts to their train line, as Greens call for an inquiry into the train timetable changes.

"1730 people have already signed in the first month and there are more to come," said Colleen Hartland.

"We had the CEO of Metro come out and tell 500 people at a packed public meeting in Altona last week that they are facing train cuts because they don't use the trains."

"But it's Catch-22. Altona residents don't use the trains because there are so many cancellations. Up to four trains per day completely bypass the Altona Loop, and Metro doesn't even bother measuring data on late trains. How can you catch a train that doesn't turn up?"

"The Greens today called for a parliamentary inquiry into the new train timetable. That debate is ongoing."

"We have asked the government to table in Parliament the background documents Metro created supporting the timetable change, but so far they haven't been able to locate them. These documents should include things like the increased journey times and a passenger impact statement for Altona, where we know the service is not only being cut, but the remaining trains will take more than 50% longer to reach the city."

"The government says they had no choice but to approve the cuts to the service. Well, don't just tell us, show us. Give us the documents, and talk to the public in an inquiry about whether the cuts are reasonable."

For comment: Colleen Hartland - 9689 6373

Monday, April 11, 2011

Action Alert: Rally at the Minister's office 12pm, Wed 13th Apr 2011

Forwarding an urgent email from Colleen Hartland. For those who are working in the City, I am thinking whether you could schedule your lunch break earlier to attend this very important rally.

The Altona-Seaholme communties are continuing their active efforts to see the proposed Altona Loop train cuts rejected, and instead are seeking public transport improvements.

Local residents have formed a group named 'Altona Loop Action Group - don't derail Altona'. The Group have called a Rally outside the Minister's office this week. As Sandra Wilson, an active resident with the Altona Loop Action Action Group, says "join in, be seen, be heard!"

WHEN: 11:45am (for 12 noon start) Wednesday 13th April.
WHERE: 121 Exhibition St, Melbourne.

The Minister has refused to speak to the community at the two public meetings, but has agreed to meet privately with representatives. Four residents from the Altona Loop Action Group will be meeting with the Minister from 11am – 12noon.

The Minister will be advised that residents have gathered outside if he wishes to speak to them directly. If he declines, the residents will report to the Rally at 12 noon on the outcome of the meeting with the Minister.

How to get there: approx 30 minutes journey on one train.
Depart: Westona Station at 11:00am, Altona at 11:02am, Seaholme at 10:04am
Arrive: Parliament Station 11:42am. Walk 200 metres down Bourke, turn left at Exhibition.

If you were to do this journey under the proposed new timetable your journey would look like this:
  1. Depart Altona Loop station.
  2. Arrive Newport.
  3. Wait 7 minutes.
  4. Depart Newport.
  5. Arrive North Melbourne station.
  6. Change from platform 1 to platform 5.
  7. Wait 9 minutes.
  8. Push, shove and cram onto a crowded train.
  9. Depart North Melbourne station.
  10. Arrive Parliament station, 48 minutes after you left your departure station - if all trains turn up on time.
The Altona Loop Action Group can be contacted via Sandra Wilson. Email Phone: 0432 161 777.
The Group's next meeting is 7:30pm, Tuesday 19th April at the Louis Joel Centre, 5 Sargood St, Altona.

Remember to post me your petitions! I tabled 1,730 signatures in Parliament last week - read my media release. Lets keep them coming!
You can find more information on the Altona Loop train cuts and the community campaign by clicking here.

Kind Regards
Colleen Hartland
Ph: 9689 6373

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Consequences of the New Timetable

Three years ago in 2008, peak-hour Werribee services were made to run direct to Flinders Street, bypassing the City Loop. The rationale for that change is to untangle the network and improve the network's reliability as Werribee trains cross the path of Sydenham trains, creating delays. I will be very surprised if the Transport Department, Metro and the former Connex have not collected data to compare the service reliability before and after the "untangling". I believe many Werribee line passengers will be interested that these statistics be made publicly available. Under the new timetable, all Werribee services will lose their City Loop access and passengers will have to hitch a ride on another service, such as the Sydenham service to get to City Loop stations.

Train punctuality problems usually occur during the peak hours when congestion takes place, leading to increased boarding and alighting times. It is less of a problem during non-peak hours when trains are able to handle a much lower passenger volume and keep to their schedules. Hence, I am very surprised that the Werribee trains bypass the Altona Loop during the non-peak hours under the new timetable. How will this change improve the Werribee service reliability during peak hours? Can this be a harbinger of worse changes to come in the future? Perhaps, Metro has the intention of turning the Altona Loop into a full-time shuttle service eventually? It has not done so at this point of time as this will draw too much resistance and protest from the Altona Community. Hence, it prefers to achieve this incrementally by first introducing the shuttle service during non-peak hours as a warm-up exercise. This will mainly affect the aged, disabled, students, stay-at-home mums and more importantly, a considerably low proportion of Altona passengers. Hence, the protest will be much more muted than if a large number of working passengers are impacted. When the people get used to the new system, become resigned to their "fates" and feel powerless to do anything that may turn around the situation, then Metro will start extending the shuttle service to the peak hours. We have seen this happening to the Werribee service so the same story may be repeated for Altona.

Andrew Lezala, CEO of Metro, said that the Greenfield timetables will be introduced in 4 stages. The first stage is the coupling of the Werribee and Frankston services to form a cross-city service. The fourth stage is again the introduction of cross-city services. I suspect that either the Altona Loop shuttle will run full-day during the fourth stage or the Sydenham service will be joined to an eastern line service, maybe the Glen Waverley service.

I will now attempt to predict the change in traffic behaviours of Altona passengers, as a result of the new timetable.

1. Some people have more flexible office hours so they can shift their travel to the shoulder peak period or slightly after to board less crowded trains. Now these people will be forced to travel during the peak hours in order to avoid the inconvenience and longer travel time of connecting trains at Newport. This will result in more congestion during peak hours.

2. Similarly, senior citizens and people with disabilities may schedule their travel from the non-peak to the peak hours as connecting 2 or 3 trains during the non-peak hours will be difficult for them to negotiate. They will be able to get a seat as Laverton trains start from Laverton.

3. Some people may deliberately delay their travel to the shoulder peak or non-peak period so that they can take the City loop service and do not need to change trains at North Melbourne or Southern Cross. Under the new timetable, the Werribee service no longer goes to the City Loop. There is no more incentive for these people to delay their travel. This again leads to more congestion during peak hours.

4. Altona passengers may need to take more than an hour to reach a City Loop station during non-peak hours under the new timetable (read my previous post). With the return journey, total time spent on commuting may consume more than two hours. Some Altona passengers will simply give up public transport and fall back on their cars, thereby increasing their carbon footprints.

5. I am surprised to learn from the Residents' Action Group Meeting that a considerable number of Altona residents actually drive to Newport Train Station to catch the city-bound train there, due to the service unreliability of the Altona Loop. This new timetable will force more Altona passengers to drive to either Newport or Laverton, competing with the local residents there for parking spaces and increasing the demand for more carparks. A good train system is one in which passengers are more equally distributed among the train stations to make full use of the capacity of each station. A system in which people choose to travel to a distant station rather than a proximal one, such as in the case with Laverton Station, is an inefficient one and places unnecessary and disproportionate strain on particular stations.

6. Who are the people who will suffer most under the changes? The "weak" ones - senior citizens, people with disabilities, students, stay-at-home mums, part-time workers - those who normally travel during non-peak hours. Instead of providing more support to these groups of people to help them with their limitations, the new system is creating obstacles and hindrances to their travel. A considerable number of these people do not drive or are unable to drive. Public transport is their only means of commute. Some of them will simply give up travelling, their independence and connections with society at large. The new timetable may be accompanied by unforeseen social costs.

7. The train operator has been urging morning peak-hour Werribee and Williamstown passengers to change trains at Southern Cross instead of North Melbourne for getting to the City Loop. However, many people still prefer to connect to Sydenham, Cragieburn or Upfield trains at North Melbourne, as presumably this will take a shorter time compared to changing at Southern Cross. When Werribee trains lose access to City Loop even in non-peak hours, there will be no incentive for Werribee passengers to defer their travel to beyond the peak hours. Coupled with the increased number of passengers from Altona as mentioned earlier, this may cause both the connecting trains and North Melbourne Station to be jammed with even more people, thereby incurring further delays.

8. Under the new timetable, Werribee Line commuters, such as those using Werribee, Hoppers Crossing, and Aircraft stations, will receive significantly fewer services, not more (Ref 1). Weekday services from Werribee to the city will reduce by 16 services, and from the city to Werribee will reduce by 14 services per day. There are now already a significant number of people who drive from as far as Werribee to Laverton, a Zone 1 train station, to take the train to the City. The reduction in services will further push more people to drive to Laverton as in addition to the Werribee trains, they could take the Laverton trains which they could not take at Aircraft, Hoppers Crossing or Werribee.

9. Non-peak passengers travelling to the City Loop from Footscray and South Kensington stations will schedule their travel such that they board a Sydenham train. This will transfer congestion from the Werribee to the Sydenham line and give the false impression that there is heavy demand on the Sydenham line.

10. Metro may have overlooked the importance of the link between Werribee and the Altona Loop. Many Altona residents travel to Werribee Mercy Hospital for medical and maternity services as well as to Werribee Technology Precinct to work. The select-entry Corey High School will start operating this year so many students from the western suburbs, including those from Altona, will be keen to get into this school. People outside Altona travel to Altona for the beach, Tuesday Beach Market, recreational, sports, arts, cultural and family-oriented activities, which flourish in Altona. A large number of students travel to Westona Train Station to attend the adjacent Mount St. Joseph Girls' College. The inconveniences incurred by the timetable changes will be detrimental to these positive developments and community links.

To sum up, the changes will incur adverse social, economic and environmental impacts.

The Devil is in the Details

Based on the Werribee-Williamstown-Sydenham spreadsheet that I have earlier compiled, I have focussed on how the tabled changes will affect Altona passengers. By hiding the irrelevant rows (train stations) and columns (train runs) while retaining the connections at Laverton, Newport and North Melbourne, a clear picture has emerged. The results are contained in this processed spreadsheet which I am asking you to download so that you can follow what I am discussing.

I have harnessed the powerful processing power and visualizing capabilities of Excel, and am pretty awed by what I see. The train arrival times are highlighted in blocks of yellow, green and orange, which show how you should connect trains in order to get to your destination. The connection flows are constructed based on the sequential order two connecting trains arrive at the connecting station. You should follow the colour path down each column and to the right when connecting trains. Note that there are jumps in the colour flow to the right due to the way Metro structures the timetable. I have retained the Watergardens and Williamstown stations to indicate whether the connecting trains are Sydenham or Williamstown trains respectively.

My mother from Singapore does not understand English. She tried to remember the train station that we should get off (Westona) by counting the number of train stations from the boarding station. I told her it is futile for her to depend on this method. Sometimes the train stops all stations, sometimes it skips some stations and sometimes it decides not to run on that day or bypass the Altona Loop altogether. Further complicating matters is that trains of different lines may arrive at the same platform in a haphazard order not according to schedule. Sometimes the train goes in a clockwise direction in the City Loop, sometimes in an anti-clockwise direction. Sometimes it goes through the City Loop, sometimes it does not. Sometimes the train starts off from Flinders Street, sometimes from Southern Cross and sometimes from Flagstaff as I have now realized from this timetable. Adding to this confusion is that sometimes the train departs from one platform, sometimes from another and sometimes oscillates between platforms. I recall there were a number of occasions in which large number of stranded commuters were told to move from one platform to another, then back and forth, with the train staff also equally uninformed. I would say that the new timetable laid in front of me looks rather convoluted and is more likely to make things more complex for train passengers. If simplicity is elegance, this is backpedalling.

I will be picking some train stations such as Westona, Melbourne Central, Werribee and Seaholme to illustrate the journey time in the discussions below.

Thanks to Daniel, please note that the computations of the journey time between the Altona Loop and City Loop are based on connecting to Sydenham trains at North Melbourne. The times will be different if you connect to Cragieburn or Upfield trains. The most accurate source of information will be from Metro which should be able to supply all the journey times between the Altona Loop and City Loop stations for the whole day. If someone can request such information from Metro, that will be great so that we do not need to do the computations ourselves.

Whole Day Journey Time

Please refer to the Excel spreadsheet for the computations.

Train JourneyRangeMedian Journey Time
Westona to Melbourne Central29 min to 1h 10 min50 min
Melbourne Central to Westona31 min to 1h 1 min50 min
Werribee to Seaholme28 min to 1h 4 min23 min
Seaholme to Werribee16 min to 39 min30 min

City-bound Services


There are 6 morning peak Laverton trains (highlighted in yellow in the Excel spreadsheet) stopping all stations to Flinders Street, departing Westona at 6:58, 7:20, 7:42, 8:04, 8:26 and 8:48 am. The journey time between Westona and Melbourne Central ranges from 29 to 36 min during this period.

The first Altona Loop Shuttle arrives Westona at 9:08 am and runs until 4:29 pm. The shuttle services are highlighted in red in the spreadsheet. There is a 7 min waiting time at Newport to connect the city-bound Werribee train. The average time to reach Melbourne Central (based on connecting to a Sydenham train at North Melbourne) is about 50-53 min from 9:08 am to 11.50 am, 1 hour and 3 min from 12:10 pm to 15:50 pm and the last 2 interpeak journey takes 53 and 49 min.

Eight Laverton trains run again from 4:48 pm to 7:29 pm, with the time to reach Melbourne Central ranging from 44 min to 1 hour 10 min.

City to Altona Loop Services


Eight morning Laverton trains run, with the connecting Sydenham trains departing Melbourne Central at 5:46, 6:00, 6:25, 6:52, 7:12, 7:41, 8:00 and 8:13 am, taking 45 to 58 minutes to reach Westona.

It is surprising that there are 2 more Laverton trains running towards the Altona Loop compared to the city-bound ones, which total 6. Low passenger volumes will help in keeping these trains to schedules. Scheduling a higher frequency of such trains will thus improve the performance of Metro.

Taking the 8:30 am train at Melbourne Central will connect to the Altona Loop Shuttle, arriving Westona an hour later at 9:30 am. The next 2 trains will take 58 & 57 min journey time, followed by 1 hour and 1 min journeys until 2:41 pm, where the journey time drops to 49 min. It is easier if you take the Williamstown Train from Flinders Street or Southern Cross, alight at Newport and wait 6 min to connect the Altona Loop Shuttle.

There are 6 evening Laverton trains to Laverton (compared with 8 Laverton trains running in the reverse direction), with the connecting Sydenham trains departing Melbourne Central at 4:36, 5:09, 5:27, 5:55, 6:03 and 6:18 pm, taking 34 to 54 min to reach Westona. These are followed by trains terminating at Werribee, instead of Laverton.

Werribee to Altona Loop Services


I find the connections at Laverton to be somewhat enigmatic. I will explain by using the timetable shown below:


During the morning peak, a Werribee Train arrives at Laverton at exactly the same time (at 7:16, 7:38, 8:00, 8:22 and 8:44 am) as the Laverton Train. There is a shift of 1 min for the next pair of trains (9:25 and 9:26 am).

It is impossible for 2 trains to be at the same platform at exactly the same time. Hence, the 7:16 am Werribee Train and the 7:16 am Laverton Train will have to arrive Laverton on different platforms. Laverton Train Station has 3 platforms. Platform 2 and 3 are on the same island so you can just simply cross from one side to the other side of the island. The recently built Platform 1 serves city-bound trains and is connected to Platform 2 and 3 by an overhead bridge.

If the 7:16 am Werribee Train and the 7:16 am Laverton Train arrives at Platform 2 and 3, transferring from the Werribee Train to the Laverton Train may still be possible (although I doubt this to be frequent) as you can simply walk across the island. Connection will not be possible if one of these trains arrives at Platform 1. However, I do not think the Laverton Train will wait for a Werribee Train just for passengers to make the connection as the delay will have flow-on effects on the subsequent journey. The Laverton Train stops all stations to Flinders Street so any delay at the starting Laverton Station will greatly impact the punctuality at a large number of subsequent stations. Hence, for this reason, I think you will have to board an earlier Werribee Train to make the connection. For example, to reach Seaholme Station at 7:24 am, you will need to board the 6:56 am train at Werribee Station.

During this morning peak period, it will take 28 min to travel from Werribee to Seaholme. However, if you board the 7:04 am Werribee train, the journey will take 1 hour and 4 min, arriving Seaholme at 8:08 am. The situation improves to 23 minutes when the Altona Loop Shuttle is running. The best time to take a train from Werribee to Seaholme is after 6:58 pm, when the journey time is reduced to 18 min. This is because the Altona Loop has returned to the fold of the Werribee service.

Altona Loop to Werribee Services


During the morning peak, it takes 27 to 30 min to go from Seaholme to Werribee. The journey time is further increased to 38 min when the Altona Loop Shuttle operates between 9:23 am and 5:01 pm (times departing Seaholme), when there is a waiting time of about 16 min at Laverton to connect the Werribee-bound train. The best time to take a train from the Altona Loop to Werribee will be after 7:25 pm, when the journey time is reduced to 19 min. But how many people will be travelling between these 2 regions at this late hour of the day?

Passengers travelling between Werribee and the Altona Loop are the worst affected. Travel time from Seaholme to Werribee will increase from the current 20-21 min to 38 min (an increase of 18-19 min) during the interpeak period and to 27-32 min during the peak hours. The reverse journey time from Werribee to Seaholme will increase from the current 18 min to 28 min during the morning peak hours and to 23 min during the interpeak period.

I have attempted in this post to predict the change in passengers' travel behaviour due to this new timetable.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Werribee, Williamstown & Sydenham Train May 2011 Timetable

Note: Spreadsheet last updated on 10 Apr 2011, 7:52 PM. Please inform me if you come across any error.

Metro has published the new train timetables that is scheduled to start on 8th May 2011. You can download the new timetable for the Werribee-Williamstown-Sydenhame Lines here. You can compare it to the current timetable, which is downloadable here, to see what are the detailed changes affecting your journey.

These timetables are in pdf format. I have compiled them into an Excel spreadsheet, which you can download by clicking here. The spreadsheet version helps to facilitate comparison, analysis and computation, such as calculating the time required for travel between two stations.

If you are travelling only on one line such as the Werribee Line, you can hide the "irrelevant" train stations, such as those stations on the Sydenham Line. To do this, use the mouse or keyboard to select the rows containing the unwanted stations, right click your mouse and select "Hide". If you find this spreadsheet version useful, ask your friends to visit this page.

I will be doing some analysis on the new timetable. Hence, I will be updating this post repetitively in the future - do revisit this page to check for updates!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Anamnisis -Recollections of the Greek Community

Every perfect traveler always creates the country where he travels
Nickos Kazantzakis (Greek Writer 1885 – 1957)

The Greeks were one of the earliest waves of immigration to West Melbourne, weaving the Greek story and the Greek identity into the very fabric of the area. Now, with Melbourne the largest Greek community outside Athens, Anamnisis celebrates this community’s place in this country, whose culture and identity it has shaped.

Anamnisis is a contemporary collection of stories, photos, precious objects and the memories they trigger. The exhibition will be a journey through memories and emotions, cultures and clashes. A range of objects will bring memories to life: a torn letter, a piece of handmade lace, a collection of coins, a religious icon, a voting slip, a treasured doll, a set of worn worry beads, a weathered photo, a crumpled passport, a ticket to a new life. Through these, Anamnisis shows the risks and rewards of being an immigrant in a new country.

This exhibition will grow through participation with the Greek community, with people sharing their stories, lending and being photographed with their objects and visitors reflecting on what it means to be Greek in Hobsons Bay today.

Greek migrants will be invited to share their own, or their ancestor’s recollections of coming to Australia or of growing up in Australia as a child or grandchild of Greek migrants. Contributers will be informally interviewed and their stories recorded for written or filmed display. They will also be asked to provide an object that is a significant point of reference, inspiration or motivation for their story or journey. The exhibition will also include a collaborative crochet project with participants creating a specific piece of crochet for display.

Hobsons Bay City Council and the Louis Joel Community Arts Centre are working in partnership to present this exhibition.

Collecting objects and interviewing participants: 4-30 Apr
Where: Louis Joel Arts & Community Centre, 5 Sargood Street, Altona
Exhibition dates: Sat 18 Jun – Wed 29 Jun

Launch: 7pm Fri 17 Jun
The Gallery will come alive with Greek music, dancing, food and the stories of past and present life during the launch.

If you wish to be involved in this project, please contact Tiffany Ball, Curator, on 0448 427 755 or email For those who wish to speak in Greek, please contact George or Maroula Said on 9398 2921. For further information contact Arts and Culture, Hobsons Bay City Council on 9932 2001.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Under the Sea

When my Singapore cousins were here about two weeks ago, I brought them around Altona. They were fascinated by the "Under the Sea" exhibition displays adorning the Louis Joel Centre. This exhibition is part of the Art in Public Places program managed by Hobsons Bay City Council since 2004 for exhibiting the artwork of western region artists in businesses and various venues across Hobsons Bay.

Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre A
Tip: Click on the photo to enlarge it!

The Louis Joel Centre is celebrating the sea this year. Altona is a coastal village, the beach is a favourite summer hotspot and the sea swarms with professional and local fisherman for 60% of the year. We love the water, the beach and the sports relating to the sea. We need to respect our beaches and the aquatic plant and creatures in our waters.

Louis Joel Arts and Community Centre B

The "Under the Sea" exhibition showcases 100 fish and 15 mermaids - stunning pieces of art created by various local communities, including schools, kindergartens, artists, senior citizens, people with disabilities and mental health problems and many other individuals who live or work in Hobsons Bay. Many of the schools worked on a recycling theme, creating their "recycled fish" from bottle tops and plastics.

Mermaid Walk 02Mermaid Walk 03
Mermaid Walk 04Mermaid Walk 01 border=

If you have yet to see a mermaid in Altona waters, you will be sure to see several along the Mermaid Walk.

Mermaid Walk Poem

Since the opening of this exhibition, many people have come past the exhibition and enjoy the creative work of so many locals. Young parents had come along with their toddlers who had a great time looking at the sea creatures and playing with buckets and spades, sand and shells. A local artist sat and did some sketches of the exhibition. The seniors across the road remember childhood stories from Malta, Greece, England and country Australia.

If you have not yet visited, come before the tide goes out (on 20th April), as encouraged in the following poem on the Community Fish.

The Community Fish

Friday, April 1, 2011

Altona Loop Campaign Newsletter 31 Mar 2011

Forwarding this email from Colleen Hartland.

Around 500 people attended the 2nd Altona Loop community meeting

Congratulations to the Altona and Seaholme communities for their strength and determination in standing up for your right to have a decent train service. Residents sent a very strong message to the government and Metro that the proposed cuts are unacceptable.

We now have some follow-up work to do and you can help.

We're looking for volunteers to help with the following:
  • data entry - we had many new people sign up and their details need to be entered so we can stay in touch
  • a mail out to those with postal addresses
  • online research
  • gathering the petitions from out in the community
  • other tasks in the office
My office is in Seddon and we'd love to have you come in and assist to make this campaign a success!

If you can help tomorrow, Friday 1st April, or Monday 4th or Tuesday 5th April, please contact Adele in my office on or phone 9689 6373.

There will be ongoing volunteer opportunities if you are unable to help on these dates and I'll be in touch about these soon.

Keep up the great work!

NOTE: please post your petition copies ASAP - I'd like them by COB Monday 4th April. If you miss this date it is okay as I'll be tabling petitions a second time in May. The address is PO Box 318 Seddon West 3011.

Kind Regards
Colleen Hartland

p.s. You can find more information on the Altona Loop train cuts and the community campaign by clicking here.

Don't forget to send an email to the pollies and Metro.