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Sydney Harbour Bridge, it's not just there for decoration! - Stephan [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Stephan

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Sydney Harbour Bridge, it's not just there for decoration! [Jul. 5th, 2007|08:17 pm]
Stephan
[mood |Miserable]

Feel my pain as I entered Wynard railway station, after a long difficult day at work, still not feeling well, only to learn that a train had broken down "at Milson's Point Railway Station" (which is on the opposite side of the bridge, but more on that later).  Intending passengers were advised "there are limited buses, so we recommend you delay your journey."

Delay?  It was already 6pm.  Lucky for me I enjoy a long walk in the cold weather.  Unluckily for me so did a lot of other people apparently...

It came as not surprise to me that the sole arch connecting the two halves of my city had become a torrent of people, and yet I discovered with great astonishment that the majority were heading INTO the city rather than toward the residential suburbs.  I found also that the Australian spirit of the "friendly nation" was entirely absent as people showed no courtesy or even common sense.  Many of the slowest walkers took it upon themselves to stroll along the middle of the bridge's only footpath, in spite of clear attempts by others to get by.  One "gentleman" strode by my shoulder for over fifteen minutes as I made several attempts to squeeze past him and around the two chattering ladies immediately ahead.

The culprit of this chaos was in almost plain view before I reached the first of the bridge's granite pylons.  An R-Class train.  Cityrail should have retired all those dinosaurs before the end of 1990.  Incidentally, this is nowhere near Milson's Point station... :eyes roll:

So I'm home now, feeling worse than this morning.  My left ear is throbbing from the wind across the brrr-rridge, and the carpal tunnel in my right wrist is aching severely from the turns it shared with my left for carrying my briefcase.

Anyone want to live in Sydney? :P

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Comments:
[User Picture]From: dhlawrence
2007-07-05 11:50 am (UTC)
I think I'll stick to Cambridge, thanks. Speaking of dinosaur trains, I just heard that Melbourne is retiring their Hitachi trains.

In related news, believe it or not, I am currently posting this reply from my seat on a Kings Cross-bound GNER train near Doncaster. Isn't technology something? :D
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-05 12:19 pm (UTC)
Something to make me very, very jealous! :(

I often joked that my company should buy its own private train to bring everyone to work, and have wireless internet on board. Maybe I'll bring the topic up again given that my Senior Manager lives up in the mountains - the idea would REALLY appeal to him.

(I am so dizy from this fever it's hard to think straight).
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-06 02:51 am (UTC)
DHLawrence,

Re the Hitachi trains. I've been reading up on those and should be able to comment this evening. Prior to this I wasn't familiar with them - you've put me to shame once again with your superior knowledge of my own country! :lol:
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[User Picture]From: alaskawolf
2007-07-05 01:41 pm (UTC)
i want to live in Sydney :)

i do hate delays though
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-05 09:18 pm (UTC)
I wish there was a way we could swap, although sincerely I'd aim a few hundred kilometres south of your position ;)
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[User Picture]From: carlfoxmarten
2007-07-05 03:46 pm (UTC)
It is rather shocking to find out just how self-serving people are today.

It seems that once people get tired or think they've been slighted or something like that they start trying to push past other and cut corners, which then makes those people they've pushed past mad, and the cycle starts all over again.
It's almost as bad as an atom bomb...

Hmm, no, I don't think I want to live there, unless you get more moderate temperatures over there than over here...
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-05 09:27 pm (UTC)
Well I was on the side of people trying to push past. Despite being a gargantuan structure, the footpath of the harbour bridge is very narrow (what WERE the designers thinking?). With a crowd travelling in both directions, it makes life rather difficult to have people waddling along like penguins up the middle of the path, leaving no room for quicker walkers to get around. They behave as though thinking everyone should confirm to their slow speed.

There is actually a footpath on the other side of the bridge, but the city council has designated this a cycleway. In another act of stupidity a cyclist was riding on the pedestrian footpath, getting in the face of people going BOTH ways and wondering why she was attracting dirty looks.

Sadly, Sydney's climate is growing more unbearable every year. Last night was 12 degrees celcius (which I enjoy) but between September and March we frequently have days and nights of 35 degrees celcius.
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[User Picture]From: carlfoxmarten
2007-07-06 12:18 am (UTC)
Yeah, going against the flow in a crowd is rather difficult, isn't it.
(double meaning meant wholeheartedly, by the way)

It sounds like the bridge's designers didn't do a very good job of thinking things through, traffic capacity is a very important criterion for any narrow pathway, no matter how many other transport pathways there are around it at the time of planning.

Sheesh, I don't even know much about it myself but I'm sure that even I could have done a better job than that!

I suppose the weather is one reason for doing "timeshare" stuff between a Northern Hemisphere location and a Southern Hemisphere location, just like migration.
Though I can't stand being too hot, I don't like being to cold, either.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-06 08:47 am (UTC)
I guess the bridge's designers were more preocupied with creating the world's largest arch, and making sure it didn't fall down. :lol:

The footpath IS a bit of an oversight though. These days it's not uncommon for planners to put more thought into vehicular traffic than pedestrians, except that the bridge was designed in the 1920's with construction taking place through the 1930's (in an engineering feat that this pitiful nation will never dare repeat). In the days of model T fords nowhere near so many people owned a car.
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2007-07-05 05:04 pm (UTC)
I decided to check how your distance from the Equator compares to mine. It's pretty close: Syndey is about 33 south, and D.C. is about 38 north. Perhaps your average temperatures aren't much warmer than ours. In short, you're not overreacting to the winter cold after all.

Your talk of the lack of courtesy among home-going travelers amuses me. Yesterday, as my family returned from the fireworks show near the Washington Monument, we had to wait several subway trains before one didn't get too crowded to let us on. My dad observed that no matter how crowded it got near the doors, there was always space in the center. He signaled to some people inside, but they either didn't understand or didn't care. I've heard that some riders fear that the doors will close before they can get off, hence the crowding there, but I've never known that to happen.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-05 09:36 pm (UTC)
A lot of factors influence climate; proximity to the ocean, altitude, topography. Sydney is right on the edge (as I often am), at sea level surrounded by mountains which inhibit most of the air currents, therefore the hot air often doesn't move.

The cold I can cope with, in fact I enjoy it! It's SUMMER in this country I can't endure.

Yes, we have similar idiots on our trains who hog the area near the carriage exits. I wouldn't mind if they were alighting within two or three stops, but most of these cretins are hanging around there for the entire journey, including occasions where there are seats available. Don't ask me to explain that one; it makes no sense to me at all.

Are your subway trains single-deck or double-deck? Cityrail has boasted (rather foolishly) about being a fully double-deck suburban railway. Double-deck trains work fine for long distances, but they're NOT practical within the central business district where people need to get on and off quickly. On a crowded double-deck train it's not surprising that some people fear being unable to exit quickly, but this doesn't excuse those who block the doorway when people are trying to get through.

Ah, life in the big city... wish I was the country mouse...
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[User Picture]From: deckardcanine
2007-07-05 09:40 pm (UTC)
I've never even heard of double-decker subways. I can see why they haven't caught on in the U.S.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-05 09:50 pm (UTC)
Ah, Deckard Cannine is online!

DHLawrence was telling me that they have double deck carriages in Ontario (have I got that right?)

Here's some information on our system: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cityrail
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CityRail_fleet - all double deck.
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[User Picture]From: dhlawrence
2007-07-05 10:03 pm (UTC)
GO Transit has double-deck coaches, but the subway/underground has only single-level ones. That's right, two transit agencies competing for the same money and trying to do pretty much the same thing. Go figure 9_9
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-06 12:18 am (UTC)
[quote=DHLawrence]the subway/underground has only single-level ones[/quote]
That's how it SHOULD be here! About a year ago there was talk of a new train class that was reverting back to single-deck for the inner-city, but it's starting to sound as if they've changed their minds again.

Australia doesn't really have any subways as such. We have a very limited railway system as is, and only a tiny percentage is underground. I'm not familiar with the layout of Brisbane, and from Memory there's no underground rail in Melbourne (I might be wrong). Sydney has a tiny underground section right in the centre. The "city circle" loops from Central to the Quay and back again (in third Matrix movie the word "loop" on the train probably refers to the City Circle). The North Shore line (mine) shares a segment of the circle, but rises above it from Town Hall and shoots across the Harbour Bridge (on good days). The Bondi Junction line is currently the longest underground section, also forking out from Town Hall, though it includes a rare section of elevated rail through Kings Cross (see where you were recently DHLawrence? :P )

Plans were underway to create a whole new section of underground rail from Chatswood (just one station north of my home) all the way to Carlingford where it would join back to the main western line. This however was an election promise... ;) For several months the proposed sections appeared on Cityrail maps... but not any more.

Our capital city, Canberra, has NO suburban railway at all, and a few years ago they discontinued inter-city passenger trains there too. I doubt there will be any freight traffic, therefore we can expect that the tracks will eventually be torn up.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-05 09:52 pm (UTC)
I just heard on the radio that the train was disabled because "the wind blew part of the roof off." The article went on to report the state government defending Cityrail against the accusation of being "an accident prone railway." That would be funny if people hadn't died in accidents over the last 10 years caused by a maintenance shortfall from lack of funding.
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[User Picture]From: thefoxaroo
2007-07-06 08:49 am (UTC)
A colleague and I joked about my experience on the bridge. We realised the increadible similarity to "March of the Emperor Penguins" which describes both the arctic conditions and the speed (or lack thereof). I envisage a mixture of penguins and caribu... :roll:
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