Saturday, February 21, 2009

Open Letter to local Member of Parliament regarding electrification of railway to Sunbury (Australia)

A few days ago I received a "feel good" letter from our local Member of Parliament - trying to encourage us to feel good about the planned electrification of the railway line to Sunbury.

Below is the letter that I sent back to the member of parliament.

Dear Joanne Duncan MP, State Member for Macedon

I recently received your "feel-good" letter about the electrification of the Sydenham railway line to Sunbury.

Unfortunately, like most of the residents of Sunbury that I have spoken with (mostly whilst travelling on peak time trains) I do not believe that an unbiased, realistic and accurate study has been undertaken of the real impact such a change would have on services to Sunbury, as well as the additional pressure that would be brought to bear on the Sunbury CBD area and the Sunbury community.

You state in paragraph 3 that: "...all services will be run using six-car metropolitan trains which can carry about 500 more people per train than the V/Line trains currently in service."
And in paragraph 4 that: "It will also allow more trains to run during peak hours and passengers from Sunbury and Diggers Rest will no longer need to change trains at North Melbourne to get a City Loop service."

What you have not allowed for here are;

* the current passenger numbers already encountered by the Sydenham line trains - acknowledged recently by Connex as one of the 4 most crowded, poorly serviced train lines in Melbourne.
* the increase in travel time to all residents in Sunbury, completing journeys most of the way to the city (as most trains would, following the scheduling of other comparable lines, stop all stations - with only a select few being Express).
* the complete lack of faith in Connex experienced in general across all of Melbourne. Why expand something that already doesn't work properly. We would all much rather see the current Connex network fixed & working well - then come back to us with a proposal to expand the train line out to Sunbury (and by that time you may find you need to go much further than Sunbury.
* Currently Connex does not provide buses to replace cancelled services. At least with VLine we can be secure in the fact that if the trains are cancelled for some reason - we will get home eventually.
* The inadequate parking available currently to those passengers travelling from Sunbury.
* What "overnight" train parking facilities would be installed in Sunbury - where would these be placed?
* The increased train traffic causing increased down time & queueing of traffic at the Station Street crossing in Sunbury (one of only 2 places in Sunbury where vehicle crossing of the Railway line is possible) as well as the Melton Highway crossing, near Sydenham station.
* The increased requirements for security at the Sunbury train station & surrounds - it is evident across the entirety of the Connex network that end of the line train stations have a tendancy to attract unruly and unwanted persons and reduce the current feeling of a safe community, felt in Sunbury (especially for vulnerable women & the elderly).
* Reduced sense of security & comfort on trains that have smaller seats and leg-room as well as no conductors on board.

I disagree strongly that this would "... deliver better train services for our area..."

We, the people of Sunbury would like accurate details to be provided - not political promises.

I look forward to your response.


Simon Hoad

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Life update & help needed with planning childrens quest

Hi there

Sorry - been very quiet on here - I do apologise.

Okay - update on Life.

November Crown
I went to Innilgard last November and was one of 11 fighters that took the field to fight for the Crown of Lochac.
Only 1 Knight out of 11 fighters.
I came 3rd.
With a Glaive.
A very, valiant effort, even if I do say so myself. There were a number of people watching me enter a semi-final, considering that I could well be the next King.
I lost to Sir Phillipe - however I suspect I took most of what he had left, for he lost the final Theuderic, who has since been crowned King (he was my main concern on entering the tournament - with proven good reason obviously).
On the Sunday morning, the King at the time invited me to take up the role of his Champion (as Theuderic had abandoned the role in becoming Prince).
I took the field that day in the Rose Tournament, had a brilliant day fighting and was declared winner of the day by popular opinion.
My fighting has finally reached those heights I knew I could reach.

There followed at the start of December William Marshal Tournament & Feast.
Tournament went well - my fighting was still at the heights I reached at Crown Tourney - it wasn't just a fluke.
Feast also went well. Great food courtesy of Baroness Gwir & her staff (again, as always).

Xmas came & went - relatively quiet & peaceful.
New Year Eve - Games & BBQ at Dave & Kylies - good fun night with friends.

Then Stormhold hosted the Surveying Expedition on the Australia Day Weekend - great event at Ava's farm in Napoleon, Victoria (just south of Ballarat).

Now I find myself thinking ahead to Festival.

Should I run another Childrens Quest - I think I should but am having trouble putting together a plot - Not sure if we have time to put into more Baldrics for a Queens Militia (and that really works best with Yolande as Queen I think).

Any ideas more than welcome - let me know. Write here or email me.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hi anyone reading. Have been fairly quiet on here recently - sorry. I promise to get on in the next day or so and give an update on life.

In the meantime however, I felt I had to share this treasure of a story, passed on to my by Sandra.

Enjoy, I know I did (& afterwards, think how much fun we could have if we all did this - he he he).


A 98 year old woman in the UK wrote this to her bank.

The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the

Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I
endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three
nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the
arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of
course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my Pension, an arrangement,
which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty eight years. You are to
be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for
debiting my account £30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to
your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has
caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I noticed that whereas I
personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to
contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging,
pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become. From now on, I,
like you, choose only to deal with a flesh-and-blood person.

My mortgage and loan payments will therefore, and hereafter, no
longer be automatic, but will arrive at your bank by cheque, addressed
personally, and confidentially, to an employee at your bank, whom you must
nominate. Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act, for any
other person to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status which I require
your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry that it runs to eight pages,
but in order that I know as much about him, or her, as your bank knows
about me, there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his or her medical history must be
countersigned by a Solicitor, and the mandatory details of his/her
financial situation (income, debts, assets and liabilities) must be
accompanied by documented proof.

In due course, I will issue your employee with a PIN number which
he/she must quote in dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be shorter
than 28 digits but, again, I have modelled it on the number of button
presses required for me to access my account balance on your phone bank
service. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Let me level the playing field even further. When you call me, press
buttons as follows:

1 To make an appointment to see me.
2 To query a missing payment.
3 To transfer the call to my living room, in case I am there.
4 To transfer the call to my bedroom, in case I am sleeping.
5 To transfer the call to my toilet, in case I am attending to nature.
6 To transfer the call to my mobile phone, if I am not at home.
7 To leave a message on my computer, (a password to access my computer
is required. A password will be communicated to you a later date, to the
Authorized Contact.)
8 To return to the main menu, and to listen to options 1 through to 8.
9 To make a general complaint or inquiry, the contact will then be put
on hold, pending the attention of my automated answering service.

While this may, on occasion, involve a lengthy wait, uplifting music will
play for the duration of the call.

Regrettably, but again following your example, I must also levy an
establishment fee to cover the setting-up of this new arrangement.

May I wish you a happy, if ever so slightly less prosperous, New Year.

Your Humble Client

(Remember: This was written by a 98 year old woman; DOESNT SHE MAKE YOU