On the weekend Victoria switched over the daylight savings time. Meanwhile on the railways, they have some trouble of their own keeping track of time.
If you look at the clocks around Southern Cross any time after noon things start to get messy – the V/Line side of the display continues counting upwards to “13 hundred hours”, while the Metro side drops back to “1 o’clock”.
Meanwhile a few stations down the line at Footscray, they have bigger problems – each platform is operating on their own timezone!
When I paid a visit at 5:40 PM, the clock on platform one said it was 9:24 (AM or PM?) while over on platform two the clock thought it was 2:08 (again – morning or afternoon?).
With clocks like that, what hope do we have of trains running on time?
So why is V/Line different?
On the subject of time formats, here is a Metro Trains Melbourne public timetable showing their use of AM/PM time. Times after noon are marked in bold, and an extra row at the top indicates morning (AM) or afternoon (PM):
Yarra Trams also use 12 hour AM/PM time in their public timetables.
Bus timetables published by Public Transport Victoria are another in the 12 hour AM/PM time camp.
But over at V/Line, their public timetables use 24 hour time:
To help out those who don’t understand hours past 12 o’clock, V/Line includes a conversion table on the rear of their pocket timetables.
So how long has V/Line been odd one out from a time formatting perspective?
Public timetables from 1954, 1967 and 1975 all use 12 hour time, so it took a quick email to my mate who knows everything V/Line to give me the answer – 9th April 2000. The change was made as part of private operator National Express’ first timetable redesign, after they took over V/Line from the State Government in August 1999.
Up in New South Wales their upcoming 20 October 2013 timetable change also includes a change to the 24-hour clock.