Footy fans, special trains and sore losers

It’s AFL Grand Final week so what better time to take a look at the planning behind the special trains that transport fans to and from games.

Etihad Stadium and Docklands

Throughout the AFL season V/Line runs additional trains between Geelong and Melbourne, transporting Cats fans to Etihad Stadium and the MCG.

Cats fans wait for a delayed train at South Geelong

Geelong made it into both the 2009 AFL Grand Final, so for the occasion V/Line added a special ‘Geelong Cats’ headboard to the front of some trains.

P11 with a special headboard on the up with an 8 car all-refurbished push pull outside Lara

V/Line also timetabled trains direct to Richmond for easy access to the MCG, and the reverse after the game. These operational changes required 20 pages of special instructions for railway staff, detailing the timetable of each of the additional trains, and the rolling stock reallocations required to free up the trains that would be used.

They also included a special instruction tailored to Geelong supporters, known for walking out at three quarter time if their team is losing – trains depart early if the Cats are down.

2009 Grand Final - V/Line's special instructions if Geelong is losing at three-quarter time

Are there any other teams where the supporters beat the traffic by walking out?

A footnote on football crowds

The MCG is served by Richmond and Jolimont stations but crowding is a problem – as Daniel Bowen explains.

Football crowds at Richmond, after all trains towards Flinders Street were stopped due to a trespasser on the tracks

Compare this to Olympic Park in Sydney.

8-car S set stabled in the platform at Olympic Park station

Which has a station specially designed for sporting crowds.

Olympic Park station is located on a single track balloon loop spur line, but features two tracks and four platform faces.

Ordinarily, the centre island platform is used for both boarding and alighting, but this changes when the station is operating in major event mode. In this mode, the centre island platform is used by alighting passengers and the two side platforms are brought into use for boarding passengers.

But the brand new Perth Stadium shows what how it is done.

Diagram by WA Department of Sport and Recreation

With six platform faces across three island platforms, departing passengers are segregated by destination, and two stabling yards are located nearby, allowing up to 23 six-car trains to hit the tracks as soon as patrons start to walk out of the ground.


Continuing on the Perth theme, here is the ‘New Perth Stadium’ transport project definition plan.

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6 Responses to “Footy fans, special trains and sore losers”

  1. Andrew says:

    I think the real problem large event travellers face is that Metro, and Yarra Trams do it too, try to add extra services at minimal cost, especially staffing costs. They don’t want drivers and other staff sitting around doing nothing. Neither will match services to what is required to move large numbers and when the vehicles are needed.

    I’ve had a good look at Perth’s new stadium train and I was quite impressed. The couple of local residents I know say it will work well and they too are impressed. Only the rich can drive to the sporting events at the venue, which is perhaps how it should be. I guess there is an allowance for those with mobility issues.

  2. gxh says:

    Agree totally with Andrew’s comment. Take the St Kilda Rd tram services after an evening match at the MCG (or even at AAMI stadium) – no extra trams because these routes are only indirectly affected, yet the standard 20 minute frequency barely copes with normal(non-event) late-evening patronage on Fridays/Saturdays (regularly standing room only). Hence if there has been a football match, trams are crush-loaded.

  3. Aussie Rail says:

    Perth gets a lot right when it comes to public transport. Currently under their Metronet project they are building a new rail link some passengers on the Mandurah line (the busiest) don’t have to change trains in the city to get to the football at Optus stadium.

    Perth also gives ticket holders FREE public transport on game days.

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