Turns out congestion at Flagstaff was nothing new

Way back in 2012 I wrote Chronic commuter congestion fills Flagstaff on the ever increasing number of train passengers travelling to the CBD, and the delays caused by them passing through the ticket gates to exit the station.

But it appears that this problem is nothing new, as this August 2002 item from Newsrail is anything to go by.

It reads:

In mid-May four new ticket barriers costing $82,000 were commissioned at Flagstaff station. The new barriers increase the number of controlled exit/entry points at Flagstaff to nine.

M>Train City Loop Customer Service Manager, Mr Rhett Flannigan, indicated that the additional barriers had substantially reduced the length of queues during the peak period. Mr Flannigan said, “In the morning, we have gone from fairly long queues to no more than five to eight customers at any one time”.

Rob O’Regan explains the origins of the extra gates on his “unofficial Metcard chronology” page:

With electrification extended to Sydenham (Watergardens) in January 2002, the St.Albans island platform no longer functioned as a terminal. This meant the electronic barrier gates which had previously controlled all passenger movements for suburban trains were now only half utilized.

These were relocated during May 2002 to Flagstaff, where they complimented the existing bank of barriers to better handle the increasing traffic through the southerly entry/exit point.

As well as listing the other stations that had Metcard ticket gates.

Electronic barriers were ultimately installed at all five city stations as well as Footscray (Centre platform), St Albans, Essendon, Glenferrie, Camberwell, Box Hill, Mitcham (Down platform only), Ringwood, Glen Waverley, South Yarra, Caulfield, Dandenong and Frankston.

But the “nine ticket gates” figure has me confused – as of 2011 Flagstaff station had the following arrangement.

1 wide and 2 standard gates to the north.

The quiet ticket barriers at Flagstaff, during morning peak

And nine gates to the south – split across one wide and six standard to south-west, one wide and one standard to the south-east.

Afternoon peak over at Flagstaff, the Metcard barriers open for the free travel day

So did the 2002 changes shuffle ticket gates between the two entrances, with three more gates added at a later date – or did the 2002 figure exclude the northern entrance?

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6 Responses to “Turns out congestion at Flagstaff was nothing new”

  1. Beren says:

    Hang on I have a solution, *opens gates up, puts out of order sticker on machines* problem solved.

  2. Tom the first and best says:

    The obvious solutions to any continued/more recent crowding would be upgrading the northern entrance (combined with building a new super stop in William St, north of Latrobe St to encourage the tram transfers to occur via the northern entrance) and building a King St entrance (useful for western end of the CBD, West Melbourne and Docklands passengers).

    • Marcus Wong says:

      That would be a costly change, but not impossible – just dig up Flagstaff Gardens then reinstate it afterwards.

      Maybe it’ll have to wait until ‘Metro 2’, which might run via Flagstaff station?

  3. Liam says:

    You may be interested to know, Metro are currently running city circle services again, at least temporarily.
    Caught an unmarked xtrap on platform 1 of Melbourne Central which turned right after parliament and was announced as a city circle when it reached Flinders Street. The tunnel would appear to be in disrepair with a fair bit of water landing atop the train and running down the windows.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      Thanks for that – they’ve been appearing on and off in the past few months while other City Loop tunnels have been closed, so that passengers can still make their way to direct trains running from Flinders Street.

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