This will be the last post I make from Perth. There is little left in the flat but a whole lot of packing cartons, some semi-disassembled furniture, and a computer.

It has been a roller-coaster of a three years. There have been some terrible lows and some amazing highs. I have met some wonderful people, and I would like to say thank you to them for being such great friends. I’d especially like to single out AH and AM – you know who you are!

The removalists arrive at 7.30 am tomorrow and then we are in the car on Thursday morning for the next big adventure.

See you there!

Goodbye, it’s time I sought a foreign clime,
Where I may find there are hearts more kind than I leave behind.
And so I go to fight the savage foe,
Although I know I’ll be sometimes missed by the girls I’ve kissed.

In some Abyssinian French dominion I shall do my bit,
And fall for the flag if I must.
Where the desert sand is nice and handy, I’ll be full of grit,
You won’t see my heels for the dust.

Goodbye. Goodbye. I wish you all a last “Goodbye”.
Goodbye. Goodbye. I wish you all a last “Goodbye”

Well, it has been decided. We are leaving Perth at the end of this month and have decided on Brisbane as a destination. Hopefully it will be a bit more interesting and have some real career potential.

We were talking with removalists and they said it would take 2-3 weeks for everything to arrive, rather than the one week we were anticipating. We then had a brain wave: rather than flying across and then spending those 2-3 weeks in a hotel, why not drive? We could “See Australia” and at the same time save quite a bit of money.

Yes, I know it is mad to cross the Nullarbor at the start of February, but the weather has been so atypical, and with a decent air conditioner in the car 35 degrees is really no different to 25 degrees, and with two to share the driving it should be fine.

So here is the tentative itinerary:

Day 1: Perth – Kalgoorlie
Day 2: Kalgoorlie – Eucla
Day 3: Eucla – Streaky Bay
Day 4: Streaky Bay – Adelaide (maybe stay an extra night)
Day 5: Adelaide – West Wyalong
Day 6: West Wyalong – Goondiwindi
Day 7: Goondiwindi – Brisbane
Day 8: nothing whatsoever.

Sometimes I like to take my restrained professional hat off and let myself dream. Today I am going to share with you my imagined future rail network for Perth. Perth’s train network has obviously come a long way in the past 20 years, when it was reduced to a rump of diesel railcars serving the Midland and Armadale lines. The city too has expanded dramatically and with electrifications and extensions, this is roughly what the network will look like once the Mandurah line opens next year.

Now if the city continues to expand at something like the predicted rate, and proposed major developments take place then the city it going to be a lot larger in 15-20 years. Many sustainability people would be seriously freaked out if it all came to pass, but it gives me as a rail buff the opportunity to “design” system extensions. So this is what “my” network might look like in 2021.

You can see the suburban rail lines have been extended to major growth centres around the city. If I get the time I might explain some of these in more detail. I’ve also conceived two tram/light rail networks. One for the inner north-west and one for the Peel region. The diagram is not to scale, so the Peel network looks much smaller than it actually is.

OK. Back to proper analysis and planning now. :)

The Freeway south from Perth (the “Kwinana Freeway”) currently ends somewhere south-east of Kwinana and north-east of Baldivis. This freeway is part of the highway that runs from Perth south to the boom areas of the WA South West (Bunbury, Busselton, Margaret River etc.) , gets very congested at peak times and is going to be extended in the near future (the “Peel Deviation”).

Hugging the freeway all the way down are a number of current and potential urban development areas, including Baldivis, Amarillo and Ravenswood. Obviously, this makes them prime contenders for ‘car dependent’ suburbs as it will be quick to drive and PT will have a hard time competing (the new Mandurah rail line is too far west of these suburbs).

Here is my ‘heretical’ idea. It is a given that the freeway will be extended, but how about it be built as a genuine long distance highway? In other words, it should be designed in such a way that it bypasses the urban areas without interchanges. The people of Baldivis and Amarillo would have access to much the same road network as at present (ie be no worse off) but public transport would be given a big fillip by continuing to be time competitive. It would have to be carefully designed so that interchanges could not be retrofitted at some time in the future.

This would require some work to sell, but nothing a good politician shouln’t be able to handle!