Meet the managers...
I had a very long chat to the GM Network Services, Sean, who actually seems to have his finger on the pulse. I'd prepared a reasonable list of questions, but he had answers to most of them. And I mean real, plausible answers. Call me gullible if you like, but after chatting with him for probably 15-20 minutes, I came away with the feeling that there really is a change happening in Connex. Perhaps it's the fear of actually losing the contract, perhaps its an injection of funds from Brumby and co. But all those new screens and stuff are the outwards signs of a thrust towards improving customer information at long last, and Sean appears to be the major driver in this. One interesting piece of info was that the PDP-11s have finally been retired, after more than 30 years' gallant service!
For those who've missed it, there's the new web page at http://www.platypusworld.com/connex_frame/eventdetails.asp that lets you keep an eye on cancellations as they happen. If you have a mobile or PDA that has a web browser you can check the status of trains on the way to the station - provided staff update it of course!
I also caught up with Sir Topham for a couple of minutes. Again he seems to be sincere about wanting to fix the Sodor customer service issues. It remains to be seen whether they can deliver, but I did walk away from Melbourne Central with a changed perception. I believe these guys really do want to finally address these customer service issues... I guess time will tell if I've been sucked in or not.