I love the smell of brake blocks in the morning…..

Imagine standing up for a 75 km journey……

Welcome to the 5.36pm Express service from Southern Cross station in Melbourne to Bendigo. The carriage is full to overflowing ..at one end there are 2 people perched on the luggage rack, another 3 braced against the train’s sway in corners of the carriage. At the other, the floor is s jumble of suits, skirts, legs, iPads, laptop computers, backpacks as commuters arrange themselves for the daily trip from the big city back up into the hills. The conductor must be skilled at negotiating carefully through the humanity to clip tickets…the VLine services still clip tickets, although they are no longer of the stiff card type but flimsy paper printed by printers so they fade on a strong sun. 

Train travel is popular in country Victoria.

Woodend station is crowded at 6 am on weekday mornings by besuited workers, stamping their feet to stay warm in temperatures which fall regularly below zero for more half of the year. There’s a country camaraderie on these trains …seats aren’t reserved, but they are ‘reserved’ and woe-betide anyone who unknowingly chooses the ‘wrong’ seat. The familiar and gentle rocking starts as we leave the station and pick up speed. There’s also a waterfall of passengers boarding at Gisborne – still 450mtrs above sea level and still ‘in the country’.  At that point, and still with 50km to go, there are normally only a few seats left. If you are unfortunate enough to board at Sunbury, you’ll sit on the parcel shelf or the floor!! The mornings are quieter than the evenings….people are absorbed in the morning paper, others are attached to their iPods and iPhones, others sleep their way to work. There’s something rather satisfying about flying past traffic doing 110kmh on the freeway next to the railway line!! As if they are standing still, but then we are reaching speeds of 160kmh!!

You could be mistaken, as we pull into Sunbury, of thinking that we might be somewhere in southern France or Italy by the groves of olive trees and grapevines….the train suddenly fills up and there are so many people jostling to join our journey that the conductor has to become a sheepdog, hustling people onto the already packed train and blowing his whistle to give the all-clear to the driver. 

This afternoon, I find myself on an overcrowded short train on the way up into the hills…there’s a couple having some sort of life crisis just over the way and up a bit……a couple ‘canoodling’ in the seats in front of me….people sitting on the floor in the aisle, no ticket checking because the conductor can’t get from one end of the carriage to the other…all being drowned out by Rage against the Machine on the iPhone……thank goodness for technology….!!!!



In the words of J K Rowling..... ” I just write what I wanted to write. I write what amuses me. It’s totally for myself. ” if you enjoy what I write, I'm delighted...if you don't...then I'm delighted..... I'm a retired business manager chasing storms and weather in Australia and the USA, photographing anything that takes my eye, and catching up on my reading from the last 23 years. I've finally got the chance to share my thoughts with the world.
This entry was posted in Travel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s