Catching the cattle train

We’ve been taking an earlier train since hubby started on his new job and I must say that the train system is in terrible need of reforms. To illustrate, we arrived at the station bright and early Tuesday morning. We had to find parking in the quickly filling parking lot then rush to the platform from our out-of-the-way parking space to hear that the 7:46 limited express service has been cancelled.

Groaning, I nervously hoped that the 7:51 express service don’t get cancelled as well as it’s now only a few minutes before the train was supposed to leave but there’s not a train in sight in any of the platforms. Waiting in the cold with the other commuters, I also realised that this would be one crowded trip as most of the passengers of the cancelled service are also taking this service. With just a couple of minutes left, we finally heard a train approaching but relief turned to disgust as we saw “the clanker” (Mitsubishi train) pulling into the station.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I prefer an old, dirty train to no train at all but it just doesn’t give me the confidence that it would get me from point A to B comfortably. This train has no heating, rattles and vibrates at every turn and has less seats than the newer train models.

With the cancelled service and having to wait twenty minutes for the next one, you could bet your boots that everyone on the platform got on to the clanker despite their misgivings. Who knows if the next train would even show up? I’d take a miserable service that’s already there anytime rather than hope for a better one that don’t have any guarantees of running.

Half the seats were taken by the time the train pulled out of Werribee and the remaining half were filled by the time the train left the first stop, Hoppers Crossing. By the time we got to the second (unscheduled) stop, Aircraft, there was no chance of getting a seat and everyone was standing on the aisle. Shivering and all squished in, the thought of cattle being transported on a truck to the slaughterhouse came to my mind. Interestingly, we pay for this privilege and subject ourselves to the same predicament everyday. You’d think any sane, self-respecting human being would have learned that it does not get any better and clamour for change or get the hell out to find a more humane way of getting to work.

With worries about the environment, rising cost of living and another interest rise looming, people are trying alternative ways of travel without their cars. Add to that the rising population of the state and you can see why the current system is now at breaking point.

The only consolation for us right now is that at least the services in our line start at our station and we get first dibs on seats on trains that do show up.

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Published in: on August 16, 2007 at 1:00 pm  Comments (3)  

3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Actually, I usually take the 7.46 “non-express” train instead (the one that was cancelled on that day). It’s never as full as the express; it does take longer to arrive in the city, but I’m not in a hurry at that time and it gives me a few more minutes to read.

  2. @Wilson: In that case, you might have been in that same train service today. If you were, then it was much worse than last week’s because it was nearly full when it pulled out of Werribee station. By the time it left Hoppers Crossing, it’s standing room only!

    Either an earlier train was cancelled without Connex sending out SMS notification (has happened to me before) or that service has suddenly become very popular. I hope they take notice and really do something about it soon.

  3. Funny, it looks like we use the same train to come into the city (I’ve recently moved “out to the suburbs”). I was in that very crowded 7.51 train on Tuesday.

    Do you know about the Connex SMS alerts? They send out text messages informing of cancellations and schedule changes, and anyone can register for free. I knew about the cancelled 7.46 before leaving home; not that it changes the situation too much, of course, but I could have decided to stay home a while longer and wait for the 8.06…


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