Sat, 12 May 2007

Train in vain // at 23:59

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Oh well, “it seemed like a good idea at the time”. Famous last words... Jo and I decided to catch the V/Line train out to Garfield to visit friends for the evening, a chance to try these shiny new purple V/Locity trains and see what all the fuss is about and whether they live up to the gov'ments hype about the “fast rail” service or the opposition's “farce rail” retaliations.

So far I'm tempted to go with the latter. A month ago my first ride on one was appalling; a two-carriage train put on from Geelong to Melbourne in the school holidays, crammed in so tight that people sat in the aisles and were packed sardine-like in the exits. Today we only had to endure a 50 minute trip that started life 45 minutes late! By the time we finally got on the train in Caulfield we could have been comfortably sitting at Mark and Lesley's house if we'd chosen to drive... and it wouldn't have cost anywhere near $12.20 in petrol!

Quarter past four we left home for the suburban train back to Caulfield, to then sit and wait on platform four — the V/Line trains always use platform 4... Then there's the announcement that it is running late and will use platform 2, so we troop down through the underpass and the stench of greasy fried things and up to platform 2. From about five to five until quarter past we had at announcements at ten minute intervals telling us that the train was having mechanical problems and that it had “just left” Southern Cross station.

Bah, hardly a great start to the evening.

Once (finally) on the train it was comfortable and quick and a pleasant trip, but the stuffing about that accompanies it will make me think twice...

The evening's company, the food, and the red wine were as good as ever and its always good to catch up with friends... but next time we'll drive the car.

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