Thursday, 22 August 2019

Train trips: Five

This is the fifth post in a series. The first in the series went up on 27 July 2019. This series is similar in its execution to the ‘collage’ series that started in May 2017.

4 August

I went to the light rail stop at the Fish Market and it was 10 minutes to wait until the next service. I stood on the platform and a number of other people came before the tram arrived and stopped. I got on a sat down and at 10.50am it stopped at the next stop, John Street Square. There were two teenage girls sitting in front of me, facing across the aisle. One of them had a brown paper carry bag with “Irreplaceable Store” printed on it in lettering that looked like script that is sprayed on a wall by a graffiti artist.

The two of them got off at Exhibition Centre. An Asian woman and her small daughter got on here with a man who appeared to be the girl’s father. Mother and daughter sat down where one of the teenage girls had been sitting and the father stood in front of them. After a while the mother changed seats with the girl so that the girl could see out the window. The man and the woman spoke to each other in Chinese.

Later a man, with a woman who might have been his wife and a teenage girl, got on the tram and the woman and the girl sat down opposite the Chinese-speaking passengers. The man, who was skinny and wore long beige-coloured shorts that showed there were tattoos on both his calves, stood in the aisle. He carried a red backpack over his shoulder. The woman was very overweight and wore a black top.

As the tram crossed the bridge over Eddy Avenue the skinny Anglo man and the Chinese man both spontaneously looked out the window toward the west, letting their eyes follow the opening created by the corridor of the street. I got off when the tram stopped at Central and tapped off using my Opal card then went down the stairs out of the building. I looked at the video route displays at the Eddy Avenue entrance and mentally marked the platform for the next service to Newtown, then went through the barriers and headed past the stairs to platforms 18 and 19 and those to platforms 20 and 21. These platforms were closed on this day.

I climbed the stairs to platform 22 and waited for the next service to Homebush which I saw was leaving in nine minutes. A Leppington service pulled up and I let it go then looked across the tracks to the next platform where a crew of seven men and a large machine, that was being operated by one of the men, were doing something to the track at platform 20. The machine had “Anric Rail” painted on its operating arm, at the end of which was a piece of gear like that which you find on forklifts. The machine was being used to lift up a heavy piece of steel assembly, and it was then used to carry it to another location on the track.

When the train arrived I went downstairs and sat down next to the window on a bench of three seats. I counted seven people on the deck after a group of four people – two heavyset, conservatively-dressed couples aged in their sixties – got on at Redfern, where the train stopped at 11.20am. One person left the deck at this station and a man in a hi-vis shirt got on and sat down two rows in front of me. I could smell a faint odour of tobacco smoke.

Two stations later at Newtown I got off and walked up the stairs to where the barriers are located. As I was walking in the station building I heard two young men talking behind me. One said, “I’m off milk.” The other replied, “Like, you’re completely diary-free?” His companion said, “No, not diary-free.”

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