Friday, 16 August 2019

Train trips: Four

This is the fourth 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.

3 August

Caught the train home from Newtown, arriving outside the station there at 8.05pm. I went downstairs to wait for a train I saw was due in four minutes’ time.

At 8.07pm a train coming from a point further west cruised east on a different line from the line that had its tracks serving the platform I was standing on. About a minute later a Berowra-via-Strathfield service cruised west on another set of tracks lying out past the platform’s hard edge. A train that was going west stopped at the platform adjacent mine and a large number of young people alighted. Evidently they were going to enjoy a Saturday night out with friends in the pubs and restaurants on the street above. Then, just before my train arrived, a diesel service, an intercity train, cruised east, heading to Central Station.

I got on the local train that arrived on schedule and went upstairs where I walked to a bench of three seats, pulling the hinged seat in front of it into position so that the back of it would face me when I sat down next to the window. A pair of young women, both aged in their twenties, got on at the same station and one of them pulled the same seat back the other way so that she could sit down, next to the aisle, facing her friend, who sat down on the same bench as me.

The woman who had shifted the seat’s upright into place was Asian and spoke with a kind of American accent, emphasising strong “r”s. She told her companion a story about how she had worked at a restaurant and how her job had been to bring in new customers. One night five drag queens had come into the restaurant under her tutelage, she said, and had even flirted with her. They tipped her well, she went on, enjoying the sensation of something outrĂ©. She later dove into her mobile, as did her friend, and then she showed her friend a photo on its screen, saying, “The sacred mountain of the Aborigines.”

When the train was about to reach Central Station I asked them if I could get out and they both shifted their legs out of the way, swivelling in their seats as they did so. I heard one of them say they should get off at Town Hall. I got off the train when it stopped and went downstairs from the platform, heading through the barriers. I walked through the Grand Concourse and next to the light rail platform tapped on with my Opal card using the reader mounted at the building’s exit.

There were still 11 minutes to wait for the next tram. Standing next to me on the platform an Anglo couple, who appeared at a glance to be aged in their sixties, talked quietly between themselves. They had small wheeled suitcases with them and had evidently caught a plane from somewhere.

When there were two minutes to go before our departure the tram came up the hill through the park. I got on when it pulled up and its doors opened, and sat down in a seat. Opposite me, to my right, a man and a young woman were seated. She looked to be his daughter and wore a white hoodie that had red writing on its front. The hood was pulled up over her hair. The man had black hair and dark skin, but the girl’s skin was darker. They might have been Indian or Bangladeshi. The man had some grey hairs and wore a green, blue, and black Adidas windcheater. On his back he had a backpack and around his neck he had a black bag hanging on a strap. A Woolies shopping bag sat between his feet and he wore black plastic sandals.

At Exhibition Centre a man wearing a red embroidered vest got on who was talking loudly to a group of neatly-dressed young people. Their high spirits made me think that they had been to the theatre. They stood in the carriage as all the seats were full by this time. The man with the Adidas windcheater got off the tram at Pyrmont Bay with the girl and a large young male who had been seated elsewhere. I got off at the casino and, after waiting for the line of passengers to let me tap off with my Opal card, left the building through the east exit. The Century Restaurant was doing a brisk trade, with all the tables facing the street occupied by diners.

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