The life of a train driver is interesting, to say the least. I've been doing this job now for more than thirty years, and if i live to be a hundred, people will never cease to amaze me.
There are three distinct groups of people that we interact with. There are those that could be regarded as normal. People with a modicum of common sense. These people go about their lives, thinking about their families or work and fully understand that a train is not a toy, but a means of transport that transports them to and from work or the footy or to a show. They never give a second thought to the person who is driving the train, and thats the way it should be.
Then there are the next two groups, divided equally between those that are in a hurry to die, and those that just want to die.
I know that this might sound a bit ghoulish, but as a train driver we watch the passing parade of humanity from the drivers seat every day, and many non railway people seem to have a curiosity about our job. Over the years, as i have met people who don't know me, and when they learn that i am a train driver, the inevitable question arises.
Its either, have you ever had an accident, or the less subtle just come straight out and say "Have ya ever killed anyone"?
Train drivers are not mass murderers, and none of us go to work to Kill anyone. Yes, we do regularly
hit people with our trains, and some of those people die.
But we don't chase people down the track, and all of us would be very happy if people didn't want to use our workplace as the place where they want to die.
Over the years i have kept a dairy, for want of a better word, on some of the things that i and my colleagues have seen, and been involved in during our careers as train drivers.
Over the coming times i will give those of you with a curiosity, an insight into the working life of a train driver.
Some of the stories will be graphic, others will be funny and sad, but whatever category they fall into, i hope that you enjoy them.
Its around 11pm on a Friday night. The driver is almost at Williamstown. There are only a few people on board as the train is outbound and the party animals have left for the city.
At North Williamstown as the driver is about to depart to the next stop he sees the door open light start to flash. He reopens and then closes the doors again, but the blue light keeps flashing.
He scrolls through the the cctv in each carriage and notices three young children trying to force open. one of the offside carriage doors.
He leaves his cab and walks back to where the kids are. There are two girls and one boy. The kids look at the driver as he asks them about what they are doing. The kids are a bit sheepish. the two girls are 13 and the the driver asks the boy how old he is.
The boy is 10 years old.
As its after 11pm the driver asks why the kids are hanging around on the train. The two girls say that they are going home. The driver says to the young boy, you should go home also. The boy says that he can't. Why not asks the driver.
The driver is shocked by the boys response. He says, 'Every Friday night Mum gives me 50 dollars and tells me not to come home until Monday morning. She has her boyfriend come over and he don't like me."
The driver contacts the train controller and tells him the story, the driver tells the controller that he will keep the boy with him until he gets the train back to Newport. He wants the Police to pick up the boy and take him home. The boy is very excited to be up the front with the driver, but i guess that would have been the only joy in his young life that night.
Back at Newport, the driver has to wait about 30 minutes before the child protection coppers arrive and take the boy away.
I wonder why some people have kids.