Inquiring minds want to know!

So on the last day of the year a little old man potters into the waiting room  – carrying a pick.  I’m so curious and just a tiny bit concerned. What sort of person carries a pick on the train? Is he a miner? A madman? An assassin?  .

The old guy looks rather sweet.   He seems to know me – we must have spoken before.

“They making you work even now,” he says sympathetically.

“I see you are too,” I say, hoping for more information.

“Oh I’m still working on that primary school. But I’m a volunteer and can stop whenever I like,” he says and potters off down the platform.

WITHOUT GIVING ANY EXPLANATION OF THE PICK! ARGGHH!

I hope the primary school is still there when the children get back from holidays.

Happy New Year to you All.

 

Good news for M and C

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I haven’t seen my homeless friends M and C for a while but, fingers crossed, this is a good thing. A couple of months ago they dropped by the station and told me that after five years on the housing list living in boarding houses and sleeping rough, they’d been placed in social housing. They both hope they’ll be able to get some of their children back. Terrific news! A happy ending at last!
M said – Now I’ll be able to make a cup of tea in my underpants and never have to beg again!
Then he gave me a cheeky grin and asked me for 20 dollars so that they could spend their last homeless night in a motel. I passed the money over feeling foolish but as the weeks roll by and I no longer see them begging at their old haunts, I feel more and more that it was money well spent. So relieved.
Merry Christmas everybody! And may all your homes be warm and cozy or cool and comfy depending on your hemisphere!

Train Surfers – WTF

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A new friend He was found in a railway station car park.

 

 

 

School’s out – at least for the final year students and it sure shows.

This week, the train driver and I suspected there were kids riding on the rear coupling of the 12.04.  A sticking out leg is kind of a giveaway.  When a driver looks in his rear view mirror the train behind should look smooooth.

“For those riding on the back I’m calling the police,” the driver said over the intercom.

I don’t know how they heard him, but the kids jumped off the back.  Then rear carriage doors opened and two more kids popped out followed by another and another and another.  In the end there must have been a dozen on the platform.

I was thinking about locking myself in the office.  12 teenagers is too much even for a big bold station host like me.  But they all jumped over the fence at the other end.  I could hear them laughing as they ran away through the park.  No doubt it was all about the narrow escape they’d had.  I suspect their interpretation of a narrow escape is different from mine.

More Train Surfers

O.K.  It’s time for some relief from things we cannot change (so that we can marshal our strength for the things we can.)

Time for another Station Story

My gloomy morning was vastly improved by scaring teenage train-surfers.

Here’s how it went.

The driver of the 11.37 down train got off and walked down the train to check the back for the kids he saw hopping on the back.  There were no kids there anymore, but they had graffitied all over the window of the rear driver’s cabin which meant the train was no longer safe to drive back to the city once it had reached its destination.  This is a major reason why your trains are cancelled, people!

I’ve started checking the back of all the trains now and with the next down train I hit pay dirt.

As I was checking the rear coupling some boys got off the final carriage. The head of one of them appeared around the end of the train.  He saw me on the opposite platform and waved sheepishly.  Suspicious.  There were four of them all around 13/14, clearly too young to know how to look innocent.

The train sat and sat in the platform.  3 minutes, 5 minutes.

I thought there must be some serious emergency so I went over to the opposite platform to see if the driver needed help.

The boys were milling round on platform 2.

“Why isn’t the train moving, Miss?”  (I love how cheeky boys manage to make Miss sound like an insult).

The cheekiest said “Can I have your beanie, Miss?”

“I’m just going to check what’s wrong,” I told them though I had already had an idea what was going on.

On seeing me the driver came down the platform.  “I’ve called the cops” he said, loud enough for the boys to hear.  “We’re just waiting for them to come.””

Wow the speed with which those boys took off! Impressive.  They ran and ran and didn’t stop running till they reached the other side of the second oval. No more riding down the line graffiting the back of trains for them that day.

I should have done a high five with the driver.  Result!

 

Train Surfers

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The 3.04 stopped and the driver got out and took a walk down the platform.“I think there’s kids riding on the rear coupling,” he said as he went past. Sure enough as he got further down the train, three youths jumped off the end of the train. Giggling they leapt off the furthest end of the platform and ran into the bushes beyond.

The driver came back and the train left.

A couple of minutes later I heard yelling from the nearby tram stop. Two youths were hanging onto the back of a departing tram while a third ran alongside trying to get onto the running board. How on earth did these guys survive? But they must have because no ambulance came. They also showed an impressive turn of speed in running that kilometer between the far end of our platform and the tram stop.
I’ve started checking the back of all the trains more assiduously because kids ride on the couplings regularly (a couple of times a month I see them) I recently caught one trying to get on a coupling on the opposite platform and was able to drive him off with a shout and a glare. (he was clearly too young to ignore me, about 15)
Once a group of them inside the rear carriage saw me checking and started waving and blowing me kisses. Hard not to be softened by their cheekiness.
I understand the appeal of riding on the rear coupling, I really do, but if you fall off it’s a long way down and fast and the trains have to stop while some poor para-medic scrapes you off the tracks.

Tattooed Love

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Back at work after a holiday. Blah!
But we amuse ourselves as best we can. Yesterday I got talking to one of the regulars, a highly tattooed man with a false leg who attends the nearby physio classes.
He wears tattoo sleeves on his artificial leg so that it matches his real one and I must say it’s a good way of disguising it. Also I find people with only one leg tattooed always look as if they are limping.
While he was telling me you had to be tough to get tatts, a woman on the other side of the waiting room pipped up and said it didn’t hurt all that much. Soon she was telling us how she drew a tatt in texta on her ankle back in the 70’s (“when women didn’t get tatts”) for two weeks just to try it out and see if she could handle the attention. Apparently she could, because she had lots now. The two of them got talking and when the train came they got on together still talking. Have I created a relationship here? Maybe started a true love? Probably not. But it’s nice to dream.