[Just so you know, aka 'Sh*ttyrail' by the long-suffering Sydney public]
A SYDNEY man tried to kick out a train window during his five-hour ordeal trapped in a tunnel.
Sydney train operator RailCorp has apologised and admitted “something went wrong” with its procedures after Mark Connelly, 34, boarded the train at Bondi Junction yesterday morning at 9:15am.
The train then shunted into a holding tunnel and stopped.
Mr Connelly soon realised the train was empty, and was not going anywhere.
“I tried pressing the emergency button but there was no answer,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“Then I tried calling people on my mobile, but I had no reception. The guard's compartment was empty. I realised I was gong to be stuck for a while.”
New York-born Mr Connelly, who had been heading to Wynyard to donate blood, sat and read his book for a while, and then typed an email to his entire office to explain why he’d be late for work:
Sorry for being absent today. I have been stuck on an empty train, alone, that went to the rest area instead of my intended destination. I boarded the train, that seemed about to depart, under the watchful eye of two train staff. At the time of writing this, I've been on here for about 3 hours, and I'm guessing I won't get off until peak hour rolls around again, near 5 (which is when you will likely get this).
There is, of course, no reception in the recesses of the train tunnel. There is an emergency button / device to communicate with some unseen Cityrail official, but it doesn't seem to work. My guess is that it only patches you through to the driver, and there isn't one at the moment, as the train is decidedly sedentary. So the little red button and speaker system only serve to mock me.
One would think that the emergency device would link you up to the station house, just for such occasions, or for when the driver is somehow incapacitated. But that would involve the use of some form of CB or walkie-talkie technology, which has only been publicly available for the past 50 years or so.
There are emergency phones in the train tunnel, but there's no way to reach them as I can't get the train doors open. They mock me as well, as I stare at them through the marred plexiglass windows, scratched by the asinine markings of artistically challenged teenagers.
In fact, most of the things on this train mock me at the moment, including the useless emergency instructions, the occasional noises that make it sound like the train is going to start moving (but it doesn't) and the note on the driver's compartment reading: 'authorised staff only. Emergencies excepted'. Since the door is firmly locked, and I lack the superhuman strength to tear it asunder, one wonders the circumstances in which a passenger would even be able to access the compartment. Just to be clear, I don't want to drive the train. Just thought there might be some form of functioning communication device inside.
So, I periodically beat the plexiglass windows and metal polls with my umbrella (which is now in several pieces), in the vain hope that someone will hear me. Other than that, I'm catching up on my reading. I just started 'The Good Thief', and, as you can imagine, I'm now well into it. It's ironic, because I just read a review of it in the paper the other day that called it "the best book to read when you're stuck on a Sydney train for 7 hours, because Cityrail is packed with a bunch of hopeless f*ckwits". I thought the language a bit strong, but I can tell you friends, that now that I find myself in that very circumstance, I echo the sentiment.
The one saving grace is that the lights and airconditioning are still on. This initially gave me hope that the train would be redeployed soon, but no such luck. It then led to two thoughts:
1) Do they leave the lights and aircon on, because people get trapped in the trains often? In which case, they really need to reconsider their policies and procedures; and
2) How much is it costing to keep light and aircon operating on trains all day that are just sitting around and what are the climate emissions from this wasteful activity? One would think that the money saved from not doing this could be used to upgrade the emergency communication device so that trapped passengers could actually call someone (thus negating the need to keep trapped passengers well lit and in comfort during their long hours of confinement). The rest of the saved expenses could be used to reduce the insanely high fares for a public transport service that compares badly to some in the developing world.
This led to a final thought, being that this train might not be used for days or longer, and they'll eventually find my corpse on the floor of the train, middle finger firmly extended. They'll have to bring in that emotionally repressed anthropologist from 'Bones' along with they guy who used to be on 'Buffy' to determine the cause of death: the abject dumbf*ckery of Sydney Cityrail. Case closed.
Well, back to my reading now. Perhaps you will all see me on Today Tonight tomorrow as I foam at the mouth and curse Sydney public transport. Until then, good luck with the campaigning.
PS - Cityrail owes me a f*cking umbrella.
Brings back memories of the nightmare I had back during the "Great Flood of '86" when it took 7 1/2hrs to travel home 16kms by train, which kept breaking down, and getting herded like Soviets across tracks teeming with rain in the dark to clamber up onto another platform occasionally. When the next train which arrived would break also break down. Seems little has changed.
And I didn't have a damn book