Well today was a weird day on the train:
- Happiness of expresses,
- Anger at delays,
- Confusion at public drunkenness,
- Shock of fatalities.
Anyway, I am going to work soon – will update tomorrow morning…
[EDIT 28/07/2005] Finally an update…
Happiness – on my way to uni I changed from the Geelong train at North Melbourne, caught a Northern loop train to Flagstaff station, and walked across the platform. The next train was an express from FSS to Glenferrie. No more mucking around at Spencer Street!
Anger – after finishing uni I went to the train station, and all of the screens were turned off. It took 15 minutes for the train to come, and some people had been waiting even longer. And there reason for the delay was…
Confusion – No, this didn’t delay the train. However, on the train I saw SIX people drinking (at 2.00pm in the afternoon! And on a train! And that was only one carriage out of the six!) There were four school kids, some in uniform, all drinking woodstock borbon at the far end of the carriage (and very openly at that).
And there were a middle aged man and woman both with a can of scotch and coke in their hands (at least they were attempting to hide their drinking in public) By the time the train got to FSS the school kids decided to scull their drinks because they were worried about being busted.
And now to the fatality – the reason the train was delayed.
As I was waiting at the station, after about 10 minutes, an announcement came across, along the lines of
"Attention all passengers, the "trespasser" is off the tracks, there are workers on the line near Richmond, and next train will leave Camberwell in two minutes…"
I hear you think, what has a "trespasser" got to do with death? You can see that Connex talk about "trespassers" on a frequent basis, in places such as here. For example, in their April 2005 performance report:
"Trespassers on our train lines were struck on six occasions during the month. Unfortunately, in each case, the person died as a result of the collision. These incidents delayed 164 trains and caused 57 to be cancelled for part or all of their run. These incidents also impact on driver availability as drivers undergo counselling."
It sounds bad doesn’t it?
But in fact it gets much worse.
The trespasser on the tracks was not the usual kind you would think of, the kind who vandalises trains.
In this case the "trespasser" is a polite way to refer to someone who jumps in front of a train in order to end their own life.
The railways use the term "trespasser" in order to prevent giving people ideas. These "trespassers" are not reported in the news, and the media in general do not cover suicides for the same reason. These people cause more damage than just to themselves. Their families are also affected, like any loss of life. But it goes further. The driver of the train has to take time off work and undergo counselling because of what they have been put though. You just imagine if you were just going about your everyday life, when someone in front of you is about to die, but there is absolutely nothing you can do at all to stop them. No possible words. No possible actions.
That is the situation of the train driver. They cannot swerve. They cannot stop. By the time they see a person in front of them, it is already too late to stop. The driver is the one who see the moment of impact.
But the emergency services are the ones who also have a terrible job. The front of a train is a mess of steel, plastic and rubber; a tangle of couplers, airhoses and wires. The damage done by trains in accidents is bad enough. The carnage that would happen to a person would be horrific.
Side note to the above: I didn’t see any of the incident myself, that is why the trains line was closed. However, on my trip into the city, I did see where the person was hit. There was a police officer standing between the tracks, along with a railway worker, holding a measuring tape. There was a bag lying in the ballast.
[EDIT 28/07/2005: later that night]
I have heard bit of info from various places. Some say it was a graffiti artist who was badly injured by a train, and had to be rescued. Others heard from an employee that somebody had thrown themselves off a bridge at Richmond.