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Off the rails

One of the reasons why I threw financial caution into the blender and bought a laptop was to be able to use my morning and evening commutes to write, or at least return to writing, or at least attempt to return to attempting to write. There is a danger in publishing any of this though, because as I tap away on the train, my mind is mainly on the journey. Which means that I’m likely to rant endlessly about the service.

There is an often repeated and often rejected dictum that we should write what we know. It is of course a facile suggestion, but there is value in writing about what we see and experience daily, so long as that is not the limit of what we write, dumbly hammering out mere reportage – the sky today is clouded, there is a girl on the train that looks like Scarlet Johannsen, this carriage has more graffiti on the seats than yesterday’s. For me, I experience the Grovely railway station, and the Central railway station, and the train trip between the two, ten times a week. Sometimes more. Sometimes slightly less. It forms a significant part of my daily experience. And an idle mind coupled with idle hands is going to lead to strident criticism. Be warned.

I will preface what will likely be a lengthy series of rants (long mulled) with some positive notes. The suburban train service, when the trains are running and operating correctly, is clean, comfortable, air conditioned, and passably speedy. In general terms the trains are safe, pretty well policed by security services and real police, and not prone to running off the tracks and bursting into flames. These factors have been true, and unchanged, since they began the electrification of the network in the very early 1980s. The trouble is that there has been little other improvement in the service since then.

And a final positive note: Translink and Queensland Rail staff are usually, generally, on the whole, mostly not actively hostile toward passengers.