So I was racing this freight train the other night…AND I was winning…
There are times when it’s just sheer fun driving a train. Normally the freight trains glide past our slow little chuffers and disappear into the darkness. Fortunately for me they had temporary speed restrictions in operation on this particular night so although the other driver initially overtook me I managed to slowly get it back. Sadly, I then had to stop for a station and he zoomed off. Pesky customers. Tch.
Other times it’s not so fun. Given the recent attacks by various militant Muslim criminals we’ve all been a little more alert to danger than usual. Unfortunately there are still idiots who drift around in a world of their own and who persist in leaving their luggage all over the Combine resulting in station evacuations and general unease among the passengers. Such a closure took place the other day at one of the major stations on my line. I saw a tense-looking polis walking up the platform as I entered the station and when I opened the door he seemed to be searching the train for something. As I watched I simultaneously heard a radio message stating that the station was closed due to suspect packages and saw a CSA racing up the platform to join the polis. And then of course the announcements to evacuate began.
In an ideal world somebody would have come and spoken to me. Actually scratch that – in an ideal world people who leave luggage in stations would be put in stocks outside with plenty of rotten vegetables on hand. But in a slightly less ideal world I’d have been informed of what was going on. Annoyingly we live in this world and no bugger came near. I enquired of The Voices as to whether I should detrain but they said to follow polis or station staff instructions. Not that there were any. So I could see the polis going in and out of the rear cars of the train and the CSA faffing on the platform. And I could also see passengers starting to get off the train to evacuate (good passengers!). By this time the polis was standing on the platform – I have no idea why he checked the rear of the train and not the rest but he seemed to be finished. The evacuation messages were still going though and I really didn’t want my passengers to be detraining and walking through a station which could potentially go sky-high. The logical thing to do is to move the train out of the at-risk station and take all the passengers with me. So a few PAs got them all back on board yet still there was no sign of the CSA coming near to let me know what was going on. Stupid bastard.
Eventually he ran down the platform and said that he and the polis were done and I could go. Life carried on until I was chuntering down the road on the surface section and noticed that a trainstop appeared to be on fire. Yowza! In the brief time I had to think I figured it would be better to motor hard and get the train over it quickly than to slam on the brakes and have the train stop over the apparent fire. I’m slightly peeved at how this one worked out cos I stopped at the next station and called the signaller only to be told that another driver going the other way had just reported it. Tch – I finally remember to talk to the signaller and he already knows. Talk about a disappointment!
Otherwise I had mostly a week of sitting around. I was forgotten about when we were on special service and hid in a corner reading many newspapers and watching tennis (is there a duller game?). And on my spare turn the DMT left me alone for a few hours cos he had some late driving for me at the end of my duty. During which time I got my arse kicked in pool lessons. It’s a hard life.