Oh. My. God.
Today was amazing.
I started at a new depot and holy mole was it ever big. And impressive. And full of shiny, shiny things. It took us three hours just to hike the place. Hiking is the term for when an instructor rounds up a group of new drivers and takes them round pertinent points so they know the general layout of the line, where the phones are, how to get in and out of depots and so on. I have always considered it a silly term because previously it took a few hours. I have learned to appreciate the term in full now. I’ve never been in a depot so big. The trains are stacked many deep and in many rows. Every corner we turned there was another shed or another set of roads or more walkways leading to yet more sheds and roads. Towards the end I would not have been surprised to learn that they stack the trains on top of one another at night. I think I need to grow another few inches just to fit in.
It wasn’t just that it was big (although it was huge!) it was that it was damn-near immaculate. There was no litter in the depot. Inside, the traincrew area was nicely painted and clean. Here the hugeness came to the fore again as we initially thought the place was a bit underfurnished. Then we realised that the rooms were so big that the furniture was dwarfed. One room had a pool table in it – traincrews and depots will often club together to buy things like pool tables or TVs if there is the space. So imagine a room in which a pool table is dwarfed. That was just one of many rooms. And outside was awesome too. Have I mentioned the huge yet? It was really big. I’m not entirely convinced that there wasn’t a nature reserve in there too. And the trains! They were SHINY. If you’ve never seen the inside of the tunnels you won’t know quite how filthy it gets down there. And here were shiny, shiny trains. HUGE shiny trains.
I was glad to see I wasn’t the only one losing my shit at this place. There were seven of us transferring in and everyone was squeeing over something. One of the coolest things was seeing some of the restored stations which are really quite impressive. We travelled up to do a bit more hiking in other places and on the way the seven drivers and two instructors decended on a half-empty car much to the surprise of the inhabitants. So we started chatting to one passenger and pretended we were doing a survey of her passenger experience today. She happily played along and said she loved the line because it was so reliable and fast. And then she named another line which had the opposite qualities. That would be my old line which is generally shut every five minutes. I laughed a lot at that point.
When we got to the end of the line we looked round the depot and at the traincrew accomodation. And ended up in a goods yard at the back of the station. And there were two HUGE gates which might not look out of place on a castle. And in them was a teeny tiny door about four foot high set six inches off the ground. So we all scrambled through much to the surprise of the passing shoppers who presumably weren’t expecting nine traindrivers to tumble through a hole in the wall. 😀
Tomorrow I get to play ON one of the shiny, shiny trains. Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!