I’ve seen an increase in the use of the old-style trains on my train line recently. You know the trains I’m talking about? Known as the Hitachi trains, they look like big aluminium cylinders and have the windows that can be pulled down to open. There can’t be many of them left in the Melbourne fleet but in the past couple of weeks I’ve caught them three times, always in the morning on the way to work.
I remember when my sister and I were travelling on one with my Grandma. We were quite young and she’d taken us out somewhere, maybe to the showgrounds? Anyway, she fell asleep and – since Collette and I had no idea when to get off – we ended up at Jolimont station, the end of the line at the time. We sat there for awhile before cleaners came through the train and woke Nan who jumped about ten feet high! “What the bloody hell!” she yelled and then, with the rush of awareness, looked frantically around for Collette and I. We were right next to her of course, smiling up at her.
Anyways, nostalgia aside, they don’t have air conditioning. This morning it was almost 30°C and, with the windows all down and a relatively empty train, it was a bordering on uncomfortable. We need to retire these trains soon. They were meant to be have been retired in 2006 but, due to poor public transport planning and problems with the newer trains, they are going to continue to remain in service.
Had it been a packed train – and just a little hotter, like it’ll be this afternoon – it would have been unbearable.