Saturday, April 9, 2011

Any romantic notion of train travel being the civilised wayfaring option has been been systematically and emphatically quashed by Queensland Rail (QR) over the years. Even forgiving the day-to-day logistic operational inadequacies of QR, riding on a train in BrisVegas leaves a traveller dirtier, more neurotic and less friendly a human being, none of which engenders a sense of pride in a city’s public transport.

Descending into the damp and dimly-lit caverns of Central or Brunswick Street Stations to board slow-moving trains emanating ambiguous odours is not a pleasant experience. Neither is hurrying with the crowds through the long passageway of Roma Street Station with commuters abruptly peeling off and seamlessly joining stream again at its various platform entrances.

Any imagined sense of palpable damnation shrouding QR stations seems actualised when there are pictures of policemen and armed security decorating the walls. Then on train platforms and in carriages we’re bombarded with depressing public notices about fare evasion and the importance of such life-saving precautions as not overstepping the yellow line, or alerting authorities when bags are found to be without people. It just doesn’t make sense.

And if we weren’t already sufficiently subdued into an unthinking mass of MX readers by all the safety protocol, we’re treated to the added humiliation of grappling with the automated ticket machines. Why, after wading through a series of ever more infuriating touch screen options, are we forced to nearly hands and knees to collect a ticket through the slot at the bottom ? Just one more way we’re being gently coerced into all joining the GO Card club.

Perhaps if Anna sells off QR passenger rail services we could enjoy the return of train travel with class and dignity.

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