I would like to say I enjoyed the trip from Melbourne to Geelong travelling with V/Line. But...(and there was always going to be a "but") the trains don't seem as quaint and old-worldly as they used to. I'll start with Spencer Street Station, where the Journey began. Actually, it's called "Southern Cross" Station now which I think is bollocks. What the hell does that mean, for a start? Southern Cross? The station is located at Spencer Street. Spencer Street made sense. Now a whole bunch of tourists from overseas are lost in space trying to work out where Southern Cross station is supposed to be.
Here is a picture of the "new and improved" Southern Cross station:
I call it "The Birdcage". And I think that's being nice to it. It looks like a great big dirty chicken coop. I don't know whose bright idea it was to change the station into a large barn but I liked it better before.
The glossy photos of Southern Cross don't actually show the crapness of the design. I suppose it's trying to be "modern". You know what? It's a nightmare. You can't find anything. The staff are unfriendly. The V/Line ticket counter is hidden underneath a secret passageway that requires a map and lots of legwork to find. I can't stand it.
The old Spencer Street station was cute. And daggy. That's what's wrong with Australia. It's daggy but it doesn't want to admit it. So it tries to be modern and cutting edge and ends up looking even more dorky. Come on Australia, embrace your inner dag. It's okay.
Here it is (*sigh*) The old Spencer Street. Complete with kiosks and seating areas for people to congregate and greet or farewell loved ones.
But now, to the actual journey itself. My partner and I were crammed into this tiny carriage (only a 3 carriage train!) with a whole bunch of other travellers. Why there were so many, I will never know. The Swimming perhaps? The Airshow? Don't know. All I know is I don't want to go through that again. We were seated next to an obnoxious lady who actually picked a fight with us because we had a lot of luggage. Then she put her feet on our bags, then insulted us. We were flabbergasted. And we had to ignore the scheming harpy for 1 whole hour. That is not easy when someone is goading you and making nasty comments every 10 minutes. What a cow. Actually scratch that. I like cows. What a horrible banshee of a woman. I think she came from South Geelong and I hope to never run into her again.
So apart from the nasty woman and the crowded carriages and another weird lady eating a sandwich very loudly in front of us, the trip was forgettable.
I remember a time about 18 months ago where we got a V/Line train from Geelong to Melbourne. We found a quaint carriage with a hallway and sliding doors to these little booths, like in those old movies. It looked a little like this one:
The window had little curtains and the snack car was still active. I miss the snack car ladies and the conductors with the whistle. Perhaps those days are over. Are we moving forward? No. We're regressing and devolving (is that a word?). V/Line used to be charming. I hope one day they will be again.
Monday, April 02, 2007
V/Line Regional Trains