Across Australia in 4 days, Part 5: The journey begins

Previously on Across Australia in 4 days:

Prelude: An Adventure About to Unfold
Part 1: Before the Journey
Part 2: Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Part 3: Sydney Landing
Part 4: Face to face with the Indian Pacific

Sat 3 Oct 2009  1:50 pm

The Indian Pacific locomotive at Sydney Central Station

I noticed several people checking something with the train staff at a makeshift counter at the head end of Sydney Central Station’s Platform 2 and 3. I went there, and saw that the train staff had a passenger list. I pulled out my seat booking paper which I had printed back home in Kuala Lumpur, and with a bit of apprehension, gave it to one of the Great Southern Railway (“GSR”) lady staff manning the counter.

The Indian Pacific seen from Platform 2

I had half-expected my name not to be there. But I was pleasantly wrong – my internet-booked seat checked exactly with GSR’s printed records. Internet technology. You could book a seat from anywhere in the world, and when the time came for the actual travel, you could be reasonably sure that your name would be in the passenger manifest. I felt good that I was (and still am) partly instrumental, albeit minutely, in making that happen, with my involvement in sub-sea optical communication networks.

Sat 3 Oct 2009  2:00 pm

The Indian Pacific crew in splendid green, grey and gold outfit

I was on Platform 2 with a group of fellow travelers experiencing the on-platform welcome and boarding briefing by the train manager. Present with him were 10 or so smiling and cheerful-looking “train hospitality assistants“. The manager informed us that the Indian Pacific was a long train and had to be split into two halves at the station to fit the platforms as well as to ease boarding. The half that was on Platform 3, with the two locomotives, would be pushed back and join that on platform 2, making a long train of 700 meters length. Good thing they split the train that way. Otherwise the poor people assigned to the front cars would have to walk more than half a kilometer to their seats!

Fellow travelers, on the more expensive Gold Service

Red Service fellow travelers

Indian Pacific Red Service, car R

Me with my next-3-nights-home-on-rails

Sat 3 Oct 2009  2:20 pm

Seat 35 Aisle

At the end of the car were toilets - a Gents and a Ladies

View from the rear of the cabin

View from my seat. At the front end were two unisex shower cubicles. Fresh towels were on the left-side overhead rack

Finally. I entered the train at Red flagged car S. My seat was in the adjoining car R, number 35 on the aisle. Red fabric seats with light green leather head cover. The seats looked to be bigger than an airliner economy seat. Maybe as big as a business class seat. That was encouraging… Overhead, there were dual layer luggage racks – the upper one was wide and held in place by a series of sturdy-looking stainless steel cantilevers bolted to the walls of the car. Obviously the rack was meant for bigger and heavier bags, while the lower rack was one half as wide, for laptops and small items.

Sat 3 Oct 2009  2:30 pm

A Chinese-looking man joined the car, and occupied the seat next to me, 36 window. After some talk, got to know his name, Wilfred, a Perth resident who had migrated to Australia from New Zealand and was originally from Kuching, Malaysia. Small world!. Wilfred was on board the Indian Pacific with his wife and son, who both occupied the seats immediately in front of us. From our brief conversation, he was really keen on solar power. Wilfred and family was on their way back to Perth after spending several days in Sydney. And guess what, they were returning to Perth on the Indian Pacific after crossing over the Australian continent on the Indian Pacific as well! Adventurous folks! And I thought I was an adventurous guy….

Sat 3 Oct 2009  2:55 pm

The train started to move. In was on time. Dead on. That debunked those very negative reports of Indian Pacific on the internet…

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2 Comments »

 
  • Ema (INO) says:

    En Nordin.. anti-climak baru je feel naik tren. hehe, btw I suppose anak Wilfred tu dah besar kot, kalau toddler or sek rendah pun mcm susah gak nak handle.

  • nordin says:

    Ema, better (slightly) late than never, hehe. Wilfred’d son was no toddler, nor a primary schooler. He was a teenager, taller than the father. Maybe he got the height from his New Zealand mother 🙂

 

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