The Epping train line
runs from deep in the inner city of Melbourne
(Flinders Street Station
to be precise), all the way out to Epping. "Why are you telling me this?" you may ask. "Who gives a donkey's uncle
about some stupid train line?" But the Epping line is no ordinary train line. No indeed.
Previously part of Melbourne's city-wide public transportation system (The Met), it was sold to private interests by former Premier Jeff Kennett. Now it is owned and operated by Connex Trains (the other train company being M-Train). There was an incredibly stupid ad campaign publicising their name change from Hillside Trains. (Harry Connick Jr., "they got my name wrong", you get the picture). But you don't really give a stuff about that, do you?
Why is the Epping line nodeworthy? The people who ride on it. There are some specific people and others who are just examples of us all. Personally, my favourite Epping line person is the guitar guy. This guy has hit upon the idea of busking on a train. He looks like he's come direct from 1984, hair and all, and has quite possibly been sleeping under a bridge since then. But his voice is lovely, his guitar sings. "Not just your average train ride" is his motto. True, he only plays a couple of songs ('Hey, you've got to hide your love away' often making an appearance) but he does them so well that it doesn't matter how long he has played, just that he has.
There used to be a very old man who played the violin. I think he's likely dead by now. Unlike the guitar guy, he never asked for money. I don't think it ever crossed his mind. He played with the skill and passion of someone who has dedicated their life to perfecting a art, but he was only practising. He would stop playing every now and then and ask if anyone wanted him to stop. Most of the time no-one would even consider it. Occasionally there was the odd gaggle of smart-alec teenagers telling him to stop, but those kids would stop feeling like such heroes when everyone's gaze was like knives in their collective back. Unfortunately he would always stop playing if asked. No matter how rudely. Just once I would have liked to see him tell those kids to spin on it.
Unfortunately most of the time, it is just your average train ride. The trains aren't particularly clean, but what trains are? The trains aren't particularly punctual, but what trains are? It certainly has it's fair share of morons, but what train (or anything) doesn't? For myself, I think seeing these people is worth all of it.
So that's why you should all come and see it. Sure, it might not happen on your first ride. It might not happen on your fiftieth. It might never happen. In that case you will have completely wasted your time.
So come and see the Epping line. Now showing at the following stations.
Session times available from www.victrip.com.au.