Peak hour. Almost 40 degrees C. Packed train. I'm sitting with one of my workmates and his girlfriend. They're discussing which house they want to buy and I tune out and begin to play lemmings on my phone. A few minutes pass, I'm just beginning to get into that level, when a stench hit my nose.
Its eye watering and nose burning. It closes my throat and shreds at my lungs. It not the standard train smell of recycled BO. Its the smell of an electrical fire. It started small. Just a hint. I snap my phone shut and ask my mate if he smells that. He pauses and admits that he does. I thought it was outside, but its getting worse. Its inside the carriage. My train smells like an electrical fire. People begin to leave the carriage and move to the next one. Some people loiter in the end bit, where we were sitting, and complain.
I get up and press the emergency call button next to the door. I wait. Press it again. 30 seconds pass. I fumble for my phone to call 000 (the Aus emergency number), when the guard answers the speaker. I tell him our carriage smells like smoke. Its pretty bad. He tells me they'll investigate at the next stop, about 10 minutes away. I return to my seat, the smell is beginning to clear, but it still lingers in the air. Everyone is standing around, looking at me. I relay the message to them.
The train stops instead at the next station. We sit there a while. They open the doors (Fresh air, yay) and the guard comes down. He evacuates the carriage and seals it off, so that no one will try to get on at the next station. We all moved to the next carriage along. IT was strange. Most of the time people do not talk to each other on trains, but once shit happened, we were interacting with each other, and introducing ourselves, asking about work etc.
We go to the next big station, where peak hour trains stop regularly, and the train stops again. We figure they need to seal off the doors on the other side of the train. This time one of the guards on the platform is insisting the driver open the doors. The doors open, more fresh air. This time the driver insists we evacuate the train. Everybody to platform 4.
Going up the stairs with what felt like a few thousand other people, and my mate comments that this is all my fault. I get the giggles. I love making an impact. His girlfriend makes a comment about the 'I never' game. "I've never emptied a whole peak hour train." We file up the stairs, over the tracks, and back down the stairs to the platform. We're standing six deep, my back is to the stairs and people are lined as far forward as they can go. The platforms is chockers. Almost overflowing. The first train along isn't going anywhere near where we want to go. As it pulls in, the looks on the faces of its occupants was incredible.
Shock, horror. Seriously, stop reading for half a second and imagine it. Hilarity. I cracked up laughing again at them. The train was packed. Epically full. Have you seen the pictures of the guys in Japan who are employed to push people onto the trains to make them fit? It was like that. I skipped that train. About half of my peak hour train squeezed onto that peak hour train, electing to switch trains further down the line. Everybody else waited.
Immediately after it left, we were told there was a train going out our way. Departing in 2 minutes from the platform we had just left. Again, everybody trudges up the stairs and back down. Some poor guard was copping it from some woman about the whole kerfuffle.
So we crammed onto the train. It seemed most people wanted to get directly onto the carriage at the bottom of the stairs. It was jam packed full of people.
And that's how I evacuated a whole train. What an exciting start to the weekend!