Commuter Diary 3
One frozen morning, as the train sped through the badlands of Elphinstone, we at Commuter Diary were unable to slip into a dignified doze. We were sorely troubled at the possibility, however faint, that someone could try and alter the track geometry at Woodend. Were we on track? What were the points? But much comforted were we, for on this morning we were part of the elite corps of the Castlemaine Commuter – the fine men and women of the Six-oh-Two.
These upright people do not loll about in doonas on freezing mornings, possibly thinking lustful thoughts. No, they set their alarms at 5 am. That’s five o’clock in the morning, people. They briskly set about their tasks, tiptoe from their warm homes, and depart for the station. On the platform, they gather in little groups that are precisely one carriage-length apart. This is clear evidence of their foresight and acumen. They board efficiently and politely, offering quiet words of cheer and support to each other. Conductors have no problems whatever with the Six-oh-Twos. With a pleasant smile they present their tickets, fully paid up and up-to-date.
Now, just supposing someone did do something suspicious to the track geometry at Woodend, and so cause the train to hop the rails and come to a shuddering halt in a shower of sparks and a smell of burning toast. Inside the carriages would be screams, much wailing, and occasional loss of bladder control. Our sterling Six-oh-Twos would leap into action. We can clearly see them wielding mops, comforting the sobbing Woodindians, rousing the comatose Bendigoloids, and organising good strong cups of sweetened tea for the deathly pale Kynetonians.
Our elites are the only commuter group in the Southern Hemisphere which has their own theme song. This stirring ditty has brought cheer to many a morning commute:
We be few, we’re the chosen few
We battle ev’ry morn against the cold and dew
From the five-ish bell, it be freezin’ hell
That gets us all a-longin’ for the Fires o’ Hell
It makes us mean, but we be keen
Us Six-oh-Twos are just the beeziest knees
There’s more, and it gets worse. We do apologise, but you get the idea.
Commuter Diary can reveal that a handsome commemorative medal is being struck for our Six-oh-Twos. It will feature the motto Virtute ad Altissima* set above a stylised 6-0-2, underlined with a lovely pair of miniature crossed railway tracks. The Mayor will shortly announce a civic reception in their honour. After a keynote speech from V/Line’s Conductor-in-Chief, our Six-oh-Twos will each be awarded this medal for their services for Mayor and Shire.
They will wear this medal with pride. If you spot one of the Six-oh-Twos in the IGA supermarket on the weekend, offer them your place in the checkout queue. Perhaps carry their shopping to their car for them, and buy them a nice cup of tea. We salute all Castlemaine Commuters, but our valiant Six-oh-Twos have a special place in our hearts. We forgive their obvious lack of songwriting talent, and ponder much on the heroic example they set us all.
*Through virtue and courage to strive for the highest.
This entry was published in the Castlemaine Independent website in 2013