The Train

by Lori Dwyer on February 14, 2012 · 8 comments

Blissfully ignoring the fact that it’s Valentines Day…

A few kilometers further down from that creepy old house, and there’s more urban decay in the Tiny Train Town- more life left behind, expensive possessions left to rot and rust and time.

Tourist steam trains are the only trains that still use the rail lines in Tiny Train Town. Drive along the main road far enough and you’ll come across a shiny new museum that houses trains and locomotives of all types and sizes and speeds; if you reach that you’ve gone too far- turn around and drive back a kilometer or two.

On your left there- slow down so you don’t miss it- just behind that row of trees. Just where the second set of rails end, and only one continues into the distance.

That steam engine has been parked there for years.

It’s impossible to tell what it’s paint job used to look like, because the entire body of this train is coated with crinkly, dusty deep red rust. How does a train, worth goodness only knows how much to manufacture, just be left to rust like that…?

The steam engine isn’t all. Buffered to it’s front, as if the engine pushed them there any no one ever uncoupled them, are train cars, four of five of them. There is stock car, still faintly smelling of animals. A car loaded with what appears to old, wooden shipping containers, one a long way from home, marked Melbourne. A Special Services car that a friend suggests was a prison carriage, but it just doesn’t seem guarded or solid enough.

The carriages are mostly locked tight, with splintered wood and treacherous entries. Back to the engine. If you’re very, very brave (Every time I enter a doorway to a room I do not know, my mind sees someone hanging there, someone dangling with that still, unnatural posture. I ignore it, block it out, swallow that momentary fear and go on in anywhere. If I saw that again, my mind would snap… but I will not let that break me.) you can climb up, using big lunging steps- step on a sleeper, a wheel mechanism still partly covered in grease, ignore the flaking rust underneath your hands as your grip finds purchase on the ancient handrails, and lift yourself up.

(There is no one hanging here, there is no body here.)
Inside the cab it’s so sparse, it’s almost a disappointment, but you expected it- this is not like the house, it’s closer and more accessible, and years worth of people have stripped what there was to take. The floor looks rusted like weak aged lace, and I stand only on the very edge to peer inside.
It’s old and cold, devoid of life. The rust has given the inside, as well as the outside, it’s own unique color scheme.

I walk away feeling sad, slightly devoid of life myself. How does life just disappear like that…? there is the vaguest sensation of ghosts talking, chatting happily in the background as they go about the business that was theirs- shoveling coal, driving a train, packing a crate destined for Melbourne. Living lives that once revolved around objects that are now abandoned and lifeless.

It’s sad, but there’s a strange comfort in it. Maybe it’s just that muffled chatter of ghosts who voices I don’t immediately recognise, rather than the one that talks in my mind all the time.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous November 29, 2012 at 9:26 am

I have recently started reading your blog, I started at the beginning and have read forward. Usually with blogs I start from the most recent and read backwards. For some reason I did the opposite with yours. I have found it cathartic for myself. I have cried, laughed, smiled and cried some more.

I have lost friends and patients to suicide (I'm a psych nurse). I know that feeling that suicide leaves with the living and can't even imagine how much more it would hurt if my husband did that.

I saw a young girl hang herself (looked me in the eyes and walked off the box she was on). It was the most traumatic thing I have ever seen. I too expect to see people hanging in new places, or in rooms that I have to open the door too. I am no longer anxious while at the hospital and doing checks and feel that both yourself and me have proved to ourselves that we are stronger than we can imagine.

As I continue to read forward in your blog I have a message for the future you. I hope that you have realised your inner strength and that you have found a place where you are at peace with yourself. I hope that you find love, full compassionate love for yourself and exciting, romantic love with great sexual tension and understanding from someone else. I hope that your kids continue to be resilient and full of bright eyed wonder.

Can't wait to be up to date and see where you are now!


Shellye February 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm

This train holds as much mystery as the old creepy house. I agree, why were these things left to rust?


Angi February 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm

It's like us and all things on this planet we all have an energy. We r like that train. Even if we stand still for long periods of time we still change, on the outside on the inside, we stand there getting hit by the elements the things life throws at us , we build a shell around us we let that shell crack, but our structure our core self stays the same, we may react to things differently,let the grass grow around our feet,take on shit from those who fly through our lives and some who settle in our lives for a while, we may get stuck not able to move forward unable to go back.. But even in those moments there is beauty, the wildflowers that grow in the grass, the birdsong, the rain that washes us clean, the sun that warms our skin, the ppl that wander through and see our inner beauty and potential.. At our core we r the the same perfect creation part of the universal energy and love … Perfect… Learning… Discovering….


Melissa February 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm

So sad. Beautiful, but sad.


Miss Pink February 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm

This post is so eeary. Gives me goosebumps thinking of exploring the urban decay you find.


Fiona February 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm


Love a train.


Sharon A. February 14, 2012 at 10:15 am

We have a broken down train thingy across the road from us. It's rusty but still looks painted red. It's one of those push-pull lever things that ppl stand on? Don't know what they're called. But the kids love to go over and play on it


Kelloggsville February 14, 2012 at 9:11 am

it's all quite sad isn't it. it's just crying out for a bunch of steam enthusiasts and a generous benefactor to restore it all. It's been happening not to far from here over the years and slowly they get hold of trains like that and bring them back to life, they become the tourist trains. it's wonderful to see a sad old rust bucket become a thing of wonderous beauty and life again. Like they just breathe the life back into her.


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