I’m running downhill towards the railway station. I cock my wrist to see the time on my watch. It’s too close to 12:45pm for my liking. But I put my head down and keep running. I can hear my feet and my heart pounding as one. I slow down, get my student pass out. All the attendant sees is blue cardboard in a wallet as I run through the entrance.
It’s my fault for lingering over coffee with my friend that Saturday afternoon. But now I have to make a quick decision.
There are two trains at the platform to choose from. Both are rail motors : which look like ordinary carriages with a driver’s/guard’s compartment and cow-catchers at each end.
They both leave at exactly the same time : one for Kiama and one for Moss Vale. I jump on the first one. I hear the station master’s final call. In my relieved state, I know I’ve heard it right. I’m on the right train home. There are hardly any passengers with me but that’s not unusual.
The train started up. I’m at the front. I count down the stations home, Wollongong, Coniston and then Unanderra. After Unanderra, I heard the familiar clatter as the rail motor changes points. And then the train starts ascending. Up the Moss Vale line. Oh No! I’m on the wrong train.
I then wait and enjoy the view of the Illawarra escarpment. For now I’m on a slow ascent on a gentle slope. The coast is on my left and the mountains to the right. And it is like seeing a snapshot, then resetting the camera and taking another one. I’m so mesmerised I forget the train is about to stop.
The line reaches the top of the mountains, veers right and we disappear into the forest. Summit Tank.