June 2nd, 2003


The Railway Children

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to find yourself alone in a train that's been shunted onto a railway sidings and left there? Can't say you have? Well, neither had I - and then it happened to me!

My Mum had asked me to accompany her on an outing to the town of Middelburg, and as the weather was glorious and I had nothing better to do, I said sure. We had to change trains at a place called Roosendaal, just the other side of the platform, and so we got in not paying particular attention to our surroundings or anything, just chatting away, and waiting for the train to pull out of the station. Which it did. And then about 5 minutes later, it stopped. And never moved again.

About 15 minutes later, not having heard any announcement come over the intercom, and suddenly wondering why there weren't any other passengers on the train, I jokingly said to my Mum "maybe we're on the sidings". Mum nearly had a heart attack at that statement so we waited around a bit more for something to happen...only it didn't. I went out to explore and found that there really weren't any other passengers anywhere on the train, and when I came to get my Mum, she started to panic. I never knew my Mum was claustrophobic, but I guess you learn something every day.

Anyway, I remembered I had my mobile on me so started to dial the emergency services number, when suddenly, the door to the driver's cabin burst open and a shocked railway employee stared us in the face...then quickly retreated and made as if he wasn't there. Mum started to bang on his door shouting "Let's us out!" and I tried to shush her saying "Don't worry, he will"...trying my best not to laugh at the whole situation. Eventually, the bloke came out again and interrogated us as to how and why we'd gotten on the train in the first place, arguing about whether or not there'd been a sign to indicate we weren't supposed to get on and stuff -really pissing me off- and concluding that we were going to have to stay on it until 5 a.m. when the train would be needed again. Probably his lame attempt at levity, but Mum just wasn't in the mood to view anything as funny, and started to cry.

In the end, he drove us back to the train station at Roosendaal, where we got off and caught another train to Middelburg. But 10 hours later, my Mum was still shaking.