Tonight I was on standby at Lidcombee, just waiting in case I was needed to drive a train because someone missed their train, needed to go to the toilet, didn’t have enough time to eat (and lots more). I can’t sit down on the dining room chairs provided for an extended period so every so often I’ll go outside to stretch my legs.
So I am still close to the meal room in case I’m needed, I’ll usually stand just outside the door. It’s in public view but I don’t want to go far. Besides, I still enjoy customer interaction and I know that people will ask me for directions or other assistance if needed. I’m only too happy to do it.
Tonight for around 45 minutes, I was outside stretching my legs and I learnt that Bon Jovi were playing tonight and tomorrow at the Sydney Superdome (otherwise this week known as Acer Arena). To get there by train, a lot of people pass through Lidcombee and change for the Olympic Park Sprint service. It normally runs every 20 minutes but for events like this, it runs every 10 minutes as an additional train runs. Only 1 train is needed for the 20 minute service.
Olympic Park station has been used for special events such as the Easter Show, concerts, sporting events and more for the last 10 years. Of course, this also includes the 2000 Olympics. The Olympic Park station is specially designed for special events and for large events separates the incoming and outgoing crowds. It also requires a lot more staff in special event mode.
I can remember working at Lidcombee prior to the Easy Access upgrading and the new overbridge and concourse. I worked mainly at Lidcombee for the first Easter Show at the Sydney Showground in 1998. The old overbridge was about 25% of the size of the current bridge. I can recall having platform 1 and platform 2 and the overbridge completely full and trains arriving from the west enroute to Olympic Park could not let people on or off. We even got a couple of west bound services terminated short on platform 2 in order to clear the platform.
So tonight’s crowd at Lidcombee on the way to the Bon Jovi concert could easily be handled by the station staff and these days, no extra staff are usually rostered unless it is a super duper major event like the Easter Show. Despite the Lidcombee – Olympic Park service being in operation for 10 years this year, some people still struggle to know how to get to the Olympic Park Sprint platform. Having said that, there will always probably be people heading to Olympic Park for the first time.
I’ll grant you that the platform arrangement is unusual. To get to the Sprint platform (which by the way is un-numbered as far as the public are concerned, on official diagrams, the platform is platform 0), you must go via platform 1 and go through a small tunnel to get to the Sprint platform. Most people can do this but some people don’t read signs and remain on platform 1. Sometimes there are direct services via platform 1 to Olympic Park but this is not usually unless it is a major special event. It is common for someone wearing an orange super-vest standing at the top of the stairs to platform 1 to see people go to platform 1 and come back and ask for directions. Sometimes the person in said super vest is asked the same question before the crowd goes down the stairs.
This afternoon for that 45 minute period, I was that guy in that orange super vest. I was enjoying stretching my legs and enjoying the interaction with the people as they passed. I could sense that some people wanted to ask a question but didn’t. Some people did ask questions, none of that surprised me. One lady suggested that I hold a sign up telling her the way to Bon Jovi. When I told another lady to go through the tunnel to get the platform, she chucked a Harry Potter reference at me. Even *I* know that Harry Potter had something to do with Platform 9 3/4.
What did surprise me was that very few people I saw were dressed as if they were going to a Bon Jovi concert. It might be a stereotype but I expected a lot of band t-shirts, jeans (torn and un-torn) and some flannelette shirts but there was very few of these people to be seen. I only saw a handful of band t-shirts. Indeed there were some people who were very well dressed. Maybe they were coming straight from work because I was there from about 6pm to 6.45pm. If I didn’t know any better, you would think that the people were on their way to Elton John, Hillsong, Watch Tower or indeed the Opera. What I did notice as well was the age of the people attending the concert, mainly in their 30’s and 40’s. Maybe this is another reason why they were dressed up as well.
It was certainly a good chance to not only help people but also to watch the world go by. Sometimes I like to just sit down somewhere and watch the world go by. I enjoy that.