Thursday was the so-called Super Thursday where the Pope was due to go for his boat ride (The Pope Boat) on Sydney Harbour and later go for a ride in his Pope Mobile through the middle of Sydney. Once again I was working an afternoon shift, doing the same trains as yesterday.
By the time I picked up my first train just before 2.30pm, that was roughly the time that the Pope was due to set sail from Rose Bay which is in the eastern area of the harbour. There were still some WCYMites roaming around and coming into town but presumably most people were already in town with the Pope expected to arrive around 3.30pm. Many Sydney siders know to get to these sort of events early while some WCYMites probably didn’t.
As has been the case this week, there have been 4 separate peak periods. There are the two normal peak periods (morning and afternoon) with additional WCYM peaks after the morning commuter peak and after the afternoon commuter peak. Regular commuters not wanting to be a part of WCYM were advised to leave work earlier than usual.
By the time that I was driving around the City Circle the first time around 3pm, Central was a little busy but not up to the usual level at that time of the day, as was Town Hall. Having school holidays obviously helps. When I got to Circular Quay, I could see massive crowds on the harbour foreshore and also on the city side of the station. There were people everywhere. Later on my way back around the City Circle in the opposite direction around 4.30pm, there were many people around the Quay area as it was also on the Pope’s motorcade route waiting for him to arrive. On the stations, there were a few people around but nowhere near the amount of a normal peak hour. Mind you, the time I was driving through, it would have been the start of the normal congestion.
Possibly totally unrelated to WCYM, I later arrived on the same trip at Lidcombee station. As I mentioned on my last post, Lidcombee is the junction station between the west, inner west, south and Bankstown lines. I found that my route had been set to run south via Regents Park when I was supposed to run south via Granville. I soon found out that there was an ill passenger at Granville (junction between the south and western lines) so I could not head south via Granville. Rather than taking a punt and losing and getting me stuck behind the train waiting for the Ambulance, the powers that be luckily had an alternative route to keep me moving south. Some people got lucky and other people didn’t. Western trains could have been switched to another track so they didn’t get stuck behind the train needing the Ambulance.
Needless to say, some people would have been inconvenienced but sometimes there is nothing that can be done about these things. Fortunately this week I have been involved in two events that could have been bad for train movements but because quick action was taken, a bad situation was not made worse. I arrived at Liverpool via Plan B pretty close to timetable and I didn’t get abused. I’m not sure if the Guard was so lucky. Maybe it is lucky that it is WCYM after all.
After a short meal break, I headed back in towards town. With a half hour break at Lidcombee, around 7.30pm, I could see a lot of people heading away from the city. I again amused myself with a game of “WCYM Flag Bingo” – some flags are obvious and others I have no idea about. By the time that I got into town around 8.30pm, it was pretty busy compared to the same time on a normal night but obviously not as busy as it had been earlier. After another Bankstown circle (just for something different, right?), it was time for me to go home again.
Overall I have not heard many complaints yet about today. Things seem to be going really well and I’m pleased about that.