This morning, I was driving an express train (well, as express as a train from the south to the city via Granville can get) driving a train load of people to the city during peak hour. I was on the City Circle line halfway between Circular Quay and St James stations when I got a call from my Guard. He explained to me that station staff at Circular Quay told him that someone had done a crap on the train and the carriage really smelt bad.
My train was due to run to Central and then terminate before going to a turnback before it’s next trip. All I had to do was to get to the turnback and back to Central then I could have a meal break. I called the signal box to ask for assistance from station staff to clean up the mess at Central. I have no idea about what happened or where it happened or how long ago it had happened but one has to wonder. The train I was on is fitted with an Emergency Help Point system in each carriage where passengers can talk to either me on the Guard. No one called. No one informed the Guard at a station but thankfully someone did report it to station staff. It makes me wonder though as this would have been a crowded peak hour train and the carriage would have been packed. I would have thought that if someone had of taken a crap in the carriage, someone else (or everything lots of people) would have told the crew or staff as soon as it happened. Who knows when it happened? It could have even have occurred on the previous outbound trip where the train was less crowded. If this is the case, that means that the train would have have been in this state for at least one hour, if not more.
I realise that the system and the trains aren’t perfect. I should know, I drive the things and I’m on them a lot more than the average commuter. I see what state they leave the depot in and what state they come back into the depot in. I know the staff have a role to pay and have to do their jobs but sometimes some of the blame does have to rest with the public. So if you are on the train and you see something that needs attention, please tell someone!
After this incident, the Guard and the station staff at Central could not handle the situation and it was sent empty to a depot for a heavy clean instead of providing a passenger service. This means that the train would have been out of service for at least 40 minutes in travel time in total to/from the depot plus the time that needed to be taken to actually clean the carriage. And this situation is repeated (for different reasons) on a daily basis many times a day.