Dude, where’s my horn?

If you drive a car and you’ve owned it for a while, you probably know where everything is without looking down at anything. But when you get into a new car or a different car, you might find that some things are in slightly different positions. But nonetheless, you’ll probably still reach for the thing in the old position out of habit.

Believe it or not, my trains are the same. During training, you get to know where everything is on different types of trains. The oldest trains that I drive are about as old as me and the newest ones are only a few years old.  Needless to say, there are differences in technology as trains are better designed.

Anyhoo, today I was rostered to drive outside of my sector and instead of driving around the south and the south west of Sydney, I was driving around the north side instead.

When my train arrived, I noticed that it was a newer model of Tangara train. Instead of the original suburban style train that entered service in 1988 (known as a T set), this train was the outer suburban model (known as a G set) introduced in 1994 as an upgrade to the 1988 model. While the basic shape of the train is the same, there are differences both for staff and passengers alike.

The first thing that I did after getting settled into the driver’s seat was to blow the horn after I received a proceed bell from the Train Guard. Out of habit, I reached for the horn near the brake handle only to find that it wasn’t there. You can see me re-create that in the first photo.

Then I realised that the horn was moved from the position that it is located on a T set that I normally drive to the position that it sits on a G set. In the second photo, the horn handle is seen at the bottom of the photo taken in the G set. The T set horn handle is located to the on the other side of the long brake handle but the same distance from the cabin wall.

Now that I remembered that, you’d think that I would remember the position of the horn. But no! Old habits die hardespecially considering the amount of times I’d used the horn on a T set (a lot) compared to a G set (not many). For a few stations, I’d reach for the T set position only to realise to move to the G set position. Ironically though, the position of the G set horn is similar in the silver trains that I drive.

After driving the G set to Hornsby, I had something to eat. My next train was a T set and I had no problem in remembering where the horn was – especially considering that I was basically reaching for that position most of the way while on the North Shore!

In the photo on the left, you can see the position of the horn on the T set. This was where I was thinking that the handle was on during my trip on the G set.


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