Daily life living next to train tracks
LIVING within metres of the railway line at Casino means Trevor and Robyn Ekert know exactly when the seven o’clock news is about to start.
At 6.50pm the XPT rolls past their home and into Casino. Just after 7.32pm the train passes again on its way out.
“We’re used to it and know all the trains,” Robyn said.
“You can’t see the people though. In the old days the train had open windows.”
The couple enjoy sitting on the veranda of their quaint farmhouse to watch the trains go past.
Trevor worked for the railways, in Casino and Newcastle for almost 30 years as a shunter and guard.
“I was on the back of the train in the guard’s box,” Trevor said.
The trains toot at every crossing and Robyn can hear the horn blow 13 times as the train travels down the track.
For Trevor, sitting on the porch watching the trains is especially poignant.
He was born in Casino and grew up in the house they now rent. He lived at the farm until 1960 and when he was 21 he left.
Years later when the opportunity came for him to move back, he grabbed it, but only once he knew Robyn liked it too.
The pair witnessed the death of a man who had the top of his head sliced off by a train.
“It was four years ago. It was Christmas Eve and I saw an old bloke sitting by the train track,” Trevor said.
“He walked up the track, heading south.”
Robyn heard a “helluva bang” at 8.30pm.
“He was hit on the line,” she said.
“His head was chopped.”
Sometimes the freight trains that rattle through are more than 100 carriages in length, Trevor said.
But the couple likes that too.
“The tail end goes over the crossing while the front is rounding that red building,” Trevor said as he pointed into the distance.