Christian camp sites around the nation with the good fortune of hosting railway carriages as part of their camp site accommodation have a charm all of their own.
The Landmark Camp on the Central Coast (Mangrove Mountain) was one such Christian Camp with a train carriage along with a tram. On my visit to the Landmark Camp many years ago now there were railways signals and points and the like all presenting a very exciting image.
The railway carriage was compartment design whereby each cubicle seating area had separate door to the corridor. Other dorm-like camp side railway carriages where the seating was open with an aisle work has been required to separate privacy areas.
These old war horse railway carriages, particularly those corridor style cars have a great deal going for them. Kids love them. Adults find them full of nostalgia. The rhythm of the railway track sounds can be heard in one's heart and the nature of sleeping in a train carriage is nothing new for many of the older generation.
The Footplate Padre's book "All Night Sitter" recounts many such stories of those dreadful all night train trips where the carriages lurch from one stop to another stop a few feet forward. Then the train seems to be idle for an hour or so, presumably waiting for another train to pass in the other direction.
A NSW trial to alter the format of the seating on suburban and interurban trains has come to naught.
For as long as memory serves the format of the seating has been a 3 person bench seat on one side of the carriage and the other side hosts 2 seats. The trial was to exhibit a much wide aisle with two seats on either side as the narrow gauge Brisbane electric train system displays.
Alas, the trial showed nothing to change the long existing set-up on the wider standard gauge tracks and thereby broader carriage base – so the three – two combination will remain.
This bodes well for future transhipment of older carriages to future Christian Camp sites where the triple seat is a nice fit for a camp site bed.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html