I’m a pretty easy going kind of a bloke, but some things really annoy the me. The ovine nature of rail travel is one of those things. I’ve often felt that the only thing missing from Town Hall or Wynyard Railway Stations during the evening peak hour is a border collie or two.

However, the thing that annoys me the most is the station attendants. Somewhere along the line, RailCorp (the State Rail Authority’s name for this year or so) cleaned up the station announcements and made them understandable by pre-recording them all. Well done, now we can hear where the next train is going to.

However, they continued to provide whistles for the station staff. Now, we discovered when working in Korea, that if you give a man a whistle, he will blow it, to exert the full extent of the authority the whistle gives him. This is precisely what happens with the RailCorp whistle-blowers.

A train arrives, there are about 30 people around each doorway waiting for passengers to alight the carriage. The station staff then start blowing their whistles. This is not a “warning, the train is getting ready to leave” blow but rather a “move your A*** you lazy sods, I want to get back into the office to finish the crossword” kind of blow.


The whistle is a warning tool and as such it should be used just prior to the train departing, to warn folks that the train is departing and do not board. It is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a replacement for a good border collie. I’ve never seen a whistle work with sheep!

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