Central Railway Station - The Five Pound Note
Sydney Trains - Red Rattler Commuters
Central Railway Station - The Five Pound Note.
In 1955 a five pound note represented over a day’s pay, so when the 6.58 a.m. ' red rattler ' pulled into Central Railway Station and several commuters saw what they thought might be a note of that denomination lying on the opposite railway track the conversation went something like this:
“Do see that?”
“See what, mate?
“That piece of paper down there.”
A piece of paper on the track...could it be...?
I was on my way back to my ship at Garden Island, and the conversation was bounced around by some half-a-dozen blue-collar workers. In those days it was far too early for the office crowd. The opposite platform was completely deserted.
“You thinking what I’m thinking?”
“Yeah -No, it couldn’t be.”
“No. Nobody’d drop that much money and not get it.”
“Still it does look like....”
“A fiver. Sure does, mate.”
“The colour’s right”
“Naw. It’s a trick o’ the light.”
“Size is right.”
Typical commuter train from 1940s into the 1980s
People were starting to squirm
From my location by the window I could see the others, starting to squirm. Yes, it did look like a five pound note. There was a long silence. The suburban train had stood motionless for a good three minutes. It didn’t appear to be going anywhere. Would there be time...?
The silence continued. Did I imagine it, or was there a sort of tension rising within the confines of that crowed space. The train still didn’t move.
Suddenly four or five people all leaped to their feet. Five pounds! A fiver! A good day’s pay -just sitting down there on the track. If only....
The shrill sound of a whistle
The shrill sound of a whistle. Then -Hoot! The red rattler commuter gave a lurch as couplings took up the slack. Some people, now half standing fell back into their seats. Others, remained standing, studiously avoiding other people’s eyes; pretending they’d stood ready to get off at the next railway station. It was a moment of embarrassment. Then, as the suburban train gathered speed and plunged into the tunnel towards Town Hall, the rationalisations began.
The rationalizations began...
“Must have been just a coloured piece of scrap.”
"Just a piece of paper."
“Nobody’d leave that much money. Not even on a busy railway line.”
“Couldn’t have really been a fiver.”
Well, maybe... or someone playing a joke”
“Too big for Monopoly money.”
“Yeah. But it definitely wasn’t real money.”
And fifty-five years later I’m still not sure.
I hope you enjoyed, Central Railway Station - The Five Pound Note.
The Sydney 'Coat Hanger' in 1950s
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