[quote="9034"]So has anyone been on it and what do you think of it?/quote]
Yes, I rode the first one out of Chatswood this morning. Didn't want to miss it because I caught the first train from Chatswood to Epping when it opened and the last one back when it closed.
Fortunately the three of us arrived an hour early so we were able to get the first train. The queue was managed carefully to avoid any journalistic sardine photo opportunities. It even had that "new car" smell. We seemed to take a long time to reach Epping. At each stop several more people boarded until soon there were even a few standing. After leaving Epping the train accelerated more sharply and seemed to be running faster than before. By the time we reached Tallawong the train was full.
The announcements did not work as they should. The voice sounds like a sick Navman. "For you safety this train is equipped with su..click" (I think she is talking about surveillance cameras.) The Cityrail announcements are clearer by far.
Tallawong reminds me of the "parkway" stations in Europe. Carparks, bus stops and fences but nowhere to eat and nothing to buy. We were made to walk around a long block to rejoin the train.
The return train was packed from the start. Fortunately a nice Indian boy offered me his seat. Missed getting off at Rouse Hill for lunch so the missus suggested Bella Vista. Similar crowd control arrangements per Tallawong but this time no other passengers coming or going. The place was deserted except for the security staff meant to be separating comers from goers. They still followed their script, which of course we ignored and took the shorted route to find some food. I guess that the Hills folk stay home on Sundays so the office and warehouse parks were closed and so were most cafes. Eventually we found an Indian restaurant. Missus walked out because it was vegetarian. Then we noticed a South Indian restaurant in the next block. Lamb, fish, roti etc. we were the only customers and service was slow, but after a while the other tables filled with Indian families so that was a good sign. When the food arrived it was delicious. The we walked back to the station to find a few others waiting on the platform. It was turn up and wait today.
I mention the Bella Vista experience because there is a good chance that the metro will bring an increase in patronage that should help local business decide to open on weekends and so generate some vitality and employment.
Eventually a train came. Already packed, no straps left from which to hang. Fortunately a nice young Chinese lady tapped me on the shoulder and offered me her seat. Five minute dwell at each station until Epping then about 10 or 15 minutes with doors open and friendly Metro official trying to get his radio to work so he could tell us what was happening. It was amusing to watch a westbound train on the opposite platform moving backwards and forwards trying to align with the gates. Several of our passengers gave up and left the train. Those remaining were happy to keep chatting to each other. It was a party atmosphere. Announcements on this train were not working much. When they did they referred to problems with a TRAIN. Previously all the planned announcements referred to the METRO. So is a metro when it works and a train when it doesn't!
At Chatswood both down escalators were broken so we all had to walk to the north end to find the stairs. Lucky we had screen doors or we could have been pushed off the platform by the crowd. Downstairs the queue had filled the paid area and overflowed into the covered pedestrian street outside. Police tape hastily laid to send arriving passengers north to the bus station whether they wanted to go there or not. I assume that the escalators will be fixed by tomorrow, and of course many passengers arriving by metro will simply cross the platform and wait for a city-bound train.