Everyone loves trains, but now it seems their drivers are on track to reach similar heights in the popularity stakes.
Every day since November last year, when NSW train driver James Rumble and a colleague took over the Canberra-Goulburn-Sydney run, someone at the Majara Street, Bungendore crossing, between 7:28 am and 7:30 am, flashes them.
No, not that flashing. We’re talking car lights here – and there’s usually a wave from the car’s passenger. It’s always in the same vehicle, the sort of car you wouldn’t miss in a hurry – an early model purple Toyota Corolla.
“It’s really nice to know that someone’s doing this, every day, without fail,” said Queanbeyan resident James.
“We’d just like to know who, and why. Are they just being friendly, or do they think we’re doing something wrong? We’d just like to know.
“I know a few people in Bungendore, but they’re mostly firies and ambos and they work different shift times. This person waves at us at the same time every day when we come through at around 7:30 am.
“It is really quite strange. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme nor reason for it.”
James has been a train driver for about 13 years, turning a childhood passion into his working life. From his early days in charge of a coal train in the Hunter Valley, he’s now a familiar sight to Canberrans, not just those on the Sydney-Canberra run, but also when he indulges in his other passion, driving steam trains.
During the recent Easter and Anzac Day long weekends, James was one of the railway enthusiasts behind the wheel of the Picnic Train, steaming passengers between Bungendore and Canberra. The five days of trips were sold out.
James well knows how passionate people can be about trains, judging by the success of the steam train events, so he is keen to find out who his fan is at Bungendore every morning. He took to social media to see if he could solve the mystery.
“If it’s you or you know who it is, can you make yourself known to us so we can stop going nuts trying to figure out if we’re doing something wrong or if you’re just a lovely, friendly person waving to the Xplorer as it goes by,” he said.
James says he and his fellow driver don’t flash the car back – “our headlights are too strong and we don’t want to blind anyone” – but there’s a definite mutual wave happening and a honk or two of the horn.
“It happens the same time, the same day, by the same people in the same car – we’d just love to solve this mystery,’ he said.
“We always get a lot of people wave at us when we do the trip, but this is different.”
If you’re the train fan who flashes James and his fellow driver every morning at Bungendore, we would love to hear from you, but more importantly, so would the drivers. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put everyone in touch.