Incongruent Rails
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Have you ever taken time to appreciate the frightening incongruence of the New South Wales Trainline?

Most trainlines across the world are purely man-made endeavours. Passengers may relax in their seats knowing that a central body greater than them has curated and bubble-wrapped the experience. One may arrive at a destination with a minimal requisite of common sense, and if one does not qualify, the encyclopedic staff are quick to your aid. Trains are a tool, like any other. An extension of the self that detaches only during grave malfunction.

New South Wales was a deeply disconnected place in the mid-19th century. The entrepreneurs and politicians nestled in the smog-choked, Londonised gentlemen's clubs of downtown Sydney were closer to entertaining women's suffrage than making contact with the headstrong pastoralists of Armidale or Bathurst. Does it not feel wrong to reign the snowy heights of Thredbo into the same jurisdiction as the searing deserts of Broken Hill? And yet, Man defied this dichotomy. The Trainline spread across the state in the 1860s to bring the people and resources of the rural to the urban. Upon its completion, the public remarked positively on its economic impact. Why merely travel to the sunny prairies of Parramatta when one could be whisked away to sights unseen? Palm against carriage window as crimson plains crawled past, opal miners and entrepreneurs alike by your side; nothing could be more symbolic of Australia's march towards England's booming success.

And yet, the railway workers universally reported delusions of inescapable guilt. Nightmares of losing oneself on rails never constructed. Debilitating panic attacks while riding in carriages. Hurried letters to their politicians and their gods begging them to dismantle the tracks. They held the belief that the Trainline was drawn impossibly taut, ready to snap at any moment. A network of enormous rubber bands stretching from Lightning Ridge to Wagga Wagga.

After making the foolish decision to partake in the trainline, you shall be coldly judged. If you rightly fear and revere it - turn a blind eye to its breadth and intentions - you will soon find yourself at your station of choice. It is only when you probe further that the Trainline will drag you tooth and nail through its fractal complexities. Ask the staff for directions and they will only tell you the Southern Cross points North. They are not guides, but omens. Push onwards to Central Station and you will find yourself amongst the discarded remains of Man's handiwork rusting into the immaterial. Do you think you know where you're going to? Do you honestly trust the Trainline not to plunge you into the depths of the sea it skitters past? The rundown labyrinths of the inner-city stations will try desperately to wrench you from the Trainline onto sandstone streets, only to see you kneaded and stretched across the network. The fumes of the Kiama steam train grasp your lungs as you trudge through the abandoned Darling Harbour tunnel. And after being hurled into the iris of Sydney's disjointed history, you will open your eyes and find yourself on the rural outskirts. The universe has forgotten these places. Flatlands stitch into the horizon, decorated only with directionless electrical lines and rubbish tips. The end of the line for the blasphemous. When's the next train, you ask? Why, the Trainline's down.

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