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The burgundy red Tait train cars were the emblem of suburban rail travel for the 20th century.
The lovingly termed 'Red Rattlers' are returning to the tracks thanks to Steamrail Victoria volunteers like Kevin Clark.
In this unofficial crowdsourced history, Drive listeners remember the bumpy ride, keeping one in the backyard, and all that cigarette smoke…
Andrew recalls "the smell of the brakes, comfortable seats and leaving the doors opened".
Alecia agrees: "We all smoked going to and from work. Mid 70's and if you stood up you could read someone else's Age front to back from Flinders Street to Upper Ferntree Gully. We must have stunk to high heaven from all the cigarette smoke."
Tim in St Kilda recalls a moment as a wayward teenager when he "ran away from home for reasons which I cannot remember. Me and my friend slept in the red rattlers parked in the flinders station yards - we made the cabins warm by hanging blankets over the windows."
Another listener says as a teenager he "loved going in the first class carriage on a second class ticket. Well worth the anxiety of being caught."
Melinda has a less than pleasant memory on a Red Rattler - "getting off at Camberwell Station circa 1972 to meet my mum after school to go shopping for my 13th birthday present (Lee Canvas jeans!!). Doors weren't automatic and were as often as not opened before pulling into the station. I was in a forward carriage and as we pulled in another girl from my school gave me a push and I hit the gravel platform. No shopping for me just a visit to the doctor to extract the shredded tights from the grazes up my legs. Ouch!! At our twenty year school reunion the pusher apologised.
Jenny adds to the pain with this less pleasant moment for her husband and his brother "who were on one as kids and coming home from football. His brother was asleep leaning against the door, they went around the bend, the door flew open and my brother in law fell out! They found him unhurt as he landed in some bushes but lost his socks and shoes!"
Rosie paints a beautiful picture of Red Rattlers gracing Glen Waverly a long time ago - her "oldest memories of the red rattlers are from the Glen Waverley railway station which was the end of the line. All the roads were unmade then and we would walk to the station up Springvale road from our farm. There was a shoe rack outside the station where everyone would leave their muddy shoes -swapping to their town shoes and hopping on the beautiful old trains. Loved the leather seats, brass fittings and travelled to and from school then art school. The red rattlers have a special part in my heart."
While Mikey give us the other side of the coin: "Spent a lot of time in toilets due to overcrowding on Werribee line. Toilets emptied straight on to tracks - no S bend- you could see the tracks beneath and number 2's were forbidden at stations."
Lots of you have bits and pieces of the red rattlers still in your life. Peter in Black Rock has "a red rattler light in my living room! Picked it up years ago at a recycled building materials shop."
Another listener loves them so much, they have 2! "We own two 1920's red rattlers. Even before restoration they are inspiring spaces. An instant 100yo house."
And finally Julie shares something that many of you must be feeling hearing the trains are back on the network again: "In the 1960's when the blue trains first came in, we were bitterly disappointed if an old red rattler came along. Now I go out of my way to see or have a ride on one!"
Drive with Raf Epstein wants to uncover in to the 'real' history of iconic Melbourne spots by hearing your stories. If you have a great suggestion of a location for us to delve in to, email us.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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