Travel stories: Lake Mac by train

Jump aboard a train in Lake Mac and you’re just 25 minutes from Newcastle’s CBD, or two hours in the other direction to Sydney.

Catching the train for the daily commute provides time to tune out, catch up on work, or connect with other train travellers. Locals and workmates Dan and Eliza share how they spend their train journeys.

Dan and Eliza

A better way to start the day

Colleagues in the music and entertainment industry, Dan and Eliza both travel from stations in Lake Mac to the transport interchange in Newcastle West to get to work.

Dan’s train commute from Morisset averages 40 minutes each way, while Eliza’s is around half an hour from Fassifern.

 “I stick my headphones on and listen to a podcast and catch up on the news,” Dan says. “For me, it's 40 minutes of solitude.”

It’s a similar story for Eliza.

“It's just a way to wake up and have my own time. I message people I may not have had a chance to reply to,” she says.

“I also listen to podcasts, music and sometimes even have a little nap.” 

 The pair prefer taking the train to driving and battling  to find a park in Newcastle’s CBD.

An enjoyable trip home to Lake Mac

The pair often catches the same train home at the end of the day.

“I actually do enjoy having someone to chat to in the afternoon. I suppose it’s a debrief of the day,” says Dan.

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More often than not, the conversation will drift towards what is happening in the broader music and media industries.

“I find that refreshing,” Dan says “It makes me feel like we are part of something bigger.”

Eliza agrees it makes for an enjoyable and easy trip home. “Catching the train back with Dan is great. We have a good chat and it’s nice to have a buddy on the train,” she says.

“We’ve made a good friendship through work and it's just nice to know what each other is doing outside of the work day.”

Dan believes smartphones have changed the way people spend their time and engage with each other on public transport.

Dan and Eliza on route into work

“I think our phones have taken away that opportunity to take those chances on social interactions. I think when things feel awkward people just open up their phone instead of asking someone, ‘How’s the weather?’, or ‘How was your day?’.”

Eliza recalls a work trip she took with a colleague to Sydney. “We were just talking and an older lady came up to us on the platform and said how refreshing it was to see two young people not on their phones and talking to each other.”

“I tell you what I do notice is people who are on the train, or on the platform, who aren't on a phone or device,” Dan muses. “I often think to myself, 'Oh, they have a different perspective of this than I do'. Maybe I should get my head out of my phone!”