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Article: Fears violence on trains at night
« on: February 21, 2010, 05:23:44 AM »
From the Herald Sun click here!

Fears violence on trains at night

Fears violence on trains at night

    * Graeme Hammond
    * From: Sunday Herald Sun
    * February 20, 2010 6:12PM

NATHAN PHILLIPS: Nathan Phillips is a burly 21-year-old who throws himself into footy in the winter and cricket in the summer. He's not a coward, but he doesn't mind admitting he has been ``scared s---less'' riding the trains at night on the Pakenham line.

Mr Phillips often catches a train into the city late on Friday, goes clubbing until 3am and then catches the first train back home on Saturday.

"At times it feels like you're in a war zone on the trains,'' he says. "I've been in carriages where gangs have bashed the crap out of people. There's nothing you can do.''

He recalls one night when a group of five men, obviously affected by alcohol or drugs, boarded the train and started harassing some teenage girls, grabbing one of them on the breast. Though he was in a group of six, he says he knew there was no way he and his mates would be able to tackle the other group.

A friend of his father's says his son has been mugged three times on the train.

"One night I had run to catch the train and didn't have a ticket,'' he says. "An inspector told me I could either cop a fine or get off at Springvale and buy a ticket. There was a group of guys on the platform at Springvale and I decided I'd rather pay $150 than risk getting my head kicked in if I waited there for the next train.''

The problem is a lack of security, Mr Phillips says, probably because authorities don't want to spend the money. It's a rare night when police ride the trains, he says, and they have only a fleeting presence in each carriage.

Mr Phillips has become a regular patron of public transport since his car, uninsured, was stolen from outside his house and wrecked. He has another suggestion for the bureaucrats who schedule transport in the outer suburbs: "If they ran the Nightrider bus past Dandenong they'd make a fortune. There's a huge number of people who'd use it to get out to Pakenham after a big night out, but it stops at Dandenong.''
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