The last Sydney XPT for Adrienne
By BELINDA F SCOTT
ADRIENNE Casey has been taking the train to work for more than 21 years, but this week she is retiring.
Nothing unusual about that?
Well, 61-year-old Mrs Casey lives at Friday Creek and travels on the XPT to and from Sydney each week to work as a copywriter for a city advertising agency.
"People think I'm certifiable," Mrs Casey said yesterday, as she prepared to board the XPT at Coffs Harbour for her last week at work.
"But I've been doing it ever since we had a mid life crisis and moved to Coffs Harbour 22 years ago.
"We thought 'we can't stand it ? we'll buy a banana plantation and move out of the city'."
But they found they needed to supplement their returns from banana prices, so Adrienne Casey returned to writing as part of the team on major advertising accounts from the Labor Party to Wrigley's and McDonald's.
Mrs Casey's husband, an electrical engineer, also commutes to Sydney to work, but his company pays for him to fly.
"I used to be terrified of flying," Mrs Casey said.
"You have to remember it was so long ago that in those days it involved getting on and off a Fokker Friendship and it was so incredibly rough, I couldn't cope.
"The train was a much gentler option.
"And with the introduction of laptops it became very productive. I sit on the train with my laptop and plough through as much work as possible.
"I have flown with Virgin a few times and that was lovely, but I can't get cheap flights all the time."
Adrienne Casey says she has no idea how many kilometres she has travelled in the past 21 years but former Countrylink Travel Centre manager Peter Leonard, who booked Mrs Casey's tickets for 20 years, said the 608km stretch of rail from Coffs Har- bour to Sydney meant she had commuted more than a million kilometres.
And at $90 for a one-way first class trip, she has invested the equivalent of more than $150,000 in public transport.
"The scenery between here and Sydney never fails to impress me," Mrs Casey said.
"I've seen it in drought, in flood and when it's so lush and it's always beautiful."