IT’S no secret that Ballarat’s trains have experienced unprecedented demand in recent years, with many services continuing to operate at 100 per cent capacity.
Ballarat woman, Katrina Orr learned the hard way just how crowded carriages can be when she had to breastfeed her daughter on the floor of a train.
Travelling as part of a large crowd from a recent football match in Melbourne, Ms Orr said passengers were taken by coach to Sunshine where they boarded trains bound for Ballarat.
“I got onto the train and lots of people came on behind me,” she said. “The conductor was saying if people wanted to get on the next service or take a taxi they could but we couldn’t get his attention and people couldn’t get in or out.”
Unable to move from where she was or reach a seat, Ms Orr said her fellow passengers gave her as much privacy as possible as she sat on the floor breastfeeding her daughter Meagan, now 3.
Click below to see Tom McIlroy’s video report of overcrowding on trains on the Ballarat line.
“It was difficult to even get to the seating area, so we were all crowded near the toilet,” she said.
“Men around me were calling to the conductor saying I needed a seat as I had a child but when I sat down I was able to support myself on their legs.”
Usually comfortable breastfeeding in public, the mother-of-two said the experience left her feeling exposed.
Australian Breastfeeding Association Victorian spokesperson Renee Kam encouraged people in similar situations to show common sense and respect.
“Obviously it would have been nice if she was able to get to a seat as it is with the elderly or pregnant woman on public transport but these things need to be thought through on a case-by-case basis,” she said.
“One of the benefits of breastfeeding children is that it is accessible whenever it is needed and I think different people in that situation would have done different things.”
Ms Kam said attitudes to breastfeeding in Australia had improved in recent years and congratulated Ms Orr on discussing the issue.
V/Line spokesperson Daniel Moloney said train services from sporting events were among the most crowded on the network.
“There is no doubt country travellers sometimes have a lot more respect for each other than their city cousins, but it is disappointing someone might find themselves in this situation,” he said.
Mr Moloney said he had never seen a train too crowded for passengers to move around the carriage.`
Click below to see what passengers had to say about overcrowded trains.