She’s got a ticket to bride

Bridal train: Karen-Jane and Les Pihama with Transperth transit officers Bryan Seymour and David Webster.
Bridal train: Karen-Jane and Les Pihama with Transperth transit officers Bryan Seymour and David Webster.

The pair got hitched on a train bound for Perth on Saturday, January 11, with 40 guests and unsuspecting passengers who became impromptu guests for the day filling one carriage.

It was the first time a Transperth train had been used as a wedding venue.

Transit officers also watched on when Les, Karen-Jane’s son Declan (11) and invited guests boarded the train at Currambine to travel one stop to Joondalup, where Karen-Jane and her daughters Miranda (7), Tennille (13) and Paige (17) got on the train and literally walked down the aisle.

The pair then tied the knot before alighting at Warwick to go to the nearby reception venue Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Karen-Jane chose the unusual ceremony location for its symbolism of her battle with mental illness.

‘I had been bullied at work which led to a mental illness, a part of which saw me develop social anxiety and agoraphobia,’ she said.

‘Part of my therapy was gradual exposure, where with support from my partner, mum or carer I would catch a train one stop, then two and three.

‘Last November I managed to make a trip from Joondalup to the city all by myself. It sounds pretty normal but when you suffer from a mental illness, it is a big achievement.’

Karen-Jane said Transperth staff were always helpful when she encountered difficulties relearning how to catch public transport.

‘So having the wedding on the train was one of the first ideas I had,’ she said.

‘Les has been right beside me helping me with my mental illness so he realised how important catching the train has been to getting my independence back.’

Karen-Jane said the wedding also gave her a chance to speak out about mental illness.

‘I like to tell people about it because it will help get rid of the stigma of mental illness, which can happen to anyone whatever their age, gender or socio-economic background,’ she said.

And for anyone else thinking of using a train as a ceremony location, Karen-Jane said it was easy to organise.

‘All I did was email the customer relations at Transperth and we organised it from there,’ she said.

‘It was really good to have strangers on the train, seeing the looks on their faces and knowing that we have put a smile on their face.’

The newlyweds are testing out public transport on the east coast of Australia on their honeymoon in Sydney.

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