AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY STORY

Railway Voices CD: 16. SAVE PUBLIC TRANSPORT

          index

Song: Train Trip to Guildford written and sung by John Dengate (1975)

Waiting waiting for the twenty past four to arrive
The twenty past four doesn't run anymore,
The next train's the quarter past five.

Brian Dunnett electrical fitter, Loco Workshops, Chullora

Undoubtably the 1970 period which led up to the election of the Wran government was the first real occasion that the public actually got itself involved in the debate about public transport. The argument between road and rail lead to the closing down, in the 1960s, of our tramway system, and that appeared to be the way in which rail as a whole was heading. The thing that intervened in that process, and as encouraged people to look again at rail as a system and a more efficient means, both of moving people and certainly bulk goods, was the energy crisis, the environmental questions that arose in the 1970s. People were in fact forced to look at the enormous increase in the usage of diesel and the cost, not only the cost factors involved but, but the energy crisis dominated a lot of the debate. It was stirred on here, I think, by the Green Ban movement in Sydney and elsewhere that it created a basis of interest about well ... what do you do with your cities?

Train trip to Guildford (cont.)

Waiting waiting for the twenty past eight to go back
But the twenty past eight is a half an hour late
And I think I'll lie down on the track.

Brian Dunnett

Now what ... what had occurred was the NSW government, Askin, brought to Australia a British expert, so called expert, Phillip Shirley, who had been connected with the British run- down of rail and that government was quite openly speaking about 10,000 jobs. The repercussions of that within the union movement was enormous, very sharp divisions, and it was the railway unions that discovered that they had some unity of interest with the public, that formed the "Save Public Transport Committees". Granville had that effect of bringing home what railway workers had been saying, that if you neglect a system, if you don't spend money on maintenance, if you don't do the right thing, well then you're in for trouble.

Railway Voices a CD of Australian railway workers stories with songs and poems