AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY STORY

Railway Voices CD: 17. SAFETY

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Granville ex Film Australia

"There's been a bit of a problem at Granville Station, Lloyd, what's the problem here?"
"Well, what we know so far is that a rail bridge, a train bridge at Granville has collapsed, they believe that three people have been hurt, the Police Rescue Squad are on the way, that's all we know at the moment."
"It's one of those days, huh."
"Meantime extensive.... It came straight down on the carriage here, most of the carriage is underneath the bridge here ..."

ABC News

The news in brief read by John Logan:

An overhead road bridge has collapsed on an interurban train in Sydney's western suburbs and as many as 200 people could be trapped.

Bill Stannard traindriver, Eveleigh, Engineman Class 6

The fatalities and accidents, particularly where there's a loss of life, have a profound impact on drivers, and I know from personal experience what it can do to you, and we've got a couple of drivers now that are in a very very bad mental state as a result of it.

Harold Dwyer President, NSW Branch, ARU, now retired

It was in about, I think 1970, that I experienced two major accidents as a guard, two major derailments, and they were within six weeks of one another and there had been another one a couple of months earlier.

Bill Stannard

Certainly the electric train drivers are faced with the ... with the prospects of spending anytime at all driving those trains, they've got to expect that sooner or later somebody is going to finish up under their train.

Stan Jones

At the period before the war, we had what was called the bloody mile, extending through Sydney yard up beyond Redfern. It was called that because from time to time, fettlers, extra gang men were killed when carrying out their duties. And when one looks today at the kind of vests that are being provided by the department for people working in that area so's that they'll be immediately observable by train drivers and the systematic placing of detonators in areas where fettlers are working, or gangs are carrying out any sort of re-railing. This has been responsible, under union pressure, for cutting down on the casualty rate in that area.

Poem: The Shunter by Will Lawson (1937)
"Freedom on the Wallaby" M. Pizzer
recited by Denis Kevans

The engine bars are splashed and starred
They've killed a shunter in the yard
He never seen how he was struck
and he died sudden, someone said
The driver coughed
That flamin' truck come on the slant and struck him dead

Paul M. Key shunter, Rozelle Yards

I don't know, if you were scared of getting killed, you wouldn't do it. Yeah, you can get hurt though. Get a few broken bones every now and then, I guess. Ah, since they took the buffers off the trains, there's been less injuries wise, you know, for shunters.

Poem Written and recited by Vladimir Navoev (1983), fitter, Eveleigh Carriage Works

And even this small piece of my broken disc,
Which spitefully throbs throughout my back,
Is only statistic in nobody's way,
But it hurts me and insults me.

Trevor Thorpe elected employee representative on the Railway Workshops Board

With the passing of this new Occupational Health and Safety Act, it's more or less made it mandatory on management and indeed on the workers themselves to take a more active interest in this area. Many of the unions now have health and safety officers, which have assisted us in developing our ideas. We've also had the assistance of people like the Workers Health Centre. I think that we've taken on board a lot of ideas and that's the way we'd like to continue to operate, particularly with health and safety.

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