AUSTRALIAN RAILWAY STORY
Railway Voices CD: 28. THE FUTURE
There's no doubt that you don't have to go very far amongst railway circles to feel the uncertainty that people are feeling about their future.
If technology goes on its headlong rush, he'd be a very game fella indeed that'd try to predict it. I mean they're talking now about trains without wheels. Now if they get something like that on, they remove all the rotating parts of these trains, apart from the wheels, God knows what's left for anybody. But I suppose that the only answer that people like us can give to that is, well if those things come along they ought to be seen as benefits, we ought to be thinking about working 20 hours a week, or 15 hrs a week.
There can never be any willing acceptance of technological change, unless workers are permitted and given a fair share in the increased productivity that always results from such changes. In recent years there has been an improvement in this regard, but only because railway workers forced the issue.
The pace of technological change in the railways, previously you could call it a technological backwater, has increased in recent years. There's been all sorts of new developments and they're long overdue and they're pleasing developments in to some extent. However, of course, with all new technology, they have the capacity to destroy jobs and it's been one of our major tasks, from a rank and file and union point of view, to preserve and maintain as many of the jobs as we can.
I am confident that railway workers and the unions themselves will be able to provide some very essential alternatives to the overbearing policy of reducing the railway to a few main line operations. I believe that ultimately the railway will still have a part in not only an updated freight system but also in an updated passenger transport situation.Railway Voices a CD of Australian railway workers stories with songs and poems