Firstly excuse my sarcastic attitude but it almost matches the apathy on the subject.
It is almost 12 months since we had the infamous front page newspaper headline that we would get the train back
I can remember it well, I was waiting for the Up steel train at Kiata when my neighbour rung me up to tell me
the good news.....gee I knew nothing of this.....with sceptism I looked up the Stawell Times News website, and
there was the news...
Then the Councils jumped in, the photo of the Horsham Mayoress kneeling down on the main running line at Horsham
station, touching the railhead ! (why ??) saying how wonderful it would be for Horsham.....yet it was only a
short time ago they had driven away the container traffic from the yard....and when the area resembled a
bombsite they complained it was an eyesore and wanted the railway diverted away from inside the township.
Our Stawell Council supported it, going on with the usual bleating about the tourism benefits, medical benefts,
old people benefits etc.
I was my usual sceptical, sarcastic, realist self.
Well 8 months later we had a State election....in the most marginal seat in the state, with the most marginal
result in the history of our state, after 4 recounts, it was exactly even, an exact dead heat, both parties
equal in votes, not 1 vote the difference (in the 5th recount the Libs won by 16 votes)
Ok, so how fortunate that we were in the most closely marginal seat in history, gee do you think we could have
asked our politicans for anything at all, the politicians could have promised anything to get the votes.
We didn't and they didn't.....no one seemed to care !
Neither party promised anything about the return of the passenger train, the Council never pushed on the
subject...yet a few months prior, we were told we would get our trains back 'tomorrow', and everyone in town got
An easier rail related cause was the re-opening of the Stawell station waiting room, how damn simple is that !
at 0600 someone unlocks it and turns on the air conditioner and at 2130 they turn it off and lock the doors.
The taxi mob used to do it, then for some reason, they stopped.
So now, on a freezing cold winters morning, the passengers sit in the cold outside the closed air conditioned
waiting room...in summer they boil in the 40c heat.
What did our marginal seat politicans do...nothing....what did they promise...nothing.
Did the Council fight to get it reopened...no
Did the locals bombard Louise (Liberal) or Sarah (Labor) with complaints...no ?
Did the local newspaper run a "reopen Stawell station" campaign....no
Yet the election was a tie !
If only Sarah or Louise put their "vote for me" signs on or near the closed station, saying "if you vote for me
I will get your waiting room reopened".
Do you think the dozen odd people waiting for the bus in the hot/cold would not vote for the person/party who
promised to reopen the station....the election was a draw.....either party only needed ONE more vote to win, yet
neither candidate did anything to get that one vote.
It's not a million dollar project, it's a locked door, it doesn't even cost any money to do the job.
Yet no one seemed to care.
So Louise won on recount by only 16 votes.....what publicity for her to put on her hard hat now, have the Mayor
and the media attend at Stawell station as someone hands her 'the key', she turns it, and says, "I now reopen
Stawell stations waiting room".....so simple, free publicity, costs nothing, good for the community.
Has that happened 2 months after we voted her back in...no.
No one cares !!
If the Politicans / Railways / Council can't get someone to just open a locked door, how are they going to bring
back the passenger train with Vline / ARTC / Vic track all fighting each other over how they going to 'bring
back the train'.
So the recent article might raise a few locals to think...."oh weren't we meant to get the train back last year
They then shrug their shoulders and continue with their life....before long the "30 years since we lost our
train" article will be written, people will show an interest for a brief time...then back to reality.