Letters to the Editor

Rail should be encouraged

I wish to express my strongest objection to the planned closure of the rail network on the Eyre Peninsula.

I would have expected that all federal and state members of parliament would support the current rail service and encourage it to effectively transport grain well into the future for the following reasons:

  • Railways are the most efficient land based method of transporting bulk materials.
  • A steel wheel on a steel rail has one seventh the friction of a rubber tyre on a road surface.
  • A 20 to 40 wagon train produces far less pollution than the corresponding number of road trucks needed to transport the same quantity of product. Pollution includes gases grouped as NOx, (dangerous nitrogen gases), carbon monoxide, and particles from the incomplete combustion of diesel fuel.
  • Multiple road trucks consume far more precious imported diesel fuel than one train.
  • The damage to local roads caused by road trucks is huge and that damage is paid for by taxpayers as well as the local community.
  • Damage to private vehicles caused by damaged road surfaces and edges can be considerable.
  • The risk of serious road crashes increases markedly with more heavy vehicles on the roads. These crashes can be the result of damaged roads as well as the presence of very large vehicles.
  • Noise pollution throughout the day threatens the welfare of the communities involved.

Federal and state members of parliament need to be informed regarding the above points and as such make decisions for the benefit of the community which they represent.

The decision by the Canadian grain handler, Viterra, would seem to be one that goes against any community benefit.

The decision may be of benefit to the company but not to the affected communities.

The same situation occurred several years ago with grain transportation from Loxton and other Murray lines moving from rail to road over considerable distances to Tailem Bend.

These lines out of Port Lincoln remain open until May 31.

There is still time for the decision to be reversed and for grain to continue to be railed to Port Lincoln.

GRAHAM CRICHTON

Ferntree Gully, Victoria

Noise, dust, pollution

Having been a recent visitor to the Eyre Peninsula, I was highly surprised by the apathy of residents on the EP relating to the end of grain trains, replaced by trucks.

I can only guess this is due to lack of how this will affect all.

After trains end at the end of this month, taking into account the recent poor grain season, they will be replaced by 40 plus B-double trucks a day on your roads and streets.

At times 80 per day.

Multiple jobs will be lost, your roads will be damaged (have personally witnessed this where I live), collisions will increase and wildlife seriously affected.

I cannot believe in the current electoral climate politicians rage about the environment yet not one word has been raised about the serious increase in exhaust belching trucks.

People, to protect your beautiful peninsula and way of life, stand up and make noise, write to your politician, write to Viterra, write to Gennesee and Wyoming and write to this paper.

I just don't want to happen to you what has happened here, truck noise, dust, pollution.

ANTHONY CLARK

Rainbow, Victoria