The end of an era forces us to look forward

Last Friday, May 31 marked the end of rail on the Lower Eyre Peninsula.

The end of an era is an often used cliche but this truly is the end an integral chapter in the region's history.

Many suggestions and solutions have come to light in the wake of the February announcement of the closure of the rail corridor on the Lower Eyre Peninsula yet sadly none were enough to save it before Friday.

Train enthusiasts, communities and students came together in Cummins to support the industry that proved instrumental for establishing our region's central towns.

It was a somber day, full of 111-years of memories and times gone by in a final farewell to pay homage to the impact rail had.

It was a celebration of what rail gave to the region and some moments of trepidation as we await the state and federal government's final plan on how the $32 million pledged for our roads will be spent.

The day was especially sad for the Genesse and Wyoming workers and their families; May 31 marked the day 33 full-time jobs were lost in our community.

While some have claimed those jobs can be made up in truck driving jobs and in other industries, we will have to wait to see if that becomes a reality.

People are rightfully angry that the state government has admitted to knowing about the possible closure decision by Viterra for some time, yet did not act to save it.

The reality is this is the hand we have been dealt due to a reluctance to step in before the final call and the only way forward is to push for positive change in the future.

The positive change may be ensuring the $32-million does go to where it is needed most, to improve road safety through road widening and adding overtaking lanes to the Tod and Lincoln Highways.

There are an expected 30,000 additional truck movements per year, and 28,000 of those are expected along the Tod Highway.

Truck drivers will solely be responsible for transporting grain across our region.

They do a great job with the road conditions they are dealt and our support must remain behind them now more than ever.

People can take action by ensuring their own road safety by allowing extra time to accommodate the additional 77 trucks per day along the Tod Highway into their schedule.

One positive to come out of this is that finally our roads will be addressed and upgraded to improve safety, it is just sad rail transport had to end to get some action.