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About 500 locals have turned out in Cummins, on SA's Eyre Peninsula, to farewell one of the final trains pass through the town as the region prepares for more trucks on the road.
A decision was made earlier this year by grain-handling group Viterra to not renew its contract with Genesee and Wyoming Australia (GWA) for grain movement on the Eyre Peninsula.
Locals rememberDavid Polkinghorne's walls show his love for rail with framed prints of trains hanging amongst members of his family.
For 52 years he was a part of the rail industry and for 43 of those he was a driver on the Eyre Peninsula.
Mr Polkinghorne said it was a "very sad day" for the children of Eyre Peninsula who will never get to see a train passing through their backyard again, but also for the industry employees whose jobs are now gone.
"I was very upset," he said.
"All the guys — they've got to find new jobs and it's not very good for them especially if they've got families here and if they have to shift."
Scott Staunton was one of 30 staff at GWA working in Lower Eyre Peninsula before the Viterra contract came to an end.
He had been a loco-maintainer for the past six years when he was handed a letter and told to read it before he put his boots on for work.
"And that was on the following Monday."
He said that while he knew the contract, and work, was coming to an end, it was still not a nice way to be let go.
"It was like: 'The wagon's worn out, we'll throw it on the scrap truck. Don't need that worker anymore? Throw them on the scrap truck'," Mr Staunton said.
A Genesee and Wyoming spokesperson said there will be some relocation of employees into other areas of the business, some retirement and redundancies.
Train driver Tim Hawkes and his son Felix were at the farewell.
(ABC Port Lincoln: Emma Pedler)
Truck movements to increaseMichael Agnew's bakery is on one of the main roads that leads into Cummins.
The road already sees hundreds of trucks pass through during harvest time and will now have even more.
Mr Agnew said he had already noticed that the regular retirees stopped coming as often during harvest, but with the extra trucks it would make it even harder for them to negotiate parking on the road.
He choosing to move from rail to road transport was "the stupidest thing that they've done".
"The decision has been made by two companies that aren't owned by Australians anymore," Mr Agnew said.
One of the last grain trains to go through Cummins stopped to farewell locals.
(ABC Rural: Brooke Neindorf)
With an expected increase of about 50 trucks a day travelling along the highway from the Lower Eyre Peninsula, the District Council commissioned a report that explored current conditions of the roads.
The results confirmed that serious money was required to be spent already.
Acting Mayor Peter Mitchell said the report was damning of the existing condition of the road.
"The report showed that the single-lane highway is 30 centimetres narrower on each side … the road verges are crumbling, there are ruts in the road that are almost 30 millimetres deep that hold water.
"So when we talk about an extra 30,000 truck movements a year one can only guess what the impact will be."
Mike Ford, from Cummins Area School, said 290 students travelled by bus to the school each day and would need to contend with extra trucks on the road.
"Our bus driver is incredibly concerned that our seven major stops along that highway are going to be dropping off kids with these trucks streaming past them," he said.
"Kids naturally will cross the road to get to their mum and dad on the other side … they won't think.
"They'll get off that bus and they'll go for it, and these guys in trucks behind them are not going to be aware of it."
A sad day for the regionIt was a farewell for an industry that has shaped the region for more than 100 years.
One of the last trains to go to Cummins stopped at the main intersection in town and the drivers jumped out to say goodbye.
More than 100 school students attended and waved flags they had made, and plenty of stories were told as the train rolled through.
Shirley and Robyne May shared the story of their dad, Clarry May, being one of the first train drivers.
"It's the end of an era and it won't be the same without the trains," Shirley said.
"It's heartbreaking to see it go, but it's good to see all the old railway people here sharing their memories — it's fabulous," Robyne said.
Former mayor and local farmer, Brian Treloar, also spoke to the crowd.
"This is, for me, a time of anger … why have things been allowed to deteriorate to this point? Why hasn't the Government done something more?" he said.
"It is a very sad day."
The final grain train on the Eyre Peninsula is scheduled for Friday 31st May and will consist of a 60-wagon train from Cummins into Port Lincoln.
The school kids from Cummins made special flags to hang on the fence to say farewell to the train.
(ABC Rural: Brooke Neindorf)
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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