There is a distance of some 450k between Adelaide and home. In any other civilised country there would be a better than adequate rail service. Not here. When we came here the rail service had been terminated for a number of years and there was calls to have it back on again. It was put back on again but it was put back on to fail. The train
station was well out of town so it meant a taxi out. The train left at 6am and arrived at Keswick Station – well out of the city – at 11;30am so another taxi or wait for a bus. It could have gone into Central Station, which is only a five minute walk from the city centre, but no, it was sent out to Keswick. Then taxi back – to catch the train at 5pm arr 11pm, then taxi home. The private owned Greyhound/Stateliner bus service left at 5am and dropped off in the city centre at 10:30am after making a number of stops along the way, so most people, who didn’t want to drive, took the coach rather than the train. – faster, more efficient and got you right to the heart of the shopping district at a reasonable time. Coming back, the Bus Terminal is only a short walk from the city centre. The State Transport Dept could then point to this and say that since more people preferred to take the bus rather than the train, there was no need for the train service to continue. We have not had a train service for nearly 25 years.
I think this is how most governments in Australia work, they make things as awkward as possible and when people shun them, they point to lack of patronage and terminate the service because it’s running at a loss. The reason for this is that I was asked why not take the train instead of driving all the time. Don’t we have a decent rail service? This is why and the answer is no we don’t. I would love to have a train service. I went out to Geelong, from Adelaide, twice by train – it was new and it was exciting. I was able to get up and walk about , go to the dining car for a meal or a coffee. But the trains are slower than in the UK or the USA, mainly because of sped restrictions, small settlements and the tracks crossing roads. Keswick has been rebuilt and is now known as the Adelaide Parklands Terminal, which is nice, but doesn’t bring it any nearer to town.
About six/seven months ago the small settlement of Lochiel lost its hotel/pub. It was reported to have been some sort of electrical fault. The Hotel/Pub had just celebrated 150 years, so, when it burned down, 150 years of history went with it. Now it’s just a fenced off blackened shell. I have stopped twice now and found myself wishing that I had stopped more often on these Adelaide trips and perhaps taken more photographs. When we have any sort of function at the church I take photographs. Some people complained so I explained to them why I take photographs and how each photographs becomes part of the history of the church and its people and if you are in any of the photographs, then you become part of that history. At least, that’s how I see it. Not sure everyone else does though. And who knows – perhaps some kind benefactor will put up the cash to rebuild the Lochiel Hotel/Pub and we can look back in years to come and remember what it was before restoration.