STEAMED UP: Akkadia Ford pictured at the Byron Bay Railway Station.
STEAMED UP: Akkadia Ford pictured at the Byron Bay Railway Station.

Film blows whistle on loss of line

By Emma O'Neill

THE grass growing through abandoned train tracks on the Casino-Murwillumbah line is a reminder of two things that a train hasn't used the track since 2004, and that grassroots support is growing in the community for the line to be used again. Both of these reminders were on show during Saturday's premiere of Derailed at the Byron Bay Film Festival. The 26-minute film documents a journey which started in 2004 when the XPT train service was cancelled. The film, directed by Bangalow resident and film-maker Akkadia Ford, follows the continuing campaign of local lobbying group TOOT (Trains On Our Tracks) to get commuter trains back on the line. "It's really a film about people, because without people trains wouldn't exist," Ms Ford said. "It also has a lot to do with social justice, because the people who suffer most from not having adequate public transport are the ones who can't afford not to have it." Ms Ford said she was approached by TOOT to make the film, but also had a personal connection to the track. "I used to travel a lot on the train from Sydney to Byron when I was a kid," she said. "Then I moved to Bangalow five years ago, and it was quite a shock coming from Sydney where public transport is on tap. "If I missed the 11am bus to Byron from Bangalow, I had to wait until 2.40pm for the next one and 2008 bus time tabling is the same." Derailed was an unfunded project, created by volunteers and filmed in less than nine months. TOOT president Karin Kolbe said watching the film on Saturday was a rewarding experience. "The film highlighted so many of the issues raised by not having the train. Having a film you can show people should allow us to reach a wider audience," she said. Ms Ford agreed, and%likened the film project to the act of throwing pebbles into water. "The more pebbles you throw at an issue, the more ripples you create, and those ripples will just keep getting wider and wider," she said. !For a demo of Derailed visit www.newmediaworldcafe.tv/akkadiafordfilms.htm !The Byron Bay Film Festival continues until Saturday.



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