Waiting in vain for a Northern Rivers train
By DAWN COHEN
IAN SIMES waited with 25 other locals for a train that never came on Saturday.
But the 78-year-old Lismore bowler did not mind.
Posing in a campaign photo shoot of waiting commuters to mark the anniversary of the closure of the XPT service from Casino to Murwillumbah was a new experience.
"Protesting is quite exhilarating," said the Kyogle-born local.
The Trains On Our Tracks (TOOT) campaign staged the shot at Lismore Station for postcards that locals could send to the NSW Government in a push to re-open the service.
"It takes us two days to get to Sydney now," said Ian's wife, Lydia.
"It is hard at our age. We need the trains back."
At 8.30am, Dominique Falla, art director of the shoot briefed the extras on the bustling early-morning station scene she was re-creating.
"We have people heading to the beach with surf boards and people with guide dogs," she said.
"We have all ages and types here, kids, businessmen and bowlers all waiting for a train that left a year ago."
The innovative form of protest was the brain child of TOOT president, Karin Kolbe.
"The vision just came to me one day," she said.
"We want the NSW Government to understand how much the community wants and needs a train service."
For John Norman, the 8.30am shoot was a reminder of the days when he jumped on the train to Byron Bay for a day on the coast.
"I can't get to the beach easily now," said the 62-year-old
"First they introduced ridiculous hours for the service, making it untenable. Now they leave us with nothing."
TOOT can be contacted on www.toot.org.au or call Nick Casmirri on 0404 844 785