Monday, September 02, 2019

Closure of the Fremantle train line

Have to post this today for it to be timely.

The petition I referred to back here was protesting against the closure of the Fremantle train line in Perth, Western Australia. Despite the petition and huge protests all were unsuccessful and on this day, the 2nd of September in 1979 the line to Fremantle closed.

It had been absurdly suggested that the corridor could be useful for the army to reach the port quickly in case of a Russian invasion. I suspect thoughts of a nice freeway to Fremantle might have behind the thinking.

The public did not forget the loss of their train and protests went on until the next election when the conservative government led by Sir Charles Court was decisively thrown out and Labor (yes, the spelling pains me too) under Brian Burke was elected with the promise that the line would be reopened. I can only guess that the conservative party were not game to do anything with the corridor, perhaps even having changed their minds.

Photo of the last and very crowded train to Fremantle from ABC News.



Reopening celebrations, photo from Fremantle History Centre, July 1983.


Last year, 2018, the train carried 8 million passengers. ABC News.


We loved our trip by train to Fremantle in 2016. Gosh Grace, was it that long ago!

24 comments:

  1. I had no idea of this bit of history, but I didn't live here then. So glad the train line to Fremantle was reopened.

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    1. Sami, make an effort and use it to travel to Fremantle. It is not a fast train, but a pleasant one.

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  2. In the UK in the 1960s they fiddled the numbers to make it seem lines were uneconomic in order to close them, especially in the North. Had they stayed open they would now be carrying thousands of commuters into congested places like York.

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    1. Tasker, very interesting and I don't doubt what you say about fiddling of numbers. I don't know enough about York to comment, but I get what you are saying.

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  3. Is it possible that the conservative government *yuck* led by Sir Charles Court *gag* didn't give a toss about Freo because it was the working class heart of WA? Yes of course the public did not forget the loss of their train and did not forgive the Conservatives, but the damage was already done.

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    1. Hels, while the ultimate destination may have been very working class, some of the suburbs along the way were not and I reckon that is where the serious protests came from.

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  4. We live in one of the two areas of the US with decent passenger rail service, most of the US is trainless.

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    1. Travel, it is such a shame when you think of the huge train system that was once in place in the US.

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  5. Unfortunately, here in New England, the powers that be rushed in, tore up the train tracks and paved them over for Bicycle paths. It's so sad. How I would have loved to have caught the train in downtown Meredith and gone to Boston!
    For me now, it's the bus.
    We do have some tourist trains and the next time the kids come I want to take them on the train ride!

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    1. Maribeth, would such a line be economic? While I am not saying trains have to run at a profit, they need to provide good value for any subsidy.

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  6. You inspire me with this post Andrew, the power of the people and protests. Much cash to be made here on railway closures and road contractors giving kickbacks to politicians.

    Yay Ozzies!!

    XO
    WWW

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    1. WWW, I wouldn't have thought you needed any inspiring. You can add developers buying up the railway line land to build rubbish flats on the land.

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  7. have you noticed Daniel Bowen now calls Spencer Street Station SoCross ?
    You wouldn't think a whole lot of people would drift from Holyhead wales to the western district of Victoria in the 1840's but they did. Prince William did his helicopter training there & lived with Cathy in Anglesey
    Beautiful snaps with your new camera.

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    1. Ann, I hadn't and that is good. One day someone will see some political mileage in it reverting to Spencer Street. I don't think Holyhead is the largest port to get to Dublin, but I wonder if many from Holyhead were Irish? Thanks.

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  8. I do love that trip down to Freo also Andrew, must do it again soon. It's a little scary how speedily time skips by, especially as we get older 😁

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    1. Grace, maybe we will return to Perth next year...flee our winter.

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  9. Hooray for the power of the people. And how wrong my guess was.

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    1. EC, you can't be perfect at everything. Yes, good on those who fought to get the train back.

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  10. It's relatively unusual for protests to actually change political decisions. I'm glad to hear it does happen. We haven't had passenger train service through our area for probably forty years now, but I remember leaving on a high school trip from the local station. I love the train and wish it still ran close by.

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    1. Jenny, it often takes a change of government to change a policy and quite some unease among 'doctor's wives'. At least parts of your country do have reasonabl public transport.

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  11. I guess that's why I hired a car to get me from Perth to Freemantle and return in early 1987!

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    1. Lee, I think the train was back in 1983, so no excuse.

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  12. My brother lives in Fremantle and now that his contract is up here in Adelaide he and his lovely wife are in the throes of packing to go back there and after unpacking he almost immediately flies out to another job. I didn't get a chance to ride the Freo train last time I visited, but maybe I will one day.

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    1. River, interesting. The Freo train trip is nice. Next time.

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Democracy is all very well, but why give it to the people? - Audrey Forbes-Hamilton.