George Paris, convener of Save Our Rail (SOR), has congratulated Susan Price, a Socialist Alliance candidate for the NSW Legislative Council in the March 24 election, for a "worthwhile policy" on rail and public transport. SOR has been campaigning for the retention of electric rail services to Newcastle against repeated attempts by the Labor government to close the line.
Price, who visited Newcastle on January 18, told Green Left Weekly: "Given that it's predicted that diesel fuel prices will double within five years, a wise government would be installing electric rail and encouraging commuters to use it, not cutting these services."
Price said the Socialist Alliance "will continue to devote resources to the campaign to get the NSW government to massively expand all public transport options, including electric rail. This must be done in consultation with community groups like SOR and railway workers.
"Our policy is to eliminate fares and introduce accessible timetables. Given global warming, retaining and improving public transport is vital, not just for people's transport needs, but also for the environment", she said.
"During the train trip to Newcastle, I was struck by the posters stating, 'Each eight-car train keeps 2000 cars off the road each day'. RailCorp says that the 92 seats in each carriage is used, on average, by at least three passengers a trip. That's well over 2000 people and, by implication, at least 2000 cars."
Price is also campaigning for more railway workers. "They do a great job under difficult circumstances. I am sure with a state government genuinely committed to public transport, they could run an even better service."