SOME might dream about a VFT (a very fast train), but I dream about an FFT – a fairly fast train.
It is absolutely pathetic in this day and age that we have to accept a slow and tedious train to Sydney which is slower than it was in the steam train era. It is embarrassing when overseas visitors, used to fast and efficient trains in Europe, China, Japan and elsewhere, catch the train to Newcastle. It is outrageous that the trains between our two largest cities, in the most populous state, are so slow yet our political leaders and decision makers do not seem to understand, or care.
Newcastle used to be well served by the Newcastle Flyer express which stopped only at Gosford, but we lost that train when the railway was electrified. The Newcastle Flyer did the trip in about two hours and 20 minutes, which is laughable these days. It was a genuine express service designed to suit the needs of Newcastle commuters. The best we can expect now is a semi-fast train that stops all over the place. There are no express trains between Newcastle and Sydney. We need a fast two-hour peak period express, in both directions, stopping at the main Hunter stations – then only at Wyong, Gosford, Hornsby and Strathfield – at most.
It is not a big ask.
I understand that, in 2012, a definitive report by Infrastructure NSW set a goal of a two-hour railway transit time between our two largest cities, but nothing has happened since to realise this goal. In fact I believe that goal was quietly dropped. Similar commuter trains in other states and overseas regularly travel faster than our tedious inter-city services. If they can manage it in other parts of Australia why can’t NSW? All governments talk about infrastructure but what they mean is roads, roads and roads.
Why is the Newcastle train service slower than the steam trains of yesteryear? Why do our trains stop at Epping and Eastwood and other useless stations? Why can’t we have a faster train service? Why will they not bring back the Newcastle Flyer?
Tony Proust, Merewether
Look at leaders
ONCE again the deaths of civilians and children killed by our soldiers in the Middle East are being investigated.
Our soldiers should not be under scrutiny for these deaths but the governments that sent them into a conflict that is not legal and the West cannot win with its military might should be.
This is not a war of country against country with armies in uniform but of country man against country man, with nothing to tell them apart except the ideology in their heads. Our soldiers are already being punished, regardless of whether they should be or not, by having to live the rest of their lives with the mind and personality changing horror from the things they have seen and had to do, that is those that don’t take their own life after coming home, which incidentally more have than those killed on the battle field. Lifeline: 13 11 14
Allan Earl, Thornton
‘Refugees no more’
ONE Nation was right in the beginning, we should have left all those Syrian refugees in and around Syria and taken care of our own. We could, with the money saved, be well on our way to buying out all those who want to sell their contaminated properties. We could have long ago helped every person in the contaminated area be rehoused and given all the considerable help and support services they need and deserve.
Now that large areas of Syria and Iraq have been made safe again, with the help of our RAAF and other Australian service personnel, we should send all these no-refugees home. Yes, they are no longer refugees.
The fact is that some of the wealthiest nations in the world are within a very short distance from Syria and Iraq but refuse to help. We Australians as a nation are not like that, we help each other out. We don't care what your religion is, your gender or the colour of your skin, that's how we don't get involved in these types of bloody conflicts.
So let's send these former refugees back to help their countries to rebuild. Their skills will be needed in their homelands. Let’s rehouse all the people in the contaminated area immediately, or the people democratically elected to represent us will face the consequences.
Pierre Rakus, Nelson Bay
Catch the carp
IN response to Sarah McKinnon (Letters, 10/7) I would like to invite as many anglers as possible to come to the Warabrook wetlands and throw in a line.
I believe it is common knowledge that the wetland waters are infested with destructive European carp, a fish species that destroys the banks, consumes enormous amounts of vegetation and pollutes their environment. Carp are most commonly caught using bread, not worms or weed, and are rarely caught with a lure. I believe the wetlands also contain other species of fish, bass and perch, put there by NSW Fisheries to be legally fished by recreational anglers.
By all means anglers should be wary of the local bird wildlife but to suggest that the Warabrook wetlands be put off limits to recreational anglers because one duck was struck by a fishing lure is a bit over the top.
If we can help the wetlands by ridding it of the dreaded carp then anglers certainly have a reason to fish in the Warabrook.
Greg Harborne, Warabrook
Trump’s report card
READERS would be forgiven for thinking that US President Donald Trump has returned empty-handed from the G20 and achieved nothing useful so far. We continue to just hear or read about his latest tweets. Most of those have been pretty rude.
But analysis would show that he has actually achieved a great deal in just four months. Not everyone will agree with his actions but they include: Approved Keystone pipeline; expanded oil/gas fracking; Paris Climate Accord exit; appointed his Supreme Court judge; rolled back more regulations than any president in history; enacted 36 laws as at June 2017; 211,000 more jobs in April as unemployment dropped to 4.4 per cent; stimulated massive $78 billion increase in US corporate investment; improved border security; budget surplus of $182 billion in April 2017; increased targeting of terrorists in the Middle East, North Africa, and Afghanistan; revitalised the coal and gas industries; and finally held successful meetings with a range of foreign leaders.
That's quite a list against considerable political opposition and an antagonistic media. Perhaps not a totally crazy president after all?