City rail loses steam
By DAVID BANCROFT
GRAFTON Countrylink office manager Bruce Carle is facing something of a lonely future at work from today.
Three of his workmates of more than a decade have accepted voluntary redundancy under major changes to operational structure of what was State Rail, leaving Mr Carle's office close to being empty.
Between them his former colleagues, Ron Hughes, Peter Cairns and Ted Hopkins, have racked up close to 120 years of service to State Rail and all have become close friends.
They expect to meet again at least once a month at the Countrylink offices and, they admit, will probably talk about work.
They are likely to have plenty to talk about ... the heady days of rail in Grafton were not long ago. In the early 1980s there were close to 600 workers employed through the station.
With the departure of these three, there will be seven.
Mr Hughes said he would 'take it easy' in his retirement, but plans a trip to Europe in two months to catch up with two daughters in Edinburgh, Tammy and Skye.
Mr Cairns said he would be busy over the next few months building a new house, but after that would look at getting some part-time work and some travelling.
Mr Hopkins, who retains most of his hair colour, said he would be joining the grey nomads in a caravaning trip around Australia.
"It's not planned yet, and I will be spending some quality time with my wife."
Mr Carle said the Countrylink office would not close and people could still make bookings through the office or over the phone.