NSW TrainLink workers in Wagga face uncertainty after losing their jobs

WHISTLE BLOWN: Don Regan and Sheena Gilmour wait for an uncertain future after being laid off from Wagga Railway Station as part of massive transport reforms. Picture: Les Smith.

WHISTLE BLOWN: Don Regan and Sheena Gilmour wait for an uncertain future after being laid off from Wagga Railway Station as part of massive transport reforms. Picture: Les Smith.

Fourth-generation railway worker Don Regan was determined to go out with a smile.

Wagga Railway Station’s 37-year veteran is just one of many NSW TrainLink workers shown the door after the country railway operator decided to reduce ticket sellers, which followed a move to replace magnetic tickets with the Opal cards used in Sydney.

While he faced an uncertain future, Mr Regan refused to spend his last day on the job moping around.

“I’m going to walk out with a smile,” Mr Regan said from the platform on Wednesday afternoon.

“I want to leave on a positive note, it’s been a great place to work and I wish the people coming after me well.

“Serving the community has been an absolute pleasure.”

To mark the occasion, Mr Regan wore his father’s signet ring, a symbol of the family connection to the industry.

Mr Regan’s father was a driver in his younger days, then became a chargeman at Temora.

His great-grandfather was a fettler, working on the rails themselves, while his grandfather stoked the fires on steam locomotives. 

“Working in rail was the only thing I ever wanted to do,” Mr Regan said.

“I started in Darling Harbour on probation back in 1979, it was a big change for a boy from the bush.

“Then I worked as a shunter, an assistant station master and then progressed through CountryLink.”

According to Mr Regan, railway people were like a family, which stuck up for each other and he was confident that care and support would continue even after he left.

Mother-of-four Sheena Gilmour started working for the railway after school and echoed Mr Regan’s sentiments.

“It’s like a little family,” Ms Gilmour said.

“It’s going to be sad, I’ll miss the people more than the place itself.

“I don’t know what I’ll do next, I’m going to start a medical administration course soon.”

The impending cuts to railway station staff numbers came to light in April. At the time, NSW TrainLink said the decision was a result of a reduction in the use of face-to-face services.

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