I got a letter back from RailCorp recently, explaining again why it was so difficult to paint one of their bridges in Lilyfield. It's now six months since I first reported it, and the excuses are never ending.
12 November 2008Mr Ben JohnsonGeneral ManagerMinisterial Correspondence and Customer RelationsRailCorpPO Box K349Haymarket NSW 1238Dear Mr JohnsonRemoval of graffiti from railway structures in LeichhardtI refer to my letter of 13 May 2008, and your responses in June and October, references 5451382-JCF and 5491784 BD.Would you just paint the flaming bridge and be done with it.The line in question is a rarely used goods line. We are not talking about the Main North here or the Eastern Suburbs line. It’s lucky to get a train a day. I am surprised that a closedown is required on a line carrying so little traffic. A risk assessment may determine that a closedown is not required in these circumstances.Since closedowns are usually planned up to a year in advance, can you please ask the Corridor Manager when the next one is scheduled. I’d at least like to get an idea of when the bridge might be repainted, and be sure that cleaning the bridge has been programmed into the list of activities for the closedown.As for contacting the local council, I will do that. However, please note that the great majority of the graffiti is on the bridge, not under it or beside it. It is on that bit of the bridge where the trains go over. It’s on the bit holding up the two long, narrow bits of steel – you know – the rail lines. It’s where the wheels interface with the rail. It’s the long, flat bit that goes over the road, not the vertical bits on the side of the road that hold the horizontal section up. The flat, train-goes-over-this-part, bit of the bridge is yours.Yours sincerely
It just so happens that I was talking to a RailCorp manager last weekend, and I explained the problem of this bridge to them. Their response was that they had recently discovered that the policy regarding how to deal with graffiti on infrastructure had gone "walkabout" since the merger of the SRA and RIC, and that they were trying to re-establish the old policy.
You might ask that, if I know someone at RailCorp, why didn't I use my inside connections in the first place to get the bridge cleaned up?
The answer is that I wanted to see what the experience was like for an outsider - a normal, everyday private citizen that only has the contact details on the RailCorp website to go by.
It has not been a particularly uplifting experience.
I followed this up today by ringing the RailCorp switch and asking to be put through to the office of the Group General Manager for Asset Management - Gary Seabury. As the title implies, Mr Seabury is responsible for the management of all of RailCorp's infrastructure, which includes the bridge in Lilyfield. I left a voicemail with his secretary, asking her to call me back with the name and number of the Corridor Manager responsible for the line to Rozelle/White Bay. I'm going to bypass the paper pushers and see if I can have a meaningful discussion with the person that "owns" this bridge.
Let's see if we get a response.