THE NUMBER of full-time jobs at Grafton railway station will be cut in half as part of a NSW Government reviews its rail operations.
The review, which has been under way since February will cut the number of full-time jobs from eight to four.
"There are currently nine positions (eight full-time and one part-time) at Grafton Station and its proposed that there will be 10 positions (four full-time and six part-time in total)," a NSW Trainlink spokesman said.
He said the review would realign staffing to better match train and coach arrival and departure times and the required workload.
"Customers are assured that there will be no changes to either train or coach service times as a result of this review," he said.
"There will be no changes at the station during the review which is expected to CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 Rail jobs set to go FROM PAGE 1 take three to four months." He said CCTV and Customer Help Point technology, providing customers with real time, 24/7 help would be installed.
The Member for Clarence and Parliamentary Secretary for the North Coast, Chris Gulaptis, said he was disappointed to learn some stations would be unmanned.
"You need staff for security and to assist people who need help getting on and off trains," he said.
"Just last week my son and his girlfriend travelled up from Sydney to Grafton and I saw railway staff doing just that." Mr Gulaptis said he did not know how well stations like Lismore and Byron Bay were used. "The research must have shown they could be unmanned." Mr Gulaptis said he understood many of the job losses were in ticket sales as increasing numbers of passengers made bookings and printed tickets online.
Grafton is on a list of 20 stations around regional NSW to be reviewed as part of a NSW Trains proposal to "modernise" rail services.
A further 12 stations, including North Coast stations at Lismore, Murwillumbah and Byron Bay will be closed as the NSW Trainlink plans to "unattend" these stations.
The opposition transport spokeswoman, Jodi McKay, said the cuts could lead to safety problems, especially for people who needed help boarding and alighting from trains. She also criticised the Nationals for failing to stand up for their electorates, where many of these cuts will be made.
Mr Gulaptis dismissed these comments as "politicking".
"While you don't like to see jobs go, the work has to be meaningful and useful.
The railways are like any other business, you have to move with the times." He also dismissed claims the cuts could turn tourists away from the region.
The Rail, Tram & Bus Industry Union (RTBU) said it had been in discussion with Trains NSW last week about the cuts and was disappointed the government had made an announcement last Thursday afternoon as the many people were clocking off for their Easter break.
The union website said the staff review is likely to begin, starting with northern region locations, including Grafton, Coffs Harbour and Casino, from April 18.