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Why the train derailed

CROSSING OVER: Graham Daly’s team were the last to take sheep and cattle from the Cannon Hill saleyards to the abattoir.
CROSSING OVER: Graham Daly’s team were the last to take sheep and cattle from the Cannon Hill saleyards to the abattoir. Contributed

LARRIKIN stockman Graham Daley has the dubious honour of being one of only two blokes to ever derail a train between the legendary Cannon Hill saleyards and the adjoining meatworks.

This week in the Bush Tele the former Cannon Hill stock contractor, who now lives at Arlington at Inglewood, shared his horror memory of the day a train ploughed into 700 sheep ex-Warwick saleyards.

"This particular morning I was waiting on sheep, which had come down on Fraser's Transport from Warwick Saleyards for Barry Greenup from Associated Buyers," Mr Daly said.

It just happened that day, right at the time we turned those sheep back a train was shunting backwards with three N-vans.

"Anyway I couldn't find the sheep and it was nearly 7am they were suppose to be first on the kill.

"But it turned out the Fraser's driver had dropped them at the saleyards by mistake, instead of the abattoir.

"Well, I headed out from the works with a dog to get these sheep and bring them back.

"I have had some good dogs in my life but this wasn't one of those times.

"And these strong Merino wethers headed out fast with the old ewes at the tail.

"So I sent the dog out to the lead but he got half way there and forgot what he'd been sent to do.

"Anyway this fellow stockman, Wayne Young (who went on to be livestock manager for Calvert Meats and is a high profile identity in the meat industry today, back then he was lean and mean and could run like steam) had just finished his shift and was walking home and he got to the lead before the bloody dog.

"Back then to get from the saleyards to the meatworks we'd have to cross the railway line and so it just happened that day, right at the time we turned those sheep back a train was shunting backwards with three N-vans.

"Now by this time I had climbed up onto a bank and I was whistling and cooeeing, because I could see the inevitable, but I couldn't get the attention of the train driver.

"Anyway the train ploughed into 700 sheep and derailed the wagons.

"I watched it helplessly with this sinking feeling, thinking here goes my house and my job and I will have to spend the rest of my life paying off this disaster.

"But as it turned out, the railway was in the wrong for shunting backwards without a guard on the back.

"By the way, the train missed that bloody dog," Mr Daly concluded.

Topics:  derailment farmer profile