QR puts Rail Safety Week front and centre

Rail operator to drum safety message into public, as government warns people who damage level crossings will pay repair costs

August 15, 2013

Queensland Rail is drastically increasing the number of safety reminders during this year’s Rail Safety Week initiative.

The rail operator is using announcements on trains, posters and signage at train stations and billboards at known level crossing hotspots to remind the public about acting safely around level crossings.

Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson says there has been a 30 percent decrease in near misses since 2012 but that there were still 351 near misses on the network last year.

"People pushing through pedestrian security gates or racing past lowering boom gates in their vehicle to save a few minutes are risking their lives," he says.

"Not only are they risking their own lives but putting enormous pressure on train drivers who can’t swerve or stop quickly."

Emerson says anyone caught carelessly damaging level crossing infrastructure will have to pay to fix it.

He says $330,000 was recovered last financial year, up from $125,000 the previous year.

In 2012, there were also 5,500 reports of trespass and illegal track crossings, with 5,133 occurring near train tracks in south east Queensland.

"Trains can travel at speeds of 140km/h, and you can almost guarantee if there is a collision, you will come off second best," Emerson says.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) launched the annual Rail Safety Week on August 12.

This year’s event focuses on reinforcing the message that individuals need to obey the rules around railway lines and to stop, look, listen and think before crossing them.

ARA CEO and TrackSafe Director Bryan Nye says Rail Safety Week involves an awareness campaign made up of billboards on major roads, posters in train stations and brochures at community and information centres urging people to stop, look, listen and think when around train lines

"Rail is the safest form of land transport. The issue is behavioural— when people go to take risks around railway lines they fail to realise that trains always have right of way and simply cannot stop quickly. It can take a fully loaded freight train up to 2km to stop," Nye says.

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