The Railsmart Community Education Program is a dedicated school and community engagement initiative aiming to increase safety outcomes around level crossings and the rail corridor.
The program started in 2000 as a school liaison program, though has developed into a respected public awareness program - targeting behavioural change across Queensland.
In 2009, the program reached its one millionth student milestone in schools, while potentially hundreds of thousands more have been exposed to key safety messages through community events and campaigns outside of the core school visits.
The schools program was developed in accordance with Education Queensland curriculum guidelines and has a strong focus on positively influencing attitudes and behaviours on board trains, around the rail corridor and at level crossings.
The program aims to enhance public awareness about rail safety issues through a number of channels including:
- direct presentation of the Railsmart message in schools across Queensland
- attending community events around the state
- targeted campaigns using varied communication channels (online, experiential, publicity, direct communication)
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The Railsmart program aims to visit every Queensland school within the vicinity of a rail line every two to three years, meaning over 1800 separate school visits. The program continuously covers the area from Brisbane west to Charleville, Winton and Mount Isa, and north to Cairns. Prep schools, Primary schools and High schools are all visited with sessions specifically designed in conjunction with an Education Psychologist, and shaped through decades of team member teaching and education experience.
Outside of schools, the Railsmart program also visits community groups around the state. In the past, the team have worked with organisations such as Endeavour, My Life, Mission Australia Communities for Children and regularly participate in Youth Justice Conferences (mediation sessions) with juvenile offenders.
Railsmart representatives regularly visit events to spread rail safety message into communities across Queensland. Regional shows in North Queensland have been a focus outside of South East Queensland, while Brisbane based events such as sporting matches, the annual RNA Exhibition and community group open days are always in the calendar.
Public awareness campaigns
In order to increase awareness of specific rail safety issues, the Railsmart team develop targeted campaigns to connect with target audiences.
In 2010, the Railsmart Team delivered a number of campaigns including:
- Rail Safety Awareness Week online video (trespassing) - a powerful 3 minute educational video featuring youth ambassador and accident victim Jonathan Beninca was made available to every high school in Queensland free of charge through RailSmart.com.au
- 2010 Railsmart Roadshow (level crossing) - the team took a car wreck on the back of a trailer to the Townsville V8 Supercars event, and Major Regional Shows between Mackay and Cairns. In total, over 400,000 people attended the events.
Community Education 2011 - first quarter
Community Education in Townsville
On Australia Day, our Community Education team member Cat, travelled to Townsville to attend the 20/20 Queensland Rail Bulls Masters cricket match at Tony Ireland Stadium. The Queensland Rail Bulls Masters team was led by Jimmy Maher and included legendary players such as Michael Kasprowicz and Greg Richie as well as sporting legends Wendell Sailor and Wayne Grady who joined the team on the day. There were in excess of 3000 people that attended the cricket match throughout the day.
Queensland Rail had a marquee set up in front of the oval where the matches took place where the team could engage with the crowd to deliver key Railsmart messages and give out Railsmart merchandise show bags.
The Townsville Queensland Rail Bulls Masters won their game by 12 runs on the day and raised in excess of $37 950 to donate to Queensland Rails four selected charities.
Community Engagement News
In February the regional Community Education program for 2011 began with a week spent visiting schools and community groups in the Toowoomba and Darling Downs area. The team also visited schools, community groups and businesses in the Mackay and Sarina region to deliver the Railsmart program and safety message.
In March the team completed the Mackay visits went to the Bowen and Proserpine regional schools, community groups and businesses to deliver the Railsmart program and safety messages.
Networking with Groups and Businesses
In the Mackay and Bowen regions, the Community Education team set up meetings with local train drivers and staff to discuss safety and related issues in the regions.
In Mackay and Sarina, the Community Education Officers also invited local train drivers to accompany the CEU to a few of the targeted high schools to address the students about incidents and or dangerous behaviour that have been occurring in the local region.
The team also visited over 55 local businesses and community groups to discuss rail safety and customer service in northern Queensland.
Community Education visits Lockyer Valley Schools
David Millward, from Community Education, visited Grantham, Forest Hill and Laidley state schools along with Toowoomba schools and Queensland’s largest Endeavour Workshop in Toowoomba to speak about rail safety and deliver a little something extra.
After Customer Service Officer Erica Phayre witnessed what happened to Grantham during the flood, she wanted to reach out to the families who had lost so much.
Erica called Grantham state school and asked if there was anything she could do to assist with their recovery. It was identified that many of the students did not have school shoes to begin the school year. Erica went beyond the call of duty to purchase and collect about 100 pairs of new school shoes for the students, donated by the Roma St Station staff and staff from the Mater Children’s Hospital.
After delivering the Railsmart message, David presented the Grantham school principal and students with the shoes as well as sports packs, cinema and rail museum passes.
Additionally, the Community Education Unit contacted other schools in the Lockyer Valley prior to the Toowoomba line reopening in April.
City network Station Engagement
The Community Education team visited a number of city network stations and surrounding local high schools in February. Key Railsmart safety messages regarding anti-social and dangerous behaviour on trains and around tracks were communicated to students at stations and through school assemblies. Queensland Rail has a number of security initiatives aimed at enforcing appropriate behaviours. On the day of each school visit, the nearby station had an additional uniformed presence to reinforce the message and remind students of behavioural expectations and the potential impact of anti-social behaviour.
Rail Safety Orientation Day
Students from Milpera State High school, some of whom have fled conflict in their homelands, took part in Community Engagement’s first Rail Safety Orientation Day for 2011 at Roma Street station. The 75 students from Milpera spent the morning learning how to stay safe around train tracks and level crossings, supporting their settlement into their new community.
During the event, participants were shown through a passenger train and the various safety features of carriages and platforms are pointed out. Rail Safety Orientation events are vital for these students, as many have had little or no experience with trains and railways in Australia or their former countries.
The Community Engagement team will hold several orientation days this year for students of Milpera State High School in Brisbane, which is the largest school for new immigrants and refugees in Queensland.
Roma Street Parklands 10th Birthday
Queensland Rail positive pARTnerships attended the Roma Street Parklands 10th Birthday Celebrations on Saturday 9 April. The team provided face painting and Lady Bug Rocks (garden theme) activities for children. Community Education Officers also were on hand to deliver rail safety and customer service information.
Community Education 2011 - second quarter
SEQ and regional schools
The team completed the program for 75 schools in the Bowen, Ayr, Homehill, Townsville and Tully regions as well as 50 south east Queensland schools before the completion of the second school term.
Far North Queensland Schools
In May 2011, for the first time in the programs history, the Railsmart rail safety education sessions were delivered at Kuranda, Yarrabah, Mossman, Wangetti, Port Douglas and Miallo schools. Many of the students visited are of indigenous background or from remote communities and travel to Cairns regularly and utilise railway crossings and Queensland Rail services.
With the goal of visiting all communities within close proximity of a rail line in Queensland, it is an important achievement and milestone to reach the far north as many of the students go to school or live near a railway line.
Rail Safety Orientation Day
On Wednesday 18 May, the Community Engagement team held the second Rail Safety Orientation Day at Roma Street station for the year. The event focuses on how to use trains and services and to stay safe around train tracks, level crossings as well as supporting students in settling into their new community.
Community Education Officers educated 60 students from Milpera State High school as well as 27 students from schools including Jindalee State School, Aspley State High School and Cavendish Rd State High School along with members of Centacare, Vision Australia and Impari Services participating in train and station familiarisation sessions for people with a disability.
In May, Community Education was invited to promote our services for residents in the Inala area at the Fostering Inala’s Social Housing (FISH) Project.
FISH is a Mission Australia community event within the Inala housing estate that aims to increase the capacity of residents to connect within their community and provides information about available services and activities for families to participate.
In June, Community Education visited the Westside Community Services (Acacia Ridge) “My Time” and “My Life” programs to escort clients on the train and help them learn to travel independently. The programs provide support to people with a wide range of disabilities and their support people.
Also in June, Community Education along with the Accessibility team visited Strathpine and Northgate Endeavour Workshops to reinforce Queensland Rail's safety message and assist in transition process of the employees’ relocation of workshops to Sunshine. As a result of this move, there will be over 130 Endeavour employees travelling to Sunshine Station from the beginning of July. The team will also attend Sunshine station for their first week to assist with the transition process.
Queensland Rail sponsored the Global Fiesta at the Ipswich Festival from Saturday 21 May to Sunday 29 May 2011 which saw the spectacular Robelle Domain parklands officially opened by Premier Anna Bligh and Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale.
The Community Engagement Team presented a public display with information about the new timetable, rail safety as well as disability access information. Positive pARTnerships artists held interactive art workshops at the Kids Kingdom which included face painting that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Community Education 2011 - third quarter
The Railsmart Community Education Program is a dedicated school and community engagement initiative aiming to increase safety outcomes around level crossings and the rail corridor. Community Education in 2011 has visited approximately 400 schools and 154,000 students, in conjunction with this they have visited 100 community groups and 12,500 community members.
Townsville V8 Supercars
In July 2011, The Community Education team displayed a ‘Crashed Car’ to drive home the rail safety message at the Townsville V8 supercars attended by over 150,000 spectators.
V8 enthusiasts received wristbands, rulers, stickers and rail safety brochures branded with the ‘Taking Risks Takes lives’ message.
The campaign highlighted key safety messages regarding the dangers at roadside crossings and illegal trespassing on railway property.
The team were also in attendance at the Ipswich and Gold Coast V8 supercar events in 2011.
Rail Safety Orientation Day
On Wednesday 27 July, the Community Engagement team held the third Rail Safety Orientation Day at Roma Street station which targets students from diverse multicultural backgrounds.
Community Education Officers spoke to 55 students from countries including Iraq, Sri Lanka and the Congo focusing on Rail safety on trains, at stations and around road side crossings in their new communities.
The team also spoke with 15 autistic students and two participants from Vision Australia who took part in familiarisation sessions for people with a disability.
Participants had the opportunity to learn about Queensland Rail services and facilities in order to gain confidence in travelling independently on the rail network.
The Community Education team were on hand to promote Queensland Rail Travel and deliver key rail safety messages to the community at this year’s Ekka which kicked off on the 11th of August for ten days.
This year the pavilion featured a balloon filled tunnel for children to interact with and find hidden rail safety messages along with colouring in comepetions and hundreds of prizes to be won.
The team saw an average of 2000 customers a day highlighted by a visit from Murphys Creek State school to the pavilion with all 66 students and teachers receiving the Queensland Rail Ekka Showbag.
The Cairns Show
The largest regional show in Australia, the Cairns Show, proved to be a great opportunity for Community Education to work together with Cairns Travel Centre staff showing a shared focus on safety, customers and community promoting One Queensland Rail at their prominent display.
The children's safety giveaway and Tilt Train competition proved to be major drawcards during the three day show with 80,000 people through the gates and thousands of families engaged with each day, it was a resounding success.
2011 Premier’s Award for the Excellence in Public Service Delivery
Rail Smart Community Education team received a Smart Finalist award on 11 October at the 2011 Premier’s Awards for the Excellence in Public Service Delivery.
Community Education 2011 - fourth quarter
2011 Premier’s Award for the Excellence in Public Service Delivery
The Community Education team received a Smart Finalist award on 11 October at the 2011 Premier’s Awards for the Excellence in Public Service Delivery for their role in keeping Queenslander’s safe around rail infrastructure and rollingstock.
Community Education Visits
Community Education Officers took the RailSmart safety message to regional locations such as Longreach, Winton and Barcaldine in the west, Innisfail, Cairns, and Tully in the far north as well as maintaining a constant vidual in the South east Queensland corner.
The regional safety tour for 2011 was completed in the Lockyer Valley/Toowoomba region, visiting schools and community groups.
In 2011 the Railsmart safety program was shared with more than 156,000 school students and members of various communities throughout Queensland.