Boom arm strikes risking lives and making thousands of Queenslanders late


Queensland Rail has released shocking footage of distracted and impatient drivers smashing through boom arms at level crossings.  

Queensland Rail Executive General Manager South East Queensland (SEQ) Operations Rob Hill said the CCTV shows drivers ignoring safety signs and signals as they tried to beat trains across the tracks and vehicles queuing up over rail lines, leaving them in a dangerous situation.

“Unfortunately, drivers are ignoring the warning signs and driving through a crossing when the boom arms are lowering or raising,” Mr Hill said. 

“As a result, we’re seeing damage to safety infrastructure or a near miss with an oncoming train.

“Aside from the danger to lives, damaging boom arm infrastructure is costly, leaves the level crossing exposed to traffic and causes disruptions to those catching the trains and to other motorists.”

Mr Hill said not only were drivers risking lives, they were also causing massive disruptions to other commuters. 

“In 2023, there were 85 boom arm strikes in SEQ which impacted 786 train services causing almost six days’ worth of delays.

“We’re not off to a good start for 2024 with 22 boom arm strikes in January, February and March. 

“In 2023 Queensland Rail also recorded 186 near misses between motorists and trains at level crossings across Queensland, up from 125 the previous year (2022). 

“Queensland Rail does have spare boom arms strategically placed across the network so that our teams can respond as quickly as possible, but our message is simple - avoid harm, stop before the boom arm.”

Mr Hill said boom arms provided a physical barrier between motorists and the rail corridor, and when the lights are flashing, drivers must keep clear of the crossing.

“When a train has passed, boom arms prevent motorists from crossing too early as there may be a train coming from the other direction,” he said.

“Trying to save a few seconds by running the gauntlet isn’t worth the risk.

“Trains travel fast, they’re slow to stop and they can’t swerve – so it’s up to motorists to stay safe and obey the flashing signals and boom arms at level crossings.”

Queensland Police Railway Squad’s Senior Sergeant Simon Arnold reinforced the need for drivers to act safely around level crossings.

“Drivers also risk heavy fines - disobeying warning lights at level crossings can result in a $464 infringement notice and three demerit points. Any damage to rail infrastructure (including boom arms) could earn $1238 in fines and four demerit points.”

​2024 (Jan, Feb, Mar)
SEQ Boom arm strikes


For more details, accredited journalists can contact Queensland Rail's media team on:

Phone: 0459 226 970