Queensland Rail is touring Far North Queensland over the next fortnight, promoting critical
rail safety messages to more than 5000 school students across Innisfail, Gordonvale,
Cairns and Kuranda.
Queensland Rail Head of Regional Jim Benstead said the rail safety roadshow was taking
place between 30 August and 10 September and would focus on level crossing safety and
the risk of trespassing around trains.
“With the Cairns region home to the iconic Kuranda Scenic Railway, the northern-most part
of the North Coast railway line and a busy network of cane trains during crushing season,
it’s vital we teach locals from a young age how to be rail safe,” Mr Benstead said.
“Our community education program is touring the region to teach people of all ages how to
be safe on the rail network, and the potential consequences of dangerous, risky behaviour.
“We’re visiting more than 20 kindergartens, schools, community groups and local
businesses, with highly-engaging, age-appropriate safety sessions.
“This year we have been invited to present at Redlynch State College, the largest school in
North Queensland which also backs onto the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
“The student sessions feature a fully functioning level crossing model with signage, flashing
lights and replicated train tracks, to teach level crossing safety.
“We also show electrified sneakers to demonstrate the impact 25,000 volts can have from
overhead power lines, so students are familiar with the risks and safe behaviours if they
travel on electrified sections of the network, like in South East Queensland, Bundaberg or
Rockhampton and along the North Coast line to Rockhampton.”
Mr Benstead said the education program aimed to protect the community and prevent
dangerous incidents on the rail network.
“Queensland Rail recorded 22 near miss incidents in Far North Queensland last financial
year, 20 of which involved a motorist and 2 with pedestrians,” he said.
“These statistics are extremely concerning and reflect very dangerous situations. Trains on
our network are heavy and can travel fast – they can’t stop quickly or swerve to avoid you.
“It’s important to remember that these incidents are completely avoidable by simply paying
attention to your surroundings and obeying the signs in place for your protection.
“By targeting schools and community groups located close to the rail corridor, and instilling
rail safety messages from a young age, we hope to broaden awareness of these very real
dangers and foster behaviours that will keep us all safe now and into the future.”
The rail safety roadshow will also include presentations to heavy vehicle drivers, many of
whom travel across the state, to improve level crossing safety and bridge strike awareness.