Queensland’s new Transport Minister today appealed to the public, to stop a life threatening game of cat-and-mouse, with trains.
Scott Emerson says he’s shocked that there are hundreds of near-fatalities on Queensland’s railways, every year.
Anna Fleetwood reports.
It’s shocking and deplorable but near misses like this, are a common occurrence on Queensland’s railways.
Scott Emerson, Qld Transport Minister: “We’re pleading with people be careful around rail tracks. Don’t take your life in your hands, don’t play games, don’t take the risk.”
Minister Emerson says it’s not just kids pedestrians and drivers trying to shave a bit off their commute time are also guilty of this type of behaviour.
And even though running across the tracks can attract a $200 fine it doesn’t seem to deter life risking behaviour.
Scott Emerson, Qld Transport Minister: “This kind of behaviour is not really going to be controlled by fines. What the reality is, if people are going to take this risky behaviour, they’re going to take this risky behaviour, they’re going to take this risky behaviour – surely the biggest fine for them is losing their lives.”
In 2011 there were 472 near-misses at level crossings around Queensland. Over 600 fines were issued but it’s estimated the real number of risk-takers is much higher.
The potential impact is not confined to the risk-takers or their families, train drivers are devastated by such incidents.
Jim Benstead, Acting CEO Queensland Rail; “In some cases it is extraordinary we’ve had train drivers who haven’t been able to return to work after a serious incident.”
The Minister recently announced the state government will commission an independent audit of city rail networks.
The report is due next month.
Anna Fleetwood, QUT News.