Environment and Sustainability, Freight Rail

Aurizon slams “reckless” rail protest

A pair of environmental protesters who allegedly broke into the rail corridor in Brisbane on Tuesday morning to chain themselves to an Aurizon train have been condemned as “dangerous and reckless” by the rail operator.

The pair, apparently representing the group Stop Queensland Coal Exports, were arrested by Queensland Police and later released, after entering the rail corridor and attaching themselves to an Aurizon locomotive in the Brisbane region.

Aurizon safety head Danny Harnedy condemned their actions, saying they had put lives at risk by illegally entering the corridor and standing in front of a moving coal train.

“Everyone has a right to express their opinion but we simply can’t tolerate this dangerous and reckless behaviour by protesters, who have chained themselves to the locomotive,” Harnedy said.

“It is grossly irresponsible for these groups to jeopardise the safety of themselves and our train drivers, who can be traumatised by near-miss incidents like this.”

Aurizon said it would work closely with Queensland Police throughout its investigation.

The protesters appeared to be taking specific issue with Aurizon’s proposal for its own railway to serve Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin.

The operator says anti-coal activists “are not interested in sensible, sustainable development of Australia’s high-quality resources, nor the environmental benefits of Aurizon’s alternate proposal for the Galilee Basin in Queensland”.

Aurizon says its alternate to Adani’s own rail plan would use existing rail infrastructure, and would require only 190 kilometres of new railway – half that of Adani’s greenfield plan.