Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Operations and Maintenance, Passenger Rail

No kidding: Queensland Rail brings in goat brigade

Queensland Rail goat

Queensland Rail has brought in a goat gang to control overgrown vegetation, with a herd of hungry goats deployed to graze on tall grass and weeds near Tully railway station in Far North Queensland.

Queensland Rail Head of Regional Scott Cornish said he was excited to welcome 15 four-legged experts in the field for a trial to remove the toughest of weeds from the regional network.

“Goats are a safe and environmentally friendly way to clear overgrown vegetation without the use of heavy machinery or herbicides,” he said.

“In addition to their extensive chomping experience, they are able manoeuvre around the most hard to reach places, climbing steep and rocky terrain with ease – spots that our heavy machinery simply can’t access.

“A one-acre area near Tully station was identified as the perfect spot for the trial and we expect the goats to not only keep weeds away, but also make the seeds of the invasive weeds non-viable.

“This will help reduce future vegetation management costs by allowing local native rainforest trees and shrub seeds to germinate and gradually revegetate the whole one-acre area.”

Cornish said Queensland Rail was inspired by Melbourne’s Metro Trains, which  first brought goat control onboard in 2019.

“Queensland Rail has enlisted local business, NQ Vegetation Management (NORVEG) to get the trial underway,” he said.

“To ensure the goats safety, CCTV and fencing has been installed to create a secure goat enclosure, well away from the rail corridor. This protects them from both predators and from escaping and wandering into any rail or nearby road traffic.”

The lucky herd have already started reaping the benefits of the job with free food, water, accommodation, and a dedicated carer included in their 8-week contract with a possibility of extension.