Queensland Rail is touring Far North Queensland, 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, which started on 30 August and ends tomorrow (10 September), focussed 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,” 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.
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 two with pedestrians,” he said.
“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 also included presentations to heavy vehicle drivers, many of whom travel across the state, to improve level crossing safety and bridge strike awareness.