To mark Rail Safety Week, TasRail has announced it will be working with Tasmania Police to target illegal trespassing on and infrastructure vandalism on the state’s rail corridors.
The joint effort will reportedly focus on deliberate sabotage of rail operations along with tackling the dangers of loitering on or near the railway.
TasRail’s Train Control will report incidents to the police and provide them with CCTV footage from trains, as well as camera images from level crossings to help identify and apprehend offenders.
While there has reportedly been a reduction in trespass incidents on the state’s network, there has also been an 89 per cent increase in level crossing vandalism from the 2015/16 financial year to 2016/17. Indeed, reported incidents in the first six weeks of the current financial year have shown record levels of level crossing vandalism.
“It is incredibly disappointing to see ongoing irresponsible and reckless behaviour that endangers lives, especially tampering with level crossing equipment,” TasRail CEO Damien White said.
“We encourage all Tasmanians and visitors to our state to treat our rail network with respect to ensure our highly-valued employees can go home unharmed each night, our trains can carry freight safely on behalf of our customers, and that the health and safety of the general public is not put at risk.”
Recent CCTV footage reportedly shows a high number of children trespassing in the rail corridor, and even placing obstructions on the track.
One incident on the North West Coast was reported by a train driver, who saw a pick axe being thrown by several youths on to the track ahead of an incoming train.
White urged parents and teachers to educate children about the risk of life-threatening danger of accessing the rail corridor.
“A train can come at any time and it takes locomotive driver almost 1000 metres to stop a train travelling at 70 kilometres per hour, or 450 metres when travelling at 30 kilometres per hour,” he said.
Members of the public can report witnessed incidents of unauthorised access to the rail corridor or suspicious activity near rail infrastructure to TasRail on 1300 TASRAIL or the Tasmanian Police on 13 1444 (000 for emergencies).