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A RAIL photographer’s quick actions averted an accident between a freight train and the XPT on the main southern line last month.
Long time railway photographer and author Peter Attenborough had been driving ahead of a northbound Queensland Rail National (QRN) freight train near Penrose on March 23 when he noticed a tree had fallen over lines.
The Post understands Mr Attenborough turned around and raced back to flag down the freight train. It stopped a short distance before the tree, averting a potential catastrophe.
The crew contacted control which brought the XPT to a stop as well. QRN and the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) have confirmed the incident but did not know the photographer’s identity.
The Post was unable to contact Mr Attenborough. “QR National crew advised local arborists, who removed the tree,” a spokesman said.
“The drivers of the train then waited for the ARTC to arrive and give the all clear to continue on the track. There were no injuries to the crew and no damage to the train.”
The grain train was travelling between Cootamundra and Port Kembla. But it wasn’t the first time the freight carrier encountered fallen trees on the line.
The results were more damaging the following day at Medlow Junction.
Another QRN train travelling reportedly at 100km/h from Brisbane to Melbourne, hit a tree which the crew believed had fallen across the track following strong winds. The carrier confirmed exterior damage, including broken windscreens, on the front of the leading locomotive.
“There were no injuries to the crew and the train was taken at reduced speed to Goulburn where a new lead loco was swapped onto the train. QR National contacted the ARTC in relation to the incident,” a QRN spokesman said.
A photo snapped by another rail photographer, Andrew Rosenbauer reveals the fallout as the loco arrived back in Goulburn that afternoon. ARTC, which is charged with maintaining the tracks, confirmed three separate incidents in the last few weeks, including the March 24 crash, where trees had fallen over the track.
“The cause is the recent rain, which increases the moisture in the soil heightening the possibility of the trees falling,” a spokesman said.
“The trees were on private property and ARTC will be working with private land owners to address the situation as (we) cannot enter private land and cut down the trees.
“ARTC works to keep tall trees out of the rail corridor but cannot do the same on private property. What happens is that the trees on private property grow (and lean) towards the cleared rail corridor, seeking the natural light.”
He thanked Mr Attenborough for his actions, via the Goulburn Post.
QRN said it took track safety very seriously and worked with network providers to ensure safe operation of trains.
The ARTC spokesman told the Post the freight carrier had not sought compensation.
This article first appeared on www.goulburnpost.com.au
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