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EIGHT Queensland families a week run the risk of being devastated by death or injury because of unnecessary risks at Queensland Rail level crossings.
Queensland Rail's annual report details how there were 408 near misses in the 2011-12 financial year involving motorists or pedestrians driving or running in front of trains at level crossings or rail corridors.
This is despite protection - such as boom gates, flashing lights, stop signs and give-way signs - at each of the 1392 public level crossings on the network.
New chairman Glen Dawe, the third generation of his family to work for QR after working his way through the ranks from a porter, said the company's objectives for the next financial year fit closely with the State Government's four-pillar economy focus on agriculture, tourism, resources and construction.
He said QR would focus on providing a supply pathway for goods to port or business for the agriculture and resource industries and deliver critical transport infrastructure throughout Queensland, to meet growing population and economic demands.
Mr Dawe said QR would also devote energy as a tourism operator by attracting domestic and international tourists to Queensland and partnering with other tourist operators throughout the state to do the same.
QR plans to leverage off a growing Chinese tourism market and a growth in "international visitors from emerging economies" in future years.
The report detailed how the company would also focus on balancing the rapid expansion in South-east Queensland's population, commuter and long distance passenger trains with freight operators needing access to paths on the network.
QR is expecting the SEQ population to increase from about 3.1 million people to more than 4 million in the next 20 years which would have a significant impact on freight transport.
The company expects freight transport to double by 2020 and triple by 2050 which could cause "bottle-necks in the rail network".
"Queensland Rail is tackling the resulting capacity challenges through a long term rail network strategy for growth," the report read.
"Regional access and infrastructure network access and infrastructure services include the design, delivery and management of network paths and rail assets across Queensland.
"This will help meet the needs of our resource company customers as well as freight, travel and tourist rail operators."
Queensland Rail operates the fleet of trains providing public passenger transport in South-East Queensland as well as train travel between Brisbane and key regional areas such as Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Longreach, Charleville and Mount Isa.
This article first appeared on www.mydailynews.com.au
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