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Punters have been risking life and limb by crossing, walking along and even dancing on working railway lines while on their way to and from popular music festival Groovin the Moo.
Thousands of music lovers will descend on Maitland Showground this weekend for their annual Groovin romp, but a Hunter train driver has urged festival-goers not to play Russian Roulette with their lives on the busy freight route during this year’s festival.
The freight train driver, who spoke to Fairfax Media on the condition of anonymity, said he had experienced several near-misses in recent years during Groovin the Moo.
“Every time, without fail, I have had near-misses where there have been people heavily affected by alcohol and drugs on the tracks or in the danger zone, crossing from the showground to get to the [Harold Gregson Reserve] campsite,” the driver, a 12-year veteran of the job, said.
“The young people tend to not use the rail cross-over bridge and just go through the fence that has holes in it.
“During the last Groovin the Moo, there were actually people standing on the line dressed in costumes that I missed by maybe a metre at most.
“There were dozens of people dancing on adjacent live rail lines and they appeared to be heavily affected by drugs and not have a care in the world.”
Last year, occupants of a car suffered minor injuries after their vehicle plummeted off the railway overpass near Harold Gregson Reserve and onto the train tracks while they were on their way to the music festival.
The train driver who spoke to Fairfax Media this week said incidents and near-misses put strain on the mental health of railway workers.
“My trains currently take approximately 1km to stop and there is no coming back if someone is hit,” he said.
“The amount of near misses I have had through [Maitland] has almost brought my railway career to a stop as it’s too mentally draining and stressing.
“Every time I’m wondering if I hit the person who was playing around there.
“The only time have I ever seen masses like this playing near rail lines has been during Groovin the Moo.”
This article first appeared on www.maitlandmercury.com.au
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