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AN extraordinary campaign targeting anti-coal activists has been launched by one of Australia’s largest rail companies amid revelations that protesters locking themselves to train tracks were now a primary safety concern.
Aurizon will today launch its ‘Don’t put your life on the line’ safety campaign to help protect its drivers, particularly those living in regional Queensland.
CEO Andrew Harding said it was only a matter of time before someone was killed while protesting near rail lines, with people needing to understand that near-misses had a traumatic impact on train drivers.
“Trauma and mental health remain one of the rail industry’s biggest challenges for its driver community and can have flow on effects for their families as well,” he said.
“We don’t want our drivers bearing the emotional burden for something that could have been prevented and potentially being so traumatised they can’t return to work or drive a train again.”
A loaded coal train. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts)The campaign launch, which also aims to raise general community awareness about safety, coincides with the Bob Brown Foundation’s Stop Adani convoy that leaves Hobart today.
The convoy will protest against the Carmichael coal mine as it travels north to central Queensland before hosting a “special event” in the Galilee area on April 28.
It’s the first time Aurizon has launched such an extensive safety campaign following years of dangerous protesting, including by the Stop Adani movement, along rail corridors.
One north Queensland driver, who’s worked in the industry for more than 40 years, said the results of protests could be devastating.
“We just can’t pull up on a whim,” he said.
“We’ve got 10,000 tonnes of coal at the back of us and when we’re hurtling along at 80km per hour, it takes at least two and a half kilometres to pull up and stop the train.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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