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Train crews are threatening to boycott services to and from Bulldogs rugby league games after a series of violent attacks, some involving the team's fans.
The drastic measure could affect Sunday's Bulldogs-Canberra clash at Telstra Stadium, stranding thousands of fans who use the train to Olympic Park to attend the game. It is part of a broader campaign to boost security for travellers and rail crews across the network.
On Monday night, a driver reported three "molotov cocktails" were thrown at a train between Bankstown and Yagoona stations.
The secretary of the NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Nick Lewocki, said delegates would take a proposal to members in rail depots across Sydney to boycott dangerous stretches of track unless the State Government reinforced rail security staff, including putting police on trains to and from Bulldogs games.
The union is worried about the safety of drivers at night, especially on the Bankstown and Richmond lines.
"Our members have said enough is enough," Mr Lewocki told the Herald last night. "We will not run trains on the affected lines and we will not stop at the affected stations after dark. It's not worth the lives of our members."
Drunk and violent Bulldogs fans - identified by their jerseys - had almost destroyed a carriage after a June match. "They get on the train and they're pissed and throwing bottles. Other passengers and the crews just can't put up with it any more. Our guys are not seeing the sort of police presence that was promised."
Train drivers met yesterday, in the lead-up to Sunday's game at Telstra Stadium, to demand RailCorp honour a promise to to upgrade security. They want police on trains carrying fans and, on other dangerous lines, a rapid-response system, so police in patrol cars can pursue offenders if they flee a train when it pulls in at stations.
Five years ago, Bulldogs officials met RailCorp and union representatives and promised to control their supporters.
This latest embarrassment will not help the Bulldogs' image problem. At the weekend, a lower-grade player was accused of assaulting a bouncer at a pub before fleeing in a stolen car, then dumping it outside Maroubra police station. And the first-grade Bulldog Brad Morrin faces the judiciary tonight on a biting charge.
Anarchy on trains has spread beyond games. Mr Lewocki said parts of the Bankstown and Richmond lines had become virtual no-go zones. Cases include:
- Up to 20 youths dressed in Bulldogs jerseys vandalising a carriage in just eight minutes as it travelled between Olympic Park and Lidcombe after a June match;
- Two youths wielding clubs attacking a driver at Richmond station in July. Traumatised, he took sick leave.
by Andrew West
August 8, 2007
The Sydney Morning Herald
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