Tasmanians appear to be getting the message when it comes to rail safety, with new data revealing an annual 60 per cent drop in the number of people failing to stop or give way at level crossings.
While TasRail’s 2019/20 rail safety data has been welcomed, the organisation’s chief executive Steven Dietrich has used Rail Safety Week to warn Tasmanians not to let their guards down.
“This [60 per cent drop] is excellent news and highlights the success of some of our initiatives in the area, but it is not cause for complacency,” Mr Dietrich said.
In other news:
The latest TasRail data shows people in the North and North-West are the worst offenders in the state when it comes to rail safety breaches.
In the last financial year 51 people in the North and North-West trespassed in a rail corridor. Just six in the South of the state were found to have committed the same offence.
The data revealed 26 people in the North and North-West failed to stop or give way at a level crossing.That figure was up sharply on the seven people caught committing the same offence in the South.
Mr Dietrich said TasRail worked closely with Tasmania Police and other stakeholders to ensure offenders were caught.
“We also have a very active Facebook community that assists us at a grassroots level,” he said.
TasRail safety and risk management advisor Corrie Shipton said the community needed to remember pedestrians and trains do not mix.
“There is no such thing as a safe short cut through a rail corridor,” Ms Shipton said.
“We urge the public to remember that our timetables vary to suit the needs of our customers and train engines are quieter than what people think and take far longer to come to a stop than motor vehicles.”
According to TasRail, crossings where most safety breaches occurred were located on Drummond Street at Perth, Wellington Street at Longford and Reeves Street at South Burnie.
Heather Neil, executive director of rail safety organisation the TrackSAFE Foundation, urged people to pay more attention when they were near or a train or at a level crossing.
“TrackSAFE is asking the community to make a rail safe pledge and really think about staying off the tracks, avoiding distractions, following safety instructions and encouraging others to be safe,” she said.
“Talking to train drivers, they can’t erase that picture of hitting or a near miss from their mind. Rail staff are really scarred by those experiences.”
Rail Safety Week runs from August 10-16.