Statement on dangerous protest activity
The following statement can be attributed to a Bowen Rail Company spokesperson:
An anti-coal protestor came close to being killed or seriously injured last night when she locked herself onto a train stopped at signals near Collinsville in Central Queensland.
The driver was waiting for a passing train to clear the area before rejoining the main line when he became aware a protestor had locked onto a wagon further back in the train. He immediately stopped what he was doing and asked for the police to be called.
The trains travel at speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour.
Police cut the protestor off the train before 9pm last night and the train then safely travelled to the coal export terminal at Abbot Point as part of testing and commissioning activities.
The train was undertaking testing and commissioning and had earlier been stopped in a different location while some work was carried out as a part of this process.
Bowen Rail Company General Manager Brendan Lane said anti-coal protestors seemed to be oblivious to the danger they had placed themselves in.
“What this protestor did last night was incredibly selfish, they could have been killed or seriously injured.
“If our driver had not shown the situational awareness he did and realised activists had climbed onto a wagon, he may have had the traumatic experience of knowing that someone had been hurt or killed on his shift, and that is not something I would wish on anyone.
“The people who helped the protestor to lock onto our train should also take a long hard look at themselves and ask themselves what kind of person puts a friend at risk like that?
“They should think about what it would be like to make the terrible call to parents, friends and family to say someone they helped lock onto a train was dead or in hospital.”
The train that the protestor locked onto was one of Bowen Rail Company’s new trains that the company is testing and commissioning to ensure they are ready to operate safely and efficiently.
As is the usual process for new pieces of equipment and infrastructure, this is expected to take a period of time as the new machines and infrastructure are tested, both while hauling loads and with empty wagons.
The Carmichael Project is on track to begin exporting coal in 2021. The state-of -the art locomotives arrived in Townsville in September.
Bowen Rail Company has been successfully recruiting local people from Bowen and the Whitsunday region for long-term jobs in the business.