Gladstone kids 'play Russian roulette' on rail: Aurizon

TRAIN drivers in Central Queensland have been shocked and left visibly shaken by children playing in drainage culverts next to the railway corridor where 10,500 tonne coal trains operate.

Aurizon train drivers based at Gladstone stopped a train near Ambrose, north of Gladstone to warn the children to leave the area, only to have the children return a short time later. Another Aurizon train crew then made arrangements for the police to be called.

Aurizon's head of safety, Neil Backer said it is frustrating that the message is not getting through.

"The rail corridor is a high risk environment providing an exclusion zone for the safety of the community.  It is not a place to play. 

"A fully loaded coal train can take up to two kilometres to stop once the emergency brake is applied.  These children were playing very close to the tracks and our drivers were concerned that a tragedy was about to unfold.

"Incidents like these can be extremely traumatic for our train drivers and can stay with them for their whole lives.  Our train drivers deserve to go to work every day without being shaken from witnessing risky behaviour like this.

"Over the past month we have received three reports of people and children 'cutting' through the rail corridor to take a 'short cut'.  These people are playing Russian roulette with their lives.

"We will continue to work with the Queensland Police to prosecute trespassers."

With school returning this week, Aurizon will be advising local schools of the recent incidents and in the coming months arranging some visits to educate students about the dangers of railway tracks.

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