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Cane train collisions and near misses spark warning on north Queensland rail lines



#Cane #practice #collisions #misses #spark #warning #north #Queensland #rail #strains

Cane practice drivers in north Queensland have appealed to motorists to take care round rail strains as they report incidents they’ve little management over. 

There was a worrying improve within the variety of close to misses and collisions throughout this yr’s harvesting season.

In a single incident within the Burdekin, a haul-out automobile crossed onto strains in entrance of a loco travelling at excessive velocity.

That induced critical harm to not solely the truck and cane bins, but in addition the loco, or practice used to move lower cane to mills.

Wilmar Sugar cane provide and transport common supervisor Paul Giordani stated there had been far too many collisions, close to misses and “absolute no-nos”.

“Within the Ingham space we have had three situations the place we have had kids using on our cane bins and we have handed that onto police,” he stated.

Cane rail bins on a line next to a damaged excavator
An excavator was broken after it was hit on a cane railway hall in Proserpine.(Provided: Wilmar Sugar)

“After which we have had situations in Proserpine and Airplane Creek … the place individuals are utilizing our railway hall as a street.”

He stated a loco made contact with an excavator which was travelling alongside the rail hall at Proserpine.

“I do not know why individuals are utilizing the railway hall as a street, it should not occur, it isn’t on,” he stated.

Mr Giordani stated fortunately there had been no critical accidents, however there had been important harm to tools.

Extra consciousness wanted

Haul-out automobiles are used throughout sugar milling districts to maneuver cane to a rail siding or pushed alongside the street to the mill for processing.

Mr Giordani stated all close to misses and hits had been regarding, however famous {that a} quantity had concerned individuals who labored on the harvest.

A field of tall sugar cane crop in a field with a sunset in the background.
The sugar cane business is asking for higher consciousness of equipment and trains.(ABC Tropical North: Melissa Maddison)

“We have had incidents the place haul-out operators have moved out of the siding surroundings and almost made contact with locos,” he stated.

“We’re speaking with growers, we’re speaking to the harvesting fraternity … it is simply frequently with consciousness and everybody to be observant.”

There has additionally been a report of a close to miss in Proserpine involving a member of the general public who was standing too near a rail line whereas ready for a bus.

A irritating time

Canegrowers chairman Owen Menkens stated haul-outs may cross a railway line 50 or 60 instances a day, whereas the loco would possibly undergo as soon as a day.

A yellow cane train loco on a rail line driving past a cane field.
Cane trains will proceed to be working in sugar areas into the New 12 months.(Provided: ABC North Queensland)

“It may be laborious to maintain forward of it,” he stated.

The crushing season is anticipated to run a lot later than traditional as a consequence of moist climate interrupting harvesting in lots of components of the state.

Mr Menkens stated it was vital the business labored collectively to get the crop off safely.

“Everybody must be cautious, to be vigilant and to maintain their eyes out,” he stated.

“It is a irritating yr for growers and contractors, nobody likes to be crushing all the way in which into December, so we have to do what we will to get the cane off.”

Mackay Sugar this week stated it was unlikely to get the entire crop off, with simply 57 per cent lower to this point.

With out rain interruptions, it forecast a projected end date in mid-January, properly after the standard finish in late November or early December.

Labour scarcity points

The sugar harvest sector, like many others, is feeling the effects of labour shortages.

Because of this, various inexperienced operators have been working within the seasonal business amid stress to get crops off with a smaller pool of staff.

Mr Giordani stated that could possibly be contributing to the regarding variety of incidents.

“We all know that harvest operators and haul-out operators undergo an induction or coaching course of … we’ve to return and take a look and see these methodologies whether or not they have to be checked out once more and improved,” Mr Giordani stated.

Sugar foyer group Canegrowers has labored for a number of years to try to encourage extra operators into the business.

Plenty of years in the past the business struggled to compete with the mining business for staff and was then hit laborious by COVID lockdowns, stopping folks from shifting across the state and into Queensland.