Locals in the Bundaberg Region are advised to keep an eye out for cane trains from Monday, 22 June in the lead up to the cane harvesting season.
As the cane crushing season rolls out across the Bundaberg Region community members and motorists will see more cane train activity.
With an extensive cane railway network comprising approximately 330 km of track, Bundaberg Sugar advises motorists that its cane trains will have an increasing presence across the district in the lead up to the 2020 cane harvesting season, scheduled to commence on 6 July.
Bundaberg Sugar cane supply manager Robert Powell said it was important for motorists and other members of the community to understand the cane harvesting season brings with it a lot of cane train movement across the company’s cane rail network.
“Our trains operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week from July to December,” Robert said.
“Each year our drivers experience near miss incidents where motorists try to race the trains at level crossings.
“Motorists should not be fooled by the speed of a cane train and must realise that it can’t stop quickly.
“A cane train fully loaded can weigh in excess of 400 tonnes and takes more than a kilometre to stop.”
Around 15 cane trains operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the crushing season.
Robert said Bundaberg Sugar placed a great deal of importance on the safety of its employees and the local communities in which they operate.
“Bundaberg Sugar’s cane rail network plays a significant role in transporting the harvested cane to either of our two sugar mills and without it would increase the number of trucks on our roads,” Robert said.
“It is a safe and reliable means of transport and we need people to obey the road rules and drive to the conditions.”
Bundaberg Police Acting Sergeant Annette Pfingst said many motorists did not realise that failing to stop or give way at the signage situated at a level crossing was a traffic infringement.
“Whether level crossings have flashing lights or signage only, motorists must be vigilant and drive to the conditions, slowing down and obeying the signals,” she said.
“Road users must also be mindful that during the cane harvesting season we see more heavy vehicles on our roads, such as trucks, harvesters and haul-outs. Be patient and only overtake when safe to do so.”
Keeping kids off tracks during cane train season
As school holidays start at the end of June it's a timely reminder for parents to be aware of their children’s activities and whereabouts and for them to remind their children to keep well away from the cane railway tracks.
“It is tempting for children to play on the tracks and around cane trains and bins, especially during the school holidays,” Robert said.
“We urge parents to educate their children of the dangers associated with such behaviour.”
Fines for failing to adhere to road rules
Currently motorists could receive a $400 traffic infringement notice and three demerit points for the following offences:
- Fail to stop at Stop sign at level crossing
- Fail to give way at Stop sign at level crossing
- Fail to give way at Give Way sign at level crossing
- Enter level crossing while warning lights or bells operating
- Enter level crossing while train on crossing
- Enter level crossing while train approaching crossing and collision likely
- Enter level crossing while crossing or road beyond is blocked
- Fail to leave level crossing as soon as practicable
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