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Aurizon is targeting anti-coal protestors illegally trespassing in the rail corridor with a new public safety campaign.

The rail business says train drivers living in Queensland’s regional communities are at the heart of the ‘Don’t put your life on the line’ campaign.

An unnamed North Queensland train driver has spoken out about the devastating impact of near misses and the fear that one day he will kill someone.

“I can still sit here talk about how it went and exactly what happened, so the fear of actually running over someone and actually killing someone, it would be just devastating, totally devastating,” he said in an Aurizon media statement today.

Coal train drivers could not just pull up on a whim, he warned.

“We’ve got 10,000 tonnes of coal at the back of us and when we’re hurtling along at 80km per hour, it takes at least two and a half kilometres to pull up and stop the train,” the driver said.

“So, if we come around the corner and they’re on the track, all we can do is put the emergency brakes on and then close our eyes. They seem to think that we can stop at any time.”

While the campaign aims to raise general community awareness, Aurizon highlighted on-track protests as one of the primary safety concerns for the company and its train drivers in Queensland.

Aurizon chief executive officer Andrew Harding said the company wanted people to understand that near-misses on railways had a traumatic and lasting impact on its train drivers.

“Through this campaign we want to remind people to be vigilant around the rail corridor for their safety and for our train drivers’ safety. It is only a matter of time before someone is seriously hurt or killed due to unsafe or reckless behaviour,” he said.

“We don’t want our drivers bearing the emotional burden for something that could have been prevented, and potentially being so traumatised they can’t return to work or drive a train again.”

Anti-coal protests at the heart of rail safety campaign