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Free ride could be their last

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September 21, 2019 by admin

tSource: The Advocate
Nanjing Night Net

Train surfers are at serious risk of being crushed to death within seconds, a Tasmanian train driver says.

“It can only take one moment,” TasRail driver Grant Youd said.

Mr Youd was speaking out after a recent incident that saw two train-surfing teenagers caught hitching a ride on a Burnie to Ulverstone train on Sunday.

Mr Youd was not driving the train on this occasion, but it triggered a stark reminder of a similar incident when he was behind the controls.

“I was driving south from Burnie and I had a notification from train control that there was a chap riding on the train,” he said.

Mr Youd said the train surfer jumped off the train after it had been brought to a controlled stop, knowing he’d been spotted.

“They jump into the scrub when the train stops and then when you take off, they jump back on again,” he said.

“It is very frustrating because we are just trying to do our job.

“We have different terrain and geography to negotiate, there are so many variables and we don’t want to have to contend with this as well.”

Mr Youd said train surfers would normally hop on a train when it was travelling at a slower speed, therefore miscalculating the danger.

“They have no knowledge of the trains and they don’t realise the carriages can move quickly and violently,” he said.

“If they (the train surfers) fall, they will be run over.”

He warned that trains were similar to cars in some ways, in that varied speed limits applied in different sections of the track, ranging from 15km/h to 60km/h.

“At 50 or 60, there are some fearsome forces built up.”

Mr Youd said drivers were instructed to bring trains to a controlled stop when required.

“We can’t just slam on the brakes because trailing loads are not conducive to slamming on the brakes _ it could cause a derailment,” he said.

Mr Youd said it was concerning there were still people who were struggling to grasp the message of safety around trains.

He had experienced a number of near misses in his time as a train driver, he said.

He said drivers reported all incidents, including the registration numbers of cars where possible.

Mr Youd was at a loss to explain what further action could be taken to try and minimise these incidents.

Mr Youd encouraged members of the public to continue to speak out if they saw incidents of dangerous behaviour.

“I would ask the public to keep reporting these incidents,” he said.

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