DESPITE regular reminders in Wilmar’s weekly Burdekin Production Report of the dangers associated with cane trains, with harvesting and crushing operations in full swing, Australia’s largest sugar manufacturer has issued fresh warnings about the need for vigilance around its cane rail network following a spike in collisions and near-hits with cane trains.
Wilmar Sugar’s General Manager Cane Supply and Grower Relations, Paul Giordani said he was alarmed by the number of incidents where vehicles had failed to give way to cane trains or where children had been caught ‘riding’ cane bins.
“We are very concerned about the number of hits and near-hits we have seen around our rail crossings this season, a number of which have been captured by our on-board loco cameras,” Mr Giordani said, as he indicated that many of the recent incidents involved local children or sugar industry workers.
“While complacency appears to play a role in some cases, in others, children are choosing to engage in risky and dangerous behaviours by jumping on and off moving cane bins,” he said.
“Wilmar Sugar owns and operates eight sugar mills across the Burdekin, Herbert, Proserpine and Sarina regions,” Mr Giordani said as he advised that the company had installed front and rear facing cameras on its entire Herbert loco fleet and was progressively fitting cameras on all locos in its other milling regions.
CCTV from one of Wilmar’s Burdekin locos captured detailed footage of a haul out truck colliding with a cane train, after failing to give way at an occupational crossing.
As the train approaches the crossing, the haul out truck can be seen exiting a paddock ahead of the locomotive and travelling in the same direction for a short distance before cutting across the cane rail crossing in front of the oncoming cane train.
Also, in the Burdekin – A collision occurred where a car failed to give way to a cane train at a level crossing; A near-hit, where a haul out vehicle crossed a cane rail line in front of a loco; and A near-hit in the Burdekin involving a bobcat working near the cane rail line without authorisation.
Other 2022 season incidents in other areas include—Several reports of children ‘riding’ on cane bins through Ingham; Ten near-hits in the Herbert region involving vehicles and haul out vehicles; An incident in Proserpine involving an excavator; A near-hit in Proser- pine where a member of the public was waiting for a bus close to the rail line; and a collision in the Sarina region.