A man has been charged after allegedly causing the derailment of a cane train at Ingham that resulted in a major cane crushing stoppage at the Victoria Mill.
The derailment caused significant damage to the cane train track infrastructure and equipment. Queensland Rail’s line was undamaged.
It is alleged the man broke into a Queensland Rail facility and caused a cane train carrying 96 empty cane bins to derail near the intersection of Cartwright and Lynn Streets in Ingham.
A 19-year-old Cardwell man was arrested at the scene and charged on Sunday.
He is expected to appear at the Ingham Magistrates Court on November 17.
Cane harvesters and millers are struggling to make up for missed time lost due to heavy rain this crushing season.
The eight-hour stoppage reduced output at Victoria Mill by half and increased the risk of stand-over cane being left in fields at the end of the season.
Up to ten near hits a day
Cane train driver Christine Malaponte said train drivers throughout the country faced up to 10 near hits a day.
“We don’t want to have to be in an accident and hurt someone,” Ms Malaponte said.
“It is pretty stressful. Especially if we see the red lights coming on and will still see cars coming towards us at full speed.
“If we’ve got a load of 120 full bins, that’s over 900 tonnes. It takes us maybe a kilometre to pull up, even longer.
“When they run through red lights, people don’t realise how long we take to pull up.
“If they don’t stop we’re probably going to hit them. We don’t want that guilt on us because it’s not our fault that we’ve hit someone.”