With an average seven fatalities a month on the Australian rail network, the TrackSAFE Foundation and the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) are urging everyone to take more care at level crossings and station platforms.

Chair of the TrackSAFE Foundation and the ARA Danny Broad said more than 100 organisations in Australia and New Zealand will unite for Rail Safety Week, held from August 7-13, to remind people to ‘Expect the Unexpected. Watch out for Trains!’.

“Rail Safety Week highlights how the industry, unions, police, government and the wider community can work together to support a safer rail network,” Mr Broad said.

“This week we are reminding everyone to be more alert and aware when near or on the rail network – a moment of distraction can change your life forever.

“Let’s remember to take off our headphones, not use our phone while getting on to a train and always obey signs at level crossings – whether we’re a pedestrian or a driver in a vehicle.”

Between 2016-2022, there were an average of 84 rail-related fatalities per year, or seven per month in Australia, and 1,760 level crossing and trespass near hits.

During Rail Safety Week, rail operators, police, governments and community organisations across the country will hold several events including safety demonstrations and webinars and encourage schools and community groups to raise awareness about how to stay safe around rail.

The metropolitan campaign “Stand Back. Look Up. Stay Rail Safe” features Paralympian and rail accident survivor Vanessa Low OAM sharing her own lived experience as a rail accident survivor. When Vanessa was 15, she fell from an overcrowded platform and into the path of an oncoming train and lost both her legs in the accident.

ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie and TrackSAFE Foundation Director said this year’s campaign will also include a focus on regional areas with the reminder to ‘Expect the Unexpected. Watch out for Trains!’.

“Trains are a significant part of Australia’s regional transport network and can come any time, day or night, including when we’re least expecting them,” said Ms Wilkie.

“Fatalities and near hits on the network may cause severe trauma to rail employees and the wider community and most incidents can be avoided.”

TrackSAFE Foundation Executive Director Heather Neil recommends the following tips to stay safe on and around rail:

  • Turning down distractions by taking off headphones and looking up from phones
  • Not rushing to beat the gate at level crossings
  • Holding onto handrails on trains
  • Always obeying level crossing signs and signals
  • Always checking for trains in both directions

For more information and access to free Rail Safety Week 2023 resources visit here.

Access to fatality and incident data reports can be found here, including state/territory breakdowns.

About TrackSAFE Foundation

The TrackSAFE Foundation is the rail industry’s harm prevention charity and aims to reduce fatalities and injuries on the rail network resulting from suicide, trespass and human error, whilst also improving the wellbeing of the rail workforce.

Watch out for Trains


About the Australasian Railway Association

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) is the peak body for the rail sector in Australia and New Zealand, with more than 220 member organisations. The ARA’s program of work is focused on supporting a strong advocacy agenda and creating opportunities for the rail industry to network, collaborate and share information, and maximise the benefits rail has to offer the wider community.