Near fatality at Howard crossing

A FEW short seconds separated a 10-year-old boy from gruesome disaster on Sunday afternoon when he stepped across a railway level crossing at Howard.

The driver of an approaching train was forced to activate the emergency brakes when he saw the child walk on to the railway line at the William Street level crossing about 3.30pm.

The train was within 50 metres of the crossing at the time.

The Pacific National train, which was moving “at speed” when the driver saw the youth, came to a full stop.

The driver then alerted Queensland Rail which contacted police in Howard. A police patrol of the area failed to find the youngster.

“At this stage we are not sure of speeds but he was probably travelling at speed,” Nathan Scholz, public relations manager at Queensland Rail, said.

“The child probably doesn’t realise how close they came to a catastrophe but the driver does.

“This has a ripple effect. These incidents affect all involved even when a collision is avoided.

“At the controls of these trains are drivers – people from our local communities with family and friends who are affected by such events.

“It is particularly upsetting for drivers where children are involved.”

A QR RailSmart education team has been encouraged by the response to widespread schools visits this year where students were informed on staying safe at level crossings and railways.

“While this is encouraging and most of the kids and teenagers are doing the right thing around railways, this latest incident, which could have had serious or even fatal results, is truly terrifying.”

Mr Scholz urged parents and the wider community to take a personal role in educating local youth on rail safety.

The Chronicle tried to contact Pacific National yesterday but received no response.

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