Trespassing and Vandalism

We take the safety of our customers, the general public and our staff and contractors very seriously.

Every year in Australia there are on average 166 collisions between trains and people or vehicles, including 35 fatalities. These devastate families, communities and train drivers.

Did you know it can take a fully laden freight train more than two kilometres to come to a complete stop? Trains can’t swerve like a car can. If a driver sees an obstacle on the line, all they can do is apply the emergency brake and brace for impact. Do you want to be that obstacle?

The only thing on the tracks should be trains.

What is trespassing?

Trespassing involves unlawfully entering land which is privately or publicly owned by the rail operator. It is illegal to enter the railway corridor unless you are walking or driving across a level crossing. Many people falsely assume that “taking a shortcut” along or over tracks is harmless, but in Australia each year there are on average 166 collisions between trains and people or vehicles, including 35 collisions which result in a fatality. Survivors are left with life-changing injuries, not to mention the devastating impacts on the families, or the distressing trauma it has on lives of the train driver, scene attendants, witnesses and their families because of an avoidable incident.

Trespassing is extremely dangerous. Not only do you risk a criminal charge and fine, you’re also risking your life.

What about fencing?

ARTC manages many thousands of kilometres of track, and it is simply not viable to fence the rail corridor across our entire network. Irrespective of an unfenced section of corridor, under no circumstances is unauthorised entry permitted onto railway land, which is anywhere 15 metres either side of the outermost parts of track, unless otherwise indicated.

Access roads adjacent to the rail track are for maintenance purposes and emergency services only, and are usually chained at the entry points. You should not enter those areas by foot or by vehicle.

What are the penalties for trespassing?

ARTC Security Patrols and ARTC trackside staff can instruct anyone on railway land without permission to leave immediately, or will contact police if we encounter any cases of illegal trespass.

If you witness anyone illegally trespassing, this should be reported to police so call 000 straight away.

Individuals caught trespassing can face significant consequences, including fines of up to $5000.

What is vandalism?

Vandalism is an act where an individual intentionally causes damage to property. This includes:

  • Graffiti
  • Dumping of rubbish and waste
  • General litter
  • Damage to railway infrastructure such as fences, bridges, signage and tracks.

Interference with rail infrastructure is a breach under National Rail Safety Laws.

Graffiti is an ongoing problem for all rail operators, as it is for all property owners. We respond to graffiti as funding and resources permit. If graffiti might impact safety, we remove it as a priority.

What are the penalties if caught vandalising?

ARTC responds to acts of graffiti as funding and resourcing permits, and to trespassing with fines up to $5000. The removal of graffiti that has the ability to impact the safe operation of the network is removed as a priority.

Dumping of rubbish is investigated and can lead to prosecution by ARTC and the Environment Protection Authority (EPA).

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