Be safe around cane trains as crushing season gets underway

Richard Dinnen - Queensland Editor |

Queenslanders are being reminded to keep safe around cane trains, as the state’s sugar cane crushing season gets into full swing.

Locomotives hauling bins full of freshly cut cane operate 24 hours a day during the crush season, which runs from May through to November.

There are over 4000 kilometres of sugar cane railway track in Queensland, with many lines crossing public roads. All train level crossings are signed, but not all of them have flashing lights.

Collisions between vehicles and cane trains are common, most of them involving local road users.

In the Cassowary Coast region of far north Queensland, Senior Constable Jane Moran, said there are many important safety messages for cane train communities.

“When approaching train crossings, slow down, stop and give way to trains.

“Parents should ensure their children do not play on train tracks or near cane bins.

“Discuss rail safety with your children. Remind them that cane trains carry large loads and have limited ability to brake suddenly.”

Constable Moran said parents should make sure children don’t go on to or fish from cane railway bridges, where there’s high risk of injury if they’re caught by a train.

Queensland is expected to produce 30 million tonnes of cane this season, with a likely yield of about four million tonnes of raw sugar.

Australian Sugar Milling Council projections show the northern region will deliver 6,786,300 tonnes of cane, the Herbert-Burdekin region 12,340,000 tonnes, while 8,040,000 tonnes will be delivered in the central region, and 2,870,000 tonnes in the southern region.

Council CEO, Rachele Sheard, said the Queensland crop is slightly up on 2021, with better global sugar prices lifting industry confidence.

The Council said more than 3,300 small businesses work in the milling sector supply chain. Overall, the sugar industry contributes $3.8 billion to the Queensland economy, and $2 billion in export earnings.