Rail fast facts


  1. Freight trains run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week including weekends and holidays.
  2. Passenger trains can also run anytime, even overnight while they are empty.
  3. Trains can come any time and from any direction, even when there is only one line.
  4. As well as timetabled trains, other trains can be running anytime, which won’t show up on timetables, station information screens, or real time apps.

Speed & stopping

  1.  Once the driver has engaged the emergency brakes, a passenger train takes around 250 metres to stop. That is the same length as 2½ football fields! How many seconds would that take? It can take 1 kilometre for a freight train going 60 km/hour to stop. How many lengths of a football field is that? How many seconds would that take?
  2. Trains can’t stop quickly! They don’t have ABS brakes like cars do.
  3. Trains can’t swerve to avoid an object or person, because they are on tracks.
  4. Trains in Australia can travel up to 110 km/hour in city areas (just like a car on a motorway), and 160 km/hour in country areas.
  5. Once a driver sees something or someone on the tracks, all a driver can do is engage their emergency brakes and hope they stop in time.
  6. Hear that? No? Trains are deceptively quiet.

Physical risks

  1. The most likely result when someone is hit by a train is permanent injury.
  2. Some people who are hit by a train are killed.
  3. It is not just trains that can cause a risk to a person. There are other hazards like overhead power lines which can cause an electric shock. Overhead power lines for trains can be 1500 volts or 25 000 volts (25 kilovolts (kV)) – how many times a normal power point is that?

Keeping on the safe side of the law

  1.  It is illegal to go on train tracks unless you are walking across a pedestrian level crossing, or driving across a level crossing.
  2. The penalties for being on the tracks include large fines. How much are the fines in your state?
  3. Another penalty for people who go on train tracks illegally is being arrested, and cautioned or charged. This can mean a criminal record.

Impact on others

  1. The reason for the large penalties for people who go on tracks illegally is because of the serious consequences when someone is hit by a train.
  2. People who go on the tracks illegally cause a huge risk to themselves and other people, including train drivers and passengers. How would these people be affected? Who else might be affected?
  3. People who go on the tracks illegally cause major disruption to the running of trains, including making trains late or cancelled. How does this impact the community and economy?