ONGOING protest activity targeting Newcastle coal exports has resulted in a wave of charges and rail service delays.

Today (Friday 28 June) marks the fourth consecutive day of protests in the Newcastle region, organised by climate activism group Blockade Australia.

On Friday morning a woman (28) scaled a monopole traverse in an attempt to block rail access into the Port of Newcastle, according to the group’s social media posts . Last night, two women (77 and 25) climbed onto a coal carriage, apparently bringing trains to a halt.

NSW Police on Friday morning said a 25-year-old from Victoria and a 77-year-old from South Australia were charged following an unauthorised protest in the Hunter Valley overnight.

“About 11.20pm (Thursday 27 June 2024), police received notification that a number of people had allegedly entered the rail corridor and were causing obstruction to trains at Allandale, about 12km north of Cessnock,” police said in a statement.

“Officers attached to Hunter Valley Police District, with assistance from Police Rescue, attended the site and arrested two women.”

And on Friday afternoon NSW Police said a 28-year-old woman had also been charged following an unauthorised protest in the Hunter Valley.

“Police were called to the rail corridor at Branxton following reports a number of people had allegedly entered the rail corridor and were causing obstruction to trains,” police said.

The women were all charged in relation to entering enclosed lands, posing safety risks and obstructing railway locomotives.

The Friday morning protest was the eighth in a wave of demonstrations which began on Tuesday (25 June) when a man climbed onto the Kooragang rail bridge.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation has confirmed “significant delays” to services on the Hunter Valley rail lines, including passenger services which were cancelled overnight in an effort to reduce risk.

An ARTC spokesperson said “ongoing, illegal and dangerous” protest activity on the rail lines is putting lives at risk.

“The illegal activities of protestors in the past 48 hours have demonstrated an escalation in the incredibly dangerous tactics being deployed,” the spokesperson told DCN.

“Whilst recognising people’s right to protest, protesters trespassing in a live rail corridor can be fatal and puts themselves, our rail workers, the travelling public and train drivers at risk of serious harm.”

The spokesperson said ARTC takes its duty of care seriously to ensure the safety of everyone in the rail corridor. They encouraged passengers to check real-time transport apps for the latest information.