THE AUSTRALIAN Rail Track Corporation has denounced the reckless activities of climate protesters as protests in the Hunter region enter their eleventh consecutive day.

Today (5 June) a protester attempted to blockade the Glennies Creek rail bridge, almost 100 kilometres north-west of Newcastle.

The activist group responsible claims that their latest protest efforts, focused on disrupting coal freight transits in the Hunter, have caused over 70 hours of delays.

The ARTC claims the often reckless nature of the protests places the lives of rail staff, the public, and the protesters themselves at risk.

In a statement delivered to DCN from the ARTC, a spokesperson said, “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”.

“Despite the concerns for safety raised by ARTC publicly, the illegal activities of protestors since Tuesday 25th June in the rail corridor has been increasingly dangerous.”

“There has been extensive cancellations of rail services, including in excess of 200 pre-cancelled passenger services.”

The current protests often feature individuals either climbing atop coal trains, using rope systems to suspend themselves over rail infrastructure, and other means of stopping trains.

The latest statement from the ARTC comes after local member for Maitland Jenny Aitchison also criticised the protesters’ method, citing what she claimed to be a recent near miss when protestors had jumped onto a train line to stop a moving train, according to her account.

The ARTC has reportedly contacted the activists asking them to cease their current protests. 

“ARTC takes its duty of care very seriously to ensure the safety of everyone in the rail corridor, and as of Saturday, ARTC wrote to Blockade Australia and its management to formally request the cessation of the illegal activity.”

DCN reached out to both the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator and the Port of Newcastle for comment. Both declined to make a comment to DCN regarding the matter.