Damage to train cost '$600 a minute'

HIGH PRICE: A damaged window that took a train out of service cost Queensland Rail $600 a minute, a court has been told.
HIGH PRICE: A damaged window that took a train out of service cost Queensland Rail $600 a minute, a court has been told. File

SIX hundred dollars per minute.

That's how much it cost Queensland Rail when Mark Matthew Whelan took a train out of commission by smashing a window.

Ipswich District Court was told Whelan, 18, was waiting for a train at Ebbw Vale station on August 7 last year when he overheard a threat from a group to bash a minor and stepped in.

He told one of the people in the group to leave the teenager alone and a fight broke out.

When the next train arrived Whelan jumped on, despite not having a ticket, while the other man stayed at the station.

Frustrated, he kicked a door, smashing the window.

The train had to be stopped for over an hour, costing Queensland Rail more than $40,000.

Whelan pleaded guilty to wilfully damaging a railway, endangering a person on a railway, obstructing a train service and evading a train fare.

Crown prosecutor Jessica Goldie said the damage done to the train had cost taxpayers a huge amount of money to fix and inconvenienced numerous commuters.

Defence lawyer Peter Sloane said the cost worked out to be around $600 for every minute the train was out of service.


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"He got on and kicked the door out of frustration," he said.

"He was quite astounded at the restitution amount. He had no idea it cost $600 a minute if the train is taken off the line."

Judge Deborah Richards said while it only cost $359 to repair the window the, delay to commuters and cost of taking the train out of service was the major impact of Whelan's single kick.

She said in the year since the offence had taken place Whelan had worked to stop offending, and had found support groups after a trouble upbringing.

"You seem to be making some real efforts to turn your life around," she said.

He was ordered to serve 240 hours of community service.


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