Train users fight back

Debby Burns holds a petition with Jo Kennedy and Bob Barrett. The train passengers are disgusted at the behaviour of some younger passengers on the Ipswich to Rosewood train service. Between the three of them they have experienced abusive language and been spat on.
Debby Burns holds a petition with Jo Kennedy and Bob Barrett. The train passengers are disgusted at the behaviour of some younger passengers on the Ipswich to Rosewood train service. Between the three of them they have experienced abusive language and been spat on. Claudia Baxter

FED-UP commuters on the Ipswich-Rosewood line have launched a petition to tackle anti-social behaviour on trains that has them fearing for their safety.

Ipswich resident Debby Burns was spat on and verbally abused on the train line recently while an elderly man had urine tipped over his head in a sickening incident that forced a train to be stopped.

Ms Burns has already collected 30 signatures on a petition to Queensland Rail calling for something to be done about the situation.

Comments on the petition express concern about abusive and "disgusting" behaviour that is "getting out of control".

Ms Burns travels on the train with her six-year-old son in the morning and afternoon and both he and her four-year-old daughter saw their mother spat on and abused when she asked youths to stop misbehaving.

"The behaviour that my son is seeing from these kids is just appalling," she said.

Councillor David Pahlke is also fed up with the situation has raised his displeasure about the situation with Ipswich West MP Sean Choat in writing.

"Twice the Ipswich-Rosewood train has been stopped by the drivers in the past months due to behaviour on the train by youths," Cr Pahlke said.

"On October 1 the train was stopped at Thagoona.

"An old man had urine poured over him and youths were going ape on the train.

"Queensland Rail is well aware of this behaviour. The information has been past on to headquarters but they don't do anything.

"I'd like to know when they are going to start targeting this line with railway security police, cameras and start taking action against the activities.

"I get a lot of feedback from residents and the shenanigans on that line have been rampant for some time.

"When is Queensland Rail going to show a duty of care and respond?"

A Translink spokesperson said senior network officers "work with Queensland Police to carry out regular covert-based deployments, targeting problematic areas of which the Ipswich line is a particular focus".

"In the past two months, senior network officers were deployed on the Ipswich/Rosewood train line on eight separate occasions, intercepting 11,702 passengers and issuing 96 penalty infringement notices and 195 warnings for various offences," the spokesperson said.

Ms Burns said some of the troublemakers attended Rosewood High. One student at the school told the QT she was "appalled" by the behaviour of some of her schoolmates.

"Once kids get on this train and act disrespectfully, not only does it reflect badly on them but it reflects badly on the school as a whole," she said.

Department of Education regional director Chris Rider said Rosewood State High School would investigate the claims.

"We do not condone for one minute any inappropriate behaviour by students travelling to or from school on the public transport system," he said.

"Rail passengers have every right to commute safely, without having to put up with alleged harassment from students.

"Any students found to have been involved in such behaviour will face strict disciplinary consequences."

Mr Choat said the problem was by no means confined to the high school.

"We've had quite a bit of unrest, but a lot of it has been people coming from outside," he said.

"The government has brought in legislation that makes it easier for transit officers to detain people who behave badly. Anyone who runs amok is going to be dealt with.

"I'd like to look at opportunities to give police more confidence that if they make a judgment call they will be backed up by government."

Topics:  anti-social behaviour david pahlke queensland rail sean choat

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