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Media Alert: ‘Let my accident be a warning’: Blind Australian of the Year urges Transport Minister to keep guards on trains

Oct 22, 2018Media releases

RTBU Media Alert, 22 October 2018

‘Let my accident be a warning’: Blind Australian of the Year urges Transport Minister to keep guards on trains

The newly-crowned Blind Australian of the Year will today urge the NSW Transport Minister to ditch his plans to run the state’s new trains without guards, saying the removal of guards on some Melbourne trains resulted in him suffering a horrific accident that nearly cost him his life.

Martin Stewart, who was named Blind Australian of the Year on Thursday night, fell in between the train and platform when attempting to board a train in Melbourne that had recently had guards removed. With the absence of a guard,  there was no one to assist him in boarding the train, nor anyone to signal to the driver when he fell. He was dragged 200m under the train, resulting in horrific injuries including the loss of his arm, leg, and part of ear.

Martin will address the media TODAY, alongside Rail, Tram and Bus Union Secretary, Alex Claassens, calling on the NSW Government to ensure that guards are kept on all trains.

WHEN:             11am, TODAY, Monday 22 October

WHERE:            Martin Place train station, downstairs, outside of gates

WHO:               Martin Stewart, Blind Australian of the Year and Alex Claassens, RTBU NSW Secretary

Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) Secretary, Alex Claassens, says guards are not only essential to the safe running of our trains, and ensure our trains can stay on-time, but they also provide an invaluable service to people with a disability and our less-mobile commuters.

“On-time running, safety and the accessibility of our trains are already serious issues. Removing our guards will make that immeasurably worse.

“Martin is an example of what can happen if guards are removed from trains. We can’t let anyone else go through what Martin has been through.”

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