Climate activists block coal train on way to Canterbury dairy plant

Extinction Rebellion Otepoti activists block the railway line at the Dunedin Railway Station to...
Extinction Rebellion Otepoti activists block the railway line at the Dunedin Railway Station to stop a coal-carrying train yesterday morning. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Extinction Rebellion Otepoti activists have carried out another protest on the railway lines at Dunedin Railway Station.

The protest was the third of its type in the past six months, in which members of the climate activist organisation stand on the railway line to block trains carrying coal.

Group spokesman Liam Scaife said four members walked on to the tracks about 7.30am, and stopped an oncoming train for about 90 minutes.

"Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel, contributing significantly to the climate crisis and Earth’s sixth mass extinction," he said.

The train, operated by state-owned enterprise KiwiRail, was carrying more than 500 tonnes of coal from a mine in Southland to the Fonterra dairy plant near Clandeboye in Canterbury, he said.

If KiwiRail continued to haul coal, activists would continue to take disruptive action, he said.

A KiwiRail spokeswoman said all

inbound and outbound train services from Dunedin were halted as a result of the protest.

"We are always concerned for the safety of anyone who trespasses on to railway tracks or into our terminals, and this situation is being managed by the police."

Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, said nobody was arrested in connection with yesterday’s incident, but he warned people protesting on the tracks were putting themselves in great danger.

"Each action has its own response.

"We can say enough is enough, but we prefer to work with those parties that are voicing their concerns."


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