Road fatality and accidents are a major talking point. With an excess of news coverage, cautionary advertisements, reality programming, and regular police blitzes, motor trauma has become a default part of the national conversation.
What we rarely hear about, no less rarely talk about, are rail accident and rail death statistics. Each year there are over 4,200 near hits on railways across Australia with some ending in serious injury and death.
The Age in Melbourne reported that an average of 34 people per year used Victoria’s rail network for suicide between the years 2006 and 2012.
On Saturday, January 9, The Driver by Filmmaker Tim Russell will premiere at Flickerfest. The Driver is a haunting insight into the life of a train driver following a rail fatality. The film is raising awareness and tells an important message for commuters in their first week back at work.
“Most train drivers will experience a fatality in their careers; it’s not a case of if, it’s a case of when,” says the film’s writer and director Tim Russell. “The driver is powerless to prevent the incident and forced to watch the horror unfold in front of them.”
Russell spent time with train drivers in suburban Sydney during his research for the film.
“What really struck me was their camaraderie and the support they gave each other in a time of need,” he says. Russell hopes the film will raise awareness for rail fatalities and the struggles of train drivers. “The drivers are usually forgotten and I hope the film can shine a light on their lives.”
Gary Tower, a veteran train driver of forty years who has witnessed rail fatalities throughout his career weighs in: “If creating a film like this can raise awareness and save just one life, then it’s been worth it.”
The Driver will have its World Premiere at the 25th Flickerfest International Film Festival this weekend Saturday 9 January as part of the Australian Showcase. For more information, head to their website