TrackSAFE Foundation rail safety ambassador Vanessa Low spoke with Broadford Secondary College students about the importance of being safe around trains earlier this month.

Paralympian and rail safety ambassador Vanessa Low visited Broadford High School earlier this month, sharing her experience as a rail accident survivor and talking with students about rail safety.

Ms Low was involved in a serious train accident at 15 years of age, standing too close to a platform edge and being knocked into the path of an incoming train. She lost both her legs and spent two weeks in a coma, as well as six months in hospital.

After years of hard work and perseverance, Ms Low competed at multiple Paralympics, setting world records in a series of gold medal winning performances.

Ms Low said she wanted to use her experiences to educate young people about being safe around trains.

“I am passionate about rail safety, and if sharing my story can help just one person avoid a rail accident in the future, then it’s been worthwhile,” she said.

“I’m a believer in treating young people with respect. The students know the right thing to do, and today was just about reminding them how important it is to keep themselves and others safe in the rail environment.”

It can only take a moment of distraction around trains for lives to be changed forever – even something as simple as having earphones in or looking down at phones.

Ms Low said many young people knew how to be safe around trains and tracks but could still become distracted or take risks.

“My accident not only affected me, but my family and friends through my long recovery,” she said.

“And let’s not forget the trauma experienced by rail staff through incidents like this, including drivers and station staff whose job it is to keep us safe.”

V/Line chief executive Matt Carrick said Ms Low’s story of perseverance was important for young people to hear.

“What Vanessa has been able to achieve after suffering such a terrible incident as a teenager is truly remarkable and an inspiration to others. She is living proof of what can be achieved with the right mindset,” he said.

“Vanessa’s personal story is definitely something that young people can relate to, and really helps to drive home the message that they’re not invincible, and need to be careful when they’re around tracks.”

The presentation was part of a week of organised activities to raise awareness about transport safety and promote mental health in the rail industry through Rail R U OK? Day.

Leave a Reply