The 2018 Proserpine crush began today.
The 2018 Proserpine crush began today. PETER CARRUTHERS

Proserpine crush kicks off, cane trains now running 24/7

THE 2018 crush at Wilmar's Proserpine Mill began today.

A big maintenance season coming of the back of Cyclone Debbie has seen more than $15 million invested in capital and maintenance projects at the mill.

The 2018 crush signals a fresh start for the Proserpine sugar industry, following the trail of damage left by Cyclone Debbie in March last year.

Mackay Regional Operations Manager, Craig Muddle, said the crop has begun to recover and this year's estimate of 1.76 million tonnes is a sizable increase on last year's 1.43 million tonne crop.

"It's pleasing to see such a good increase, and we look forward to seeing the district return to the two million tonne mark in the coming years,” he said.

"The 2018 maintenance season saw us complete the last of the cyclone repairs to our factory and cane rail network.”

"The highest profile repair job was to the mill's No. 3 boiler stack, which was surrounded by scaffolding for many weeks.”

Mr Muddle said the stack will be repainted during the crush.

Wilmar Sugar said now that the crush is underway cane trains will be operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Although cane trains don't travel very fast the company reminded residents that the vehicles are very heavy and take a long time to stop once the brakes have been applied.

Wilmar's cane train safety mascot, Sam, helps young people to stay safe during the crushing season.

Sam's key safety messages are:

  • Keep off cane trains and their bins
  • Keep of can railway tracks
  • Stay off cane train bridges
  • Stay safe at cane railway crossings
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