Activists lock themselves to rails to stop KiwiRail coal trains in Dunedin

Dunedin climate change activists have this morning locked themselves to rails to stop KiwRail trains carrying coal.

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Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Jana Al Thea talks about the reason behind the protest. Source: 1 NEWS

The Extinction Rebellion group have been at Dunedin Railway Station since early this morning, and prompted a train carrying coal from Bathurst Resource's Takitimu mine to Fonterra's Clandeboye facility to turn back.

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Jan Al Thea, 16, said "the objective of being here is to ultimately stop KiwiRail from hauling coal, which is the dirtiest fossil fuel, and it's incredibly detrimental for the environment.

"We have done a similar action a couple of months ago, also on these tracks, to stop the train - we can not stop holding KiwiRail accountable for the poison that is being lugged through our city on a daily basis," Al Thea said.

"As a high school student and as a young person it's incredibly impactful that we act now, because climate change has been in the science for 30 years and we don't really have the time to waste."

The group is calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to "walk the talk" in regards to climate change.

A spokesperson for KiwiRail said they became aware of the protest about 7.30am.

"All northbound services from Dunedin and all inbound services from the north were halted as a result.

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