It was hardly a meeting of minds when anti-coal protester Micah Weekes was confronted by the driver of the locomotive that he boarded early on Thursday.
“Get down off my f...ing loco,” screamed the furious train diver as Mr Weekes relayed his anti-coal message to the world from on top of the idling engine.
After telling the furious driver that he was appearing on a Facebook live broadcast, the driver replied “I don’t give a f... where I am. Get the f... off my train.”
He then turned his rage at another protester who had earlier stood in front of his moving train.
“I could have run [him] over. Where’s his brains?”
A former coal miner, Mr Weekes, boarded the train at 6am at the Sandgate bridge and as a result stopped trains heading towards the world’s largest coal export port.
From on top of the engine he told his Facebook audience that he was concerned about negative health impacts associated with the coal industry.
“You don't have to work in the industry to get sick from this,” he said.
“My kids are gonna get sick. It’s already happening. People in my community have recurring illnesses, respiratory issues, cancer, tumours.”
Officers from Newcastle City Police District, with assistance from Police Rescue, arrested the 38-year-old a short time later.
He was taken to Waratah Police Station where he was charged with enter inclosed lands without lawful excuse, cause/attempt to cause train in motion to be stopped, and cause obstruction to railway locomotive or rolling stock.
A spokesman for the locomotive’s owner, Genesee & Wyoming Australia, said safety was a major priority for the company.
“It is most concerning to see protesters taking such actions that could pose possible safety issues for our people and the public alike,” the spokesman said.
About 500 anti-coal protesters are camping on an undisclosed Lower Hunter property as part of a five day Frontline Action on Coal and Newcastle Justice Uprising training and networking event.