Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees
“Traincrew Representing Traincrew”

Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees
Traincrew Representing Traincrew

The AFULE dates back to 1861 making us the first and oldest railway union in the world, the AFULE has stood the test of time representing the majority of traincrew within QLD and we are very proud to continue this craft union that exclusively represents traincrew.

To this day we continue to uphold the principles outlined in 1861 by only electing officials directly from the traincrew ranks giving us a clear advantage over other railways unions who elect officials from outside the industry. Our democratic structures mean our members determine where we invest our resources ensuring the best possible outcomes.

The AFULE paved the way for other unions by being the first union to gain a federal award, ensuring equity and fairness for traincrew across Australia. Today we continue the traditions of the original engine drivers fighting for better conditions and safety for all Traincrew.

Our state secretary Mick McKitrick is a 3rd generation railway worker who is well respected by all within the industry due to his extensive knowledge which can only be achieved by coming through the ranks. Mick is supported on the job by a president and 7 Divisional Councillors who also represent traincrew whilst still performing their roles as traincrew employees.

The AFULE has a team of experienced negotiators led by officials and our members elected from the Traincrew ranks, this ensures Traincrew are represented by someone who understands the agreement and firsthand experience of Traincrew life.

Our continued mission is to achieve a work life balance whilst ensuring wages and conditions are reflective of the type of work we do.



We are a CRAFT UNION exclusively representing Drivers and Guards only, why is this important?

This means the majority of Traincrew within Queensland are members of the AFULE who are solely dedicated to the ongoing challenges within rail. We are not at the bargaining table playing one group of workers off to benefit another, we are a collective union answering to Traincrew and Traincrew only.

The union is built on the strength of our membership where Traincrew make the decisions and provide the direction for the AFULE. Our membership spans across all Queensland operators so you will always be supported by fellow members.

The AFULE being successful with delivering the first Traincrew agreement has continued to build on that original agreement ensuring Traincrew have an agreement directly relevant to the skills and knowledge we provide.


AFULE Traincrew Ladies Collective

While much has changed throughout history regarding women in the workforce, there’s still work to be done. The AFULE Traincrew Ladies Collective is a platform to discuss current issues within the workplace that need addressing, to provide a solid support network for AFULE women, to share information through media of all forms regarding not just women in the workplace but all topics around the empowerment of women worldwide, both past and present and the various issues they tackle/d, to share new information on legislative reform and to work together with other women’s movements for the betterment of current and future generations.                                                     

Men in the AFULE are our comrades & allies, their support is valued and they are welcome to join this initiative.

To become a part of the union’s TLC once you submit your application join the private Facebook group: AFULE Traincrew Ladies Collective

In 1996 the AFULE acknowledged the number of women within the industry changing the “E’ from “Enginemen” to “Employees” to reflect the changing workforce from the previously male dominated railways.

A Voice in Decision Making

AFULE members make the decisions. That’s why regular meetings are held where members decide union policy and provide direction to delegates. Meetings are a place for members to hear about current events, raise problems or concerns and vote on key issues.All branches have strong local committees that allow rank and file members to be involved in:

  • Local Depot Policies
  • Developing Rosters 
  • Cab Layout
  • Health & Safety

    Training and support is available to ALL members should they wish to get active and involved.

 Specialist Advice Across the Field

The union has specialist staff who can assist you with all aspects of workers’ compensation if you are injured while at work. This includes assistance with completing forms and representation at Medical Assessment Tribunal Hearings. The union also has a legal adviser that can provide a range of free legal advice to AFULE members. Slater and Gordon are accredited specialist personal injuries lawyers. SG provide a free consultation to AFULE members on workers’ compensation and personal injury matters. SG also provide AFULE members with a free initial consultation for a range or other legal matters, including Will documentations.

Slater and Gordon Lawyers blue logo

About Slater and Gordon Lawyers

Slater and Gordon have proudly supported Unions and their members for over 85 years. They have a proud history of partnering with Unions and other organisations to support workers and to protect their rights. Slater and Gordon offer a wide range of legal services, including:

  • Industrial and Employment Law
  • Workers’ Compensation
  • Motor Vehicle Accident and Road Accident injury claims
  • Public Liability
  • Medical Law
  • Superannuation and Insurance
  • Abuse Law
  • Asbestos (Dust) Diseases

Slater and Gordon also offer a range of benefits to members of the AFULE, such as:

  • Free initial consultation with a lawyer, including for hearing loss claims
  • Discounts on legal fees *
  • No Win No Fee* arrangements for personal injury matters
  • Free Standard Will for members and their spouse/partner
  • Discounted estate planning services, including a discount of 50% on Enduring Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Guardianship when obtained in conjunction with a standard Will
  • Preservation of Union benefits* in most instances when referred out to Referral Network Partners by Slater and Gordon (Family Law, Criminal Law and General Law)

*conditions apply

You can access these benefits by obtaining a referral from the AFULE, who will contact Slater and Gordon on your behalf.


Slater and Gordon Free Wills Service

AFULE members are entitled to a Standard Will with Slater and Gordon, completely free of charge! They also offer AFULE members a 50% discount on Enduring Powers of Attorney and Enduring Powers of Guardianship when they are obtained in conjunction with a Standard Will.

If you choose to, you can access these benefits from the comfort of your home, with Slater and Gordon’s Online Wills Portal, which allows you to complete you Will in real time, at your convenience. If you prefer not to use our Online Wills Portal don’t worry, you can also complete the process directly with an lawyer experienced in estate planning.

You can access your free will by contacting the AFULE to obtain a referral.



Union Shopper Discounts

All members receive membership of the Union Shopper. This entitles members to discounts on a wide range of products and services, to visit the website click here


Regular Updates

Keeping members up to date is a key priority of the AFULE members are provided with circulars to keep them up to date with relevant news and information. These are also posted to our website under the news and media banner.


Mortality Benefit

The AFULE provides a mortality benefit of $5,000 to your nominated next of kin if you pass away while a financial member. There is also a mortality benefit of $2,000 if your spouse passes away.


Part of the Union Community

The AFULE encourages all members to get involved with the wider union community. As a union we participate in labour day marches, union councils, training programs and social events.


Talk to your local AFULE Representative or call your state office for advice on your health and safety at work.

If you have a concern about your safety or the safety of others including the public you can call your local representative or your AFULE state office and talk to one of us about it and we will advise you on the best course of action, whether that be steps you take or steps we take on behalf of the union as a whole.
You should make sure you follow the internal processes for hazard/incident reporting and make sure you keep a record of having done so. Keep diary notes of any incidents or behaviours that are inappropriate.

Call your local Depot Representatives, or Divisional Councilor 

Call your State Office – 07 3844 9163. 

Has there been a safety incident or is there a safety issue that affects you or another member/s of traincrew in the workplace?

If you have made an internal complaint and nothing has been done about it by your employer then you can make a further complaint to workplace health and safety. This should also be done if there is a serious incident resulting in a notifiable illness or injury. Visit the Workplace Health and Safety website for more information on what a notifiable incident is.

Click here to make a complaint or report an incident.

Do you have a safety issue you’d like to report that might endanger the safety of the public or rail operations?

You can contact the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and access the REPCON reporting scheme via their website.

The ATSB is an independent government agency and conducts no blame investigations into safety issues with the aim of improving the safety of transport operations. Its REPCON reporting system is anonymous and the ATSB website contains information and examples about reportable and non-reportable issues. These include incidents, circumstances or any procedure, practice or condition that a reasonable person would consider endangers, or, if not corrected, would endanger, the safety of railway operations.

Click here to complete a confidential REPCON report.

Download a copy (pdf) of the A.F.U.L.E. - Federal entity Rules as of July 2022,  click here.

Download a copy (pdf) of the Electrical Trade Union of Employees - Section C referes to the A.F.U.L.E. Division. State Union entity Rules amended as of 30 March 2020, click here.


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History 01The first railway union in the world was created in Melbourne in 1861 when twenty locomotive drivers banded together to form the Locomotive Engine Drivers Association of Victoria. The forerunner to the A.F.U.L.E., the Association continues today and is the oldest continuous railway union in the world.

The Association was formed seven years after the official opening of Victoria’s first railway line in 1854. The first twenty drivers banded together to improve the harsh and dangerous working conditions for the highly skilled enginemen working on the railway.

In 1872, the association expanded to include firemen. The name of the association became the Locomotive Engine Drivers and Firemen’s Association to reflect the change in constitution.

In 1902 the constitution of the association expanded to include Locomotive Engine Cleaners. The name changed again to the Victorian Locomotive Engine Drivers', Firemens’ and Cleaners' Association to reflect the new membership.

Locomotive Engine Drivers associations came into existence in other States, including New South Wales, Queensland and South Australian, during the 1880s. At the 1886 State Conference of the Victorian Association the concept of creating one single amalgamated union was raised. This unity was not to be achieved until 1899.

History 02In 1899, the Victorian Association met with representatives from the Railway Locomotive Enginemen's Associations of New South Wales, South Australia and Queensland. Each of these associations voted in favour of forming the Federated Railway Locomotive Enginemens’ Association of Australia.

This association convened a yearly conference until 1920, but during this time did not set up a Federal Division.

At the 1919 Conference, held in Adelaide, a decision was made to form a single National Union. At the 1920 Conference, held in Brisbane, New South Wales Association delegate Ben Chifley moved the resolution to form The Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen.

In 1921, a High Court decision gave employees in state instrumentalities access to the Federal Arbitration Court. In February of 1921, the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen became the first union consisting of members employed by state instrumentalities to register as a federal union.

In 1922, the federal union entered into negotiations with the Federated Engine Drivers’ and Firemen’s Union. The FEDFU covered Locomotive Enginemen employed by the Commonwealth Railways. An agreement was reached to amalgamate the two unions by transferring the membership of the FEDFU to the AFULE.

The proposed amalgamation was put to ballot in each depot. The result was in favour of the proposal, and in late 1923 the Commonwealth Division of the AFULE was formed.

In 1924, the AFULE filed a separate log of claims on each of the state employers. However, the Australian Railways Union chose to file a single log of claims on each state employer in an attempt to establish one federal award for all railwaymen. This decision resulted in the A.F.U.L.E. bringing a similar case before the Federal Arbitration Court.

The A.F.U.L.E. took carriage of the proceedings, and presented to the Court a wealth of detailed evidence in support of the claim. In April 1925 the Court ruled in favour of the A.F.U.L.E. The result was the first Federal Award binding state instrumentalities.

In 1926 the union changed its name to the Australian Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers. Following objections from other unions that used the term “engineers” in their names, the Union reverted to the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen in 1927.

In 1943 the Northern Australian Workers’ Union ceased to operate. In December of that year the A.F.U.L.E. created a Northern Territory Division to cover Locomotive Enginemen employed in the Territory. However, after the end of WWII, there was a significant drop in rail services and consequently in membership of the Northern Territory Division. In 1946 the NT Division was absorbed into the Commonwealth Division.

In 1970 the Commonwealth Division was deregistered, and its membership absorbed into each of the State branches of the Union.

In 1992 ballots were conducted in each of the Australian divisions about a proposed amalgamation with the Australian Tramway & Motor Omnibus Employees' Association, the National Union of Rail Workers of Australia and the Australian Railways Union. The ballot was successful and the Public Transport Union was formed.

In 1993, a legal ruling held that the Queensland State-registered A.F.U.L.E. was a separate union and was required to hold a separate ballot. The members of the State-registered A.F.U.L.E. voted against amalgamation. Queensland is the now only State in Australia where the oldest railway union in the World continues to represent Traincrew.

In March of 2006 the Howard Federal Government introduced changes to the Workplace Relations Act 1996. The changes transferred all employees of constitutional corporations into the legislative jurisdiction of the Commonwealth. As a result, a majority of A.F.U.L.E. members in Queensland became federal employees.

In May of 2006 the A.F.U.L.E became the second state-registered union to be granted transitional Federal Registration under the new laws.

In December of 2006, the A.F.U.L.E. applied to again be registered as a federal union of employees to continue representing its members in the federal industrial relations system. In 2007, that application was granted, and the A.F.U.L.E. briefly held federal registration.

In 2008, the Australian Rail Tram and Bus Union successfully appealed against the registration of the A.F.U.L.E. The essence of the RTBU’s complaint was that the A.F.U.L.E.’s federal body now had coverage across the whole of Australia, rather than just Queensland.

The Full Bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission upheld the RTBU’s appeal and quashed the A.F.U.L.E.’s federal registration. The Full Bench left open the prospect of federal registration for the A.F.U.L.E. if the union rules were amended to restrict the union’s coverage to the State of Queensland.

This amendment was made, and on 6 November 2008, the Full Bench granted Federal Registration.

The A.F.U.L.E. is now a dual registered union, with the right to represent members of the Traincrew grade in the state and federal industrial relations systems.


1861 - 1872 Locomotive Engine Drivers Association of Victoria
1872 - 1900 Locomotive Engine Drivers & Firemens’ Association of Victoria
1891 - 1900 Queensland Locomotive Enginemen Firemen & Cleaners Association
1900 - 1921 Federated Railway Locomotive Enginemens’ Association of Australasia
1921 - 1926 Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen (i)
1926 - 1927 Australian Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers
1927 - 1993 Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Enginemen (ii)
1997 - Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees (Queensland)
2006 - 2007 Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees, Transitionally Registered Union of Employees (federal)
2008 - Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees, Queensland Union of Employees (federally registered)
2017 - Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees merged with Electrical Trade Union Queensland, to become The Electrical Trades Union of Employees Queensland - AFULE Division