LEADING Australian rail-freight operator Pacific National has this week started a public safety campaign aimed at minimising deaths, injuries and accidents related to level crossings.
Initiated in memory of train drivers Mick Warren and Kevin Baker, who died on New Year’s Eve when their train collided with a truck travelling on the Barrier Highway at Bindarrah in South Australia, the campaign is entitled: Don’t take a chance. Take a look.
The campaign reminds motorists that it can take up to 2km for a fully loaded freight train to stop, and failure to heed warning signs can lead to fatalities, as was the case at Bindarrah.
“Wives lost their husbands, children lost their fathers, and local communities are hurting. Devastatingly, this is all too common. Every year people lose their lives as a result of collisions at railway level crossing, and there are hundreds of near misses,” the campaign material states.
“Trains can’t stop quickly or swerve. Cross with care at level crossings so we all go home safely, every day.”
Trucks carrying grain, fertiliser and other agriculture-related goods are sometimes involved in level-crossing accidents, as was the case in March 2023, when an empty grain train and a truck and trailer collided on the crossing of the Canola Way and the Junee-t0-Griffith rail line.
While the truck driver and the train crew of two survived that crash, a source in the rail industry told Grain Central that every such incident comes at a hefty financial cost to the equipment and rail owners, and takes a psychological toll on everyone involved in a crash.
The source also said the longer truck configurations common today mean an even greater force of impact when compared with the single-trailer trucks of decades past has become unavoidable.
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