Level crossing collision video prompts increased warnings

By: Anjali Behl, Photography by: Greg Bush

Pacific National and NSW Police have called for extra care at railway crossings following frightening video of a train and B-double collision

Level crossing collision video prompts increased warnings
Truckies and motorists alike have been warned of the dangers when driving across level crossings.


Rail freight operator Pacific National and NSW Police are reminding people of the dangers of not slowing down at rail level crossings in a joint safety message.

The call comes ahead of the holiday season warning all road users to slow down and check for approaching trains before crossing train intersections, particularly those in the countryside that lack active warning systems.

Pacific National says it has seen an increase in cases of dangerous driving around level crossings over the past six months.

There has been an "increase in the number of motorists, including B-double truck drivers, not slowing down and stopping at rail level crossings, effectively putting their lives at risk", the company states.

Pacific National CEO Dean Valle says given the length of a train and the speed at which it travels, it is far more difficult for a train driver to stop the locomotive before an approaching road vehicle.

"It takes a 1.5 kilometre long freight train travelling at 100km/hour approximately two kilometres to come to a complete stop, and that is after the train driver has seen the vehicle not slowing down," Valle says.

The company has released two videos that show how a Pacific National train driver Chris Grillett and another company driver were unavoidably involved in two separate crashes where the train collided with vehicles that failed to stop at level crossings.

The first video shows a B-double truck failing to stop or even slow down at a level crossing, with the Pacific National train unavoidably ramming the vehicle.

It came two weeks after a vehicle towing a caravan was hit because of the same reason.

No one was hurt during either of the accidents but the company and the authorities are taking the crashes seriously to underline the message of safety around trains.

"You can’t explain how it feels when you know there is no way you can stop the train in time," Grillett says.

"All sorts of things go through your head but you just hope that no-one will be seriously injured or killed.

"The worst thing is these accidents could have been avoided if the drivers had slowed down, looked and then stopped."

Traffic and Highway Patrol Command assistant commissioner Michael Corboy says the drivers approaching rail crossings need to stop and think.

"When you consider the disastrous consequences of someone being struck by a train, it is disturbing to see that there has been an increase in traffic offences at railway crossings, when compared to last year," Corboy says.

"In many cases, level crossing crashes happen in broad daylight when visibility and sight distance is good.

"In many cases, crashes happen at level crossings when a driver looks, but does not see the danger.

"There is no excuse when it comes to offences at rail crossings, and every time you do the wrong thing, you are playing with your own life and the lives of others."

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