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Fatal level crossing collision

4WD at the accident site

The ATSB is urging drivers to be vigilant at railway level crossings, to observe road warning signs, obey road rules and look out for trains. 

The accident occurred on 19 March 2013 at the Brown Street level crossing in Allansford, Victoria. The El Zorro freight train 9261 was travelling to Warrnambool, Victoria on a scheduled service. 

The level crossing was marked with approach warning signage, road markings and Stop signs for each road approach. Just as the train came to the level crossing, the train’s co-driver, who was seated in the left hand side of the cab, noticed the approaching vehicle. He called out to the train driver to make an emergency brake application. The motor vehicle did not stop at the stop sign, but instead drove onto the level crossing, directly into the path of the freight train, just as the emergency brake was applied. 

The vehicles collided, and the severely damaged motor vehicle came to rest southwest of the level crossing, approximately 33 m from the point of impact. The train continued braking, coming to a stop about 434 m from the level crossing.

The driver of the motor vehicle was fatally injured. Minor damage was sustained by the lead locomotive. There were no injuries to the train crew.

The ATSB found that the south side of the crossing – the direction from which the motor vehicle driver approached the crossing – allowed adequate sighting to the east, the direction from which the train approached. The ATSB concluded that the driver’s familiarity with this crossing, combined with the expectation that a train would not be present due to the low frequency of rail traffic on this line, probably influenced his behaviour.

Warrnambool City Council has temporarily closed the Brown Street Level Crossing until it is equipped with active traffic controls such as lights, bells or boom barriers. 

Read the full investigation report, RO-2013-011.

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Last update 29 October 2013