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Another level crossing accident prompts warning to motorists

Damaged locomotive at the accident site

The ATSB is urging drivers to show caution after an accident in Victoria destroyed a dog trailer being towed by a truck and caused significant damage to a locomotive and 75 m of track infrastructure.

The accident occurred on 7 September 2013 at the Pettavel Road level crossing at Mount Moriac, 20 km west of Geelong. A V/Line passenger train was operating the scheduled service from Melbourne to Warrnambool, Victoria. As the train approached the level crossing, two trucks that were transporting soil from a development site turned onto Pettavel Road. The Pettavel Road level crossing was equipped with approach warning signage and Stop signs for each road approach.

The locomotive came to a stand about 315 m past the level crossing. Five passengers, the locomotive driver and a conductor sustained minor injuries in the collision.

The train driver saw the trucks approaching and sounded the whistle multiple times. As the train drew closer to the crossing, the train driver decided that the trucks may not have been alerted to the train’s approach and applied the emergency brakes and braced for the collision.

The leading truck drove through the level crossing and the second truck, a rigid truck and dog trailer combination followed. As the second truck passed through the crossing the locomotive, which had decelerated to a speed of about 101 km/h, collided with the truck’s dog trailer, which was carrying about 12 cubic metres of soil.

The locomotive came to a stand about 315 m past the level crossing. Five passengers, the locomotive driver and a conductor sustained minor injuries in the collision. The truck driver was not injured, but the collision destroyed the dog trailer, and caused significant damage to the locomotive and approximately 75 m of track infrastructure.

This accident is a reminder for all road vehicle drivers, especially of heavy vehicles, using railway level crossings equipped with passive controls need to be vigilant, observe road-warning signs, obey road rules and look out for trains.

Read the investigation report, RO-2013-024

Related: Rail Crossing
 
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Last update 05 June 2014