On 7 September 2013 at about 0925, V/Line passenger train 8205 travelling to Warrnambool, Victoria collided with a northbound road vehicle (rigid truck and dog trailer combination) at the Pettavel Road level crossing in Mount Moriac, located about 20 km west of Geelong. Vehicular traffic across the Pettavel Road level crossing was controlled by warning and Stop signs (passive controls).
Five passengers, the locomotive driver and a conductor sustained minor injuries in the collision. The truck driver was not physically injured.
The collision destroyed the road vehicle trailer and caused significant damage to the locomotive and approximately 75 m of track infrastructure.
What the ATSB found
The ATSB found that the driver of the truck did not come to a stop at the railway crossing Stop sign and proceeded into the level crossing and the path of the train. It is possible that the truck driver’s attention to the driving task was compromised and he did not look for trains. It is also possible that the driver noticed the train and misjudged its speed, believing that he could get through the crossing before the arrival of the train.
When at the Stop sign south of the crossing—the direction the truck driver approached the crossing—there was adequate sighting to the east, the direction from which the train approached.
The investigation also found that location of the warning signage and the Railway Crossing Ahead sign on the approach to the level crossing was not in accordance with Australian Standard AS 1742.7-2007, Manual of uniform traffic control devices, Part 7: Railway crossings. These non-compliances with the standard were not contributory to this incident.
What's been done as a result
V/Line has made a submission to the Railway Crossing Project Delivery (RCPD) Committee1 to consider the upgrade of the Pettavel Road level crossing from passive to active warning protection devices.
Surf Coast Shire Council has relocated the signage to comply with the requirements of the Australian Standard AS 1742.7-2007, Manual of uniform traffic control devices, Part 7: Railway crossings.
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.