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What happened

On 19 December 2014, a truck collided with the Swan Hill-to-Melbourne passenger train at a level crossing on Rileys Road, Woodvale, near Bendigo in central Victoria. Both occupants of the truck and one train passenger were conveyed to hospital with minor injuries. The truck sustained significant damage to its front, right-hand corner and there was significant side panel and underfloor damage to several passenger cars.

What the ATSB found

The ATSB found that the truck driver did not approach the level crossing with sufficient caution to be able to stop once he became aware of the approaching train. A road-user’s view of an approaching train was partially obscured due to lineside vegetation.

What's been done as a result

V/Line Pty Ltd has:

  • Advised that it has implemented vegetation control activities to maintain level crossing sight-lines.
  • Initiated a discussion with the City of Greater Bendigo around a reduction of road speeds to 60 km/h on the approach to railway level crossings. This has resulted in the commencement of a trial program on gravel and sealed roads.
  • Requestedthrough the Victorian Level Crossing Committeethat the Rileys Road level crossing be upgraded to active protection. This is scheduled for 2016/17, but may be delayed to 2017/18.

Safety message

This incident highlights the responsibility that rests upon road vehicle drivers to remain aware when approaching railway level crossings, especially those with passive protection. Road users who frequently use a level crossing that sees limited rail traffic should be alert to the potential of developing a sense of expectancy that trains will not be present. Drivers of heavy vehicles have a special responsibility to ensure they remain aware of the dangers of railway level crossings.

To ensure that road users can make a determination regarding crossing the track safely it is important that the track manager ensures that any lineside vegetation that might reduce the road-user’s distant view of the track approaches be kept to an effective minimum.

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The occurrence


Safety analysis


Safety issues and actions

Sources and submissions


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Safety issue

RO-2014-024-SI-01 -  

Management of lineside foliage

V/Line’s process for the inspection of level crossing sighting did not provide explicit instructions for the identification and removal of problem vegetation.

Safety issue details
Issue number:RO-2014-024-SI-01
Who it affects:All road users and operators of trains on trackage owner or managed by V/Line.
Status:Adequately addressed

General details
Date: 19 December 2014 Investigation status: Completed 
Time: 1450 EDT  
Location   (show map):Woodvale Investigation type: Occurrence Investigation 
State: Victoria Occurrence type: Collision 
Release date: 25 September 2015  
Report status: Final Occurrence category: Incident 
 Highest injury level: Minor 
Train details
Train operator: V/Line Pty Ltd 
Train registration: 8042 
Type of operation: Passenger 
Sector: Passenger - regional 
Damage to train: Serious 
Departure point:Swan Hill
Destination:Southern Cross
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Last update 14 November 2018