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Risk warning around level crossings

Rural NSW level crossing, Photo: Creative Commons

With a bumper grain harvest freight lines will be as busy as ever, increasing the risk of accidentsNSW TrainLink drivers have warned motorists on regional roads to avoid taking risks near level crossings.

“When you hit the emergency brakes it can take up to 14 football fields to stop, you can’t swerve, you can’t do anything, the train will just stop when it stops,” a TrainLink spokesperson said.

The message is part of the latest road safety campaign launched by the NSW Government to remind road users about level crossing risks.

Transport minister Paul Toole said the message was simple, there is no excuse for putting lives on the line by trying to race a train.

“Despite the serious dangers, the prospect of a $464 fine and the loss of three demerit points we are still seeing too many near misses at level crossings,” Toole said.

“We have flashing lights, boom gates and road markings at level crossings for good reason, and drivers, riders and pedestrians need to pay attention, take extreme care and watch out for trains.”

Transport minister Andrew Constance said the “emotional pleas” from NSW TrainLink drivers reminded road users of the pain near misses and collisions caused train drivers and frontline crew.

“Trains can weigh up to 500 tonnes… and are unable to swerve or turn – which means by the time they see you, it’s often too late,” Mr Constance said.

“Ask yourself this; are the minutes you might save rushing across the tracks worth risking the years you could lose?”

Between 2005 and 2020 there were 32 crashes involving a train and vehicle at level crossings across NSW resulting in nine fatalities and 11 serious injuries.

Mr Toole said the difference between a near miss and a fatal collision was sometimes just a matter of seconds.

“Following a bumper harvest and other COVID demands, our freight lines are as busy as ever, so even if you think you know the train schedule remember the rail corridor is no place for complacency – a single moment of distraction may cost a life,” Mr Toole said.

The new level crossing safety advertisements are to run across regional cinemas and social media.

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