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ATSB releases findings on Victorian level crossing collision

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has found that an acute road-to-rail interface angle contributed to a February 2013 collision near Lake Charm in northern Victoria. </span> <p>On February 12 last year a V/Line passenger train collided with the rear corner of a semi-trailer travelling towards the Murray Valley Highway, with a load of gypsum from a nearby mine.<br /><br />The semi-trailer’s trailer was destroyed and there was minor damage to the front of the locomotive. One train passenger suffered minor injuries, and the drivers of both the train and the truck were also treated for minor injuries.<br /><br />The ATSB conducted an investigation into the incident, and announced its findings last week.<br /><br />“The truck driver’s view of the track was restricted due to the acute road-to-rail interface angle and the resulting limited opportunity to observe the train through the truck cabin’s passenger-side window,” the bureau reported.<br /><br />“When the truck driver stopped to look for trains, his view along the track to the north was probably no more than 220 m and insufficient to observe the approaching train.<br /><br />“An embankment in the crossing’s northwest quadrant also affected sighting and vegetation either side of the road approach meant that the installed give-way protection was inconsistent with the available sighting distances.”<br /><br />The ATSB said that in the three years leading up to the incident, the risk profile of the crossing had changed significantly due to a large increase in truck movements associated with a greater demand for gypsum from the mine.<br /><br />“The safety interface management of the crossing by V/Line and the Gannawarra Shire did not identify this changing risk profile and did not involve consultation with a key stakeholder, the mine owner,” the bureau reported.<br /><br />As a result of the investigation, the mine operator has worked to re-align the road approaches to the crossing to address the interface angle.<br /><br />“This incident highlights the need for rail and road authorities to be proactive in addressing identified sighting deficiencies at level crossings and to monitor the risk profile of crossings,” the ATSB said.<br /><br />“The occurrence also highlights the need to involve all key stakeholders in road-rail interface safety management processes.”</p>