Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand), Railway Crossings, Signalling, Information Technology, Safety, Operations and Maintenance

Autonomous warning system for Queensland level crossing

autonomous level crossing

A level crossing on the Carnarvon Highway at Thallon in South West Queensland has been upgraded with an innovative, autonomous system that displays clear warning signs at all times.

The $1 million lighting upgrade is an Rail Level Crossing Active Safety (RAXS) System wireless safety system and is the second of its kind in Queensland, with one already operating at Oakey in the Toowoomba region.

It means regional motorists will now see flashing red lights as they approach the level crossing in addition to a red railway crossing sign and message board directing drivers to stop on the signal.

It features a railway active signage system together with a train detection system and does not require power or trackside cabling.

The solar powered technology ensures the level crossing remains protected on the rare instance of a power failure or outage, which is important for rural and remote Queensland communities.

While the previous level crossing stop signs met stringent safety standards, Queensland Rail installed the new autonomous technology following community consultation with Thallon residents.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said while the crossing was previously equipped with stop signs and met the required safety standards, it was crucial to listen to the community and ensure they felt as safe as possible.

“Thallon residents shared their views in the Queensland Rail consultation process and the results were unanimous, that flashing lights to warn of approaching trains was the community’s preferred safety measure,” he said.

Queensland Rail Head of Regional Scott Cornish said for everyone’s safety, it was important to pay attention to surroundings at level crossings, follow the road rules and heed the signs in place, because trains were heavy, fast, can’t stop quickly and they can’t swerve to avoid a collision.

“The effectiveness of flashing lights still depends on the motorist’s behaviour, so people will need to stay aware of their surroundings, avoid distractions and stay out of the crossing if the lights are flashing,” he said.

“Queensland Rail is committed to investing in level crossing safety, including through safety campaigns, education programs and upgrades, and thanks the Thallon community for sharing their views about this project.”