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Level crossing warnings not being heard: Fullerton

<p>A collision at a level crossing on the Adelaide to Darwin rail line last week was a sign of a widespread disregard for level crossing safety, FreightLink chief executive John Fullerton said.</p> <p>A southbound FreightLink train collided with the rear of a road train that had been crossing the tracks about 20 km south of Darwin on Friday. </p> <p>Investigations into the incident have begun, but Mr Fullerton told <em>Lloyd’s List DCN</em> that Friday’s incident was a sign that many are flouting the rules on rail crossings.</p> <p>The 1.5 km freight trains could not slow down in time to avoid colliding with vehicles whose drivers often tried to avoid having to wait at the stop signs. </p> <p>&#8220People continue to disregard warning devices at level crossings,&#8221 Mr Fullerton said.</p> <p>&#8220I think it is fortunate that there was no-one seriously injured.&#8221</p> <p>Chief minister Claire Martin has acknowledged that drivers in the Northern Territory have a &#8220shocking and appalling&#8221 record on the road.</p> <p>A study released yesterday (Tuesday, October 24) shows that territorians are at greater risk of being killed in a road crash than people in the rest of the developed world. </p> <p>Road fatality figures in the territory are three times greater than elsewhere in Australia thanks to a culture that condones drink driving, high drug use and has low infringement penalties.</p> <p>Mr Fullerton said he was also aware of several near misses involving <em>The Ghan</em> on Saturday where car drivers ignored warning lights at three level crossings near Alice Springs.</p> <p>There is growing concern among train drivers that there could be a repeat of a fatal crash in May involving a B-double and a freight train near Lismore in Victoria.</p> <p>That incident saw a B-double hit the side of a Pacific National train at a level crossing 170 km south-west of Melbourne, killing the truck driver, derailing two locomotives and 44 wagons.</p> <p>The accident on Friday derailed one locomotive and damaged up to 600 metres of track.</p> <p>The two train drivers sustained minor injuries.</p> <p>The truck driver, who was not injured, told news sources that he could not speed up in time to avoid his second trailer being hit.</p> <p>There are stop signs at the crossing, about 100 metres south of Elizabeth River Bridge.</p> <p>Work to replace up to 800 sleepers will take about two months, with speed restrictions to be in place until then.</p> <p>It was the second collision along the Adelaide-Darwin line last week after a FreightLink train hit a herd of camels last Tuesday, damaging its brake system.</p> <p>Mr Fullerton said that both incidents had delayed the trains by 24 hours, but services had now returned to normal.</p> <p>FreightLink had not suffered any delays in its scheduling for the last two-months.</p> <br />