Freight Rail, Operations & Maintenance, Safety and Standards, Signalling & Communications

Preliminary report into fatal Geelong collision

geelong collision

A preliminary report has been released from an ongoing transport safety investigation into a fatal level crossing collision in South Geelong, Victoria.

It details factual information gathered in the early evidence collection phase of the investigation, which is being conducted by Transport Safety Chief Investigator Mark Smallwood, who conducts rail investigations in Victoria under a collaboration agreement with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The preliminary report, which contains no analysis or findings, notes that just prior to sunrise on April 3 this year, a truck left a depot and travelled towards Barwon Terrace along an unsealed access road, which runs parallel to a railway track.

At the same time, a V/Line train with only a driver and conductor onboard was travelling along the track, in the direction of Waurn Ponds station, where it was to begin a passenger service.

As both vehicles approached the Barwon Terrace level crossing, the train driver observed the truck turning across the track ahead. In response, the driver sounded the train horn and made an emergency brake application, however, the train collided with the truck with the train travelling at about 65 km/h.

The truck was seriously damaged, and the driver was fatally injured. The train sustained minor damage, but stayed on the tracks, and the train driver and conductor were uninjured.

“Investigators attended to inspect the accident site, and have also examined operational information for the truck and train, interviewed several parties, and collected other relevant information,” Smallwood said.

“As noted in the preliminary report, there was evidence of at least two routes from the unsealed road being used by road traffic to join Barwon Terrace.

“One of these routes, which was used by the truck in this collision, joins Barwon Terrace between the two boom barrier and flashing light assemblies to the north and south of the rail line.

“Our investigation is continuing, and will include review and examination of the operation of the level crossing, the operation of the vehicles involved, the layout of the unsealed road and access to the level crossing, and a review of the traffic management in place prior to, and at the time of the accident,” Mr Smallwood said.

A final report will be released at the conclusion of the investigation.

“However, should a critical safety issue be identified during the investigation, relevant parties will be immediately notified so timely safety action can be taken,” Smallwood said.

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