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Rail grinder shipped in to solve V/Line?s level crossing woes

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> The Victorian Government has leased a $13m Austrian-manufactured rail grinder to help rectify safety issues with level crossing equipment at 32 level crossings on parts of V/Line’s regional rail network. </span> <p>Since March, level crossing related safety equipment between Traralgon and Bairnsdale has been unable to consistently detect approaching trains early enough for warning bells, flashing lights and boom barriers to activate for the required 25 seconds before a train reaches the level crossing.</p><p>The $13m rail grinding machine, which V/Line has leased from overseas, will reprofile the rail head, creating an improved electrical connection between the rail and train wheel.</p><p>The Austrian-manufactured grinder arrived by ship into the Port of Melbourne after an eight week journey.</p><p>V/Line CEO, Theo Taifalos, said that with no suitable rail grinder readily available in Australia, getting the specialist equipment to Victoria had been a lengthy but necessary process.</p><p>“If all goes to plan, I expect to see all Gippsland line passenger trains returned by the end of October,” Taifalos said.</p><p>A heavy haulage truck transported the grinder to Traralgon where it started work at the end of September. It will work in two stages:</p><p>Traralgon to Sale works began at the end of September 2013 and should be finished by mid-October.</p><p>Sale to Bairnsdale works will occur from mid to the end of October 2013.</p><p>Once works are complete, the Victorian Coalition Government and V/Line will invest up to $8m to install axle counters at all 32 level crossings along the Traralgon to Bairnsdale line as a permanent solution to the safety issue.</p><p>“From the end of September 2013, residents will see renewed activity between Traralgon and Bairnsdale,” Taifalos said.</p><p>“I ask all motorists, heavy vehicle drivers and pedestrians to be alert around level crossings – slow down, obey signage and be prepared to stop.</p><p>“Track machinery and test trains will be operating at any time of day or night so people need to be alert at all times. Risky behaviour around level crossings at any time can cost lives.</p><p>“I thank the Gippsland community for their patience while V/Line has worked to return passenger trains to Rosedale, Sale, Stratford and Bairnsdale. V/Line looks forward to running trains on the line for decades to come.”</p><p>Victorian minister for public transport, Terry Mulder, said more than 10,000 passengers per month board at either Rosedale, Sale, Stratford or Bairnsdale, “so V/Line’s trains are important for family, leisure and business travellers residing in or visiting East Gippsland.</p><p>“Bairnsdale’s trains do not just serve East Gippsland. V/Line’s connecting coaches from Bairnsdale also convey passengers via a scenic route to Cooma, NSW and Canberra, ACT,” he added.</p><p>Victoria’s deputy premier, and member for Gippsland South, Peter Ryan said “Safety will always be V/Line’s top priority.</p><p>“Now that the rail grinder is in Victoria, V/Line staff can start grinding the tracks for a kilometre on each side of the 32 level crossings between Traralgon and Bairnsdale.”</p>