Rail industry news (Australia, New Zealand)

Transport for NSW and NSW Police launch level crossing campaign in Riverina

Motorists are reminded to be vigilant and patient at level crossings, as Transport for NSW and NSW Police run a level crossing awareness and enforcement campaign in central east Riverina.

NSW Police will be patrolling level crossings in Old Junee, Junee, and Marrar between Monday, 11 March and Friday, 22 March to help increase safety around level crossings and remind road users of the importance of following the road rules.

The campaign is part of an ongoing series of awareness and enforcement campaigns between Transport for NSW and NSW Police Force. The NSW Government is committed to reducing the road toll to zero and this includes making level crossings safer. Between July 2008 and June 2023, there were 99 collisions between trains and vehicles at level crossings throughout NSW.

Sadly, these have resulted in the tragic loss of 10 lives, as well as the serious injury of 17 others. Each year the NSW Government invests $7.3 million through the Level Crossing Improvement Program (LCIP) to upgrade public level crossings and to increase awareness through level crossing safety education and enforcement campaigns such as this operation.

Minister for Regional Roads Jenny Aitchison explained the renewed focus on level crossing safety.

“We all need to look out for each other to ensure everyone reaches their destination safely, and part of that means everyone must be cautious at level crossings,” she said.

“Transport for NSW and NSW Police Force have been regularly collaborating to ensure all motorists and pedestrians are aware of the danger and devastating consequences of unsafe behaviour around level crossings.

“Signs, boom gates, flashing lights and road markings are there for a reason – to keep motorists and pedestrians safe.

“For regional drivers, level crossings are a regular part of our trips, but it’s important not to become complacent when we’re using them.

“Plan your trip and allow enough time to wait and drive safely through level crossings. You might save a few minutes by rushing through a crossing; however, the risk can be devastating – it only takes a few seconds for a fatal collision to happen.

“Any death on a level crossing is a tragedy and one too many.

“I was at the National Level Crossing Safety Roundtable last week where we learned that as few as one in five (22 per cent) of drivers were stopping at one of our regional passive level crossings.

“Motorists who gamble with their safety and the safety of others at level crossings could face three demerit points and a $514 fine, but most tragically they or someone else could lose their life.”

Traffic and Highway Patrol, Region Traffic Operations Coordinator, Sergeant Shannon Pendlebury, said that despite the potentially fatal consequences, people were still ignoring warnings.

“Motorists are urged not to be complacent as trains can come from any direction, at any time, and there can be multiple trains on tracks that can travel at speeds of up to 160km/h,” he said.

“Some trains can take more than a kilometre to come to a complete stop, so even if they see you, they can’t stop. “Disobeying level crossing warning lights and signs can lead to crashes between vehicles and trains where the consequences can be deadly.”