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Bad news, a crash at a level crossing in Western Victoria.



http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/two-dead-30-hurt-in-train-crash/2006/04/28/1146198346745.html

Two people have been killed and more than 30 injured in a train crash at a level crossing in western Victoria.

Police said the Melbourne-bound VLocity passenger train consisting of two carriages, which left Ararat at 3.30pm (AEST), collided with a truck at the Ercildoun level crossing near Beaufort just after 4pm (AEST).

The driver of the high-speed train was seriously injured, V/Line spokeswoman Dionne Lew said.

A bystander, identified only as Dennis, told the ABC the crash scene was a mess.

"The truck is completely demolished, the train is off the track, both carriages, and there's a number of people sitting there," he said.

Police said more than 30 people were taken to hospital, at least two of them with life-threatening injuries.

The train driver was airlifted to the trauma unit at The Alfred hospital in Melbourne, Ms Lew said.

He was in a critical condition with major chest, leg and head injuries Metropolitan Ambulance spokesman Phil Cullen said.

A Rural Ambulance spokesman said a child suffered serious head injuries in the crash.

He said up to 40 people may have been injured in the collision.

Police said some injured people may still be trapped on the train.

"We are in the process of getting everyone out and getting them away from the scene," a spokeswoman said.

"I think it's quite a scene out there, so it might be a while before we can establish the specifics."

"There could be more casualties, or there could be more people injured, but it is just too early to tell."

Some injured passengers were being taken to Ballarat Base Hospital by ambulance and bus.

The manager of the nearby Burrambeet Hotel said the level crossing had no lights or boom gates.

"There are about five or six crossings down there that are a bit dangerous," said the woman, who was not identified.

"The trains blend in with the colour of the roads - they don't stand out."

She believed the train hit the rear trailer of a B-double truck.

The truck driver worked for a small local company, she said.

A service attendant at a roadhouse about 5km from the crash site said the Western Highway was thrown into chaos as traffic tried to get through the crash site.

Transport Minister Peter Batchelor said he was saddened by the news.

"This is a tragic incident on our rail network," Mr Batchelor said.

"Firstly, I'd like to extend my sympathy and condolences (to the families) of the deceased and assure the other family members that they are in good hands with the emergency services personnel.

The Department of Infrastructure had already sent rail safety investigators to the site.

They would make a thorough and detailed report on the circumstances and cause of the crash.

"Any accident on our rail network is a terrible tragedy - we have placed a lot of emphasis on rail safety in Victoria, including the upgrade of level crossings," he said.

Despite a campaign to eliminate level crossings, Mr Batchelor said he would not comment until he viewed the report.

"I'm waiting to hear the report from the rail safety experts of the circumstances and cause (of the crash)," Mr Batchelor said.

"We owe that to the families of the deceased and that's what I intend to do.

The report would be made public.

Ms Lew said V/Line was setting up a crisis call line.

The high-speed VLocity trains are the centrepiece of the Bracks government's regional fast rail project.

They began service on the Bendigo, Geelong and Latrobe Valley lines early this year.

The 160kph trains are part of a massive upgrade which includes upgraded tracks, updated signalling and new timetable.
 

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level crossings are bad news.always have been. terrible.
we have one at Umina and locals want an undergound tunnel instead.
 

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Lurker
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The sad thing is that most level crossing accidents are probably easily avoidable, without the need for costly projects.

Intercity trains are very, very loud (I can hear the trains from 3km away). The only excuse really is just having really bad luck and having your car break down at a crossing.


Though from what I heard on ABC Radio, the road was a minor road that didn't get much traffic. But I presume a train would still have to sound its horn at all level crossings.
 

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Champagne Socialist
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It's a minor road on the Ballarat-Ararat section (which wouldn't have seen level crossing upgrades as part of RFR which was all done to the east of Ballarat).



Two killed in Ararat fast-train crash

The scene at the Trawalla level crossing where two people died when a V/Line train collided with a truck yesterday afternoon.
Photo: Courtesy Pyrenees Advocate


Two people were killed and dozens injured, one seriously, when a V/Line passenger train was derailed after colliding with a truck in country Victoria yesterday afternoon.

One of those killed was a Pacific National employee who was travelling in the train driver's compartment and was returning to Melbourne after making a freight run earlier. It is believed a passenger also was killed.

The 56-year-old train driver was flown to The Alfred hospital last night with serious head, chest and leg injuries. He is in a critical condition.

All other passengers were taken by bus and ambulance to Ballarat Base Hospital. One man was admitted and had surgery for serious leg injuries late yesterday. Other passengers were treated for cuts and fractures.

The two-carriage V'Locity train with 36 passengers was travelling from Ararat to Melbourne when the accident occurred at 4pm. The high-speed train hit the trailer of a B-double truck at the Ercildoune level crossing at Trawalla, about 40 kilometres west of Ballarat, derailing it.

The truck was knocked on to its side, and a large boulder it was carrying was thrown from the trailer.

Lorna Gibson, travelling from Ararat to Melton to attend a friend's 18th birthday, was sitting in the middle of the second carriage. "I was reading and I looked up, saw the truck, and thought, 'that's not going to stop'. And then there was a jolt and I ended up on the floor. I just thought we were going to die."

Simon Barley, who was travelling from Horsham to Melbourne, said: "I slammed into the opposite seat and the first thing that made any sense was I could hear the driver calling 'there's someone hurt' so I started climbing over the seats and started trying to help. One of them (a passenger) was conscious and we were trying to free his legs and I was also trying to hold the head of one who was unconscious."

A witness, identified only as Dennis, told the ABC the crash scene was a mess. "The truck is completely demolished," he said. "The train is off the track, both carriages, and there's a number of people sitting there."

Police, ambulance, SES and CFA crews attended. Ballarat Base Hospital CEO Andrew Rowe said the hospital coped well. It applied its emergency procedures, extra staff were called in, theatres put on standby and beds readied for potential admissions. "Fortunately, only two people have been admitted."

The manager of the nearby Burrumbeet Hotel said the level crossing had no lights or boom gates. "The trains blend in with the colour of the roads - they don't stand out," she said. In the past decade there have been at least 20 deaths at level crossings in Victoria.

Last night, Transport Minister Peter Batchelor visited the accident scene and offered his sympathy to the families of the dead and injured. "This is a terrible tragedy," he said. "It is too early to speculate on the cause of the accident, but there will be a full investigation." The Western Highway was closed for a short time and reopened about 6.30pm. Rail services to Ararat have been suspended and will remain so until after an investigation and a clean-up of the accident scene.

The V'Locity trains are the latest addition to the V/Line fleet to complement the State Government's regional fast rail project. They carry a maximum of 144 passengers.

Passenger rail services to Ararat were revived in July 2004 as part of a State Government plan to reinvest in country rail, but the service to Ararat is not considered part of the regional fast-rail network.

David Bramwells, whose daughter Alana Nobbs was killed by a train at Melbourne's Bentleigh station, has campaigned for improved safety at level crossings across the state. "There is absolutely no justification for this accident to have happened and it should never have happened," Mr Bramwells said.

The high-speed V'Locity trains began service on the Bendigo, Geelong and Latrobe Valley lines early this year.

With AAP
 

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I've already posted at least a couple of times here about the no. of crossings here vs. the no. in NSW. Maybe it's because Kennett privatised the railways.
 

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I want to do you slowly
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jarf said:
It's sad. :( Before yesterday, Victoria had been fatality-free for 30 years.

I'd say we can expect to see a Vlocity ban on non-RFR lines.
Huh - what about that collission at a level crossing between a VLine train and a car in the northern suburbs of Melbourne a year or so ago?
 

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I want to do you slowly
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^^ Add to that the girl that was wiped out by a Train in North SHore - Geelong last year.

You don't need speed limits - just boom gates - that train would've been travelling at 160, the truck would've been lumbering across the crossing and wouldn't have even seen it over the horizon I reckon.

Kinda makes those delays for safety testing seem like a waste of time and effort.

Anyone know what the cost of installing an electric boom gate is, and not the inflated government cost, but the actual cost?
 

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Insane Gunzel
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^^ If you consider people dying onboard because of a collision, the last one was in 1976. You can't count people or cars getting hit by a train as a fatality.

I reckon the train would have been travelling at about 120 on impact. The speed limit from Ballarat to Ararat is 130.
 

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I have one thing to say, **** and yes **** the truck driver. Should be shot. Well now he has to live with this for the rest of his life, because he was to lazy to look properly when crossing a train line, have fun buddy.

P.
 

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I want to do you slowly
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jarf said:
^^ If you consider people dying onboard because of a collision, the last one was in 1976. You can't count people or cars getting hit by a train as a fatality.

I reckon the train would have been travelling at about 120 on impact. The speed limit from Ballarat to Ararat is 130.
I think the people in the car who are now dead would count it as a fatality thankyou very much.

@Tayser - has it been confirmed what speed the train was travelling?
 

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Principes said:
I have one thing to say, **** and yes **** the truck driver. Should be shot. Well now he has to live with this for the rest of his life, because he was to lazy to look properly when crossing a train line, have fun buddy.

P.
lol - some people are perfect.
 

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Anton said:
lol - some people are perfect.
The problem is that train horns don't work very well at high speed because the train is travelling at half the speed of sound. If the trains do truly blend into the surroundings (noting they don't, for instance, have yellow fronts as is becoming standard practice in this country) then it is potentially an understandable error of judgment and perhaps the trains need a high powered head lamp which stays on all the time to increase their delineation with respect to the surroundings.

Better tack another MU car to the order...
 

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My recollection is that Ercildoune (An old sheep station manor) is not anywhere near the Western Highway although the photo above doesn't suggest that. It's about 4 km north. It's not 40 km west of Ballarat but about 20km. The road and crossing in question is not heavily used? If traffic were being trhown into chaos then it would be from sightseers going out of their way to get there.

The train cannot have been doing 120-160kph. The train was only travelling at 100km per hour because that is all that, that section of track is rated to as far as I am aware. Further, there is no suggestion that the train could have been going any faster as it had left Ararat almost 60 minutes earlier and Ararat is 80km from the accident scene. Any fool can work out that it had to be going slower. The 160 kph sections of track are on the Eastern (Melbourne) side of Ballarat. The line was wide open and the crossing had a full view for any traffic. Perhaps it's because the truck driver didn't look, broke down or could have been drink driving. Time will tell in an investigation.
 
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