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Author Topic: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station  (Read 9117 times)

Offline ozbob

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From the Courier Mail click here!

One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station

Quote
One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
Article from: The Courier-Mail

Anna Caldwell

January 01, 2009 12:05pm

ONE person has been killed and dozens more injured following a collision between a train and a garbage truck at a rail station in far north Queensland.

Emergency services said the truck and a Sunlander train collided at a crossing next to the station at Aerodrome Road, outside Innisfail, at 11.20am.

The truck driver is believed to be the fatality. Around 120 people were on board the train.

At this stage, seven people are known to be suffering injuries from the crash, with two of these people now en route to Innisfail Hospital.

There are many more walking wounded with cuts and bruises.

The crossing has no boom gates or traffic lights and is only governed by a stop sign.

Passenger Grant Chandler told cairns.com.au the crash site was a ?bloody mess?.

Mr Chandler, from Rocky Point north of Mossman, said he was not injured but was in shock.

?It?s a bloody mess. There are about six carriages over. The truck?s upside down. The engine?s over.?

Sunlander trains shuttle tourists on the 32-hour journey between Brisbane and Cairns three times a week.

The service has been voted as Australia's most spectacular rail journey.

The accident follows a crash involving a tilt train and a truck near Cardwell in November that killed two.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 05:23:37 PM by ozbob »
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2009, 01:44:40 PM »
Media Release  1 January 2009 release of previous media dated 1 Dec 2008.

Yet another fatal level crossing crash today in North Queensland.  Is it not time that real action was implemented, like, today?

1st December 2008: Queensland:  Northern rail line reopens, proactive actions are needed today

RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport commuters has called for the authorities to introduce an emergency interim measure requiring all heavy vehicles to stop at all railway level crossings until 'safe' crossings can be identified and these upgraded for limited speed direct road crossing.  A temporary speed restriction has been placed around the Rungoo crossing.  What about the other rail crossings in Queensland?  Has anything really changed?

Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:

"Vague promises of road overpasses and boom gates are not going to make safe the dangerous level crossings on our railway network now, today.  As an emergency interim measure we call on the Queensland Government to require all heavy vehicles; buses and trucks, to stop  at all railway level crossings and then for drivers to look and listen for trains approaching from either direction and to cross only when it is clearly safe to do so.  This uniform requirement should remain in place until 'safe' crossings, those with active protection, fail safe signaling, and warning signs/lights 300-400 metres before the crossings as appropriate, can be identified.  These crossings should have permanent crossing road speed limits as a further layer of safety."

"Other jurisdictions implement these safety procedures as routine (1,2).  Is it not time that rail crew, passengers and road users are afforded some common sense protection?  There is a clear duty of care issue here."

"Enforcement of road rules at level crossings must become pro-active.  Cameras should be fitted on busy crossings to identify road users who flout the rules.  Substantial fines and suspensions must be put in place."

"There was a recommendation arising out of the school bus and train crash near Dalby earlier this year.  The recommendation was that all school buses be required to stop at all unprotected railway crossings (3).  Why hasn't that recommendation been put in place?"

"For other crossings not identified as 'safe' an absolute requirement for heavy vehicles to stop is essential.  Have a look at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and their bulletin on recent level crossing crashes (4). You will then understand the urgent basis of this request."

References:

1.  http://www.dot.state.wi.us/safety/motorist/railcrossings/rules.htm
2.  http://www.landtransport.govt.nz/roadcode/about-driving/giving-way-at-railway-level-crossings.html
3.  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/10/16/2393501.htm?site=southqld
4.  http://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/2008/pdf/rail_bulletin.pdf

Contact:

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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2009, 01:48:19 PM »
Copy of correspondence of 30th November last ..


30th November 2008

Greetings,

You don't have to be an ATSB investigator to know what has happened at Rungoo.

Time for action today.
Another B double has come to grief with a cane train overnight.  Initial reports have the B double failing to stop at a traffic light.

The lack of an immediate appropriate response from the Queensland Government is a time bomb unfortunately.

They have apparently ignored the recent recommendation for buses to stop at all unprotected crossings as well (see below).

The Government and Queensland Transport are failing the people of Queensland in our humble opinion.

>From ABC Southern Queensland 16 Oct 2008

Boy killed in crossing crash 'not properly restrained'

Quote
A six-year-old boy who died after a school bus in which he was travelling was involved in a south-west Queensland level crossing smash was not properly restrained despite wearing a seatbelt, an inquiry has found.

The report has also recommended changes to the manner in which school buses drive over level crossings.

On June 5, the school bus, in which the boy was the only passenger, was struck by a coal train in foggy conditions on a rail crossing next to the Warrego Highway, between Dalby and Chinchilla in south-west Queensland.

The child died and the bus driver, 65, was seriously injured.

The bus owners had voluntarily fitted seatbelts, but the child was not correctly restrained according to Queensland Transport guidelines, which recommend a booster seat with child harness or adult lap/sash seatbelt for a child of his size and weight.

"The student was ejected from his seat," the independent report into the crash states.

"Had he been restrained in accordance with the Queensland Transport guidelines it is possible his injuries might have been lessened."

The report states that "the bus driver did not take appropriate measures to ensure it was safe to enter the crossing".

The report recommends that, as in Victoria, Canada, New Zealand and the United States, school buses be required to come to a stop at level crossings where there are no warning lights or boom gates.

Queensland Transport should also advise school bus operators on the recommended method of securing students in buses which have seatbelts.

Queensland Rail should consider instructions for train drivers when approaching level crossings in reduced visibility, the report said.

The report also recommended that Dalby Shire Council review its maintenance program on level crossing signage and road markings, and that the Local Government Association of Queensland remind its member councils to maintain crossing signage and road markings.

Queensland Transport Minister John Mickel said QR and Queensland Transport would consider the report.

"My deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of this young boy and all those touched by the events of that day," Mr Mickel said.

-AAP


It is time for immediate action from the Minister and Queensland Transport.

Yours in serious apprehension,

Robert Dow
Administration
RAIL Back On Track
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2009, 02:09:48 PM »
From the Brisbanetimes click here!

No boom gates at fatal crossing

Quote
No boom gates at fatal crossing
January 1, 2009 - 12:34PM

Devastated workmates of the man killed in a horrific train crash at Innisfail this morning have rushed to the scene of the incident.

The 40-year-old garbage truck driver and father of two was killed instantly when his vehicle collided with a Sunlander Train, travelling south from Cairns to Brisbane, at a crossing at Aerodrome Road at Mundoo about 11.30am.

Four people have been seriously injured and dozens more are walking wounded following the crash.

Patrick Dunne a long-time colleague and "good mate" of the driver said he rushed to the scene of the crash as soon as he heard the news.

"I didn't want to believe it," Mr Dunne said.

"We were heading down there and I was just praying he was still alive.

"When we got there they (police) wouldn't let us see him."

An emotional Mr Dunne spoke to brisbanetimes.com.au, just hours after the crash, on the condition his friend's name would be withheld.

"I'm devastated," he said.

"He's got a family. He's a family man. He's got a wife and kids."

As Mr Dunne fought back tears he described his workmate as a "good bloke at heart", who was a long-time Innisfail resident.

Resident Hazel Eves, who lives just 200 metres from the railway crossing where the fatal crash occurred, said passengers had emerged from the wreckage covered in blood.

Mrs Eves said police had ushered witnesses away from scene as passengers were treated by ambulance paramedics.

She likened the scene to a "disaster zone".

"There are people everywhere and helicopters and fire engines and ambulances," Mrs Eves said.

It is understood the first train carriage was flung on its side, and at least two more have been derailed.

"Everyone is everywhere and the surviving passengers are walking around bewildered."

Mrs Eves, who confirmed there were no boom gates at the crossing, said the train had departed Innisfail station minutes before the fatal crash.

The crash follows an almost identical incident in North Queensland just over a month ago.

On November 27 a Tilt Train travelling from Brisbane to Cairns ploughed into a semi-trailer at a Bruce Highway level crossing at Rungoo, about two kilometres north of Hinchinbrook.

The collision killed the two Townsville train drivers and critically injured the 63-year-old truck driver.

Nine passengers were taken to Ingham Hospital with minor injuries.

Queensland Rail is expected to release a statement in reation to this morning's incident shortly.
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2009, 03:59:35 PM »
My blog comment CM.

Quote
More meaningless inquiries.  The immediate actions are obvious.  All heavy vehicles MUST stop, drivers look, listen and only proceed when clear in both directions all lines as the case may be.
Vague promises of road overpasses and boom gates are not going to make safe the dangerous level crossings on our railway network now, today.  As an emergency interim measure I call on the Queensland Government to require all heavy vehicles; buses and trucks, to stop  at all railway level crossings and then for drivers to look and listen for trains approaching from either direction and to cross only when it is clearly safe to do so.  This uniform requirement should remain in place until 'safe' crossings, those with active protection, fail safe signaling, and warning signs/lights 300-400 metres before the crossings as appropriate, can be identified.  These crossings should have permanent crossing road speed limits as a further layer of safety.

Is it not time that rail crew, passengers and road users are afforded some common sense protection?  There is a clear duty of care issue here.  In time, road rail separation eg. over or under passes is the only proper fail safe solution.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2009, 04:01:29 PM by ozbob »
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2009, 04:11:42 PM »
Letter to the editor Courier Mail published 1 Dec 2008.

Stop, look and listen

Vague promises of road overpasses and boom gates are not going to make safe the dangerous level crossings on our railway network today.  As an emergency interim measure it is necessary for the Queensland Government to require all heavy vehicles; buses and trucks, to stop at all railway level crossings and then for drivers to look and listen for trains approaching from either direction and to cross only when it is clearly safe to do so.

Other jurisdictions implement these safety procedures as routine.  Is it not time that rail crew, passengers and road users are afforded some common sense protection?

These actions would allow time for the authorities and the rail unions to identify those crossings where there is active safe protection, including warning lights prior to the crossing and fail safe railway signalling, and the visibility is such for road users and train crews that road vehicles can cross when safe without stopping at no more than 50Km/h.

Further secondary warning lights are needed several hundred metres before the crossings, this is where traffic lights could be useful.  Red when the crossing lights flash, a yellow in a warning period when a train is within 2km of the crossing.  Green when crossing open and train not in the vicinity.

For other unprotected crossings an absolute requirement for heavy vehicles to stop is essential.
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Offline Mozz

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2009, 04:54:57 PM »
ABC news radio 612 just announced that there will be a 5.00pm Qld time news session for 10 mins followed by a special current affairs broadcast re this accident.

Offline Arnz

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2009, 05:28:49 PM »
Good ol' journo sensationalism.. "Train hit truck".. the Sunlander isnt exactly known for "speed".
Rgds,
Arnz

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Offline Mozz

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2009, 05:35:23 PM »
Listened to the ABC news radio current affairs show, people in the local area stating that the train sounded the horn a number of times before the impact. I haven't lived in NQ or FNQ however one question I have is when is a stop sign not a stop sign or stopping is optional?

Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2009, 05:49:44 PM »
Media Release 1 January 2009

Queensland:  Passengers want action concerning railway crossing safety today.

RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport users has called on the Queensland Government to implement emergency procedures at all railway crossings without active protection of both boom gates and lights today, the 1st January 2009.

Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:

?On behalf our members I would like to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends of the truck driver killed this afternoon at Mundoo, and extend our best wishes for a speedy recovery for the locomotive, train crew and passengers who may have been injured, physically and psychologically.?

?On behalf of our members on the 30th November 2008 I wrote to the Minister of Transport in Queensland requesting that as an immediate interim measure all heavy vehicles be required to stop at railway level crossings, and then for the drivers to look and listen, and then proceed only if safe to do after checking both directions and all lines as the case may be (1).?

?We were concerned that a repeat of the Tilt train fatal crash was inevitable unless urgent measures were implemented.  We said at the time the situation was a time bomb.  Events at Mundoo this afternoon have confirmed our calls at the time were sadly prophetic.?

?Promises of thorough investigations are NOT going to manage the immediate requirement for safety today.?

?As an emergency interim measure we again call on the Queensland Government to require all heavy vehicles; buses and trucks, to stop  at all railway level crossings and then for drivers to look and listen for trains approaching from either direction and to cross only when it is clearly safe to do so.  This should be enacted today. This uniform requirement should remain in place until 'safe' crossings, those with active protection, fail safe signaling, and warning signs/lights 300-400 metres before the crossings as appropriate, can be individually identified.  These crossings should have permanent crossing road speed limits as a further layer of safety."


Reference:

1.  http://backontrack.org/mbs/index.php?topic=83.msg7437#msg7437

Contact:

Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2009, 06:03:52 PM »
Thanks for the heads up Mozz. I managed to listen to the report.  Hope we don't have to listen to any more ...

Regards
Bob

From http://www.news.com.au/common/imagedata/0,,6422709,00.jpg

« Last Edit: January 01, 2009, 06:17:23 PM by ozbob »
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2009, 06:51:39 PM »
Qld, Minister orders probe into Qld train crash

ABC News

Slideshow:  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/01/01/2457801.htm?section=australia
 
Witnesses say the driver of the southbound Sunlander passenger service blew the train's whistle moments before the train hit the garbage truck. (ABC TV News)

The Queensland Government has ordered a full investigation into a collision between a passenger train and a truck in the state's far north that has killed one man and injured six people.

Witnesses say the driver of the southbound Sunlander passenger service blew the train's whistle moments before the train hit the garbage truck at a level crossing in the town of Mundoo, just south of Innisfail.

The impact flipped the truck, killing the driver, and derailing the locomotive and four carriages.

Local resident Esmarelda Stevens heard the crash.

"All of a sudden we heard this terrific bang, the sound of metal crashes and we thought what was that," she said.

Jim Browning says passengers were stunned when he arrived at the scene.

"Not a sound, everyone was calm, in shock I suppose, still on the train," he said.
Queensland Rail says 124 people were on the train, including crew.

The train drivers were not hurt.

Six people were taken to Innisfail District Hospital: a pregnant 19-year-old woman suffering severe abdominal pain; a woman in her 60s with high blood pressure; a woman in her 60s with chest pain; a boy who has a bruise to his head; and two other pregnant women taken to hospital as a precaution.

Ninety passengers, many with minor injuries are now waiting in the local community hall for alternative transport.

Investigation

Transport Minister John Mickel is inspecting the crash site.

He says the investigation will be thorough and independent.

Before leaving Brisbane, Mr Mickel offered his condolences to the family of the dead truck driver and his sympathy to everybody involved in the accident.

He has promised a full and independent investigation into the crash, which comes a month after two train drivers died in a level-crossing accident at nearby Cardwell.

"Everyone wants to get to the bottom of this - I certainly do on behalf of the people of Queensland," he said.

"Obviously I want to reassure everybody that this tragedy will receive a full, professional and independent investigation.

"I've asked my director-general to make sure this afternoon that those arrangements are put in place."

Queensland Rail (QR) says it is too soon to say what caused the accident.

QR acting chief executive officer Deborah O'Toole says the level crossing had warning signs.

"What we do understand about the intersection is that it's protected by a stop sign and warning signs to drivers," she said.

"As far as I understand, it doesn't have boom gates or flashing lights at this stage but it is protected by warning signs."
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Dean Quick

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2009, 08:32:24 PM »
 How many more people have to die at level crossings before authorities and road users take level crossings seriously? It seems quite obvious that in this latest tragedy the heavy vehicle has failed to STOP at a marked level crossing and paid the ultimate price. Until warning signs are more
prominent, until rumble strips installed and until fines and demerit points are at least trippled for those that continue to flaunt the rules at level crossings, accidents such as this, unfortunately, will continue to occur.

Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2009, 05:02:03 AM »
Update on article Courier Mail click here!

Plea to stop crossing carnage follows Sunlander crash

Quote
Plea to stop crossing carnage follows Sunlander crash
Article from: The Courier-Mail

Anna Caldwell and Patrick Lion

January 01, 2009 02:15pm

THE level crossing where a the Sunlander train was involved in a fatal collision had been earmarked only two weeks ago as a top priority for upgrade.
A 40-year-old man was killed when his garbage truck and the southbound Sunlander collided on the crossing yesterday.

  # Gallery: In the accident aftermath

The crossing south of Innisfail, in the state's north, is a notorious blind spot.

Yesterday, the locomotive employees union and the State Opposition slammed the condition of level crossings across Queensland and demanded an end to the carnage after the third fatality in five weeks.

At 11.20am the truck driver, understood to be father-of-two Terry Brown, attempted to pass through the crossing ? which has no boom gates or warning lights ? at Mundoo, 5km south of Innisfail, when the collision happened, killing him instantly.

Of the 122 people on the train, six were injured, including three pregnant women.

The injured were taken to hospital. Many more were treated at the scene for cuts and bruises.

Witnesses told how rescuers rushed to help the driver who was trapped in twisted metal.

"But it was no use. He was gone," a visibly shaken Luke O'Brien said.

It is understood the driver was off duty and was filling in for a fellow driver who had called in sick.

"He was helping out a mate, that is what makes it all the more upsetting," local Les Taylor said.

Both train drivers walked away uninjured from the collision which derailed both locomotives and six carriages on the Cairns to Brisbane service.

It came after two train drivers were killed in a level crossing collision with a truck on the Bruce Highway, south of Cardwell, on November 27.

Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees representative Greg Smith said it was a state disgrace that another death could occur.

Mr Smith said the intersection was a death trap that should have been fixed long ago. The track speed limit at the site of the collision was 80km/h.

"It is a fast spot and it is a blind spot and it is close to a residential area," he said.

"It is nothing short of a disaster waiting to happen."

He said it was tragic that the new Government taskforce had only just named the crossing as a top priority for upgrade.

"The taskforce is a good thing ? but it has come too late for this man," Mr Smith said.

However, Queensland Rail acting chief executive Deborah O'Toole said the group had not heard anything about the Mundoo crossing coming out of the review at this stage.

"Not that I'm aware of," Ms O'Toole said.

She defended the group's safety record, saying a public education campaign was at present focusing on level crossing safety.

Mr Smith said he had spoken to the two train drivers, both from Cairns, who were involved in yesterday's collision.

"They have expressed their devastation and they have just said there was absolutely nothing they could do to avoid the collision," he said.

Yesterday Queensland Transport extended the terms of reference for the inquiry with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau into the Cardwell crash to include the latest accident.

Amid calls from the Opposition for more action in funding level crossing safety and less reviews, Transport Minister John Mickel yesterday would only promise a full investigation as he extended his sympathies to the families of the deceased and those injured.

"We want to reassure (Queenslanders) we will get to the bottom of this," he said. "Obviously our sympathies go to the family of the driver."

Opposition transport spokesman Tim Nicholls said the Government had to act after underfunding level crossing safety. He said it was telling that only 200 of the state's 1800 level crossings had lights and boom gates.

An interim report into the Cardwell crash is due within weeks but Mr Mickel said he did not want investigators to rush the investigation.

Additional reporting Peter Michael
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2009, 05:38:24 AM »
Media Release 2 January 2009

Queensland:  Government and rail regulators fail the Queensland Community

RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport users has again called on the Queensland Government to implement emergency procedures at all railway crossings without active protection of both boom gates and lights immediately.  More investigations and lists of ?dangerous crossings? are important in the long term, but will NOT help to overcome the now obvious risks to all today.  Immediate safety controls, a massive education campaign and massive penalties for traffic breaches at crossings are needed from today.

Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:

?As an emergency interim measure we again call on the Queensland Government to require all heavy vehicles; buses and trucks, to stop  at all railway level crossings and then for drivers to look and listen for trains approaching from either direction and to cross only when it is clearly safe to do so.  This should be enacted today. This uniform requirement should remain in place until 'safe' crossings, those with active protection, fail safe signaling, and warning signs/lights 300-400 metres before the crossings as appropriate, can be identified.  These crossings should have permanent crossing road speed limits as a further layer of safety."

?Penalties for traffic breaches at level crossings must be made substantial.  A failure to stop as directed must be met with license suspension for a very significant period.  Rather than advertising that organisations are safety focused let us see advertising that has a real message.  Stop means stop.  Trains are crossing at your crossing always.?

?Government has a duty of care to rail employees, passengers and road users.  Let?s not delay any longer.?

Contact:

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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2009, 07:16:38 AM »
From the Cairns Post click here!

Crossing among 10 most deadly

Quote
Crossing among 10 most deadly

Friday, January 2, 2009
? The Cairns Post

THE lethal level crossing that claimed the life of the truck driver had been blacklisted as one of the most dangerous in North Queensland.

The Mundoo crossing was identified as one of the 10 most dangerous level crossings after a specialist taskforce recently inspected almost 500 crossings between Mackay and Cairns.

Townsville-based driver and Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees district representative Greg Hooper said he had personally inspected the crossing as part of the taskforce formed to investigate rail safety following a double fatality near Cardwell in November.

"During the review, it had been identified as being in the top 10, out of over 400 crossings, needing urgent attention between Mackay and Cairns," Mr Hooper said.

He said vegetation and housing restricted the train drivers? view as they approached the crossing.

"It?s blind coming up to it, with trees, houses and the old saw mill and that sort of stuff.

"You only see it within 30 or 50m and there is only a stop sign with big railway crossing signs on it.

"While we were doing reviews, even when we were sitting at the stop signs people were driving right through them."

Mr Hooper recommended boomgates and flashing lights should be installed, with a flashing warning sign about 500m from the crossing as an interim measure.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union Northern district organiser Les Moffitt said boomgates and flashing lights should be installed at every level crossing, with overpasses on major crossings on the Bruce
Highway.

"Local union representatives already started doing some work and only a week ago looked at that crossing," he said.

"I know that one was highlighted as needing some urgent attention, that was one where the stop sign was considered as not appropriate."

Mr Moffitt said while he considered the taskforce a positive step towards rail safety, he called on Premier Anna Bligh to extend the investigation.

"From our perspective we see it as a positive move ? but it has not gone far enough."

Mr Moffitt said the department of Main Roads and Workplace Health and Safety should also be involved in the review, which should take in every single rail crossing in Queensland.

"Transport Minister John Mickel yesterday said he had requested the latest tragedy be investigated alongside the Cardwell crash.

"We have an expert team already investigating that so it?s about widening the terms of reference. The investigation is under way and it will be done fully, impartially and professionally."
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2009, 08:05:37 AM »
I just listened to the Minister for Transport Mr Mickel interviewed on radio 612 ABC Brisbane.  Apart from a brief mention of the need for immediate safety education campaign concerning level crossings, the rest of the interview was just a factual sanitised report of events without any indication of the real urgency of the situation. The Minister suggested that services on the north coast line may be resumed tomorrow afternoon.  What has changed to help ensure that another level crossing crash doesn't occur again?  NOTHING!
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2009, 01:40:57 PM »
From ABC News click here!

Qld Govt ignoring advice about level crossings: Oppn

Quote
Qld Govt ignoring advice about level crossings: Oppn

The locomotive of the Sunlander sits next to the train carriages after the collision. (ABC Radio: Darren Nelson)

The Queensland Opposition has accused the State Government of ignoring warnings about safety at level crossings after a train collided with a truck in the far north yesterday.

The Rail, Tram and Bus Union (RTBU) wants boom gates and flashing lights installed at every Queensland level crossing after the fatal crash between the Sunlander train and a garbage truck at Mundoo, near Innisfail.

The truck driver was killed in the crash.

Six people were also injured, including three pregnant women.

All of them have been now discharged from hospital.

Transport Minister John Mickel says installing boom gates and flashing lights at every level crossing in Queensland will not necessarily save lives.

He says it costs about $1 million to install boom gates at a level crossing and the upgrades will not guarantee safety.

"Fifty per cent of the collisions on average occur at crossings where there are boom gates and flashing lights and in fact in calender year 07/08, 75 per cent of the collisions occurred in ... far north Queensland," he said.

"You also have a series of cane train crossings that intersect with the road system."

But Opposition spokesman Tim Nicholls says the Government needs to start spending money on the problem.

"We believe that the Government has seriously underfunded safety upgrades at level crossings and has been ignoring advice that this is a problem that is going to get worse as Queensland's population increases, and as more and more people are on our roads both in private vehicles and also trucks and the trucking industry," he said.
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2009, 01:43:27 PM »
Minister for Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations
The Honourable John Mickel
02/01/2009

QR allocates $10m for immediate start to work on priority level crossings

QR will target priority level crossings in North Queensland with $10 million approved today to start work immediately on implementing improvements identified by a joint QR Task Force involving train drivers and rail unions.

QR will also step up its community education and public awareness campaigns about the need for motorists to be vigilant when using level crossings.

Transport Minister John Mickel said the urgent funding allocation and expanded community education campaigns would put greater focus on the on-going issue of level crossing safety.

"This is not just a rail safety issue. It is also a road safety issue," Mr Mickel said.

"There is a greater collective effort required by road and rail authorities together with local councils, and importantly with road users, to reduce the risk of future accidents," he said.

"This morning I have been briefed by QR on yesterday's accident at Innisfail and what it is doing actively to step up current initiatives through the work of the Task Force

"Despite a 30 per cent reduction in level crossing accidents in the past decade, the recent spate of fatal collisions is a concern that needs a collective and concerted effort from the community and authorities."

QR established a specialist Task Force following the Cardwell accident in late November last year where two Townsville train drivers were killed. It includes safety and operational experts, as well as train crew and rail union representatives.

The head of the Task Force is in North Queensland today briefing train drivers and Task Force members on the QR initiatives. He also visited the Innisfail site of yesterday's accident.

While the initial focus of the Task Force is for locations between Mackay and Cairns, it will also now take into account issues from a statewide perspective.

Mr Mickel has also requested QR to expand the Task Force's considerations to take more directly into account the road safety dimension of level crossings and what practically might be done to improve existing safety measures.

==============================================================
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2009, 02:43:58 PM »
From Brisbanetimes click here!

Government advances $10m program for rail safety upgrades

Quote
Government advances $10m program for rail safety upgrades
Marissa Calligeros | January 2, 2009 - 1:16PM

In a bid to quell public outrage at the absence of boom gates at a notoriously dangerous level-crossing where a truck driver died yesterday, the State Government has announced an immediate $10 million spend to improve safety infrastructure on North Queensland rail lines.

Transport Minister John Mickel said the funding would be used to directly improve safety at eight level-crossings identified as "danger zones" by a Queensland Rail task force established following a fatal train collision at Cardwell in November.

The Minister could not confirm whether boom gates would be built at the eight locations, which he is yet to name.

"I will wait until I see of the recommendations made by the task force and certainly not pre-empt that," Mr Mickel said.

"Despite a 30 per cent reduction in level-crossing accidents in the past decade, the recent spate of fatal collisions is a concern that needs a collective and concerted effort from the community and authorities."

It is understood a minimum of $500,000 will be spent directly improving safety infrastructure at eight problem level-crossings, with the remaining funds to be spent on a public awareness campaign for rail-road safety.

"This is not just a rail safety issue. It is also a road safety issue," he said.

The Minister refused to share responsibility for yesterday's horrific crash.

"What I can't be responsible for and what no government can is driver responsibility.

"People should stop at stop signs and they often don't."

Father-of-two and garbage truck driver Terry Brown, 40, was killed in the second fatal train crash in two months to occur in North Queensland.

Shine Lawyers senior partner Roger Singh, who represented victims of the 2004 Tilt Train disaster near Bundaberg, said the State Government had a case to answer for in the latest fatal accident.

He said the Government had blatantly avoided the "common sense fix" in refusing to act quickly in erecting boom gates at level-crossings.

"One would think and one would expect people would not become involved in such tragic accidents if boom gates were there to separate motor vehicles and trains," Mr Singh said.

"Although it is early days, it does appear to be that this latest tragedy was in part a failing on behalf of the State Government."

Mr Singh is currently representing the family of teenager Jack McFadden, who was left severely disabled after being hit by a cattle train at a level crossing at Brigalow in the Darling Downs in 2002.

The boy's family is suing Queensland Rail.

The Queensland Rail task force has focused on level-crossings located between Mackay and Cairns and will later assess safety at level-crossings across the state.

According to QR, installing flashing lights and/or boom gates at a level-crossing costs between $250,000 to $1.5 million per site depending on the location and type of track involved.
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Offline mufreight

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2009, 03:36:04 PM »
Having been a train driver and having been involved in multiple fatalities I seriously question when are people generally going to accept personal responsibility for their actions.
In this case there was a stop before crossing sign at the crossing which it would appear that the truck driver chose to ignore and he has paid the price for his actions, unfortunately the train crew and his family will continue to pay for his actions as well as will passengers who were traumatised by the event.
My average man in the street will pay the material costs of this avoidable and unnecessary event which will run into millions.
That flashing lights or boom gates will stop such events is a forlorn hope having experienced a multiple fatality where the driver of a car zig zaged through the boom gates and was struck by the train that I was in control of, there were operating flashing lights in place and working when the two train crew were killed in the previous incident, the effect was such that my co driver suicided some months later and I eventually had to retire from a job I enjoyed.
In all cases it is the responsibility of the motor vehicle driver to obey the law and comply with the road rules, I for one have no problem with someone breaking the law killing themselves but I do have a problem with them placing at risk the lives and futures of others, consider how many could have potentially been killed or injured if that same gargage truck had failed to stop at a stop sign or traffic signal and had pulled across the road in front of a bus or coach loaded with passengers, they do not have the strength of a train to cope with such an incident.
Members of the public need to be mindful of the fact that they are crossing a railway RIGHT OF WAY.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 04:01:35 PM by mufreight »

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2009, 04:25:35 PM »
Thanks for sharing your experiences mufreight.  I can only imagine that it has been difficult, but it helps spell out the need for responsibility and this is greatly appreciated.

Best wishes
Bob
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #22 on: January 02, 2009, 04:59:44 PM »
Media Release 2 January 2009

Queensland:  Strong support for the rail crossing safety actions announced today by Minister Mickel and QR

RAIL Back On Track (http://backontrack.org) a web based community support group for rail and public transport and an advocate for public transport users has welcomed the rail crossing safety initiatives announced today (1).

QR has said of the level crossing collisions to occur on QR tracks in the past seven years:

o 98% of collisions were directly attributable to the road user
o 96% of collisions occur at public level crossings
o 50% of collisions on average occur at crossings with boom gates and/or flashing lights (2).

Robert Dow, Spokesman for RAIL Back On Track said:

"Today's statement by Minister Mickel of immediate actions to start to address the road safety aspects of level crossings is very welcome.  Stop means stop! Be rail safe!"

References:

1.  http://www.cabinet.qld.gov.au/MMS/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id=62142
2.  http://www.corporate.qr.com.au/Corporate/News_Room/Current/Press_releases/845.asp

Contact:
Robert Dow
Administration
admin@backontrack.org
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #23 on: January 02, 2009, 05:06:37 PM »
From Brisbanetimes click here!

'It's bloody happened again'

Quote
'It's bloody happened again'
Marissa Calligeros | January 2, 2009 - 11:14AM

Shell-shocked trains drivers in North Queensland can't believe it's happened again.

The Townsville Secretary for the Australian Federated Union of Locomotive Employees Queensland Greg Hooper today spoke of the phone call he received from the driver of the Sunlander train, which collided with a garbage truck south of Innisfail yesterday morning, killing one and injuring scores more.

"He said to me, 'We've crashed...we're facing back the way we came'," Mr Hooper said.

"It's a bloody disaster, he said.

"It's bloody happened again, he said."

Mr Hooper said the dismayed driver made the distressed phone call just minutes after the crash.

"He could barely control his breathing. He was shell-shocked. He was not in a good way.

"He managed to tell me he was alright, but he couldn't say the same for the truck driver.

"He said, 'I'm standing next to the crash mate, the truck driver is still in the wreckage. I can't look'."

The 40-year-old garbage truck driver and father of two, Terry Brown, was killed instantly when the truck he was driving collided with the Sunlander train at a level crossing at Mundoo about 11.20am.

It is the second fatal accident at a Queensland level-crossing in two months. In November two train drivers died when a Tilt Train collided with a truck at a level-crossing collision near Cardwell in North Queensland.

The incidents have outraged Mr Hooper who said "enough is enough".

Mr Hooper, a member of the Queensland Rail internal task force established after the fatal Cardwell crash to formally identify black spots along rail lines, said he lost two "good mates" in November's crash.

He was on his way to the scene of the latest fatal crash this morning when he spoke of his grief.

"You can't describe the feeling," he said.

"The loss grips you."

"There are children now without a father. Nothing is more tragic."

The level crossing at the site of yesterday's accident was a known black-spot and was listed among the 10 most dangerous in the state's north in a review conducted by the Queensland Rail task force.

Mr Hooper said the task force had only completed its evaluation of 500 level-crossings across Queensland last Wednesday, with an official report expected to be presented to the State Government within the next fortnight.

Mr Hooper confirmed the level-crossing at Mundoo was among as many as 40 sites declared to be "black spots" in the review.

"It was identified as needing urgent attention yes," he said.

Investigators at the site of yesterday's crash hope a black box device which will be removed from the train wreck will provide crucial information about what happened.

Cranes will today remove the two locomotives and three passenger carriages that were derailed and allow rail crews to begin track repairs.

Police forensic officers worked through the night collecting evidence.
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #24 on: January 02, 2009, 05:14:50 PM »
mufreight great post, very pertinent observations, and sadly nothing much has changed.

I'd be interested to know if the motorists that treat stop signs at level crossings with such contempt, do the same where a normal road intersection has a stop sign?

A bunch of us currently in the rail industry are becoming more and more fed up with media reporting of such incidents, the political point scoring that happens, and to an extent, union and professional road transport organisations response to these issues. An embryonic group called the Australian Train Drivers Association is being formed to try and address this imbalance of reporting and response to try and get our sides of the story heard.

To date there have been over 50 road fatalities across the country, which all get their paragraph in the paper. One truck driver is killed when a train 'ploughs' into his truck, and the world all but stops while we hear about how inadequate infrastructure is at level crossings and the evilness of railways in particular.   

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2009, 05:16:53 PM »
Qld, Update - North Queensland level crossing incident

QR Media release 2 January 2009

Passenger train services between Townsville and Cairns are not expected to resume until Sunday afternoon following the collision of the Sunlander and a truck in North Queensland yesterday.

The truck driver died in the accident at the Mundoo level crossing near Innisfail and five passengers and a QR staff member on the derailed train were injured and taken to hospital before being discharged.

Work is underway to lift the overturned locomotives and carriages and repair the track around the site.

An independent investigation into the accident has been launched by Queensland Transport in conjunction with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Affected customers have been advised that coaches will transport passengers between Cairns and Townsville until train services resume.

Passengers on the Sunlander which was involved in the collision have been transported by coach to their destinations.
Passengers who were booked to join the train at stations south of Townsville are being taken by other coaches to their destinations.

The northbound Sunlander which left Brisbane yesterday will stop at Townsville where passengers will transfer to coaches for travel between Townsville and Cairns.

The southbound Sunlander which was due to depart Cairns at 9.15am tomorrow will commence from Townsville.

Passengers between Cairns and Tully will be conveyed by coaches to Townsville to connect with this service.

The Cairns Tilt Train which is due to leave Roma Street at 6.25pm today will stop at Townsville and passengers will be conveyed by coaches between Townsville and Cairns.

The Tilt Train which was due to leave Cairns at 9.15am on Sunday will start from Townsville and passengers between Cairns and Tully will be conveyed by coaches to Townsville to connect with this service.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2009, 05:21:41 PM by ozbob »
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2009, 05:28:41 PM »
North Queensland level crossing accident
QR Media Release, 2 January 2009
 
QR has again appealed to motorists to be vigilant at level crossings following a fatal collision today between the Sunlander passenger train and a truck at Innisfail in North Queensland.

The truck driver died in the accident at 11.20am and five passengers and a QR staff member on the train were injured and taken to Innisfail Hospital for treatment.

Two passengers remained in hospital as at 6pm.

The remainder of the 116 passengers and six staff on the southbound Sunlander were taken to a nearby hall where they were made comfortable pending the arrival of buses to carry them to their scheduled or preferred destinations.

The two train drivers were shaken and suffered cuts and bruises but were not taken to hospital.

Both locomotives and six wagons on the train travelling from Cairns to Brisbane derailed as a result of the collision at the Mundoo level crossing, which has stop and railway warning signs.

This accident occurred just over a month after the collision of a Tilt Train and truck near Cardwell on 27 November, which killed the two QR train drivers.

?Our heartfelt condolences go to the family of the truck driver killed in this accident,? QR Acting Chief Executive Officer Deborah O?Toole said.

?Our strong plea to all road users is to take special care around all level crossings, particularly during the remainder of the holiday period.

?Not only is this the second fatal level crossing accident in North Queensland in about a month, but there have been a number of near misses over the same period which could have ended in injury or even death.

?We are devastated by these continuing incidents which occur despite our repeated warnings about the need to be careful at railway crossings around the state.

?The safety of our passengers, staff and the public is our highest priority.

?We urge all motorists to obey the road rules at these locations in the interests of everybody?s safety and to ensure there are no more tragedies like this.

?The impact of these incidents reverberates across families, staff and the local community.

?To not do so is simply dangerous and puts more lives at risk.?

Since the Cardwell accident QR has formed an expert taskforce of train drivers, safety and technical specialists and unions to fast track improvements to level crossings across North Queensland.

Other QR measures underway to improve safety include:

? boosting a community education campaign to target road user behaviour at level crossings with extra billboards, advertising and community activity

? working with the Cooperative Research Centre for Rail Innovation to conduct research into improved preventative measures for level crossings

? continuing research conducted by QUT's Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Queensland (CARRS-Q) on high-risk road users and developing road safety counter measures to make railway crossings safer.

Cranes have been sent to the location to lift the train, which was substantially damaged in today?s accident and will be transported by road to Brisbane for repairs.

All railway level crossings in Queensland are protected by some form of safety device whether they are boom gates, flashing lights, stop signs or give way signs.

Members of the public with enquiries about friends or relatives on the train or service interruptions can call 13 22 32.
Background
QR has stepped up its efforts to improve level crossing safety, including a widespread community education campaign, in a bid to reduce accidents where the rail network and roads meet.

QR?s Acting CEO Deborah O?Toole said QR took every opportunity to reinforce the crucial safety message about the need for care at level crossings.

?QR spends more than $250,000 each year to promote rail safety through advertising, highway billboards, and school visits by our education officers,? she said.

?In 2007 QR delivered the rail safety message to more than 140,000 Queenslanders through visits and last year we launched the RailSmart website to encourage Queenslanders to be safe around railway tracks and trains.

?We also recently launched a public awareness campaign featuring newspaper advertisements, radio community service announcements and highway billboards.

?QR is part of a $33.8 million program funded by the Queensland Government which also includes Queensland Transport, the Main Roads Department and local councils to improve level crossing safety across the state.?

Ms O?Toole said following the collision of the Tilt Train and a truck near Cardwell on November 27, QR formed an expert taskforce to fast track improvements to level crossings across North Queensland.

?Since announcing the taskforce in December, we have appointed a range of members including train drivers, safety and technical specialists and unions,? she said.

?This taskforce will build on the work we are already doing to improve level crossing safety.

?Accidents at level crossings remind us of the importance of safety where our rail network and roads meet. No matter how many times you drive across a level crossing, please be alert and be careful.?

Of the level crossing collisions to occur on QR tracks in the past seven years:

? 98% of collisions were directly attributable to the road user
? 96% of collisions occurred at public level crossings
? 50% of collisions on average occurred at crossings with boom gates and/or flashing lights. (This figure was 75% in the year 2007/2008).
? 25% of collisions involved heavy vehicles.

On average in Queensland there are 17 collisions a year between road users and trains at rail level crossings and half of these incidents are at level crossings with flashing lights, boom gates or both.

For more information about rail safety, visit www.railsmart.com.au
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #27 on: January 03, 2009, 05:18:04 AM »
From the Courier Mail click here!


Train crash took a father and friend

Quote
Train crash took a father and friend
Article from: The Courier-Mail

By Peter Michael

January 02, 2009 11:00pm

TRUCK driver Terry Brown was a "big jovial character" whose death in a north Queensland New Year's Day rail-crossing accident shattered a community.

The Innisfail father-of-two, 40, drove the same route at the same time every week for 18 months before his fatal collision with a passenger train near his home town.

Investigators believe the Brisbane-bound Sunlander train, carrying 122 people, was travelling at about 80km/h when it smashed headlong into the garbage truck.

The tiny town of Mundoo, population 100 and with only a stop sign marking the rail crossing, has been identified in the state's 10 most-notorious black spots.

Mr Brown, who was born in Innisfail, was torn from the truck cabin by the force of the impact. He died instantly.

Rescuers who were first on the scene desperately fought to pull his trapped body from the derailed lead engine but struggled to free him from the twisted wreckage. Fire crews later recovered his body.

Family and friends yesterday rallied around his grieving wife, daughter, 16, and son, 14, at the family home.

Friend Darryl Subloo, also Mr Brown's boss at Subloo's waste management in Innisfail, said the family and community was "extremely distraught".

"It's a bit surreal at the moment," Mr Subloo said. "We are all struggling to come to grips with the extent of the tragedy. You can replace a vehicle, but you can't replace a life, or a father, or a husband."

Mr Subloo, who went to both primary and high school with Mr Brown, paid tribute to a man whose passion was his family.

"He was a big, jovial character, full of energy and life," Mr Subloo said. "He'd never stress about anything, he was a very cheerful guy."

He said it had been a routine pick-up for Mr Brown, who had driven the same route at the same time every week for 18 months.

"It is a blackspot," Mr Subloo said. "I'm not sure if boom gates or flashing lights would make a difference. I have driven over the same crossing myself without stopping and, after I've gone through, thinking I've taken it too cheap."

He said his company had a zero blood alcohol limit for drivers of heavy machinery.

"All the boys know the limits of the job," he said. "They were talking before knock-off on New Year's Eve and none had any plans because they knew they had to work the next day."

Plans for a funeral and memorial service are yet to be finalised.


My blog comment on this article:

Quote
The loss of life is sad.  Public admissions of failures to stop at the crossing highlight the fundamental issue.  It is time that all road users accepted their responsibilities incumbent on their permission to drive on the roads (ie. a licence holder).  This includes obeying without exception directions to stop at rail crossings.

Since the incident at Mundoo there have been more near misses on the rail network.  Some involving idiots driving around boom gates!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2009, 05:31:55 AM by ozbob »
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #28 on: January 03, 2009, 07:57:18 AM »
Well said mufreight and mick_L..

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #29 on: January 03, 2009, 12:44:30 PM »
From Brisbanetimes click here!

Bus driver snubs flashing rail crossing

Quote
Bus driver snubs flashing rail crossing
Andrew Wight | January 3, 2009 - 11:16AM

A bus carrying 12 passengers has driven through flashing lights at a rail crossing in far north Queensland only a day after a fatal crash between a train and truck at a crossing little more than 30 kilometres away.

On New Year's Day father of two Terry Brown died at a level-crossing near Innisfail when the garbage truck he was driving collided with a passenger train.

The crossing only had a warning sign and highlighted the risks at level-crossings.

But the bus driver at Babinda yesterday afternoon sped through a level-crossing which had warning lights.

Queensland Police Acting Commissioner Ian Stewart today expressed shock at that the incident.

"It beggars belief that they would put themselves and their passengers at risk, Mr Stewart said.

Police booked the bus driver after he went through the rail crossing at 5pm.

"There was a train was in the area at the time," Mr Stewart said.

Queensland Rail hopes to restore North Queensland the services affected by Thursday's crash by tomorrow.

The line between Cairns and Townsville has been cut since the fatal crash at Mundoo near Innisfail where six people were also injured.

Clean-up crews have been working around the clock to clear the tracks.

Meanwhile Mr Stewart also today expressed concern that despite record enforcement, Queensland's road toll from the national holiday road campaign ended at 13 dead, compared to five in 2007.

The number of people on drink-driving offences was 1660 people out of 205,325 people tested, up by 28 per cent from last year.

"I'm unhappy if we have one drink driver and (if) we had 1 million RBTs," Mr Stewart said.

"In general, people know when they are drinking and driving."

Mr Stewart said there was still a problem with people driving to venues with the intention of not drinking or of catching an alternate form of transport home, but then driving anyway.

Mr Stewart also put drivers on notice that Queensland's road campaign will continue into Australia Day and the "back to school" period.

with AAP
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2009, 12:49:24 PM »
From the Courier Mail click here!

At least six railway level crossing require attention

Quote
At least six railway level crossing require attention
Article from: The Courier-Mail

Anna Caldwell, James O'Loan and Peter Michael

January 02, 2009 11:00pm

TRAIN drivers approach at least six intersections between Cairns and Mackay with dread because of a dangerous lack of visibility.
The Courier-Mail can reveal that six of the eight level crossings on that stretch of track have been identified by a Queensland Rail taskforce as requiring urgent upgrades.

The site of Thursday's fatality where a garbage truck driver was killed at Mundoo, south of Innisfail is one, as is the site of November's double train driver fatality at the Conn crossing near Cardwell.

The others are at Saunders Beach, near Townsville; Balgal Beach, near Bluewater; Rungoo Crossing, near Cardwell; and Bootooloo, at Bowen.

Les Moffitt, a representative of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union said the six intersections hadn't been prioritised..

"This list isn't exhaustive and some of these may not even make the final cut - these are the crossings we have identified so far," Mr Moffitt said.

"It is tragic we've had the three (recent) fatalities, but the number of near misses that have never been publicised would stun most people."

One QR driver who has driven the Townsville-Cairns route for 10 years said he felt dread every time he approached the death trap crossings.

"You are always triple aware when you approach those intersections," the man, who can't be identified, said.

The $10 million for upgrades comes from QR's existing budget and will not be allocated until the taskforce reports in the next few weeks.

Transport Minister John Mickel said he would not pre-empt where or how the money should be spent and would wait to hear what the taskforce had recommended.
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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #31 on: January 04, 2009, 08:04:25 AM »
From the Melbourne Age click here!

Motorists warned about level-crossings

Quote
Motorists warned about level-crossings

January 3, 2009 - 7:10PM

Police are urging people to obey the law at level rail crossings after a bus driver ignored red flashing lights a day after a fatal level-crossing collision in far north Queensland.

The warning comes as Queensland Rail (QR) workers finish clearing the wreckage of the Sunlander passenger train that hit a garbage truck on a level-crossing, killing the truck driver, at Mundoo near Innisfail on New Year's Day.

Train services between Townsville and Cairns are expected to be back on line on Sunday afternoon, with repairs to the track taking place.

Meanwhile, a bus driver ignored red flashing lights at a level-crossing at Babinda on Friday, risking the lives of 12 passengers.

Acting police commissioner Ian Stewart said it was obvious motorists were not obeying traffic laws at level-crossings.

"I think it's a tragedy that a bus driver would ignore red flashing lights ... and warning bells at a train crossing with a train approaching," Mr Stewart said.

"It beggars belief that they would put themselves and their passengers at risk."

He said the bus driver was given a ticket.

"We are asking people to drive safely and make positive choices," he said.

The small community of Mundoo is mourning the loss of father-of-two Terry Brown, the driver of the garbage truck killed in the New Year's Day accident.

Neighbours have said Mr Brown, 40, was a jovial man who knew the local roads very well.

The tragedy happened two months after two train drivers were killed in a collision with a truck at a level-crossing in Cardwell, also in north Queensland.

Both incidents have sparked calls for mandatory boom gates at level crossings but the Queensland government says it is not as simple as that considering the sheer number of level-crossings across the state and the costs of boom gates.

Traveltrain chief Paul Scurrah said $10 million in funding would be brought forward to implement recommendations to be made from an investigation into both incidents.

Mr Scurrah said the recommendations may include boom gates, warning lights or audible road strips at some crossings.

Eight crossings were earmarked for extra safety measures but have not been named.

The last four carriages of the Sunlander have been hauled to Cairns, where the other 13 carriages were also taken after the accident.

Passenger services between Townsville and Cairns is expected to come back on line about 2pm on Sunday, depending on the weather.

Six train passengers were injured in the collision but all have been discharged from hospital.

? 2009 AAP
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Offline mufreight

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #32 on: January 04, 2009, 09:29:35 AM »
One must question as to how serious the government realy is in relation to level crossing incidents, the day following the tragedy at Mundoo where a truck driver was killed when he placed at risk the lives of 122 persons on the train involved injuring six of the passengers so that they needed hospital attention by breaking the law and ignoring the stop sign at the level crossing we have a bus driver driving a bus through flashing lights at another level crossing not 35km away at Babinda and placing at risk the lives of the 12 passengers on the bus and potentaly the lives of train crew and any passengers on the approaching train.
For his gross irresponsibility this imbecile received a fine of $300 and the loss of 3 demerit points, a more fitting response in the light of the events of the previous day would have been loss of licence for life for the traffic offence of failing to stop at the crossing with the lights flashing, and a mandatory jail sentence for placing the lives of his passengers at risk and potentaly risking the lives of train crew.

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2009, 06:08:38 PM »
From News.com click here!

Train service between Townsville and Cairns reopens after fatal crash

Quote
Train service between Townsville and Cairns reopens after fatal crash

AAP

January 04, 2009 03:37pm

THE railway line between Townsville and Cairns was reopened today, four days after a train hit a garbage truck at a rail level crossing in far north Queensland.

The truck driver, father of two Terry Brown, was killed in the collision on New Year's Day at Mundoo, near Innisfail.

Investigators removed the train's black box on Friday and will download data to learn what speed the train had been travelling at and when the emergency brakes were applied.

An independent investigation into the accident has been launched by Queensland Transport assisted by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Mr Brown's death was the third of its kind in two months, following the deaths of two tilt train drivers in a level-crossing collision at Cardwell in November.

Miraculously, the driver of the truck in the Cardwell collision received only minor injuries.

Queensland Rail is waiting for the results of the investigations into the Cardwell and Mundoo crashes before deciding what action to take to reduce risks at level crossings.

Traveltrain chief Paul Scurrah said $10 million in funding would be brought forward to carry out safety recommendations.

Recommendations may include the installation of boom gates, warning lights or rumble strips at some crossings.

Eight crossings are expected to undergo safety upgrades, but QR has not named the locations and what measures would be taken.

The 17 carriages of the Sunlander train have been hauled to Cairns, while the train's two locomotives and baggage car remain at the site but are clear of the track.

They are under cover and are being guarded by security.
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #34 on: January 04, 2009, 06:42:34 PM »
Reports of near misses still occurring since the Mundoo incident. 

Public admissions of ignoring stop signs at crossings.  A police car was seen driving around down boom gates with flashing crossing lights activated in a Queensland town as a coal train bore down during the last few days.  Another idiot observed zig-zagging through the down boom gates at Wacol a few days ago, just  missed by a Citytrain.

How long before the next big incident? 

And still more inquiries, and no real actions to bring road users into line ....

The fact is, if you stop, look and listen, and then proceed if no trains at unprotected crossings you don't get hit by a train.

If you stop when the warning lights are activated and booms are down (if fitted) then you don't get hit by a train.

Those drivers who ignore the directions should have their licences cancelled.  Simple.

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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2009, 04:30:52 AM »
From the Courier Mail click here!

Two-thirds of Australia's 9000 level crossings lack signals

Quote
Two-thirds of Australia's 9000 level crossings lack signals
Article from: The Courier-Mail

By Tuck Thompson

January 04, 2009 11:00pm

THERE have been nearly 600 level crossing smashes in Australia since 2001, but two-thirds of the 9000 crossings still have no flashing lights or boom gates.
Fatalities and serious injuries are common in the wrecks but governments routinely blame drivers even when they are unable to see trains approaching at high speeds.

Government agencies, such as the Australian Transport Council, have discussed remedies to the carnage, including driver education and improvements to the crossings.

Some experts advocate boom gates and lights at all crossings, though the cost has been estimated in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Excessive speed and alcohol or drug use by drivers is a factor in about half the crashes at level crossings.

Other factors include adverse weather and road conditions, lack of awareness by drivers, fatigue and risk-taking.

"Most crashes occur where the driver has a local understanding of the railway level crossing," according to a 2003 ATC report.

"Documented evidence from train drivers indicates many situations where road vehicle drivers deliberately choose to ignore the railway crossing signs or signals, perhaps to minimise delays or inconvenience."

But safety organisations accuse governments of not doing enough to safeguard level crossings by using moderately priced wireless technology already used at children's pedestrian crossings.

Lights are triggered to give drivers time to slow down as they approach crossings.

The ATC recommended that additional government funds be sought to upgrade level crossings.

The Australian Trucking Association endorsed the recommendation and called for the installation of flashing yellow lights 200m before crossings.

Meanwhile the main line between Townsville and Cairns reopened yesterday following last week's collision between a train and garbage truck that killed the truck driver.

Security will continue to guard the two locomotives and the baggage car of the Sunlander train, which remains at the crash site at Mundoo.

The train's black box was removed from the train on Friday and will be analysed to determine the speed of the train before the collision and when emergency brakes were applied.


Blog comment:

Quote
Isn't about time that road users actually were responsible??

Reports of near misses still occurring since the Mundoo incident.   I have long suggested level crossing warning lights a few hundred metres before crossings, particularly in the country, semi-rural environment. This would allow time for heavy vehicles to slow and prepare to stop.  Boom gates and lights will not guarantee safety.  50% of level crossing incidents on QR in the past 7 years have been on crossings with boom gates and / or lights.  The fundamental issue is disregard of the road rules by drivers.

Public admissions of ignoring stop signs at crossings.  A police car was seen driving around down boom gates with flashing crossing lights activated in a Queensland town as a coal train bore down during the last few days.  Another idiot observed zig-zagging through the down boom gates at Wacol a few days ago, just  missed by a Citytrain.
How long before the next big incident?

And still more inquiries, and no real actions to bring road users into line ....

The fact is, if you stop, look and listen, and then proceed if no trains at unprotected crossings you don't get hit by a train.

If you stop when the warning lights are activated and booms are down (if fitted) then you don't get hit by a train.
Those drivers who ignore the directions should have their licences cancelled.  Simple.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2009, 04:41:22 AM by ozbob »
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Offline Derwan

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2009, 07:22:09 AM »
My comment:

The two recent accidents were on the main train line.  All crossings on the main train line and/or major roads should have overpasses - or at least boomgates.  For crossings with lights/boomgates where the speed limit is 80km/h or above, there should be warning lights at least 100m before them to allow heavy vehicles to slow.

It is understandable that some level crossings do not have lights.  These should be limited to infrequently used train lines and back roads - NOT major routes.
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Offline ozbob

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2009, 10:24:45 AM »
For interest as at 6th January.

Queensland has a total of 1,754 public level crossings:

202 of these crossings are protected by flashing lights and boom gates;

333 are protected by flashing lights; and

1,219 are protected by stop/give way signs.
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Offline Matt

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #38 on: January 10, 2009, 01:25:23 PM »
It seems that once some people get behind the wheel of a car, they see any slight delay to their journey as a major drama.
They regard rail crossings as a nuisance, an inconvenience, instead of realising they are crossing a right of way for rail transport.
In the US, there are videos on Utube of drivers of cars and trucks weaving around lowered boom gates with ringing bells and flashing lights, only to be just missed by a 70 mph doublestacked freight train.
Education is the answer, and sometimes the only lessons that learned are the hit in the hip pocket.
Boom gates in a rural area are an invitation to go around, I reckon it would be more productive to have red flashing lights installed at a fraction of the cost of boom gates, and have a red light camera attached.
The revenue from breaches will eventually allow an overpass to be provided off the fines of the morons who wish to run the red lights.
One way or the other , the problem will solve itself, people will either cease to run the light or will pay for an overpass.
Mal.

Offline mufreight

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Re: Article: One dead as train hits garbage truck at north Qld station
« Reply #39 on: January 10, 2009, 03:35:02 PM »
Matt, could not agree more but knowing just how weak this government is they would put a minor penalty fine on the offence rather than something that would be relative to the offence and the potential damage caused and an effective deterrent.
$10000 for a car with only the driver in it, increasing by a further $5000 for each additional passenger and for heavy vehicles as a deterrent considering the increased amount of potential damage to a train a minimum of $100000 with an additional $5000 for any passenger in the vehicle. 
The hip pocket nerve pain on that scale would see level crossings treated with the respect due.
On the subject of police ignoring road rules at crossings no problem as long as the lights and siren are activated so that train drivers can act that little bit sooner to brake the train and perhaps avoid hitting a police car driven by some incompetent who misjudged the distance.

 

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