A REPORT into the death of a popular Allansford footballer killed at a railway crossing has highlighted the need for vigilance from road users.
Sam Grant, 22, was driving alone north along Brown Street, Allansford about 7.40am on March 19 when his vehicle was involved in a collision with an empty goods train on its way to Warrnambool.
The report found Mr Grant did not come to a stop at the railway crossing and drove into the path of the oncoming train.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) concluded “familiarity with this crossing, combined with the expectation that a train would not be present due to the low frequency of rail traffic on this line probably influenced the motorist’s behaviour”.
The report stated the level crossing did not meet Australian standards requirements, although this did not contribute to the accident.
It noted there was little effective action that the train crew could have taken to prevent or minimise the impact of the collision.
At the time of the accident the traffic was controlled by warning signs, road markings and stop signs for both road approaches.
The report noted that when approaching the level crossing from the south, the direction in which Mr Grant was travelling, the sighting of the railway line in both the easterly and westerly directions was obscured by vegetation and the surrounding landscape.
However, once at the stop line there was clear sighting of the railway line in the easterly direction from which the train was approaching.
In January V/Line proposed the level crossing be added to the state government’s 2013/14 Fix Country Level Crossing Program to upgrade 75 level crossings in regional Victoria.
The report stated the rationale for adding this crossing to the program was because it had poor sighting and there had been two near-misses in recent years.
“Road volumes were also considered relatively high for a passive crossing on a passenger line, 200 vehicles per day,” the report noted.
The report said Warrnambool City Council advised the ATSB it had also identified sighting issues with the level crossing and had considered options of closing it or re-aligning it to improve sighting angles, but this did not progress because the crossing was placed on the state government program.
Since the accident the council has temporarily closed the level crossing until it is equipped with active traffic controls.
The council has also improved signage north of the level crossing on Brown Street.
“This occurrence highlights the need for motor vehicle drivers using railway level crossings to be vigilant, observe road warning signs, obey road rules and look out for trains,” the report said.