How one collision prompted 20 upgrades on the Warrnambool train line

SAFETY FIRST: By the end of 2017, a $10 million investment will lead to 20 additional passive level crossings on the Warrnambool line being upgraded with boom gates, lights and bells. Eight will be fast-tracked.
SAFETY FIRST: By the end of 2017, a $10 million investment will lead to 20 additional passive level crossings on the Warrnambool line being upgraded with boom gates, lights and bells. Eight will be fast-tracked.

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A collision between a semi-trailer and a Warrnambool-bound train at a level crossing on the quiet dirt Phalps Road on July 13 last year has prompted huge investment in safety on the train line.

The state government’s reaction to the Pirron Yallock crash at a crossing marked only with a stop sign, has meant that by the end of 2017, 20 more level crossings between Waurn Ponds and Warrnambool will feature boomgates, flashing lights and warning bells.

Public Transport Minister Jacinta Allan said it was “remarkable and very, very fortunate that the truck driver was not killed as a result of that accident”.

“That had to become the immediate priority to address,” she said.

Eight of the upgrades will be fast-tracked, and 12 will be finished by the year’s end.

Rail, Tram and Bus Union branch secretary Luba Grigorovitch said with the upgrades, many of the speed restrictions put in place due to level crossing proximity would be lifted, leading to a decrease in travel times.

"Upgrading passive level crossings is the first step towards improving services and public safety along the Warrnambool line,” she said.

However, Ms Grigorovitch said many level crossings would require grade separation – the separation of road and rail – to mitigate risks.

Upgrading passive level crossings is the first step towards improving services and public safety along the Warrnambool line.

Luba Grigorovitch