Warrnambool passenger train avoids head-on collision after driver fails to stop

Two trains, including the Melbourne to Warrnambool passenger service came close to a head-on collision last week.

The Transport Safety Bureau (TSB) is investigating how an empty passenger train travelling from Waurn Ponds to Geelong passed two stop signals at Marshall, entering the same single line as the Warrnambool passenger train without authority. 

Investigation: Warrnambool passenger train avoids head-on collision after driver fails to stop.

Investigation: Warrnambool passenger train avoids head-on collision after driver fails to stop.

The bureau said two trains were stopped within 900 metres of each other at 2.13pm on January 2. There were no injuries or damage.

It is the second such incident at the same location in as many years.

Public Transport Users Association regional spokesperson Paul Westcott said anytime a train went through a red light was a “great concern”.

“It’s lucky that both trains were travelling at fairly low speeds and stopped within 300 metres of each other but we shouldn’t be relying on luck,” Mr Westcott said. 

“Clearly it’s a serious problem, fortunately with no serious outcome.”

Mr Westcott said there was a “similar problem” in May 2015 where an inexperienced driver “overshot” a red light at Marshall, near Geelong.

“A similar incident where a train went thorough a red light did occur at Marshall in 2015,” Mr Westcott said.  

“He (the driver) wasn’t familiar with how the (signal) lights were set up, whether is is related I don’t know, but the transport board did make recommendations for changes to be made to the lights after the 2015 incident.

“V/Line took notice of the TSB report and said it was going to put in a submission for funding for improvements in the signalling but I don’t know (if it occurred).”

A final report into the January 2 incident will be released after the investigation. It is expected to be completed in January 2019.

V/Line has been contacted for comment.

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