The Newman Government will tackle ongoing problems at railway level crossings with a mixture of innovation and awareness. Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson called for expressions of interest for level crossing safety trials later this year as he launched Queensland Rail’s confronting new level crossing safety campaign, titled “Crosses”, in Brisbane this morning.
“We will provide up to $1 million for rail safety technology companies to conduct trials of their technology on the Queensland network. These trials will help us ensure we have the most advanced rail safety measures to reduce the number of tragedies and near-misses at level crossings,” Mr Emerson said.
“As part of the LNP’s election commitments we are already working with the Brisbane City Council to build flyovers at two of Brisbane’s most notorious level crossings – Robinson Road, Geebung and Telegraph Road, Bracken Ridge.
“Any level crossing collision can cause service disruptions, property damage, injury and, in the most tragic cases, fatalities.”
Mr Emerson said several level crossing safety technology innovations were emerging to improve railway crossing safety including radio break-in systems, in-road lights, low cost active level crossing protection equipment and broader Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems.
A sea of 472 white crosses filled Post Office Square this morning as a stark reminder of the number of times people gambled with their lives by playing Russian roulette with trains at level crossings last year.
Queensland Rail Acting Chief Executive Officer Jim Benstead said the campaign was a timely reminder to all motorists that pedestrian level crossings could be deadly.
“Last year, there were 472 instances of a person nearly losing their life at a level crossing because they either did not wait for a few minutes for a train to pass or they were not paying attention to the signs and signals,” Mr Benstead said.
“The difference between a near miss and fatality is luck and one day that luck will run out.”
Queensland Rail released shocking vision of the latest near miss with a vehicle at the Beaudesert Road level crossing, Salisbury, last Thursday.
“The train driver was forced to apply the emergency brakes after spotting a vehicle inside an activated level crossing. The train narrowly missed the car,” Mr Benstead said.
“Boom gates, flashing lights and signage are there for a reason and that is to protect lives when a train is coming. The message is: don’t gamble with your life at a level crossing.”