The issue of dangerous railway crossings has been thrust into the spotlight thanks to a report by the Australian railway industry's TrackSAFE Foundation.
In what TrackSAFE claims to be an Australian first, train drivers were asked to list the crossings that they believed to be the most dangerous.
Predictably, the results were mixed: the lists for Tasmania and Victoria featured many metropolitan crossings, while the list for New South Wales was made up entirely of rural crossings.
Several of the NSW railway crossings that made the list were in the New England area.
According to the report, there are around 70 collisions annually at railway crossings and 35 deaths, which include both vehicle occupants and pedestrians.
“It is the train drivers who go over the same stretch of track day in, day out, over many years who know where the most risky level crossings are," TrackSAFE director Bryan Nye said.
National Secretary of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union, Bob Nanva added “Most train drivers will witness a fatality, incident or near collision on the network in the course of their careers. Too many will never be able to return to work”.
The report comes after a 22 year-old man was killed at a level crossing in Allansford near Warrnambool, Victoria.
TrackSAFE is using the report to lobby state and federal governments to urgently increase funding for railway crossing improvements.
Photo: Baytram366, Flickr.