Crossing a signal failure. Liam Houlihan
A SET of rail warning signals installed on a road to nowhere has embarrassed the Government's launch of a $500,000 safety campaign.
Transport Minister Peter Batchelor has been accused of stupidity for equipping the derelict, dead-end crossing at Bacchus Marsh with expensive safety lights and bells.
More than 1400 road-rail intersections in Victoria have no flashing lights or boom gates.
Most of the state's 2274 level crossings have no more than a stop sign.
At Bacchus Marsh, a dirt track crosses the rail but instantly ends at a locked gate.
"Victorians have died at level crossings and if nothing is done will continue to die," Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder said.
"Yet this newly upgraded crossing is only metres from the road's dead end at a rarely used back entrance to the Bacchus Marsh rifle range."
Mr Mulder said the warning equipment should have gone to Lismore or Trawalla, where there had been deaths.
Grass grows through the rusty gates at the contentious entrance and the road inside the property is little more than a goat track, he said.
The Government yesterday launched a $530,000 level crossing campaign as part of National Rail Safety Week.
The newspaper and radio ad blitz will particularly aim at truck drivers after a crossing crash at Trawalla in April which killed two people.
The new campaign takes the bill for ads telling people to be careful at level crossings to more than $1.5 million.
Mr Batchelor said the campaign was to make drivers understand it takes about 200m for a suburban train to stop and longer for heavier freight trains.
In the last financial year train operator Connex recorded 50 near misses with vehicles at level crossings, 30 near-misses with people and seven vehicles struck by trains.
Camera monitoring has revealed the level crossing at Springvale Rd in Nunawading as one of Melbourne's worst for near-misses and for drivers racing boom gates.
Twenty-one people have died in level crossing accidents in Victoria since 2000.
The Government has ruled out road tunnels or bridges at all level crossings as too costly at an estimated $60 billion.
Mr Batchelor said that $208.7 million had been set aside to upgrade for safer railway crossings, upgrading close to 300 over the next decade.