Train Vs Truck Colac

 
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Interesting developments in this accident.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vline-blamed-for-risky-crossing-truck-firm-sues-over-train-crash/news-story/e6948b04c5e3c419d0d5c8e39e58d8be
james.au

The best defence is offence?

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  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Interesting developments in this accident.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vline-blamed-for-risky-crossing-truck-firm-sues-over-train-crash/news-story/e6948b04c5e3c419d0d5c8e39e58d8be
james.au
paywall Sad
  bevans Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Interesting developments in this accident.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vline-blamed-for-risky-crossing-truck-firm-sues-over-train-crash/news-story/e6948b04c5e3c419d0d5c8e39e58d8be
paywall Sad
Pressman

RP should pick this up in a few minutes. https://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-25939/
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
Interesting developments in this accident.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vline-blamed-for-risky-crossing-truck-firm-sues-over-train-crash/news-story/e6948b04c5e3c419d0d5c8e39e58d8be
paywall Sad
Pressman
A TRUCK company whose rig was involved in a level-crossing smash which derailed a passenger train is suing V/Line over the condition of the crossing.

The crash in July last year left Mahony’s Transport Services driver Keith McPherson and 11 passengers injured when the train derailed.

The semi-trailer was destroyed on impact with the Warrnambool-bound train which had about 90 passengers aboard when the crash occurred at 3.45pm on July 12.

Dozens of emergency services workers searched for victims in bitterly cold conditions, with eight injured passengers ferried by ambulance to Colac and Geelong hospitals with ailments, including broken bones, head wounds and cuts.

Mr McPherson was treated at the scene before being flown to hospital in Melbourne. “The opportunity there for some extensive loss of life was quite paramount,” Police sergeant Shane Howard said.

The Phalps Rd level crossing, in farming land west of Colac, had warning signs but no flashing lights or boom gates. In a writ lodged with the Supreme Court, the truck company alleges V/Line was aware the crossing was high risk but failed to do anything to rectify this, by installing lights, bells and boom gates; lowering speed limits for trains; or warning motorists of the hazard.

The company also claims V/Line was negligent in failing to provide safe infrastructure, any early warning system of approaching trains or ensure there was adequate line of sight in both directions

It alleges that drivers when stationary at the crossing had a line of sight to the northeast of no more than 152m, less than the Australian Standard for railway crossings of 523m

In April Colac Magistrates’ Court heard Mr McPherson, from Ballarat, could not be found to be at fault. He had been accused of driving a motor vehicle carelessly but the charge was later withdrawn.

Magistrate Ann McGarvie accepted Mr McPherson stopped his truck just short of the crossing stop sign, looked left and right, taking his seatbelt off and leaning forward for a better view, but did not see a train approaching and began to cross

Magistrate McGarvie ruled the collision was a pure accident with improvements after the crash emphasising the pre-existing dangers of the crossing.

Less that five weeks after the collision, V/Line reduced trains speeds, installed flashing lights, bells and boom gates and cut back pine trees which had restricted driver’s visibility.

Mahony’s claims the crossing failed to comply with Australian Rail Track Corporation signalling and level crossing design standards or comply with Austroads Reseach Report on sight distance requirements for heavy vehicles.

As the result of V/Line’s failure in its duty of care to the crossing’s users, the company says it has suffered loss and damages of more than $360,000.

The claim includes the $220,000 value of the prime mover and $150,000 trailer, less their combined $23,000 salvage value, plus $16,500 in towing, investigation and surveyor’s fees, plus interest and costs.
Herald Sun


Could also try this link - [color=#0066cc][size=2][font=Roboto, wf_SegoeUI, 'Segoe UI', Segoe, 'Segoe WP', Tahoma, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif]https://www.railpage.com.au/news/article-25939/[/font][/size][/color]
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
So an out of court settlement is probably on the cards, no doubt for far more than $360K as they seem to have forgotten to include Demurrage and the legal costs.Embarassed Unless of course VLine decide to contribute an even bigger amount to the Legal fraternity to fight it.

I hope the injured passengers and crew are equally compensated.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
Thanks for the links guys
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

There might be an interesting development, but I'm not going to pay to read it. Any chance of a summary?
  mikesyd Chief Commissioner

Location: Lurking
There might be an interesting development, but I'm not going to pay to read it. Any chance of a summary?
duttonbay
Company reckons not enough sighting distance and want compo for the truck loss etc, the Magistrate seemed to agree when the initial charges against the driver were withdrawn.

Google Street View seems to suggest otherwise, images dated 2010, unless some trees grew in the meantime.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
There might be an interesting development, but I'm not going to pay to read it. Any chance of a summary?
duttonbay
Scroll up....
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
Even if V/Line are found responsible it may not be the end of the matter.  While they are ultimately responsible for the infrastructure they have (or maybe had by now) a contract with a spray company to keep the vegetation down.  Providing it's vegetation that's allowed to be knocked down or sprayed (in some areas you are not allowed to and in others you need a permit that can take 4 months to come through and cost $thousands) then V/Line may have some action against the spray company as they are meant to be monitoring and maintaining.

as for the sightlines being good in 2010 you just need some shrubs to grow to around 2.5 to 3 metres high to reduce visibility considerably.  I have planed some since then that are that high at home already. Near home there are already some road intersections with sighting problems for cars from the grass that has already grown this season. the grass on the verge is taller than a car!  That's why the sight lines need to be maintained regularly
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

There might be an interesting development, but I'm not going to pay to read it. Any chance of a summary?
Scroll up....
james.au
Thanks. Not certain why I missed that.
  james.au Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney, NSW
There might be an interesting development, but I'm not going to pay to read it. Any chance of a summary?
Scroll up....
Thanks. Not certain why I missed that.
duttonbay
All good!
  Donald Chief Commissioner

Location: Donald. Duck country.
Interesting developments in this accident.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vline-blamed-for-risky-crossing-truck-firm-sues-over-train-crash/news-story/e6948b04c5e3c419d0d5c8e39e58d8be
james.au
Why is it V/Line's risky crossing?   Surely that lies with VicRoads or the local council, they own the roads that the truck or car drivers use to cross the rail lines.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
Interesting developments in this accident.

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/vline-blamed-for-risky-crossing-truck-firm-sues-over-train-crash/news-story/e6948b04c5e3c419d0d5c8e39e58d8be
Why is it V/Line's risky crossing?   Surely that lies with VicRoads or the local council, they own the roads that the truck or car drivers use to cross the rail lines.
Donald
the simple reason is legally the railways are responsible for maintaining sighting distances at crossings as they are for level crossing protection.  It's always been the case (at least in Victoria).
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
The railway line is a controlled space. The road is a public space. Where the public space interacts with the controlled space it is up to the party controlling said space to make sure that the interaction between the controlled element (Trains in this case) and the uncontrolled element (The public, cars and trucks etc.) is safe to within a certain pre-determined limit.

In other words, V/Line/ Victrack/ PTV etc is responsible for making sure its environment doesn't contribute to the increasing of the risk for the public. If there is something on their land raising this risk level, they are obliged to act. It would seem the trucking company is alledging that V/Line did not act to minimise the risk where they should have.

It is quite possible here that V/Line will be found liable, or then again, its also possible that they won't be. That will be up to the courts, not us.
  Lockspike Chief Commissioner

Is it not actually illegal to occupy the same time and space as a train, or has the law been amended?
The way judicial decisions are going these days, if you get smacked by a train on a level crossing mitigating circumstances seem to take precedence. As others have alluded to elsewhere, try the same stunt crossing a highway and see how far you get with the same arguments.
  HardWorkingMan Chief Commissioner

Location: Echuca
in most highway crashes these days there is an apportioning of blame, as there is with workcover and a lot of other things.  Unfortunately these days there are very few circumstances where one party is to blame any more.  It's to do with people trying to avoid responsibility for their actions.

However if the driver did do everything as stated in the article and it is found the maintained visual distance is insufficient then it's only fair that V/Line (or whoever) get taken to task for their failure to maintain the infrastructure appropriately.  

There is a precedent in the Northern Territory where it was found a train could be 2km over a rise and around curves (so not at all visible) when a road train started to cross and at train speeds of 130km would arrive at the crossing before the trailers cleared the crossing.  You can't blame a road driver for such a basic bad design they could not be aware of
  historian Deputy Commissioner

The ATSB report has been released...

https://www.atsb.gov.au/media/5776504/ro-2016-009_final.pdf

The ATSB found:
  • The truck driver did everything correctly. He was travelling south on Phelps Rd well under the speed limit, correctly stopped at the level crossing, checked the crossing, didn't see a train, and commenced to cross. The movements of the truck were being monitored by a GPS based system.
  • The level crossing was not compliant with AS1742.7:2016 which required the road driver to see the required sighting distance (about 500 metres) without turning their head more than 110 degrees. At this crossing the angle necessary to see the required distance was 116 degrees.
  • The cab of this particular prime mover made it essentially impossible to see beyond about 106 degrees, restricting the sighting distance to less than 220 metres - less than half the required sighting distance. The sighting distance may actually have been significantly less than this, depending on where the truck stopped.
  • The sighting problems had been identified in 2009. Neither V/Line nor the Shire effectively addressed the problem.

Lots more detail about the evolution of the ALCAM model can be found in the report.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

Will anything be done to ensure that prime movers allow the drivers to see to the required viewing angle, or will the crossing (and potentially others in the country) be changed to suit those who cannot see at the required angle?
  skitz Chief Commissioner

Will anything be done to ensure that prime movers allow the drivers to see to the required viewing angle, or will the crossing (and potentially others in the country) be changed to suit those who cannot see at the required angle?
duttonbay
I do wonder why a truck driver would not square up to the crossing to ensure a proper look.   This is common practice for an experienced driver to do so at more than just level crossings.  There are a lot of situations out there that are not technically perfect, not just level crossings, that need this attention and patience.

Slightly related, when specifying hirail equipment in a previous role, the tool boxes on the back of landcruisers were only half-height on the left side of utes.   The purpose was to ensure the hirail operator had vision over their left shoulder through the back window.  A hirail traversing a road crossing on rail does not have the luxury of being able to square up for a proper look for road traffic. So th assurance of vision was pretty important.  Also knowing it was impractical to operate the test switch, which is what many a rule book would say.
  jakar Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
or will the crossing (and potentially others in the country) be changed to suit those who cannot see at the required angle
duttonbay
At last count there were 53 separate TSR's around the state for LX sighting issues, and some of those TSR's cover several LX's each. They will remain in place until funding is made available to provide protection or change the road.
  duttonbay Minister for Railways

or will the crossing (and potentially others in the country) be changed to suit those who cannot see at the required angle
At last count there were 53 separate TSR's around the state for LX sighting issues, and some of those TSR's cover several LX's each. They will remain in place until funding is made available to provide protection or change the road.
jakar
Doesn't answer my question. The driver in this prime mover was unable to see at the angle the standard specifies. Will the standard be changed, thereby making many more level crossings have sighting issues, or will these prime movers be banned as they fail to meet the LX standards?
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Doesn't answer my question. The driver in this prime mover was unable to see at the angle the standard specifies. Will the standard be changed, thereby making many more level crossings have sighting issues, or will these prime movers be banned as they fail to meet the LX standards?
duttonbay

Although the ATSB report mildly notes that the standard may not reflect the reality of heavy vehicle design, it does not raise this as a Finding, nor does it suggest reviewing the standard as an Action. I'd be surprised if the standard was reviewed.

Road vehicles are not required to meet standards that govern level crossings so they will not be banned.

In an ideal world, the Australian design rules would be amended to require a particular minimum viewing angle, and the level crossing standard would be harmonised with that. Airbourne pigs spring to mind.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Doesn't answer my question. The driver in this prime mover was unable to see at the angle the standard specifies. Will the standard be changed, thereby making many more level crossings have sighting issues, or will these prime movers be banned as they fail to meet the LX standards?

Although the ATSB report mildly notes that the standard may not reflect the reality of heavy vehicle design, it does not raise this as a Finding, nor does it suggest reviewing the standard as an Action. I'd be surprised if the standard was reviewed.

Road vehicles are not required to meet standards that govern level crossings so they will not be banned.

In an ideal world, the Australian design rules would be amended to require a particular minimum viewing angle, and the level crossing standard would be harmonised with that. Airbourne pigs spring to mind.

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