Another car v Steamranger collision

 
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

This time on the Alexandrina Road crossing north of Goolwa.

The 64 year old male driver was the only occupant, taken to hospital. No word from SAPOL yet on what charges he will face, hopefully something carrying a lengthy ban from driving and a short stay in the can to underline the serious nature of the offence.

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  don_dunstan Minister for Railways

Location: Adelaide proud
Probably won't end up getting charged - but he should be. Failure to give way innit.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
This time on the Alexandrina Road crossing north of Goolwa.

The 64 year old male driver was the only occupant, taken to hospital. No word from SAPOL yet on what charges he will face, hopefully something carrying a lengthy ban from driving and a short stay in the can to underline the serious nature of the offence.
justapassenger
It looked like the Goolwa Road crossing from the footage on 7 news tonight (Closer to Currency Creek)
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Reckless and dangerous driving would fit:

46—Reckless and dangerous driving
(1) A person must not drive a vehicle recklessly or at a speed or in a manner which is dangerous to any person.
Maximum penalty: Imprisonment for 2 years.
(2) In considering whether an offence has been committed under this section, the court must have regard to—
     (a) the nature, condition and use of the road on which the offence is alleged to have been committed; and
     (b) the amount of traffic on the road at the time of the offence; and
     (c) the amount of traffic which might reasonably be expected to enter the road from other roads and places; and
     (d) all other relevant circumstances, whether of the same nature as those mentioned or not.
(3) If a court convicts a person of an offence against subsection (1), the following provisions apply:
     (a) the court must order that the person be disqualified from holding or obtaining a driver's licence—
           (i) in the case of a first offence—for such period, being not less than 12 months, as the court thinks fit;
Road Traffic Act 1961


But I agree, an expiation for the simple level crossing breach is probably more likely:

123 Entering level crossing when train or tram is approaching etc $454
Road Traffic (Miscellaneous) Regulations 2014
Victims of Crime levy is added on top, and the driver may have to pay SA Ambulance and the CFS for their callouts and transport if his insurance declines to cover acts committed while breaking the law.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

This time on the Alexandrina Road crossing north of Goolwa.

The 64 year old male driver was the only occupant, taken to hospital. No word from SAPOL yet on what charges he will face, hopefully something carrying a lengthy ban from driving and a short stay in the can to underline the serious nature of the offence.
It looked like the Goolwa Road crossing from the footage on 7 news tonight (Closer to Currency Creek)
Pressman
I'm pretty sure it's Alexandrina Road, it's clearly in the middle of an S-bend and there are trees on one side of the track.

Goolwa Road has a straight approach in each direction, and no trees near the crossing.
  greasyrhys Chief Commissioner

Location: MacDonald Park, SA
When will people learn not to try & beat a train over a crossing?!?
  Dangersdan707 Chief Commissioner

Location: On a Thing with Internet
Has any rolling stock been damaged?
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I drive that road (and it is Alexandrina Road) reasonably often, the railway line is only protected by a give way sign. It’s jot a well designed crossing that is for certain.

The sighting up and down the line is terrible due to the trees, I am not so sure I am surprised that a driver managed to have a coming together with a green brill.

Give way signs only work if you can see and discern the thing you’re supposed to give way to - I would wager the car driver just didn’t couldn’t see the brill literally for the trees.
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Putting legalities aside for a moment, a what stage does common sense/self preservation kick in?
You know, the biggest vehicle has right of way, particularly one that won't stop quickly and can't steer?
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
That’s almost exactly my point, self preservation does kick in, but only when you perceive the threat against which you need to be preserved.

Looking at the photos and footage from the scene, and knowing the crossing, it looks to me like a fairly low speed impact. I don’t get the feeling the driver was racing the train, I think the brill was just sufficiently obscured by the tree line that it just wasn’t seen.

There’s a reason that we call these things ‘accidents’.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: North Haverbrook; where the monorail is king!
This looks like the level crossing in question: https://goo.gl/maps/LodhhR3Nhb62
An unprotected level crossing with what looks to be some serious sighting issues. Clearly a candidate for an upgrade.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
That’s the one.

‘Clearly a candidate for upgrade’? What if I told you it had been downgraded... Yes, this crossing USED TO HAVE lights and a gong - where/why did they go?
  michaelgm Chief Commissioner

Lanced, thanks for the link. Unfamiliar with location. A Hi rail vehicle with a cherry picker and a bloke with a chainsaw or a few blokes with chainsaws on the ground wouldn't go astray.  As for signage?
Aaron appears to be able to negotiate said crossing without incident.
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me
That’s the one.

‘Clearly a candidate for upgrade’? What if I told you it had been downgraded... Yes, this crossing USED TO HAVE lights and a gong - where/why did they go?
Aaron
Removed around the time AN disowned the track and before the state government handed the line over to Steamranger?
  Pressman Spirit of the Vine

Location: Wherever the Tin Chook or Qantas takes me

Aaron appears to be able to negotiate said crossing without incident.
michaelgm
As do thousands of other motorists everyday. Alexandria Road is a rather busy road.

Alexandria road is a general 100kph limit with a 55kph advisory speed through the 'S' Bend. Crossing as the steam train sign before along with a "Look for Trains" sign and then Give Way signs at the crossing.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I have safely negotiated the crossing many times, but in the last two and a half years I have only ever come across one steam ranger train on the line, and that was stationary at victor harbor station.

I have never seen a train approaching that crossing, but sighting is a smeg.

Everyone here, the vast majority of which will have never seen that road let alone driven on it, or tried to sight a train on it will blame the car driver. It always happens when one of their precious trains gets hit, and mostly this is right — but what about when even DPTI notes almost 12 months ago (maybe even longer) that this crossing needs not only active protection back, but boomgates too... See the third dot point down.

https://www.dpti.sa.gov.au/towardszerotogether/safer_level_crossings/railway_crossing_safety_improvement_program
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
Note: that link says ‘lights and bells’ for both currency creek crossings, but I was reading another report earlier in the day that mentioned gates for this particular one. I’ll have to go looking again.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Aaron

Thanks for adding some sanity to the discussion.

Pichi Richi already has active protection on main road crossings except the Mill crossing at Quorn which is listed for an upgrade.
Visibility is quite poor on a number of crossings on the Steam Ranger line and they only have passive protection. Responsibility for vegetation clearance in the rail reserve would rest with the rail operator.


While on the topic of crossings there are a few hazardous crossings on the line between Two Wells and Mallala. The track runs close to the Mallala road and where there are crossings on side roads there is insufficient distance between the track and the main road for vehicles to wait to enter the main road and be clear of the rail track. Considering that some of the vehicles could be semis or B-doubles the risk of the crossing being blocked when a train approaches is "probable". From my frequent use of the Mallala road I would suggest there are some six crossing which present a risk.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

Everyone here, the vast majority of which will have never seen that road let alone driven on it, or tried to sight a train on it will blame the car driver.
Aaron
I have driven through that crossing a number of times, including once where I did stop for a train.

Drive to the conditions and you won't have a problem.

The elephant in the room is that these ones every few months in the Goolwa and Currency Creek area always turn out to a local who is somewhat advanced in their years. I might write to the Minister for Transport and suggest it is time for the new state government to end the ridiculous self-assessment policy and bring back objective assessments of fitness to drive.

Visibility is quite poor on a number of crossings on the Steam Ranger line and they only have passive protection. Responsibility for vegetation clearance in the rail reserve would rest with the rail operator.
steam4ian
The trees there are actually in the disused road reserve, from when it went straight through prior to being upgraded to a wide double S-bend layout. That would be the responsibility of the road owner, which I'm guessing is DPTI for a numbered B-route.

A good interim improvement for Steamranger (as a preference to all train operations being suspended until upgraded protection can be installed) would be to have 'TRAINS OPERATING TODAY' signs on the crossing approaches in the Goolwa area when trains are operating. Get the local council to knock up a few signs and Steamranger volunteers working at the Goolwa depot or Goolwa station could put them out on their way in.

While on the topic of crossings there are a few hazardous crossings on the line between Two Wells and Mallala. The track runs close to the Mallala road and where there are crossings on side roads there is insufficient distance between the track and the main road for vehicles to wait to enter the main road and be clear of the rail track. Considering that some of the vehicles could be semis or B-doubles the risk of the crossing being blocked when a train approaches is "probable". From my frequent use of the Mallala road I would suggest there are some six crossing which present a risk.
steam4ian
This sort of risk is known as 'short stacking.'

Thankfully, none of the roads that cross the railway right next to Mallala Road are approved routes for B-Doubles. Two of the junctions on the non-rail side are B-Double Commodity Routes, one of which is the one near the Light River where a bunch of local roads converge on Mallala Road right where it crosses the railway and which is currently being rebuilt completely.
  steam4ian Chief Commissioner

Justapax.

Age 64 is not "advanced in years", should be "old enough to know better".

With regards to the local area I think complacency has much to do with it and the unpredictability of the services. The previous incident was 621 running light engine.

Some of us are rail tragics and are on constant look out for trains, alas most of the community is not.

Your proposal regarding the signage has some merit but needs consideration for the legal implications. The signage could take the form of a permanent sign which folds down to display the message but folds up when not in use.  However there are a lot of road crossing between Mt Barker Junction and Victor Harbor.
To fail to so mark just one crossing or forget to put out the sign could be seen as negligence by the operator.

In the old SAR Rules crossing keepers were instructed not to signal traffic over the crossing once a train had passed and presumably it was safe to do so, they were only to lower their stop sign and walk off the crossing. Responsibility rested with the road user. Active crossing do not show a "go" indication; the exception is when coordinated with traffic signals and this could be basis for an interesting legal challenge if there is some stuff up.

Also in the mix are crossings like that on Dunn Road Balaklava, the track is now disused but the signage (cross bucks) are still there; a sign is affixed to the post declaring the "Crossing not in use". From this one can extrapolate that all crossing are in use unless marked otherwise.

That said I don't consider marking any or all crossing regarding train operations a practical or legally sound proposition.
However a few strategically  located signs on approach roads to the area reminding locals and visitors that all level crossings in the area potentially carry trains would be an advantage.

The application of Give Way or Stop signs at passive crossings clears up some legal implications regarding liability. I note that Steam Ranger are working on a recorder system which records speed, brake application and whistle/horn use. Is it too much to fit "dash cams" to locos and rail motors.
  Jack Le Lievre Assistant Commissioner

Location: Moolap Station, Vic
The application of Give Way or Stop signs at passive crossings clears up some legal implications regarding liability. I note that Steam Ranger are working on a recorder system which records speed, brake application and whistle/horn use. Is it too much to fit "dash cams" to locos and rail motors.
steam4ian
From my understanding, DERMPAV now uses a "Dash Cam" whenever RM58 is out and about. I am not sure about other preservation groups.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I could just about gaurantee that even with ‘objective’ testing of ‘advanced years’ drivers - whatever both of those terms even mean, barring other medical reason NO ONE would have their licence ‘objectively’ removed from them. How old are your parents justapax? Be prepared to do a lot less cycling and a lot more driving of them around soon if you indeed ever get what you want. Not mention paying out a smeg more tax inorder to pay benefits to those who have not made it to 65.5 yet. By the time you/I are ready to retire you’d better hope Uber is pretty cheap if you’re going to be ‘objectively’ prevented from driving before our pension kicks in at 70...

You can say ‘drive to the conditions’ all you like, but it was a clear sunny day, no impediment to road adhesion, and little limiting visibility, so the driver is allowed to do any speed up to 100kmph. The very last thing the driver of the car would have been expecting, even knowing the LX was there, would likely have been a green rail car to appear from within the green trees. You cannot slow down for, or give way to something you cannot perceive as being there.
  jm1941 Chief Commissioner

Location: Mount Gambier
I could just about guarantee that even with ‘objective’ testing of ‘advanced years’ drivers - whatever both of those terms even mean, barring other medical reason NO ONE would have their licence ‘objectively’ removed from them. How old are your parents justapax? Be prepared to do a lot less cycling and a lot more driving of them around soon if you indeed ever get what you want. Not mention paying out a smeg more tax inorder to pay benefits to those who have not made it to 65.5 yet. By the time you/I are ready to retire you’d better hope Uber is pretty cheap if you’re going to be ‘objectively’ prevented from driving before our pension kicks in at 70...

You can say ‘drive to the conditions’ all you like, but it was a clear sunny day, no impediment to road adhesion, and little limiting visibility, so the driver is allowed to do any speed up to 100kmph. The very last thing the driver of the car would have been expecting, even knowing the LX was there, would likely have been a green rail car to appear from within the green trees. You cannot slow down for, or give way to something you cannot perceive as being there.
Aaron
Aaron, you got this right on.

This accident could happen to the most careful driver young OR older (green rail car to appear from within the green trees) Yes, how many times any of us either younger and older set have come close to a possible accident and fortunately just spotted the nasty situation at the very last moment being more luck than judgement.  
I would think this looks well like it was just an accident waiting to happen and with a perfect sunlit day, a green rail car moving among tree scrub, with double curved road crossing approach and according to the map shown in a previous posting, it would be easy to perceive it would be just be matter of time, this accident would be bound to happen sadly.  

Yes, at least the crossing lights should be put back, seeing the rail track has rail traffic still going over the road crossing.

Johnno
  bingley hall Minister for Railways

Location: Last train to Skaville
I could just about guarantee that even with ‘objective’ testing of ‘advanced years’ drivers - whatever both of those terms even mean, barring other medical reason NO ONE would have their licence ‘objectively’ removed from them. How old are your parents justapax? Be prepared to do a lot less cycling and a lot more driving of them around soon if you indeed ever get what you want. Not mention paying out a smeg more tax inorder to pay benefits to those who have not made it to 65.5 yet. By the time you/I are ready to retire you’d better hope Uber is pretty cheap if you’re going to be ‘objectively’ prevented from driving before our pension kicks in at 70...

You can say ‘drive to the conditions’ all you like, but it was a clear sunny day, no impediment to road adhesion, and little limiting visibility, so the driver is allowed to do any speed up to 100kmph. The very last thing the driver of the car would have been expecting, even knowing the LX was there, would likely have been a green rail car to appear from within the green trees. You cannot slow down for, or give way to something you cannot perceive as being there.
Aaron, you got this right on.

This accident could happen to the most careful driver young OR older (green rail car to appear from within the green trees) Yes, how many times any of us either younger and older set have come close to a possible accident and fortunately just spotted the nasty situation at the very last moment being more luck than judgement.  
I would think this looks well like it was just an accident waiting to happen and with a perfect sunlit day, a green rail car moving among tree scrub, with double curved road crossing approach and according to the map shown in a previous posting, it would be easy to perceive it would be just be matter of time, this accident would be bound to happen sadly.  

Yes, at least the crossing lights should be put back, seeing the rail track has rail traffic still going over the road crossing.

Johnno
jm1941

So do we put lights in at every backroad intersection in South Australia with adjacent trees/undergrowth in case a green car/bus all of a sudden appears.

FFS.
  Aaron Minister for Railways

Location: University of Adelaide SA
^^ No, but equally, we shouldn’t remove protections from crossings that were once deemed appropriate, only to slate them for reintroduction. We also should not automatically blame/crucify motorists for road/rail accidents. We call them accidents, and investigate them as accidents, because invariably they are accidents.

When an accident investigation determines that neither party could have prevented the occurrence, it will become the railways responsibility to prevent future occurrence - finally the correct levels of protection will be reinstated.

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