Call for lights at cane rail crossings

RAILWAY CROSSING: The intersection of Heidkes Road and Hummock Road.
RAILWAY CROSSING: The intersection of Heidkes Road and Hummock Road. Mike Knott BUN190517CROSSING4

WITH the start of the cane crushing season quickly approaching, Bundaberg residents are wondering why there is still a lack of lights on railway crossings around the region.

Local man Brian Courtice said one particular crossing is "a fatality waiting to happen".

While there is a Give Way sign, the view of the railway crossing at the intersection of Hummock Rd and Heidkes Rd is obscured by bana grass.


RAILWAY CROSSING: The intersection of Heidkes Road and Hummock Road.
RAILWAY CROSSING: The intersection of Heidkes Road and Hummock Road. Mike Knott BUN190517CROSSING3

"It's just been let grow and there is no way you can see a loco coming, it's absolutely dangerous," he said.

"Someone is going to get killed.

"The loco can't slow down and the cars can't see the train."

Mr Courtice said there was a simple solution - if it's not on private property, cut the grass and if it is on private property, install lights.

"One life lost is one too many," he said.

"Tourists use the roads going up to the Hummock and several hundred people use it to drop their kids off at Bundaberg Christian College.

"I avoid travelling home this way because it's too dangerous."


RAILWAY CROSSING: The intersection of Heidkes Road and Hummock Road.
RAILWAY CROSSING: The intersection of Heidkes Road and Hummock Road. Mike Knott BUN190517CROSSING5


Bundaberg Sugar general manager of operations David Pickering said they follow a risk assessment process for crossings using the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model - this system is used to identify key potential risks at level crossings and is managed nationally to ensure a standard approach to design across Australia and New Zealand.

"Locomotives slow to specified speed limits for each crossing to ensure that road users are provided with more than enough time to stop when travelling at specified road speed limits," Mr Pickering said.

"Drivers must obey the road signage at rail crossings.

"Where crossing lights are flashing, drivers must stop and not proceed until the lights stop flashing.

"Where stop signs are installed the normal rules apply; stop, then if the railway is clear proceed.

"For a give way sign drivers visually confirm it is safe to cross the railway crossing before proceeding.

"The use of trains to bring cane to sugar mills eliminates many truck movements in our region.

"For each single cane train journey, 20 trucks are taken off our roads."

A Bundaberg Regional Council spokesman said should motorists should always approach a cane train crossing with extreme caution, especially in instances where a clear field of vision is obstructed by encroaching vegetation or cane crops.

"Council does liaise with local sugar mill operators to discuss shared concerns regarding any rail crossing that may require consideration for upgrading to flashing lights," he said.

"While council prefers the installation of flashing signal lights it is aware of the costs involved in undertaking these installations."

Topics:  bundaberg bundaberg christian college bundaberg regional council bundaberg sugar bundaberg tourism cane trains danger drivers driving lights locomotive railway crossing lights railway crossings road safety sugar cane the hummock

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