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DRIVERS are dicing with death by ignoring railway boom gates amid complaints that new train timetables are leaving motorists stuck at level crossings for up to 40 minutes.
THERE have been a spate of near misses at crossings in Deer Park and Sunshine West over the past two weeks since the new Regional Rail Link timetables increased the number of trains in those suburbs, police say.
Ignoring the warning lights and boom gates could prove fatal, transit safety division Inspector Karl Curran says.
"We are absolutely sick of drivers taking potentially deadly risks around railway tracks and level crossings as trains approach at up to 160km/h," he said.
Road users online complain the timetables have made traffic delays worse.
Alison Chakana said 15 trains crossed Mount Derrimut Road near Deer Park station during the 40 minutes she was stuck at boom gates on Thursday, while Michael Karfut said a relative waited 30 minutes for 11 trains near the station.
"People and drivers have been jumping the pedestrian barriers and driving around the boom gates," he said.
Drivers face fines up to $758, police warn.
Regional Rail Link was designed to remove bottlenecks and reduce delays by separating regional and metropolitan services travelling through Melbourne's western suburbs.
Train commuters have also taken to social media to complain about delays and overcrowding since the timetables were introduced.
One passenger estimated the delays had cost commuters on her train $51,000 in lost wages in the weeks since the new timetable was launched.
This article first appeared on www.dailytelegraph.com.au
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