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REDUCING speeds on approach to country rail crossings, installing CCTV at metropolitan crossings and closing some dangerous junctions are being considered to reduce deaths and accidents.
Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan has released data showing four people have died, 11 were injured and there were 660 near misses at South Australian road and pedestrian rail crossings over the past five years.
The State Government will invest $12 million over the next four years to improve safety.
Mr Mullighan will on Friday release a discussion paper asking for feedback on proposals, including to reduce the speed on 100km/h roads as cars approach a rural train crossing. However, a lower speed has not been specified.
Another idea would be to install vehicle-activated signs at so-called “passive” rural rail crossings which are used infrequently.
The discussion paper reveals the most incidents occurred at the Tapleys Hill Rd/Trimmer Parade crossing at Seaton (46), followed by South Rd/Cross Rd at Emerson (23).
In rural areas the most incidents occurred at the Mannum Rd crossing at Murray Bridge (15).
The worst transport route across Adelaide was the Gawler train line, followed by the Seaford train line and the tramline.
An artist’s impression of the proposed Oaklands Crossing, aimed at improving traffic flow.As part of an awareness campaign, the Transport Department plans to release a video through social media featuring a first-hand account of the impact of a near-miss on train drivers.
Driver Keryn Gasparini said she could vividly remember the day she almost hit a man walking on the train tracks ahead of her express service.
“I had to go through a quite major intersection, the boom gates were going, I quickly blasted the horn,” she said.
“He looked up and stopped. I just went past him that quickly, I didn’t even have time to brake.
“That night I got home and I couldn’t sleep ... it really affected me.”
Mr Mullighan said train drivers “regularly encounter instances of pedestrians playing chicken with trains and cars dangerously darting across level crossings or tram tracks, putting themselves, the train or tram drivers and the public at risk”.
“Wherever rail, roads and footpaths meet, there is a unique set of safety risks which creates the potential for death or serious injury,” he said.
There are 710 railway crossings on public roads across metropolitan and rural South Australia and more than 360 pedestrian crossings on Adelaide’s passenger rail network.
The average passenger train weighs more than 100 tonnes and can take more than a
kilometre to come to a stop.
The delay is even longer for freight trains.
National body TrackSafe says about 130 collisions between pedestrians or vehicles and trains happen at level crossings around the country each year.
The Government is seeking public comments through an online survey until September 9. To provide feedback visit http://www.yoursay.sa.gov.au
This article first appeared on www.adelaidenow.com.au
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