Level Crossings are Dangerous

On Saturday 4 August, while the Savannahlander was returning to Cairns from its four day journey, it was involved in a collision with a car at a level crossing. The crossing was 3 km from the trains destination at the Cairns station. It was fortunate that there were no injuries to the crew or passengers, but the railmotor suffered some front end damage, and the car will probably be written off. The driver suffered some minor injuries. The circumstances why the car went through the active level crossing warnings are still under investigation.

For the Savannahlander it means that one of the units is not available for the next couple of weeks while repairs are carried out. Despite the damage, we were impressed how well the cab was protected and how little damage there was above the floor line in the unit – these are stronger than we gave them credit for. Still, we don’t want a repeat performance, nor do we want to ever have to tangle with anything larger than a car. All motorists need to acknowledge that level crossing are dangerous – and even a light railmotor cannot stop inside its own length. Please respect level crossings. The minute or so that a train will hold you up is far more preferable to time spent recovering from injuries, or for your family to get over their grief at your loss.

Since the incident, we have now installed a forward looking camera to record events at level crossings. If we capture anyone running a crossing in front of us, we’ll get the rego number and report this – for us, its about self preservation.

On a happier note, the test footage from when we trialled the camera came out quite well in the low evening light. It has been edited and posted to youtube (and on here) so that you can enjoy a drivers view of the run from Freshwater to Cairns. We’ve also included some of the images from the incident.