Shining light on rail level crossing safety

Farmers have welcomed the trialling of new technology to reduce the risk of level crossing collisions between trains and vehicles in rural areas.

Level crossings in Narromine and Bribbaree will soon be lit up with LED flashing light signs as part of the NSW Government funded trial to improve safety.

NSW Farmers Grenfell Branch chair Harvey Matthews said installing flashing lights at public level crossing is an important first step in preventing the tragic outcomes of collisions.

“This issue is near and dear to many local farmers. In the case of our family, we lost a neighbour and neighbour’s son to an accident at a level crossing,” Mr Matthews said.

The NSW Farmers Grenfell Branch teamed up with the local Rural Fire Service, Lions Club, Rotary Club and the Weddin Shire Council to call for safety improvements following the death of a young farmer at a level crossing in 2020.

Mr Matthews said the next step is examine warning options for level crossings located on farms.

“We have a lot of properties dissected by the main Stockinbingal to Parkes line that runs through our shire, so there are lot of private crossing on farms.”

“Farmers need to be able to continue to use these crossings, so we would like to see some work done on a cost-effective and affordable solar warning system that farmers can install.”

“We are also advocating for the locomotives to have some form of flashing beacon on them and to have reflective material on the rolling stock.”

“Some of these trains can be up to one kilometre long and can be hard to see at night, even with the best headlights, because they are dark in colour.”

The NSW Government trial is funded through the Digital Restart Fund and will commence later this year and the data collected will be used to determine the effectiveness of the new technology.

The trial in Narromine will evaluate the effectiveness of a stop sign with LED warning lighting. The Bribbaree trial will also monitor the effectiveness of stop signs with LED warning lights and LED streetlights.

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