I AM writing to express my deep dismay at the push reported by Catherine King back in July to obtain funding for the reopening of a level crossing on the Ararat line. I participated in the reopening of the Ararat line, as a representative of the company that leased the track in the Bracks government days.
We lobbied very hard to have as many crossings closed on this line as possible. I was only successful in having the one closed on the Avenue of Honour.
This was a truly disappointing outcome, given the number of crossings and risk exposure. This crossing was closed because it simply was too dangerous where it was.
I feel compelled to write, given the recent sad experiences, which highlight level crossing danger. Sadly, since the Ararat line was opened we had the road/rail collision at Trawalla, with three people killed on this line.
Others have been disabled for life. In the washout, the crossing itself was found to be the blame. Similarly, we have had the fatal collisions at Kerang and Benalla where, in each case, crossings were found to be inherently unsafe. Since, we have had the collision in Melbourne where one person was killed and a number injured, followed shortly by a second incident on the Bellarine Peninsula.
I have been a witness to the NSW Parliamentary inquiry into level crossings and a member of the SA Transport Minister's level crossing committee. I have sat through coronial inquiries with families of the deceased.
I can tell you, we should be using every opportunity to separate road and rail by building bridges or tunnels and closing every level crossing we possibly can, that has a viable alternative.
Please Ms King, be responsible. Those killed in the war would surely not want to be honoured with a memorial that could cause further harm. Tourism is not worth this price. Leave this crossing closed or made safe with a bridge. Encourage safe transport infrastructure, by separating road and rail.