REGION – Motorists are urged to be aware of their surroundings when approaching railway crossings, following the third serious collision between a SteamRanger train and another vehicle this year.
A man was flown to Flinders Medical Centre on Sunday afternoon, October 8, after the four-wheel-drive he was driving hit the 621 locomotive at the Goolwa Road crossing at Currency Creek and was pushed about 100 metres down the track.
The 68-year-old Goolwa South man sustained serious, but non-life-threatening injuries, while his passenger, a Goolwa South woman in her 60s, was taken to South Coast District Hospital with minor injuries.
None of the three people on board the engine, fondly known as the Duke of Edinburgh, was physically injured.
The locomotive had hauled a charter train from Mount Barker to Strathalbyn, then travelled to Goolwa to turn around and it was returning to Strathalbyn when the accident occurred.
SteamRanger rail safety manager Peter Charlson said there was a delay of two to three hours while the incident was investigated.
“There was minimal damage to the track some to the locomotive – the cow catcher and the steps were bent out of shape,” he said.
Mr Charlson said safety measures taking place at that particular crossing, including the reduction of the speed limit to 80km/h in the approach and the installation of flashing lights at the crossing, was through a partnership with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure.
But train drivers do all they can to be safe on the tracks – it was up to road users to give way to locomotives.
“Our pattern of operations haven’t changed that much; the warning devices all sound pretty much the same as previously,” he said.
“It’s very hard to stop a train, unlike a car.”
The small group of volunteer SteamRanger drivers have experience and training, and tend to expect the unexpected, but Mr Charlson urged motorists to be aware of their surroundings around the tracks.
“The impact on a (train) driver if they’re involved in a fatality… it’s not good,” he said.
Investigations by Rail Safety and SAPOL into the Currency Creek incident are taking place – anyone who witnessed the incident should contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or at www.crimestoppers.sa.com.au