Melbourne - Adelaide train services disrupted into next week following fatal crash

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Passenger services aboard The Overland will be disrupted due to the crash
Map showing the location of Lismore, Victoria, where the accident occurred.

Rail services between Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia are expected to be disrupted until early next week following a fatal crash between a truck and freight train in Lismore, Victoria 170 Km (105 miles) South-West of Melbourne.

The B-Double truck hit the side of a 1,375 metre long freight train at a level crossing at 7:13 a.m. AEST on Thursday in heavy fog, derailing two locomotives and 44 goods wagons. Victorian police said that the truck had been wedged beneath the wreckage of the train.

The driver of the truck, thought to be a 34-year-old man from Wedderburn in Victoria's North-West died in the crash. The train driver and an observer escaped uninjured. Police said it could take a number of days to retrieve the truck driver's body. "It could possibly take days to retrieve the body" a Victorian police spokesperson said.

Great Southern Railways, which operates "The Overland" passenger train service between Melbourne and Adelaide said it expected rail services to be disrupted up until early next week. The company will transfer passengers to bus services or allow them to claim a full refund.

The crash will also disrupt freight services between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Local residents and the Victorian opposition are blaming the crash on the level crossing itself, which has no booms, lights or bells.

Rob Dennis, a local resident said the level crossing is the cause of the crash, as it is not fitted with boom gates or flashing lights.

"And it's a blind turn for anything in a large vehicle," he said.

Terry Mulder, the opposition's transport spokesperson said the Bracks Government should have spent part of the $750 million allocated to fast rail projects to upgrading level crossings in Victoria.

"The State Labor Government has wasted $750 million on fast rail projects," Mr Mulder said.

Mr Mulder said that Victoria has 2,274 level crossings, 1,468 which have no warning systems in place.

Sources

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