A matter of balance

Len Millar, Newstead

I read with interest Donna Thomas’s article regarding the risks to motor vehicles and trains along the Victorian Goldfields Railway line between Castlemaine and Maldon.
VGR spokesman Andrew Reynolds made some telling points – especially regarding the heightened risk to motorists crossing open level crossings when trains run at night. There have been several awful level crossing accidents over the years, and the 11 lives sadly lost when a truck collided with a passenger train near Kerang some years ago comes to mind.
Train drivers are required to whistle when approaching level crossings, but I am sure those whistles don’t always ‘register’ with motorists – usually driving with windows closed and the radio on!
The Bendigo Road crossing on the north-eastern outskirts of Maldon strikes me as being very dangerous. Visibility of trains from the motorists’ view is so poor that flashing lights (if not boom gates) should be installed as a matter of urgency!
My understanding is that when VicRoads opened the truck bypass across the northern outskirts of Maldon some years ago, the section of the Bendigo Road south of the bypass was ‘de-listed’ by VicRoads and the road into the centre of Maldon became the Shire’s responsibility.
Christine King’s letter titled ‘Toot toooooooooooot!’ includes a complaint about excessive whistling by the locomotives, and I sympathise about sleep being disturbed. I am in no doubt the VGR’s drivers are under instructions to keep whistling to a minimum – especially at night. It strikes me that the VGR wants to be a ‘good neighbour’ and not cause annoyance or distress to the people living close to the line. It’s a matter of balance – safety … and peace and quiet!

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