Crossing risks real

Victorian Goldfields Railway volunteers were on edge again last Saturday night with a night train event running and safety concerns about the Bendigo-Maldon level crossing not yet met.
Andrew Reynolds from VGR said the railway had run a number of trains at night and at odd hours of the day in the past few weeks since the previous article about the near miss at the dangerous crossing.
“The weekend before last we had a train come up from Melbourne, we had a train leave Maldon to go to Castlemaine at 10pm on the Friday night, we had a train from Castlemaine go through that level crossing at 7.30am on Saturday morning and we had a dinner train on Saturday night which came back at 11pm, really unusual hours and we are doing a lot of night-time running,” Mr Reynolds said.
“We’ve had several trains come through at night since that incident. There hasn’t been any problems. But the point is it’s not just the movie trains that we run, we run a number of other night-time specials.
“One of the recent trains was a big sleeping-car train which had come from Melbourne and it came up really early in the morning, through the mist. So it’s more than just our own operation that’s at risk of being involved in an accident.”
Mr Reynolds said VGR received communication from the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model project delivery group of VicTrack that a site-specific survey was conducted on the Bendigo-Maldon Road on August 17.
“They didn’t meet with us, they just turned up, had a look at it and then went again without talking to us,” he said.
“ALCAM is purely a theoretical model used to identify potential risks at level crossings and assist in the prioritisation of crossings for upgrades. It doesn’t take into account any of the practical day-to-day aspects. We are currently ranked at No. 1352 in ALCAM.”
Mr Reynolds said that following the visit there had been no commitment to say that the crossing would be prioritised.
“The correspondence doesn’t reflect what we consider to be the dangers at the crossing.
“It creates a sense of disappointment that there doesn’t seem to be recognition of the actual dangers of the crossing and the potential for a serious incident.”

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