The scene of a fatal crash between the XPT train and a car at the crossing on Yongurra Road and Andrew Street at Kyogle on June 14 in 2017.
The scene of a fatal crash between the XPT train and a car at the crossing on Yongurra Road and Andrew Street at Kyogle on June 14 in 2017. Marc Stapelberg

Investigations into railroad crossing death now closed

Two years ago on June 14 at 8am, a woman's car was struck by the XPT at a rail crossing in Kyogle.

Bronwyn Callaghan died at the scene and her dog Moses soon after.

The Australian Rail and Track Authority said the investigation into the death was handled independently by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

That bureau quietly closed the investigation in February this year citing that;

"The ATSB considered it was very unlikely that further investigation would identify any systemic safety issues. Consequently, the ATSB has discontinued this investigation."

Resident David Page has campaigned for flashing lights as many residents have spoken to him of 'near-misses.'

 

David Page has campaigned for four years for flashing lights at the Kyogle rail crossing where Bronwyn Callaghan died after her car was hit by the XPT.
David Page has campaigned for four years for flashing lights at the Kyogle rail crossing where Bronwyn Callaghan died after her car was hit by the XPT. Susanna Freymark

The Andrew St/Yongurra Rd may not be the busiest rail crossing in the state but its blind spots, a shed and curve, make it dangerous.

ATSB disagreed with visibility issues at the crossing.

"The ATSB said its preliminary evidence collection revealed the passive level crossing approach signage was to standard, and sighting distances from both sides of the crossing were unobstructed, providing ample time for safe crossing.

"It found there was no evidence the crossing was poorly maintained, and there were no mechanical issues identified with the train, nor issues with its driver."

They concluded that the reason for discontinuing the investigation was " after finding the driver of the car involved was walking a dog beside the vehicle."

"Based on this information, it is likely the driver of the car did not see the train approaching and did not abide by the passive level crossing warning signs," the Bureau said in a statement required by the Transport Safety Investigation Act 2003.

Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin is making representation on behalf of Mr Page to the Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance.

"We have sent a letter to his office, asking the Minister to consider Mr Page's request to install flashing lights at the level crossing.," Ms Saffin's office reported.

Mr Page said flashing lights are desperately needed especially now that Kyogle Council has put its support behind the designation of a trail bike facility at the top of Yongurra road.

"Traffic flow across the rail crossing has increased ten fold and people conning here expect lights in an urban area," he said.

"I don't know where the enquiry got the idea that the woman killed was leading a dog but it seems a cop out to me."

 

Kyogle rail crossing death as featured in the Richmond River Express Examiner.
Kyogle rail crossing death as featured in the Richmond River Express Examiner. Susanna Freymark

Full details on ATSB at https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2017/rair/ro-2017-004/



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