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

'It makes me sick': Desperate plea after fatal train crash

WHEN David Page heard the train toot on June 14 in 2017, he knew something was wrong.

It kept tooting sounding the alarm to Bronwyn Callaghan and her dog Moses, who were killed when the XPT hit her car at the Yongurra Rd crossing in Kyogle.

Two years later, the impact of that day continues to haunt Mr Page. The deceased body was wrapped in a tarp on his front patio and he used his tractor to pull Ms Callaghan's car from the under the train.

Many Kyogle residents have expressed opinions on the crossing saying lights aren't necessary, that road users simply need to take more care.

 

Here is Mr Page's heartfelt letter to the community:

"I have always advised my children to speak with their brain, not emotion, so I will endeavour to do the same here, tempted as I am to let loose.

Firstly, Sherryn (Mr Page's daughter who lives next to the rail line) is quite aware that train drivers sound their horn "once" when approaching a level crossing.

Who better than her knows that when she hears it sound more than once and looks out she will see someone crossing the line with a train approaching.

At night the horn is not sounded and if the engine is out of sight one can easily run into the side of the freight carriages in the dark.

Secondly, safety systems not put in place to protect people from their own distractions and shortfalls.

Maybe all guardrails, arrow signs, barriers and flashing lights should be done away with if the intelligent, ever alert, find them unnecessary.

This crossing is dangerous with two close bends in the line,a shed either side of a steep rise on the road on one side and a right angle corner on the other.

Thirdly, I assure you we are not calling for the blood of anyone,we are just trying to prevent the spilling of anyone else's blood.

I am not interested at all in who is to blame, I just want to see it fixed.

If you think I am affected by this incident you are correct.

It was me who had the deceased wrapped in a tarp on my front patio.

It was me who pulled the car out from under the train and into my paddock with my tractor.

After 40 years in Kyogle Fire and Rescue and being a workcover accredited safety trainer I have seen enough to justify my risk awareness, let alone what I witness repeatedly at this crossing.

It makes me sick in the stomach to see a 1.5 million dollar concrete bridge over the railway line at Gradys Creek leading to nowhere (a cow paddock) and we cannot get a set of lights at a level crossing in an urban area in Kyogle.

This crossing is used by school children on nature walks, 11 residences, forestry vehicles and contractors, septic and skip bin contractor, cattle trucks and now numerous trail bike vehicles and riders from cities and towns where they are used to lights and barriers when a train is approaching.

Will the bean counters in Government please wake up and spend a small amount of money where lives can be protected.

Peace be with you all."

 

The response so far

Member for Lismore Janelle Saffin has taken Mr Page's campaign to the Minister for Regional Transport Paul Toole.

Her office advised that Mr Page's letter for the installation of flashing lights at the crossing was received by Mr Toole's office.

Ms Saffin sees the urgent need for the safest crossing possible, her office stated.

Minister Toole was contacted for comment but none was forthcoming.

 

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


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