Drivers warned of harvest train risk

Road users in Victoria’s grain growing regions have been urged to keep an eye out for more frequent freight trains.

Freight leaves Tocumwal by rail.

Freight Victoria Chief Executive Garry Button said drivers should take care at rail crossings in the coming months, as more trains start to move product to Victoria’s ports and supermarket shelves.

"As the harvest season starts, we want everyone to be extra careful on the roads, especially around railway crossings as more trains will be running," he said.

"We ask all drivers to stop and look both ways at every crossing.

"Even if trains don’t usually pass through, some freight trains may be passing at unusual times due to hot weather and timetabling changes.

"Everyone should keep an eye out and obey all signs at rail crossings, while also giving yourself enough distance to stop in time.

"Never risk it, even if you think that there won’t be a train."

Mr Button also stated the importance of taking a break while driving.

He said fatigue often played a large factor in accidents and poor decision-making behind the wheel.

"We want all drivers to stop and rest when they can," he said.

"Decision-making can be impaired by fatigue, which is why we want drivers making good decisions when approaching level crossings.” 

The drive caution to drivers comes as the Victorian Government is undertaking the $440 million Murray Basin Rail Project - which will make it easier for farmers to get their product to Australian and worldwide markets.   

V/Line has recently completed track works in the Maryborough yard and along the newly-opened section between Ararat and Maryborough, ahead of harvest season.

V/Line and Rail Projects Victoria have inspected 388 kilometres of track on the Manangatang and Sea Lake lines and 66 kilometres between Gheringhap and Warrenheip.

The Victorian Government has also upgraded 43 level crossings across regional and rural Victoria - with 12 remaining - under the Safer Country Crossings Program.