Call for rail crossing closure

QR National will install security cameras at the controversial Malchi Rd crossing, near Gracemere, after a near miss last week between a fully-loaded coal train and truck.

The dangerous situation prompted the Rockhampton organiser of the Rail, Tram and Bus Union to call for the closure of the crossing, saying Rockhampton Regional Council would have blood on its hands if a fatality was to occur.

Then council said any closure would have to be a collaborative decision between QR National, the Department of Main Roads and itself.

This week a QR National spokesperson said the company, whose network includes Central Queensland’s coal export tracks, had been concerned about safety at the Malchi Rd crossing since a serious accident late last year, when a truck loaded with cattle collided with an on-track rail vehicle, injuring the QR National workers involved.

“We are now preparing to install security cameras to deter motorists from taking unnecessary risks that endanger the lives of their passengers, train occupants and rail workers,” the spokesperson said.

“There is a considerable amount of heavy traffic using the Malchi Road crossing, and we continue to be astounded by the life-threatening risks motorists will take to save themselves mere minutes.”

The three parties are currently in discussions about the construction of a nearby overpass which would lead to the crossing’s closure.

A spokesperson for the Department of Transport and Main Roads said the department was working with urgency to deliver the overpass project.

“Construction of the overpass and access road was assured in this year’s state budget with a commitment of $50m for works, with construction to start in early 2012,” the spokesperson said.

“The bridge and associated works are expected to take 12 months to construct (depending on weather), with the new access between the Capricorn Hwy and Gracemere Industrial Area to open in January 2013.”

We have previously requested the Council close the crossing, and are now preparing to install security cameras to deter motorists from taking unnecessary risks that endanger the lives of their passengers, train occupants and rail workers.



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