ACCIDENT AFTERMATH: Katie Kermond's rental car was wrecked by the train she never heard and never saw coming.
ACCIDENT AFTERMATH: Katie Kermond's rental car was wrecked by the train she never heard and never saw coming. Contributed

Safety debate rages for Rockhampton's rail level crossing

AFTER Monday's Morning Bulletin story about Katie Kermond calling to improve the safety of Rockhampton CBD's level crossings, serious debate was sparked on social media.

Sydney choreographer Ms Kermond said she didn't see and hear the train coming that hit her last year at the intersection of Denison and William St.

A similar story was told by two bull riders from Clermont and Blackwater who were also the same intersection where a horrifying crash occurred in 2012.

In 2012, a QLD Rail Tilt Train collided with a Toyota utility at the intersection of Denison and William St in Rockhampton.
In 2012, a QLD Rail Tilt Train collided with a Toyota utility at the intersection of Denison and William St in Rockhampton. Contributed

She said it was unacceptable for basic infrastructure like flashing lights and boom gates to not be provided to provide a safe environment for the community.

According to Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke, a subsequent investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau revealed that there was no adverse finding against Queensland Rail or any recommendations for safety improvements.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke accept the findings of the safety investigation.
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke accept the findings of the safety investigation. Allan Reinikka ROK171117aalp1

"There are a number of warning and safety controls in place at the Williams Street level crossing, including safety signage and pavement markings,” Mr O'Rourke said.

"Also the maximum speed for rail traffic at this location is also reduced to 25 kilometres per hour. All Queensland Rail level crossings are designed and operate in accordance with national safety standards.”

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey said safety at rail crossings is a priority for the Palaszczuk government, and the Australian Transport and Safety Bureau undertook a thorough investigation in response to this incident.

Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey
Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey Kirstin Payne

"I'm also advised no adverse findings were found, however I understand there is community concern surrounding this issue, and I'm happy to listen to people in Rockhampton on this,” Mr Bailey said.

"Road safety is everyone's responsibility, and I'd like to take this opportunity to remind motorists to be extremely careful at all rail crossings.”

Minister for Northern Australia Matt Canavan and Capricornia MP Michelle Landry's offices have expressed a willingness to look further into the incident.

Here's what some of the feedback has been from The Morning Bulletin readers regarding Ms Kermond's accident and the rail level crossing safety situation.

Stacey Antcliff:

Everyone should know the road rules before jumping behind the wheel of a car..I swear half the town got their license from a cereal box.

Azara Goodson:

a license is a safety ticket to drive a car, as a ticketed driver you are responsible for every one on or off the road in and out side your car, the road rules markings signs are all there for your safety. Personally i would like to see the railway moved out of town so property market goes up, and noise here reduces from the trucks rolling over the tracks, but if it has to be there why do we not have level crossings with lights on most if not all of those crossing streets.

Dale Simpson:

So is there plans for a rail bypass? Or state government just ignoring the issue as usual? Should be boom gates and lights at every intersection along that length of track. See people flying across that track all the time without looking

Maddi Cullen:

You need to understand that there are several factors that contribute to a collision such as this one. Yes, human error and situational awareness would have been major contributing factors, however it was also raining with poor lighting. The ATSB stated that the train involved in the collision, 'The Spirit of Queensland' is a quiet train. The driver did not have common knowledge of the area as she is not a resident in Rockhampton. You weren't there, you do not know what the circumstances were. I'm sure the driver is aware that human error was a factor. You all need to stop being so quick to judge, and just realise that she is a NSW resident, trying to make a change for the citizens of Rockhampton. She could have had the collision and just left it at that, but she took responsibility and is trying to make a change. There could be a serious accident one day with an inexperienced learner driver, an elderly person or someone intoxicated/under the influence of drugs. You all have a right to an opinion, but please do not be so quick to judge. I as a Rockhampton citizen am glad that someone is taking the time to try and make our roads safer.

Ashley Salta:

Boom gates/flashing lights etc wouldn't have prevented an accident occurring if another vehicle was travelling down Denison street. The vehicle also would have been a. Potentially Quieter and b. Travelling quicker. Stop sign is there for more reasons than the trains. Driver error and complacency is the issue here. Should we install traffic lights at every intersection so drivers don't have to read signs and look for themselves?

Braydyn Murphy:

this is horrible but I know for a fact that trains are meant to use their horn when approaching an uncontrolled intersection

Sandi Dalton:

Drivers of trains have to blow the whistle when approaching a level crossing. Too many people are driving distracted, and not paying proper attention to the road or the conditions. A boom gate will not fix stupid!

Jillian Carige:

How could you not see a train?! If there isn't boom gates or flashing lights there's stop signs which you're actually meant to stop at. Is she admitting she didn't follow the road rules and went through a stop sign?!

Joanne Coulter:

I know Katie is from Sydney and spends most of her life in the city so not familiar and traffic lights are the norm down there but when placed in country towns the sign language would be completely foreign. Some nights when I go through that intersection the street lights are often out making things dark and dim but that intersection is well signed so it's a matter of paying attention.

Phil Robinson:

How about take responsibility for your actions instead of passing the buck trying to say it's unsafe. Like any other intersection with a stop sign, u stop and giveaway to traffic. Unsafe driver, the only safety situation is her licenced, driving on our roads.

Elisabeth Muston:

Boom gates is what is needed

Peta Crouch:

Never mind the big white headlight that would've been coming down the street! How about putting some responsibility back onto the car drivers. It's clearly marked at that intersection. There is a stop sign. If people stopped like they are supposed to and looked for trains, accidents like this would never happen!

Jacki Reid:

Start taking their licence off them for a crash like this. They are obviously not a competent driver. If you are not capable of driving to the road conditions or signage don't drive at all. Lucky the train wasn't a Mum pushing a pram or a kid on a bike, even harder to see.

Rachel Tellan:

Guess what?? Boom gates and lights don't stop them either. In 85 I was in a train accident (car stalled) and it took a few years and a person to die for lights. There's still been accidents there. People run lights and gates trying to beat the train, collect the gates and then everything is held up. Seen it too often as a train controller in Brisbane. It's a catch-22

Elizabeth Winston:

I know it would be an inconvenience for others but maybe there needs to boom gates across these train crossings so that the trains do not have to deal with this of cars going across train lines when people are supposed to give way to trains anyway.

Kelly Thompson:

It's time people start taking responsibility for their own negligent actions. Too many people try to pass the buck when things go wrong due to their own lack of common sense or sheer stupidity. If people can't follow basic road rules, that we all had to acknowledge and follow to obtain a licence, that are in place to prevent these mishaps , hand your licence in.

Denis Auberson:

It has road markings and signs to make drivers aware to stop look and give way to trains.

Rene Frenken:

There are signs in place you can see the trains coming she should of been paying more attention to her driving and surrounds I bet she won't do it again in a hurry.

Maria Finlay-Frenken:

you have to stop , look & listen at railway crossings, they are clearly marked and it is the sole responsibility of the driver to make sure it is safe to cross. There is no way we need a bypass or boom gates, drivers take responsibility for your own actions.

James Grose:

Any thought at all for the poor train driver that has to helplessly watch as they think they're killing a family?? The car driver has no one to blame but herself and there's only two reasons this accident happened arrogance and/or incompetence. But at least she's trying to make it safer and raise an issue so good on her for that.

James Harrison:

The train drives with its lights on just like a car does. If you ran into another car or cyclists I bet it would be someone or something else's fault. You either didn't stop and have a good look or was distracted.


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