North Dandalup residents stand up for railway safety following crossing crash

In the wake of a crash between a car and the Australind train in a North Dandalup crossing on Thursday last week, North Dandalup community members are speaking up on railway safety in the area.

The driver escaped the crash, which happened around 4.30pm at the South Street and Lakes Road crossing, uninjured but it was a matter of centimetres.

The train hit the bullbar and front part of the motor of the four-wheel drive, and tore part of the motor off.

According to witness reports, the driver wasn’t able to see the red flashing light when crossing the tracks because of the position of the sun, a recurring issue in the crossing.

One resident said it had happened before, with a truck almost failing to stop in front of a running train.

“The railway line and current crossing arrangements are a significant concern to the community,” North Dandalup resident Carl Done said.

“For three months of the year, the sun rise and set are oriented such that the drivers visibility on approach to the crossing is impaired.”

Mr Done believes the safety of the South Street and Lakes Road crossing should be investigated following the incident, and measures should be put in place before it is too late.

Community members said they would like to see boom gates installed in the crossing, to prevent other blinded drivers from overseeing the red light and crossing the tracks when a train is coming.

“While the community is aware that South Street will ultimately be re-aligned as part of the town’s growth, how long will this be?” he said.

“Do we need to wait for more serious accidents before the situation is improved?”

In addition to the community’s concerns for drivers crossing the tracks, Mr Done said residents are also worried about children having to cross the vehicle crossings to get to school or the local park.

Brookfied rail, Mr Done said, recently fenced off the rail line  leaving only two designated vehicle crossings, one at each end of town and one kilometre apart from each other.

According to the resident, the railway was fenced off to prevent children from crossing the tracks, but forced them to walk kilometres to get to school and share the track crossings with vehicles instead, putting them at risk.

“The community would really like to see a pedestrian crossing of the rail line near the park and station so people can make their way from the Corolla Park estate towards the community hall and school without having to mix with vehicles,” he said.