QR National unveils high-tech rail safety device

QR National has unveiled an innovative new safety device which could help save lives

QR National unveils high-tech rail safety device
QR National unveils high-tech rail safety device

Augudt 13, 2012

QR National has unveiled an innovative new safety device which could help save lives.

The rail haulage provider says the new equipment, which
aims to
protect truck drivers from death or serious injury, has been launched to coincide with Rail Safety Week.

The device aims to prevent drivers from striking 25,000 volt power lines at central Queensland rail crossings by detecting approaching over-height vehicles, then activating flashing lights and signs to alert the driver, such as ‘OVER HEIGHT / STOP’.

The installation of the new equipment is part of a multi-pronged attack by QR National to prevent level crossing accidents that includes driver education, safety upgrades and innovation, and enforcement through fines and the recovery of costs of
damage caused by motorists.

Developed for QR National by Australasian Railway Consultancy Services (ARCS), the equipment will be trialled over the next six months at the level crossings on Ardurad Road in Blackwater and Normanby Street in Dingo.

If successful, the technology will be rolled out at other critical level crossings across the QR National rail network.
QR National’s Vice President Network Operations Clay McDonald says Rail Safety Week, which kicked off yesterday, is a perfect time to start the trial.

"These power lines carry 25,000 volts and can be deadly," McDonald says.

"We’re pleading with truck drivers to take the greatest care at level crossings, especially when they have a heavy vehicle carrying a high load or a vehicle with a high aerial.

"We’re extremely concerned that it’s only a matter of time before a truck driver is killed or suffers a serious injury."

Since 1 July 2011, there have been 91 near misses recorded and 29 collisions at level crossings on the Central Queensland Coal Network.

QR National is joining with other rail providers around the country this week to highlight the dangers.

McDonald says heavy vehicles are a particular concern.

"In 2011-12, there was a 350 per cent jump in the number of heavy vehicles hitting high voltage overhead power lines compared to 2010-11," McDonald adds.

"These incidents not only threaten the lives of drivers and our employees but can also result in the closure of the coal system, potentially costing producers and the economy millions of dollars in lost coal exports."

CEO of the Queensland Trucking Association, Peter Garske says most drivers operate safely, but there is still a need for better awareness.

"The result of not taking enough care can be damage to the level crossing, the driver’s truck, injury or worst of all, loss of life," Garske says.

"Safety is a fundamental for all participants in the transport industry and we’re very supportive of any initiatives that protect our drivers, their rigs and the rail infrastructure."

McDonald says the equipment not only provides a visual warning to alert truck drivers of the approaching danger, but also stores data on the number of incidents that have been averted.

"Most of the incidents occur when drivers are unaware of the height of their load and the aerials attached to the vehicles hit the overhead wires," McDonald says.

QR National will seek to recover the costs of repairs to the infrastructure and delays caused by breaches of the legislation, with footage captured by surveillance cameras at level crossings provided to the police.

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