Delay causes frustration
A Tatura resident was left waiting for a train at the Watt Rd level crossing near Mooroopna on her way to work for 47 minutes on Tuesday last week.
The resident, who did not wished to be named, contacted the Shepparton News and said the wait left her 45 minutes late from work and was absolutely not acceptable.
‘‘That is definitely not normal, especially when you cannot actually see a train and you’re constantly looking up the tracks thinking, ‘is this a fault?’,’’ she said.
‘‘I was probably five or six cars back to begin with on the Mooroopna side (of the tracks).
‘‘Then probably 10 to 15 minutes into it people started doing U-turns and driving on the wrong side of the road through the boom gates, which gotme closer to the front — but I wasn’t going anywhere.’’
Drivers are being urged to obey railway signals following the incident, which was the second time in five weeks drivers were captured on camera ignoring flashing lights and driving around boom gates as frustrations grew.
Shepparton Highway Patrol Acting Senior Sergeant David Gillespie said while the length of time some boom gates were down could be frustrating, they came down for a reason.
‘‘If the boom gates come down for some length of time and it frustrates drivers, do not go around those boom gates at all,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s extremely dangerous behaviour, if they’re really concerned perhaps they can contact the local police station to inform them of the boom gate situation.
‘‘Either way, you can’t proceed through there.’’
The wait time, according to V/Line was abnormal and a spokesperson said the boom gates were lowered more than half an hour longer than normal on Tuesday, from 8.48 am to 9.40 am.
They said on Tuesdays and Thursdays a freight train was scheduled to complete shunting movements in the sidings at Mooroopna station, which activated the Watt Rd level crossing for 20 minutes.
The wait was not due to a fault at the level crossing and V/Line will liaise with the freight operator to understand the reasons the shunt took longer than scheduled.
They said they would look at ongoing ways to minimise disruptions to motorists and were also set to complete a risk review.
The review will take into account the number of cars using the Watt Rd crossing, the design of equipment and if the shunting movement can take place at another time.
Sen Sgt Gillespie said the penalty for ignoring flashing lights and driving around boom gates to cross railway tracks was a $777 and the loss of four demerit points.
‘‘You can also risk having your car impounded under certain circumstances but the biggest risk is having a collision, all because the boom gates have been down for a long time and it’s frustrating you,’’ he said.