13 December 2006

Ghan involved in accident

An accident to the Ghan passenger train has apparently left a passenger and the driver of the "truck" with which it collided about 130 kms south of Darwin severely injured.

The Age online report includes a graphic photo, though the headline describing the scene as "desert" is wide of the mark, as anyone who has travelled through the area in daylight knows.

On my travels up north earlier this year I was pleasantly surprised to see that most if not all level crossings had warning lights, though not boom gates. I took the photo above at the crossing on the Buchanan Highway between Dunmarra and Top Springs, a remote area more than 500kms south of Darwin.

I'm curious to find out more about what happened.

[Links accessed 13 December 2006]

Update 6.00 pm CST 13 December 2006.

Today several media outlets including news.com.au and The Age report that the driver of the semi-trailer involved in the collision with the Ghan has been arrested in the Royal Darwin Hospital.

Each of these websites has a photo of the scene which conveys something of the scale of the collision. Adelaide Now has a sequence of seven images taken from a number of perspectives.

ABC News Online doesn't have a relevant photo but does report on the safety and environmental concerns which have been brought to the fore as a result of the crash, eg whether boom gates should be installed at all level crossings, the difficulties of rendering prompt medical assistance in remote areas and the heightened hazards of transporting uranium on the railway.

It's worth noting that the NT government recently announced proposed changes to its road traffic laws to try to reduce its road toll, which is the highest in Australia per head of population.

With all these developments there is no further news of the condition of the passenger who was last reported by various sources, including the Northern Territory News , to be in a critical condition in the Royal Darwin Hospital. I wish her, and any others who may have been injured, a speedy recovery.

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