05 June 2007

Major rail crash in Victoria

As I post there are 11 confirmed deaths in today's Victorian train crash. The number may yet increase. My condolences to everyone who lost family and friends and my sympathy and hopes for a full and speedy recovery, if that doesn't sound too hollow, to all the injured.

For a selection of media reports see The Age, the ABC, News.com.au and the BBC .

This is the worst rail accident in Australia for years. Like so many others it occurred at a level crossing, one which had warning lights, though not boom gates. I don't know enough about the circumstances but the responsibility to stop almost invariably falls upon road users not train drivers. It will therefore be interesting to see what emerges from the investigations, which will no doubt explore many questions, including

  • Were the warning lights working?
  • Was the truck driver licensed to drive the vehicle?
  • Was the truck registered and insured?.
There have been larger rail crashes in other parts of the world in the last few years, but many of them have happened on lines with heavy usage, not relatively quiet country lines as in this instance.

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