Kerang rail accident

Kerang rail accident

infobox AU rail accident

title = Kerang rail accident
date = 5 June 2007
time = 1:40pm
location = Kerang, Victoria
location-dist = 257.2
location-dir = NNW
location-city = Melbourne
line = Swan Hill railway line
operator = V/Line
type = Level crossing collision
cause = Truck driver error
trains = 1
pax = 36
deaths = 11
injuries = 23

The Kerang train collision occurred on 5 June 2007 at about 1:40 pm AEST in the Australian state of Victoria, approximately convert|6|km|mi|1|lk=on north of the town of Kerang in the state's northwest, and convert|257|km|mi|0 north-northwest of the city of Melbourne.

Southbound V/Line passenger train service 8042 which consisted of locomotive N460 and carriage set N7 and a northbound semi-trailer truck collided at a level crossing where the Swan Hill railway line crosses the Murray Valley Highway. The locomotive and first carriage escaped impact as the truck swerved left. However, the second carriage and third carriages were both struck, causing major structural damage and fatal injury to passengers.

Victoria Police confirmed that 11 people were killed and 23 injured in the crash, [cite news|first=Dan|last=Oakes|coauthors=Doherty, Ben, Webb, Carolyn, Guerrera, Orietta|title=11 die in train crash|url=|work=The Age|date=2007-06-05|accessdate=2007-06-06] [cite news|title=No boom gates at level crossing crash scene|url=|work=ABC News|date=2007-06-05|accessdate=2007-06-06] making this to date the deadliest Australian rail disaster since 1977. As of 11:00 am on the 6th of June, two passengers remained unaccounted for. [ [ "Train crash truckie 'sorry'", "The Age", 6th June 2007] (Retrieved 6th June 2007)] The site was visited on the evening of 5 June by the Premier of Victoria, Steve Bracks, who called it a "horrific scene".cite news|title=Three still missing after Vic train smash|url=|work=ABC News|date=2007-06-06|accessdate=2007-06-06]

The train involved in the accident was a locomotive-hauled service from Swan Hill that departed for Melbourne at 1:00pm,cite web|title=V/Line to support full scale inquiry|url=|publisher=V/Line Passenger Pty. Ltd|date=2007-06-05|accessdate=2007-06-06] operated by a N class locomotive and three car N type carriage set. The collision caused the closure of nearby sections of the Murray Valley Highway.


Emergency response was swift, with a number of seriously injured people airlifted to Melbourne while others were taken by road or air ambulance to nearby Kerang Hospital. Premier Bracks flew to the crash scene on the evening of 5 June with Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Noel Ashby and Opposition transport spokesman Terry Mulder, calling it a "horrific scene".cite news|title=Bracks to fly to train crash scene|url=|work=The Age|date=2007-06-05|accessdate=2007-06-05]

Both the Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services Mark Vaile and Prime Minister John Howard spoke to the media, offering Federal government aid to families as well as the investigative assistance of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau. Leader of the Opposition Kevin Rudd said that he was "saddened and shocked" by the incident and went on to say that his "thoughts and prayers tonight are with those still fighting for their life in hospitals throughout Victoria." [cite news|title=PM offers train crash help|url=,20867,21854188-1702,00.html|work=The Australian|date=2007-06-05|accessdate=2007-06-05]

V/Line announced it will support a full inquiry and had arranged counselling for the passengers and their families. Chief executive Rob Barnett said the incident would raise questions about the safety of level crossings, but asked everyone to resist jumping to conclusions. Train services between Bendigo and Melbourne were not affected by the accident, but buses were replacing trains between Bendigo and Swan Hill until the crash site had been cleared. [cite news|title=Victoria train crash toll now eight dead|url=|work=The Age|date=2007-06-05|accessdate=2007-06-05] [cite web|title=Bendigo Line ~ Service disruptions ~ Tue 5 Jun|url=|publisher=V/Line Passenger Pty. Ltd|date=2007-06-05|accessdate=2007-06-06]

Work is set to commence on restoring services once the accident site has been released by accident investigators.cite web|title=V/Line prepares for rail recovery program|url=|publisher=V/Line Passenger Pty. Ltd|date=2007-06-06|accessdate=2007-06-07] Due to the nature of land surrounding the accident site, some earthworks will be required to provide a solid footing enabling heavy lifting to be used for the removal of rolling stock damaged in the accident. Once removed from the line, the damaged rolling stock will be transported to a secure facility in Melbourne for further investigation.

The driver of the semi-trailer was charged with one count of culpable driving and on 7 June was bailed to appear before Bendigo Magistrates Court on 19 December. A police spokesman stated that more charges are expected to be laid in due course.cite web|title=Man charged over Kerang collision|url=|publisher=Victoria Police|date=2007-06-07|accessdate=2007-06-08] [cite news|title=Kerang crash driver charged|url=,23599,21865847-2,00.html||date=2007-06-07|accessdate=2007-06-07]


One survivor recalls, "A lady sitting across from me saw the truck and closed her eyes. You just wonder how anybody got out."cite news|title=Eight killed in train crash|url=|work=The Sydney Morning Herald|date=2007-06-05|accessdate=2007-06-06]

Ursula McGuiness, General Manager for V/Line noted that the level crossing was protected with lights and bells, which were still sounding and flashing when emergency services arrived, but did not have boom gates.

Recently, there had been timetable changes on the line according to Kerang resident and Shire of Gannawarra councillor Lui Basile.

On 15 February 2008, the Office of the Chief Investigator, Department of Infrastructure, released Rail Safety Report 2007/09, detailing the findings of the investigation into the collision. The report noted that the train, truck, and level crossing warning signals were all serviceable prior to the incident, and both the train and truck driver were familiar with their respective routes. The report noted that the truck driver did not agree to be interviewed by investigators, and concluded that "For reasons not determined the truck driver did not respond in an adequate time and manner to the level crossing warning devices."cite web
title=Level Crossing Collision V/Line Passenger Train 8042 and a Truck Near Kerang, Victoria 5 June 2007 |work=Chief Investigator, Transport and Marine Safety Investigations |publisher=Department of Infrastructure, Victoria |date=2008-02-15 |accessdate=2008-05-16

See also

* Railway accidents in Victoria
* List of disasters in Australia by death toll
* List of rail accidents - includes level crossing accidents.


External links

* [$UNIDS+for+Web+Display/40CE459DD872052DCA2573EF00111115/$FILE/OCI-Report2007-09-Kerang.pdf Chief Investigator, Transport and Marine Safety Investigations: "Level Crossing Collision V/Line Passenger Train 8042 and a Truck Near Kerang, Victoria 5 June 2007"] (official accident report)

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