Council ups ante in crossings war

LIVERPOOL Plains Shire Council (LPSC) has upped the ante in the war against trains blocking level crossings, claiming the nation’s peak rail body was “missing the point” on the issue.

LONG LINES: Another coal train passes through the Quirindi main centre railway crossing on Wednesday.  Photo: Barry Smith 040614BSC03

LONG LINES: Another coal train passes through the Quirindi main centre railway crossing on Wednesday. Photo: Barry Smith 040614BSC03

Frustration is mounting in Quirindi, Werris Creek and Willow Tree, with motorists often being forced to wait for up to 20 minutes as coal trains – many more than a kilometre long – crawl past level crossings.

The Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), which manages the network, told The Leader it was a “difficult and complex issue”.

“Level crossings are a difficult and complex issue to manage and there is no easy fix to resolving delays, particularly as towns in the Hunter Valley have been traditionally built around the railway,” an ARTC spokesman said.

“With regards to train services stopping for extended periods of time, there will be no single cause behind extended waiting times, as it varies from case to case, and this adds to the difficulty in identifying any simple resolution.”

The spokesman said the fact the Werris Creek railyard was managed privately complicated matters further, in terms of trains shunting in the town.

But LPSC councillor Col Stewart said the ARTC was missing the “elephant in the room” – the need for a rail overpass or bypass at Werris Creek.

“ARTC’s statements ... miss the point that the real problem is not trains shunting in the Werris Creek railyard, rather trains stopped across the level crossing for extended periods of time,” Cr Stewart said.

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