Trucks cutting corners in Melbourne’s inner west

You’d think that someone paid to drive trucks for a living would know how to turn a corner – but from what I’ve seen in Melbourne’s inner west, many struggle to.

Damaged level crossing lights on the Apex quarry siding at Somerville and McDonald Road in Brooklyn

Somerville Road and McDonald Road, Brooklyn

There is a level crossing at the corner of Somerville Road and McDonald Road in the Melbourne industrial suburb of Brooklyn, used twice daily by the Apex quarry train.

Holding up traffic on Somerville Road

Container trucks are everywhere.

A-double container truck on McDonald Road, Brooklyn

But it seems that some truck drivers have trouble turning the corner – in November 2018 one cut the corner taking out the level crossing lights.

Damaged level crossing lights on the Apex quarry siding at Somerville and McDonald Road in Brooklyn

For the next few months traffic controllers were put in place.

Traffic controllers in place due to damaged level crossing lights on the Apex quarry siding at Somerville and McDonald Road in Brooklyn

Stopping vehicles whenever a train passed through the level crossing.

Traffic controllers with STOP signs guard the Somerville Road level crossing at Brooklyn

Eventually a replacement gantry was erected at the level crossing, but it didn’t last long – in May 2019 a second truck took it out.

The level crossing lights Somerville and McDonald Road in Brooklyn have been taken out again!

The traffic controllers returned, until a third set of level crossing lights were erected in October 2019.

Replacement level crossing lights have finally been installed

Along with two massive concrete barriers.

Replacement level crossing lights have finally been installed

That will hopefully stop a third truck from taking them out.

Two massive concrete barriers added beside the replacement level crossing light

Wright Street and Anderson Road, Sunshine

More concerning is the intersection of Wright Street and Anderson Road in Sunshine, which is surrounded by houses.

Cyclist waiting beside a smashed traffic light post

In May 2017 a truck managed to cut the corner, taking out the traffic light gantry then driving off.


Victoria Police photo

With another truck making a similar mistake in February 2019.

Smashed traffic light post at the corner of Anderson Road and Wright Street

Driving over a traffic light post.

Smashed traffic light post at the corner of Anderson Road and Wright Street

A VicRoads crew had to come up and right it.

VicRoads contractors use a jack to try and bend the traffic signal post back into place

Using a jack to bend the post back into place.

VicRoads contractors use a jack to try and bend the traffic signal post back into place

As good as new.

Traffic light post back upright, and concreted in place

But with no other changes, each passing truck could make the same mistake.

Container truck negotiates the corner of Anderson Road and Wright Street

And a bonus idiot

There is a second level crossing on Somerville Road in Brookyln, used by freight trains headed west to Geelong and Adelaide.

CF4404 leads SCT003, CSR009 and SCT007 on 7MB9 at Brooklyn

Back in May 2019 I saw a light engine movement waiting clear of the level crossing.

8114 heads through Brooklyn to collect a rake of Sadleirs vans from Spotswood

The reason – an idiot truck driver managed to stop under the boom gate and was stuck fast.

Idiot truck drive managed to stop under the boom gate on Somerville Road, Brooklyn

Another truckie had to come over and lift the boom gate up, so the truck could reverse out.

And the Napier Street bridge

Napier Street passes under the Werribee line tracks in Footscray, with an endless stream if ignorant truck drivers managing to get stuck under it.

Tow truck drags the damaged container away from the bridge

As of October twenty trucks had hit the bridge during 2019.

Footnote – level crossing protection at Somerville Road

In 2019 V/Line issued the following instructions after a truck took out the level crossing lights.

On Tuesday 7th May 2019 the side Flashing Light mast at the Somerville Road Level Crossing, KP: 15.497 at Brooklyn sustained damage from a road vehicle. As a result, the mast has been removed, however a replacement is not immediately available.

During the period that the Flashing Light mast is absent, the following process must be observed if it is necessary for a Rail Vehicle Movement to enter either of the sidings and traverse the level crossing.

  • Access to the Apex/Brooklyn Tip Sidings must remain unavailable during the period that Rail Vehicle Movements are not scheduled to occur. The Main Line points governing access to the sidings must be secured in the Normal position with a lockable point clip, the keys to which must be held by the Track Force Protection Co-ordinator (TFPC).
  • A minimum of 24 hours notice must be provided to the Regional Access Manager (R.A.M) – Central or their Delegate when a Rail Vehicle Movement is required to enter the Sidings.
  • Prior to the Rail Vehicle Movement entering the siding, the R.A.M or their Delegate must arrange for road traffic management to be placed on the approaches to the level crossing and to act under the direction of the TFPC.
  • The TFPC must then arrange for the point clip to be removed from the main line points.
  • When the Rail Vehicle Movement is ready to enter the siding, the TFPC must instruct the road traffic management to display their ‘Stop’ bats and then operate the test switch for the level crossing protection equipment.
  • Once the level crossing protection equipment has completed its cycle, the TFPC must then display the ‘All-Right’ hand signal to the Driver of the approaching Rail Vehicle Movement.
  • If the Rail Vehicle Movement is to remain in the Sidings, the TFPC must arrange for a Track Closure Device as described in SW.0202/2017 to be placed on each siding approach to the level crossing, adjacent to the existing ‘Stop’ Boards. The Track Closure Devices must be securely padlocked to the rail head.

V/Line SW.0081/2019

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2 Responses to “Trucks cutting corners in Melbourne’s inner west”

  1. Michael says:

    I’m a forklift driver and I load taughtliners. Over the past 4 years I’ve noticed allot of new drivers are Indians or Pakistani. Not one knows the size of their tray in meterage, or how much weight their truck can take. Several drivers have hit bollards or have scrapped them, and the intercom speaker at the entrance gate has been replaced at least on average once a year! One driver who lasted about 2 weeks had 2 minor accidents in one day! They let him go after that. Unfortunately some trucking companies have been specifically set up to employ certain ethnicitys in order to pay lower wages and undercut competition. In the short term it’s great for company profits and savings but in the long term, the overall cost. Ie accidents, damaged stock, missing stock Vic roads fines, lost productivity adds up. The worst part is, unskilled, untrained international licences driving on our roads with 15 or 30 tonnes of weight is a risk to other road users.

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