23 Oct, 2007 09:00 PM

SAFETY issues involving long road trains crossing railway lines is likely to result in farmers paying the cost of State Government buck-passing.

The issue revolves around a farmer meeting held at Grass Patch last week protesting against a ban by Main Roads WA to restrict road trains more than 27.5 metres in length from accessing the Grass Patch CBH grain receival bin.

The ramifications of the meeting will reverberate throughout the state, dragging in fertiliser and livestock carriers as well as grain contractors and possibly ore carriers because so-called triple road trains 36.5m in length — used extensively throughout the wheatbelt — are classified by Main Roads as too big to cross railway lines.

This is because the rear trailer of the road train over-hangs on the highway when stopping at the crossover, or over the railway line when re-entering a highway or main road.

To alleviate this problem, new road works will be required at crossovers identified as unsafe and therein lies a cost sleeper the State Government has already identified as a user pays issue.

In a media statement issued last Friday, Planning and Infrastructure Minister Allanah MacTeirnan clearly stated the government’s option.

She said the government was prepared to pay for the short-term solution involving train spotters to ensure that farmers and haulage operators could work through this year’s harvesting period as efficiently and effectively as possible.

However, a longer-term strategy would need to be considered.


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