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Wednesday, 31 January 2018 09:00

Boom gates malfunction in heat

Heat played havoc with the railway boom gates at Bairnsdale causing them to fail three times over the weekend and into Monday. The failure meant the boom gates were closed forcing traffic to find an alternate route from the Princes Highway. On Saturday morning between 6.30 and 8.15, the gates on the Princes Highway level crossing started operating continuously ,leaving motorists perplexed. On Monday morning, the gates were down for three hours with traffic this time being detoured. The gates were still out of service at 5.30pm. Traffic travelling into Bairnsdale was diverted via Racecourse Road, while traffic travelling toward Melbourne was being diverted onto Lindenow-Dargo Road. The boom gates at the level crossing on Bosworth Road were also affected. Just when maintenance men thought the problem had been resolved and the detour signs removed, the boom gates again failed later in the afternoon, forcing V/Line staff to revisit the problem.

In a statement, a V/Line spokesman said extreme heat had caused the problem at two levels crossings in Bairnsdale. The spokesman said while the problem did not cause any delays to train services travelling on the Gippsland line, V/Line acknowledged motorists had been inconvenienced. “We would like to apologise to motorists,” V/Line said in a statement. The spokesman confirmed “extreme heat” was the reason for the boom gates failing and for safety reasons it was deemed having the gates closed while trains were active was common sense. “Across the network, safety is our top priority, especially when it comes to level crossings,” the spokesman said. “As a fail-safe, the boom-barrier level crossings at Bairnsdale remained active while the crews attended to the fault, so at no stage was there risk to public safety.” V/Line said technicians had worked “as quickly as possible to repair the faults”. V/Line did not volunteer detail on all the times when gates were out of service across the three days. Saturday’s maximum temperature was 31.1 degrees Celsius, 35.9 Sunday and 38.5 Monday.