WCC being sued over train crossing death

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In the wake of the recent rail crossing accident at Pirron Yallock, it has been revealed the WCC is being sued for negligence over a death at an Allansford crossing in 2013.

Words by Carol Altmann

[dropcap style=”color: #a5cecd;”]T[/dropcap]he Warrnambool City Council is being sued for negligence over the death of a young man at an Allansford rail crossing in 2013.

You can read the Supreme Court writ here.

For those of you who may have missed our Facebook post from earlier this week, we followed up on a report in the Herald-Sun by Tom Minear that revealed the council and V-Line are being sued by Colin Grant, the father of Sam Grant, the 22-year-old tragically killed at an Allansford level crossing in March 2013.

Mr Grant is taking action against both parties for failing to improve safety at the Brown St crossing.

council writ

[dropcap style=”color: #a5cecd;”] T [/dropcap]he writ lodged in the Supreme Court on July 1 on behalf of Mr Grant claims that the council had “the responsibility, management and control of Brown St, including the approaches to the crossing”.

It further argues that the WCC had a duty of care with respect to its “management, control and supervision of Brown St and the approaches to the crossing”.


In particular, the writ outlines five areas of negligence:

  • failing to have the crossing controlled by boom gates, flashing lights and warning bells;
  • allowing the crossing to be used when it was unsafe and not properly controlled;
  • failing to have adequate warning signs in Brown St when approaching the crossing
  • failing to close the crossing when V-Line knew or ought to have known it was unsafe and;
  • permitting the crossing to be used with only passive traffic controls.

The WCC told Bluestone on July 18 it had “not received any notification of this court action” – despite the writ being lodged with the Supreme Court almost three weeks ago.

According to the writ, the council has 10 days after being served with the writ to “file an appearance”. Update: A writ can be served up to 12 months after it is lodged with the court.

We shall keep an eye on this timely story as it unfolds.

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6 thoughts on “WCC being sued over train crossing death”

  1. Very sad, and too many bad train injuries and experiences. I can’t believe there is no proper fencing between the lake Pertobe play ground and the railway track adjoining the flying fox area???? How can that be safe for our children??

  2. I am shocked that this magazine would air a grieving family’s private business in print. A writ may be in the public domain once it has been submitted, however this is no-one’s business but the Grant family’s. Justifying it’s publication in Bluestone as having already been reported by the Herald Sun does not make it right. The Grant’s live in our community and deserve our compassion and support rather than everyone knowing their business. What if it was your son? Have some respect!

    1. Hi Lisa,
      It is always difficult to report on such tragedies but train crossing safety is an ongoing and serious concern in our region. The fact the Grant family has decided to take legal action is an important step in highlighting these inadequacies and may be, as far as we know, the first time a local council has been sued for negligence over crossings. It is certainly not our intention to cause any further distress, but a writ is a public document, as will be the court case if and when it goes ahead. While this is never easy for the families concerned, it is a part of the justice process and we would hope, like others, that the long term result is an improvement in safety. – Carol

  3. Carol, I agree that Rail crossing safety is a very serious matter, the Government needs to be made accountable for its lack of response to the upgrades. However I’m wondering if the Grants were approached for comment or even informed of the report prior to publication. I know if my family was being discussed in the public domain, I would like to be forewarned

    1. Hi Lisa,
      With court documents it is not usually the case that the claimants are contacted directly. The documents themselves are in the public domain and, in this case, the story had already been reported on elsewhere. There was certainly no intention to cause any further distress to the Grants, but to instead focus on the issue that is the subject of their claim. – Carol

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