Far from being a typical level crossing where a straight road crosses a straight railway line, the Gerogery level crossing was a more complicated road-rail interface involving an important main road (the Olympic Highway), another minor road, and the railway line (the Main Southern railway):
- the main road had an at-grade intersection with the single track railway at the level crossing.
- the road did a sharp left and right bends, with the approach from the north on the western side of the railway line, turning and traversing the line before turning again to run south on the eastern side of the railway line.
- the dog leg, or section of the road that traversed the railway line, ran roughly east-west and may have put the sun in drivers' eyes during sunrise and sunset in the summer months.
- because of the road delineation and bends, the red flashing lights warning of the imminent approach of a train could not properly point and provide sufficient warning to drivers on the main road and minor road approaches.
- the five young men killed, teenagers from Wagga Wagga, had all recently received their driving licences.
- the crossing had no boomgates, as these were only considered necessary where there were two or more tracks, and gates were needed to protect against a "second train coming".
This crash, through the intervention of the local State member, Mr Daryl Maguire MP, Member for Wagga Wagga led the NSW Government to request the Joint Standing Committee on Road Safety (the STAYSAFE Committee) of New South Wales Parliament to conduct a review of the safety of railway level crossings. The report of the Committee (STAYSAFE 56, 2004) was a comprehensive review of road, vehicle, driver and railway-related factors involved in level crossing incidents and crashes. The findings and recommendations of the report led to major reform of railway level crossing safety across Australia.
Following the deaths, an overbridge was built to remove the level crossing, with completion on 16 December 2005. Originally costed in 2001 at $12.5 million, by June 2004 the cost had increased to $18.5 million, and was finally completed at a cost of $24.5 million. The overbridge is named the "Five Mates Crossing" bridge, in memory of the five young men, all friends, who were killed: Kyle Michael Wooden, Luke Gellie Milne, Cameron Michael Tucker, Graham Charles Kelly and Ben Wilkins. They had been heading to Albury to attend an evening rugby league match. Commemorative crosses and memorial plate are set along side the Olympic Highway 50 metres south of the crossing on the northbound lane.
Read more about this topic: Gerogery Level Crossing Accident