Millions of dollars has been spent upgrading rail level crossings across NSW, but driver complacency is still increasing the risk of major accidents.
Eight people died in collisions between trains and road vehicles at level crossings in a decade, according to NSW figures.
In 2017-18, more than $13 million was spent on upgrading safety at some NSW crossings, including two in Coolamon shire: One in Lake Street, Ganmain, and the other at Marrar Road North, Marrar.
Coolamon mayor John Seymour said while he was unaware of any incidents at the crossings, the upgrades were welcome, particularly as trains likely to get faster.
Councillor Seymour warned that one of the biggest risks when it came to level crossings in rural areas was driver complacency, particularly on smaller lines that were used irregularly.
"Having these crossings upgraded should help with that," he said.
Upgrading the Ganmain crossing cost $1.27 million, while price tag for the Marrar project was $17.4 million
In both cases, work included a change from stop signs to new high-intensity LED flashing lights, bells and retro-reflective boom gates. The upgrade also included resurfacing of the road around the crossing and new signs.
Between July 2008 and June 2019, according to the NSW Centre for Road Safety, there were 72 collisions at level crossings, including those on private roads.
There are more than 3800 railway crossings in NSW and almost half of these are on public roads. Of the 1358 public road level crossings in NSW, 406 have active traffic controls; 159 have flashing lights and bells and 247 have flashing lights, bells and boom gates. The majority of others are controlled by give way or stop signs.
Bernard Carlon of the Centre for Road Safety, said driver inattention and poor decision-making were the main contributors to level crossing incidents.
"In many cases where trains and cars have collided, the motorist has ignored level crossing warnings because they incorrectly thought there was enough time to get through before the train arrived," he said.
This week is Rail Safety Week, a government initiative designed to raise awareness of possible dangers.
"We care about our people and our community, and we want everyone to get home safely after travelling on board trains or trams or crossing tracks or level crossings," Naomi Frauenfelder, executive director of the TrackSAFE Foundation said.
"Additionally, we want train drivers and rail staff to get home safely without being exposed to potentially traumatic events involving fatalities, near hits or collisions on the network."