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Australia - Level Crossing Elimination


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Melbourne has been a bit backward as far as level crossings are concerned. It is only in the last decade (or less) that things have started moving, with four level crossings eliminated in my local area in that time - Middleborough Road, Box Hill, first, Springvale Road Nunawading next, then Mitcham Road and rooks Road in Mitcham earlier this year.

Still waiting for Blackburn Road, Blackburn to be done. The road route northbound has, in order, starting in Blackburn Road, traffic lights and T-junction (South Parade), level crossing, right at roundabout at Railway Parade, traffic lights (veer left into Chapel Street), traffic lights (right turn into Maroondah Highway/Whitehorse Road), traffic lights and left turn into Surrey Road, which later becomes Blackburn Road (again!).

Sydney has been a lot more forward thinking in eliminating level crossings many years ago, but Brisbane still lags a bit too.

At least we are seeing progress now, with the ones I mentioned already all on busy roads, and Springvale itself (as in the video clip above) being quite a bottleneck on one of Melbourne's busiest roads, Springvale Road.

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The Victorian Government has plans t eliminate at least 50 level crossings over the next few years.


Placed in context that is not even half of those on the Melbourne suburban network let alone the large number in rural and remote areas some of which are on the list.


The next four to go include Gardiner station (Glen Waverley line) where Burke Road currently crosses on the level and which includes a tram : train level crossing, one of only four remaining in Australia.  Then on the Frankston line three adjacent crossings are to be removed together in a huge project as to do them one at a time would be a triplication of effort and require far more blockages of the line.  North Road at Ormond station, McKinnon Road at McKinnon station and Centre Road at Bentleigh station are all to be done in an extended closure this coming summer (around Christmas time).


That will leave only 26 more road level crossings on the 40-kilometre Frankston line and at least as many again pedestrian crossings.  Some of the latter are to be closed.  Of the road crossings one is unusual in that the railway runs through the middle of a roundabout on a busy road and several are located at six-way intersections and cause very significant delays to road traffic notably at Overton Road near Frankston itself.


Those numbers give an idea of just how many crossings there are although not all lines have quite as many for the distance as Frankston.


Many rural crossings are on lightly-trafficked roads with very sparse train services crossing them.  Sometimes traffic is seasonal and may only run for a couple of months a year.  On rural passenger lines there may be as few as six trains a day passing.  Many of these crossings have no barriers, only warning signs and flashing lights.  There is an argument which says that spending money on boom gates will still not protect the idiots from themselves - someone who isn't prepared to stop at a red light isn't necessarily going to stop for a lowered boom either and will zig-zag through.  The result either way is too often their predictable demise and lengthy delays to all traffic during the clear-up.

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