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Still waiting on level crossing action

Last night train services were once again disrupted following a serious incident at one of Auckland’s most notorious level crossings.

Emergency services are at Morningside train station in Auckland where a car has been hit by a train shortly before 4.30pm.

A Herald reporter at the scene said it appeared the car had been sitting on the tracks in an area marked by yellow lines when the train hit it “dead centre” on Morningside Drive.

The blue hatchback then spun off the tracks and its airbags deployed, she said.

A woman was freed from the car by fire crews shortly after 4.45pm and taken to Auckland Hospital in a serious condition.

From the images in the media the driver appears to be extremely lucky. Quite why anyone would drive around barrier arms is beyond me.

Over the last few years I think Morningside has probably featured in the news more than any other level crossing in Auckland and probably all of New Zealand but it’s far from the only crossing with a bad record. Regardless of who’s at fault these incidents, and I don’t think it’s ever the train, they can seriously impact on the lives of a lot of people and it’s well past time that our transport agencies put more focus on removing level crossings.

Sure, not every incident involving trains will disappear but they will likely be severely reduced and I see level crossings as one of those all too rare transport investments that ticks every major box.

  • Safety for all modes can be considerably improved
  • Public transport users benefit – as I understand it signalling the network becomes easier so public transport users can benefit from improved speed – especially around stations
  • Drivers benefit from less time waiting at crossings

The map shows the 45 level crossings within the electrified network of Auckland. Of them 31 are road/pedestrian crossings while a further 14 a pedestrian only crossings. As you can see the majority are on the Western line with the rest are primarily along the short Onehunga Line with another cluster around Takanini. Auckland Transport are currently in the process of getting approval to replace the Sarawia St crossing but it is currently being dragged through the environment court. In addition to that the only two crossings that I’m aware of being actively looked at are Porters Rd and Normanby Rd and they’re only being addressed as part of the City Rail Link works.

Auckland Rail Crossings

The last we heard on this topic I said this:

Auckland Transport have developed an evaluation criteria based on the approach Melbourne is using and with input from the NZTA, Kiwirail, Transdev and the Council. The have used this to assess all level crossings within the electrified area to determine the priority for removal or grade separation. This criteria includes looking at aspects such as how long the barriers will be down and safety risks. The highest priority crossing is Sarawia St which is the crossing that has the highest number of train movements through it in the country – more on that below. AT say that a number of crossings close together will need to be dealt with as packages. As such the crossings with high priority are:

  • Southern NIMT – Walters Road, Manuroa Road, Taka Street, Spartan Road
  • Western Line – Normanby Road, Porters Ave (within CRL footprint)
  • Western Line – Morningside Drive
  • Western Line – Woodward Road
  • Western Line – St Jude Street, Chalmers Street, St Georges Road
  • Western Line – Glenview Road
  • Western Line – Bruce McLaren

As far as I’m aware this isn’t in any particular order and AT say more work is needed on each of them such as traffic modelling, design and costing as well as business cases. They also won’t say just what option – removal or grade separation – they’ve selected for each crossing as some will require property purchases – the extent of which won’t be known until more design work is done.

Sadly, I’m not aware of a single peep that has come out of AT on the issue since I wrote the information above over a year ago, that’s really disappointing. Funding is obviously a big part and other than some money for early investigation, there is no no serious funding in the current plans until some time after 2018. I hope that a new mayor is able to push and help reprioritise funding to get some of these dangerous level crossings removed. From a traffic point of view, many really need to be done before the CRL is complete as the western line in particular is expected to get a lot busier based on AT’s current plans.

 

101 comments to Still waiting on level crossing action

  • Christopher T

    On the safety factor alone the removal of level crossings is of far greater priority than, say, the $1.3billion East-West Sucking up to the Freight Companies Link. Was the issue of level crossing safety and the unacceptable risk involved in maintaining it within a metropolitan environment even mentioned in ATAP, other than part of general background chatter about ‘public transit’? Unacceptably irresponsible and culpable behaviour on the part of the country’s transport authorities.

    • Bigted

      The east west link is a to be a state highway paid for by NZTA, Morningside drive is a local road under control of Auckland council so if the east west link goes ahead it’s funding doesn’t come from the same pool meaning if it (east west link) is not built there is no more funds available for Morningside drive than there is if it does.
      The barrier arms and lights were working at the time so if someone willingly drives around them fits into ‘can’t fix stupid’ category (as harsh as it sounds) people need to take personal responsibility for their own safety.

      • The arbitrary slicing up of the transport sector responsibility is no excus for politicians nor our agencies to wash their hands of this issue. In fact there is no source of funds for rail capex, and no-one is responsible for it. That is a choice by government, as are recent decisions to ‘accelerate’ additional lanes on every stretch of urban motorway, and to choose the most expensive and less effective option in Onehunga ( by $1.2 billion!). Safety and lives are not being prioritised, short tem traffic flow and longer term much worse congestion are fund instead. This is a nonsense ‘yes minister’, or ‘computer says no’ type argument.

        • Indeed, the rail trenching at New Lynn was funded primarily through a Treasury grant. The same way the RONS are funded. It’s just bookkeeping, the government collects tax money and allocates it to projects. If they decided to skip the east west motorway and do a series of level crossing removals instead (plus whatever they want to do with the spare billion or so) there is nothing to stop them.

          • Spend the remaining billion on platform doors, station bridges. Instant automated metro?

          • Bob Harvey finally dragged Finance Minister Cullen to Henderson’s old rail/road roundabout and explained what doubling both rail and road traffic would do without grade separation. Took a few years and strong leadership skills before that.

            Imagine what Len Brown had to go through with our current truckin govt.

          • Doh. I mean New Lynn, not Henderson.

        • “In fact there is no source of funds for rail capex”

          Income from customers is the source, but it is insufficient to do more than keep the existing network going, along with annual top ups from government.

          But putting roads over the railways in Auckland, being a traffic priority measure, should largely come from AT’s roading budget. Rail shouldn’t have to pay when it’s road users who will mostly benefit.

          Of course grade separation comes with its own problems. Cars hitting the ends of the bridge, the piers/abutments of the bridge, or simply falling off the bridge, as this truck did recently….

          http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranaki-daily-news/news/80088518/truck-driver-trapped-after-crash-in-lepperton-north-taranaki

      • Additionally victim blaming is no help here either, nor with our terrible road toll.

        Dangerous by Design has to be addressed everywhere in this sector as a priority, but still there is no clear adoption of this principle in the transport sector budgets and governance. That the gov doesn’t like trains is a pathetic excuse not to lead in this area. They and their agency have the discretionary funds and they are the owner of the rail corridor and the rail operator. Just because there is another user present is a terrible excuse to absolve themselves of all responsibility.

        • The Real Matthew

          Victim Blaming??

          The “victim” deliberately drove around a safety device and placed themselves into harms way by virtue of their own stupidity.

          There is absolutely nothing wrong with the design of this level crossing. The only thing wrong is the idiot who decided to bypass the safety device. We don’t need expensive safety improvements at this level crossing.

          • Good design saves idiots from themselves. Heartlessness has no place in public policy.

          • Nick R

            Yeah absolutely nothing wrong with the design of the crossing, it just happens to kill or maim someone every 6-12 months for completely unrelated reasons.

          • Bigted

            Nick the crossing has never killed or maimed anyone ever, people have been killed and maimed through a few accidents but mainly their own stupidity but it is not the level crossings fault.

          • Nick

            Whether the person is a victim or not isn’t really relevant. Whoever is to blame, thousands of people trying to take the train home were delayed last night. Even when I was on my way home after 7pm, there were still cancelled trains on the Western Line, so I can only assume that thousands of hours were wasted, waiting for trains or taking less direct alternate transport.

            Anything that can be done to mitigate the risk of people getting hit by trains – whether through accident or stupidity – should be done, if only for the benefit of everyone else.

          • Christopher T

            Aside from the serial inconveniences to passengers, this crossing represents a continuing an awful source of trauma to train drivers who have to work knowing that for legacy reasons the network they operate on is so so poorly designed that it places them in a position of having to deal with unavoidable incidents like this on a regular basis.

          • The Real Matthew

            A design can rarely be “idiot proofed”

            Humans have an amazing way of finding loopholes in seemingly impenetrable inventions.

          • There are clearly multiple and almost certainly future victims of this appalling governance failure.

            This is like knowing asbestos causes cancer but not bothering to stop its use because authorities can’t be arsed to allocate funds and responsibility to sorting it.

            No one at any level in our transport system comes out of this looking good.

          • Kevin

            Why don’t they make barrier arms that cover the full width of the road instead of just one lane? This will prevent people driving around them.

          • Matthew, the crossing of New North Rd and the Western Line appears to be idiot proof, from what I can see there has never been a single issue there. Same with Sandringham Rd and every other grade separated crossing.

          • “The “victim” deliberately drove around a safety device and placed themselves into harms way”

            She came out of the gym car park, in which the entrance is half one side of the barrier arm, and half the other. It’s entirely possible she was looking directly into the end of the lowered barrier and therefore didn’t see it. There are also no flashing lights facing in her direction. She may therefore have had no idea the crossing alarms were even activated. This is a very badly designed level crossing, and until recently was not even constructed to it’s own specifications, with ALCAM stating that the pedestrian crossings are proected by lights and bells, when in fact one of them had neither, and two deaths resulted.

      • Actually I think the road controlling authority here, AT, should just close the crossing at Morningside as it is clearly unsafe. That might concentrate the minds of all involved.

        Additionally it may not be a bad long term answer either. There’s a bus route to move, and some journeys will be a bit longer, but the other end of the road is a well connected arterial, and it would also cut down on rat-running through residential streets. Morning side is surely shifting from light commercial to more intensive residential, especially with the Unitary Plan.

        • But how will I drive to the mall? I’d have to go around?!

          • Morningside Drive would suddenly have huge potential as a nice cycling road. If in a car, I suggest St Lukes Rd or Sandringham Rd.

            I know you’re kidding, but closing the Morningside crossing and building a ped\cycle\mobility scooter overpass with good access to the station from Morningside Drive would change the area considerably.

        • Under the new network, only the 22 service would be affected. This could use McDonald St – Altham Ave, with traffic lights needed at the Sandringham Rd end. Traffic lights here could tie nicely into the Eden Park entrances and tidy that up as well.

        • Matthew W

          Does AT have a legal easement? If not kiwi rail should close it – it’s their land.

          Unlike AT (where liability will ultimately be established by case law), Rail operators have an explicit responsibility to keep their operations safe.

  • MFD

    “Quite why anyone would drive around barrier arms is beyond me.”

    Sadly, history has shown that there are many instances of people who intend to be hit by a train.

  • Carol Green

    Does anyone know why full barrier arms aren’t used in NZ like the are in the UK (for example)? I grew up on a main road with a main trunk line level crossing and as far as I know there have never been any accidents there as long as my family has been there (since 1977). The pedestrian access is always locked when barrier arms are down too.

    • Bigted

      It allows an escape route for those caught on the crossing when the arms first come down.

      • Carol Green

        But you just build in a big enough gap between gates and track to house a potentially stuck car. Mind you, the arms do go down an interminably long time before the train, presumably so there’s enough time to stop incoming trains.

        • Bigted

          Or cars or even a truck, that starts putting the barrier arms quite away down the road from the track.

          • Sounds like an excuse to do nothing, as it is pretty clear other countries have made this work. You say above we ‘can’t fix stupid’, but you want to ensure someone who is silly enough to sit over a rail line and the arms go down should have an easy escape route. Just engineer them so it is possible to safely drive through them if absolutely necessary, but that they will do sufficiently expensive damage to the car to ensure people aren’t tempted when it isn’t an emergency.

          • Matthew W

            Full barrier arms are very common in Europe. It is then simply a case of empirics – which place is safer.

    • best to just have an island down the middle of the road, probably a bit longer than the current ones at some crossings, and instead of the bendy-post things they are using at other crossings.

      island with very high curbs preferably

      of cause it wont stop people running all the way down the wrong side of the road, but there is a point you cant stop people from putting themselves at risk

    • Trundler

      Not all crossings in the UK are full barrier type. Those that are, either have a local crossing/signal box (rare these days) or CCTV with a person in a control centre who has to check that the crossing is clear once the barriers are down and then press a button to clear the signals, all of this has to be done before the train gets anywhere near the crossing so that the train doesn’t get slowed by signals not being cleared. This means the crossing in many cases is down for many minutes before the train arrives. This is the safest option when train speeds get very high, as the risk to the train of a serious derailment becomes significant at higher speeds. The UK is now starting to use automated obstruction detection (with LIDAR/RADAR etc) which takes the human out of the loop, but doesn’t save much time. The UK also has many automatic half barrier crossings which are similar to what we have in NZ and work more automatically without proving the crossing is clear.

      In my opinion red light cameras on all the level crossings would go a long way to fixing driver behaviour and hopefully pay for themselves. But obviously grade separation is the goal.

  • Alex F

    AT and government owned Kiwirail need to come up with a comprehensive plan and timeline to remove the highest priority level crossings by either grade separating them or deleting them entirely. The fact that the Sarawia Street crossing is taking so ridiculously long is unacceptable and the same dragged out through appeals is going to be the same for others as well.

  • Sanctuary

    AT dropped the ball (again) on this last night. The communication to embarked passengers at Britomart was confusing – I only got a the full story by tapping on his window and asking the train driver, FFS – then the young Asian guy at information gave me wrong information on where to catch a bus to Sunnyvale, sending me to a closed bus stop on Victoria Street West around the corner from the actual stop in Albert street, something that I wasted 15 minutes trying to sort out before working it out for myself. Milling crowds of people, unfamiliar with the idiotic AT random bus stop numbering system (stop 7100?? WTF is that related to? And why doesn’t Auckland PT have a freaking bus that stops outside it’s own Goddamn train station at Sunyvale, I didn’t particularly enjoy the 20 minute walk from the bus stop to my car in light rain) had to work it out for themselves. AT should have had a well informed representative up on Albert Street to help frazzled commuters with directions to the right buses.

    This site can go and jerk off about tasty new stations and flash trains for PT all it likes, but in the last three weeks on my morning commute I have had two cancellations and this incident. None of them featured proper communication from AT. PT in Auckland is still a joke on the ground, where it counts. My experiment with PT is over. Tomorrow I buy a car and I’ve wrangled a free car park on the CBD fringe, so that is me gone.

    • Yes an absolute mess, wife took 3 hours to get home, communication from Transdev/AT was again a complete failure with many people walking to rail replacement stops to find the train was still running in that section, PIDS all blank with unhelpful scroller message at the bottom, PA announcements giving misinformation or no information at all.

      I went to Henderson to do some shopping, I knew about the issues and waited for the train, got there OK, did my shopping then on the way back I had option of getting 153/154 or the train, I saw the train was coming so went to catch that (missing the bus), then it rolled past empty (even though it was NOT cancelled on PIDS) and I had to wait around 45 minutes for the next train. So something that generally took 30-40 mins ended up taking about 2 hours.

      A lady at the station even called AT on loudspeaker, and the call center guy just said he has “no idea what is going on”.

      Of cause no presence from AT either, despite being right next to their main office, the only people there were equally as confused security guards and moari wardens.

      When is AT going to learn from these occurrences and put a proper plan in place, every time its just a complete and utter mess.

      • Sanctuary

        The frustrating thing is there is so much low hanging fruit to make life easier in the event of train cancellations that send floods of commuters unfamiliar with Auckland’s arcane bus system. Send (well informed) staff to the major bus stops remote from Britomart in the CBD. a staffed information point on the platforms that actually knows what is going on. Being told “catch bus 15X from stop 7082 to go to Glen Eden” is useless, especially as there are no route maps (unbelievable) in the main Britomart foyer. AT needs some kind of interactive route touch screen displays in the foyer at Britomart, or at the very least carousels showing all routes on maps. So much could be done, and so easily. But it seems they just don’t give a shit.

    • Ari

      PT was such a hassle when I was a uni student that I switched to car and I haven’t used PT since.
      AT still hasnt worked out proper communications.
      As for level crossings, they are expensive to replace and are probably not high priority.

      • Patrick McDonald

        Yes $5 million to over bridge a level crossing – http://www.tracksafe.co.nz/rail-in-nz/upgrades-to-crossings – is FAR too hard and expensive to save lives compared to $1.8 billion to save the trucking lobby some expense. Oh what a DEAL!

      • Ari

        It will cost just a little more than $5m for one site. That might cover the consultancy costs, but you forget about land acquisition. The dozen or so level crossings left in Auckland are tricky. Several can be closed, but the ones like Morningside or Manuroa Rd can be very tricky. The one at Avondale is a nightmare. Building a bridge over or under a live rail line is no easy task, and you have land constraints and adjacent roads that are too close.

        I don’t mind the level crossings. If people want to risk their lives, that is their choice. But I agree that replacing the level crossing is probably a better investment than the East-West link.

    • Absolutely no txt updates to me or my friend who are both signed up for txt alerts. Heard from friends about the incident and that no trains were running. Tried to catch a bus but it left early. Shuttle train (which would have suited me) came while I was waiting at the bus stop – not enough time to run up the overpass to get the train – no txt or information on the platform signs that told me that a train was coming. Took me an hour to get home when it normally takes me 25-30 mins if I walk slow thanks to a complete lack of communication from AT.

  • Waspman

    Imagine if our elected representatives had some/any input into AT to actually make something happen with level crossings. But the way Auckland Council was created and structured by this government NO ONE will ever be held accountable.

    Any level crossing is risky and Morningside is high risk, it’s got the crosses to prove it and the serious injuries. It is incredible but there isn’t even CCTV monitoring of the actual crossing, there was at one point but for whatever reason it was removed.

    I expect the standard response will be some clueless turkeys in suits will turn up, order some more paint be applied here and there, talk about education campaigns and chuck a sign up.

    And then there is the woeful incompetence of NZ car drivers.

  • Call555

    I know that Walters Rd level crossing in Takanini is on the cards to be grade separated (only as there is half of Hamilton currently being built up the road SHA). Also I would have thought the would be a number of cheap wins closing a couple of crossings where through traffic inst an issue i.e. George St and Porters Ave in Mt Eden. Aren’t we told to eliminate the risk first when it comes to hazards? Its crazy that we spend billions on new trains, electrification, double tracking and the CRL (not to mention roads) and when it comes to safety in an ever increasingly busy network grade separation is sidelined.. The money IS there and its not going to get any cheaper to do. It really is a failure of Council, government and Kiwirail. Pretty third world.

  • Brian

    Does Auckland Transport ever practice what to do in these situations with their comms? It seems every time something goes wrong there’s a massive panic whereas it should be “right this is emergency type 7, let’s kick our plan into action”.

    • Ari

      Well they probably paid a lot of money to some consultant to create a massive book with all those plans and how to respond to them. And that book is probably sitting under a potted plant somewhere in the bowels of the organisation.

    • Nik

      Every time I see those emergency manuals, it’s great in theory, but when something happens, everyone just makes it up as they go along.

      So in practice they’re a little useless, no one actually follows there own process(es).

  • RHarris

    Regarding the Bruce McLaren crossing there has always been talk of trenching Henderson ala New Lynn. An expensive project but opens up more prime land for development. It opens up many benefits: helping bridge the rail divide in this metropolitan centre, provide a ring road around the town centre, provides land to build a transport centre.

    Glen Eden is another town centre that needs consideration around the rail line with increasing development. With more development around these level crossings these issues will sadly get worse.

    • Nick R

      I would simply close Bruce McLaren, and extend a bridge from the end of Railside Ave to Aetna Pl. That would be simple and cheap.

      No need to trench Henderson, simply pile and build over it. Far cheaper and more economic.

    • Dgd

      Glen Eden looks complicated although the land used for existing park and ride looks like a great opportunity to redesign the Glenview West Coast Rd junction with perhaps a road overbridge. Would maybe need that row of tatty (Sally Ann etc) buildings acquired and removed.
      Also the footbridge thats at the wrong end of the platforms, and hence seldom used, relocated to level crossing position.
      I hope the local board is considering such a plan otherwise, no doubt, some retail with apartments and car parking concrete monstrosity will take over the park and ride land

    • Waspman

      A diagonal road bridge is needed for Bruce Mac Rd but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Very busy level crossing that needs something better than the present arrangement.

  • David

    there is nothing wrong with this level crossing the stupid woman made an error of judgement and almost lost her life and i hope she is prosecuted with at least dangerous driving and loses her license what i take issue with is the amount of time it took to get services running again and with bi directional running available why could a reduced service not be kept running with a speed restriction instead of disrupting hundreds of homeward bound commuters

    • Jeez, you’re heartless. That “stupid woman” is someone’s daughter/sister/wife/friend. Just because you don’t know her, doesn’t mean her life is worthless.

      The sooner NZ signs up to Vision Zero on our roads and rail, the better.

      • And focussing entirely on the person who obviously made a big error, removes discussion about consequences for the train drivers, passengers and other witnesses. Lets fix the problem rather than victim blame. The crossing is acknowledged as hazardous. Fix it.

        • Bigted

          [This comment has been deleted for violating our user guidelines. See comment below for an explanation.]

          • Nick

            People do stupid things. True, only a small number do stupid things of this magnitude, but they do. It happens. It’s unavoidable. By changing the design of the crossing fewer people would be killed as a result.

            That has to be a good thing, unless your view is that the lives of people that do stupid things don’t matter. You’re entitled to that opinion of course, although it seems very heartless to me. To each his own.

          • Bigted

            [This comment has been deleted for violating our user guidelines. See comment below for an explanation.]

          • Bigted

            Peter Nunns I don’t understand why you deleted my comments, David called her a stupid woman and his comment stays but because I called her actions stupid (note the actions not the person herself) you delete my comment and refer me to user guidelines.
            If she didn’t have time to wait at the crossing before collecting her friend to take them to the airport she probably didn’t have time to go to the gym either.

          • Peter Nunns

            Our usual practice is to issue a warning and reference to the user guidelines after the first instance, and then delete or edit subsequent posts in the same vein. Your comments ran afoul of the warning posted immediately below.

    • Peter Nunns

      Please read our user guidelines before posting comments like this. In particular, user guideline 1 states that “Commenters are guests and are asked to behave accordingly. Treat other members of the community with civility and respect.”

      Road crashes have life-changing or life-ending consequences for everyone involved. As Scott points out, the people involved are *people*, and they deserve respect and compassion. This holds true whether crashes occur by error or simple bad luck.

      Current policies often take a casual or neglectful approach to road safety for all users. Under those policies, it would be easy for your life, or the life of someone you love, to be irrevocably affected by a crash. I know it’s natural to deflect this fear by blaming people involved in crashes for the injuries they’ve suffered, but that’s a false sense of security. Fixing the problem means implementing Vision Zero.

      • bjfoe

        This takes me back to that newbie cyclist who got crushed by a truck, the dead-guy-blaming wouldn’t stop until an article was posted titled something like “No-one deserves to die for a mistake”. Sometimes it feels like the world is populated by sullen teenagers who are just biding their time, waiting for civilisation to collapse so they can indulge in the kind of smug bullying that wouldn’t be out of place on Game of Thrones

    • mfwic

      It was an error of judgement but it probably seemed like a good idea to her at the time. Maybe she had sat at level crossings with flashing red lights but no trains quite a lot and figured this would be the same. There seems to be an aversion to full arms in this country despite being widely used elsewhere. The claim is you can get trapped. Maybe the answer is full arms set back a bit from the tracks. In any case the challenge is to make something safe, noit just dismiss every crash as someones fault. Otherwise we wouldn’t make any improvement at all.

    • Mike (the longstanding one)

      There may be nothing particularly dangerous about the relationship between the road and the railway at the Morningside Drive crossing, but there is something very dangerous about the exit from the health club. When the crossing is closed to traffic:

      – if you’re driving along the road, you have:
      * the obstruction of the barrier down in front of you,
      * lights flashing in your face,
      * bells ringing (if you can hear them above your in-car entertainment), and
      * a stop line to stop at.

      – if you’re turning right out of the health club (as in the recent incident):
      * the barrier is pointing just about directly at you, so it’s hard to see and does not obstruct your path,
      * the flashing lights are visible only from the side, so barely visible (if at all),
      * the bells are as problematic as above,
      * there is no stop line.

      • Dan

        Indeed. It’s a hazard for pedestrians, too as there is a brick wall obscuring it when approaching from the St Lukes end. Perhaps that entrance should be removed altogether (they have another one on Altham ave).

  • Dgd

    There was an interesting video posted here a few days ago of automatic rising post type barriers that prevented cars from using bus lanes.
    What about a similar set of auto posts that rise on the other road side from the barriers.
    That would prevent accidents such as the one yesterday

  • Ak-Sam

    Do our new trains not have electronic crash detection systems that can quickly slow the train? Sounds like this vehicle was in situ for quite some time.
    What about aibags that can soften an impact or even push a car/person out of the way (maybe a piston-driven ‘cattle plough’ (pilot).

    All of this would be cheaper than raised crossings, surely.

    • Nick R

      Nothing can quickly slow a train. An EMU like that travelling at speed needs a couple hundred metres to stop, a fully laden freight train can take more than a kilometre.

  • Anthony

    The council came up with prioritised lists of level crossings for grade separation in 2008 and 2012. They are referred to in this 2013 report http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/committees/transportcommittee/meetings/transportcomagp287-36220130416.pdf

    17. The list of priorities was as follows:
     St Jude Street, Avondale – Priority 1
     Manuroa Road, Takinini – Priority 2
     Morningside Drive, Morningside – Priority 3 (joint)
     Woodward Road, Mount Albert – Priority 3 (joint)
     Glenview Road, Glenview – Priority 3 (joint)
     Normanby Road, Mount Eden – Priority 6
     Taka Street – Priority 7
     Metcalfe Road – Priority 8.

  • SJC

    Who said she drove around the barrier arms? If some of you stopped and thought that maybe it was neither the fault of her or the train, and that most of you are NOT qualified to make that call, perhaps keep your assumptions to yourselves(those that assume so).

    • Bigted

      She was seen to drive around the barrier.

      • Mike (the longstanding one)

        Read that article and you will see that she actually could *not* have driven around the barrier. The car park exit is so close to the crossing that exiting vehicles turning right, as she was, approach the barrier end-on in front of the stop line, so for those drivers it is not in fact a barrier at all.

        I imagine that the ineffectiveness of the barrier for vehicles making that manoeuvre will be a factor considered by any investigation, perhaps together with the positioning of the electrical equipment boxes seeming to block views of approaching Up trains.

        • Bigted

          In front of the stopping line but not in front of the barrier arm, she knew what she was doing pausing look directly at the driver in the stationary city bound train. She is not the first person to do this here, she has probably done it herself before. Someone did the same thing last night at Fruitvale Rd so short of removing every level crossing (road and pedestrian) at great expense (including to those that stop and wait at rail crossings) there is not much else that can be done to protect people from themselves.

          • Sailor Boy

            Actually, closing them is almost free

          • Mike (the longstanding one)

            Bigted, you have absolutely no idea about the history or thinking of the unfortunate car driver, and I suggest that you stop making such ignorant comments.

            And it’s nonsense to say that not much can be done here – a quick and easy fix would be to ban right turns from the health club car park, which effectively bypass the barrier, and I hope that the operator of the facility has the guts, decency and commonsense to do that.

            As for remark about protecting people from themselves, that is not only ignorant but offensive, and I suggest that the very least you can do is to aplogise for abusing someone who was clearly caught out by a piece of substandard infrastructure and sadly is in no position to defend herself.

          • Bigted

            Mike banning right turns from from the health centre car park will not stop people turning right out of it just like bells, flashing lights and barriers don’t stop people driving across level crossings.

          • Michael Mellor

            Bigted, nothing will completely stop people doing things that they shouldn’t at level crossings (or anywhere else) as long as they continue to exist. So let’s just do nothing but blame the victims, shall we?

            Meanwhile, back in the real world, people who care can and will make things better.

          • Don M

            How about a barrier arm across the exit of the health club connected to the main crossing ones? The option of no right turn can, and will be, ignored as it is at many points around the country.

  • Lindsey

    AT sent me an email this afternoon with details of possible removal of car parking on the northern part of Morningside Drive to improve visibility of the crossing. It is dated 10 October 2016. They are doing the consultation.

  • I repeat. Close it. As soon as a pedestrian bridge, even a temporary one, can be installed.

  • Christopher T

    The only reason Morningside Drive has become a major through road is the existence of the Westfield St Lukes Mall; this has led to Morningside Drive becoming, in effect, a mini-arterial. The problem will grow with the proposed expansion, which, inter alia, will increase the provision of car parks. As far as I can recall, neither the commissioners nor the Environmental Court addressed the issue of increased risk at the Morningside/NAL at-grade crossing when assessing the proposal. Another failure of the current planning process, which prioritises vehicular traffic over active modes, and the flow of traffic over safety considerations.

  • MFD

    “From the images in the media the driver appears to be extremely lucky”

    I’m sure that this statement was not intended to be in bad taste but I just don’t see that being seriously injured is lucky at all, let alone extremely lucky.

  • Dgd

    What happened to the EMU involved in this event? Was it damaged in any way? Is it back in service? Was the track or other crossing infrastructure damaged?
    Is the LE ok and was he/she checked by emergency services at the time of the event? Is the LE considered a victim as well as the car driver?

    • Bigted

      I saw it back running yesterday, it still has scrape damage down the side.
      The track was fine, some safety fences were damaged. I’m not sure if they have been repaired but they should have by now.
      I understand the LE is back at work after mandatory stand down and post incident testing. The rumor is the car driver will be ok and facing driving charges.

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