Killer train crossings
Pedestrians, motorists and trains are a deadly combination.
Yet they are forced to coexist at 48 level train crossings across Auckland - and sometimes end up colliding.
Three people have been injured, two seriously, and another person has been killed at a level crossing on Morningside Drive in three serious accidents over the past four years.
A 35-year-old woman remains in Auckland Hospital in a stable condition after her car was struck by a train at Morningside Station on October 6.
The accident comes after safety improvements were made to the platform following an investigation into the death of 24-yearold Tejas Patel in January 2015.
A KiwiRail spokesperson says they are looking at whether additional safety measures could be put in place.
‘‘As Morningside already has alarms, bells and barriers, there are few options for further improvements.’’
But Albert-Eden Local Board member Graeme Easte says level crossings should be removed all together.
On average a train crosses Morningside Drive 12 times every hour, halting traffic.
Occasionally two trains arrive around the same time meaning there is only a 10-second interval for a motorist to clear the tracks before the barriers come down again, Easte says.
He says motorists can easily get stuck in front of the barriers or pedestrians have to race the train to make it across the tracks.
Easte wants the railways to go either under or over the roadways so motorists and pedestrians will never cross one another.
The city of Melbourne has recently committed to remove at least 20 of its level crossings by 2018 to a cost of $2.4 billion.
There is no budget or timetable to do anything similar in Auckland, Easte says.
‘‘I’m going to move heaven or earth to make sure there is something in the budget to make sure there is something to do with level crossings.’’
A KiwiRail spokesman says there are no plans to change the crossing at present.
Let’s just start with removing one, Easte says. ‘‘Each level crossing we close is one step closer to no accidents.’’
There have been three serious accidents in nearly four years at Morningside Station. Is it time to get rid of Auckland’s level train crossings?