Commuters welcome crossing removal, but warn of problems

The Public Transport Users Association (PTUA) has welcomed progress by the Commonwealth and State governments towards the elimination of the Springvale Road level crossing in Nunawading. However, it has warned that the Mitcham Road and Rooks Road level crossings need to be done away with at the same time.

“If work on each crossing is carried out in isolation it will be highly disruptive for rail commuters,” said Jeremy Lunn, the PTUA’s Outer East Convenor. “To minimise disruption in the longer term, removal of the three crossings should be carried out together as a single project.”

“At the end of the day, commuters don’t want the inconvenience of catching replacement buses on three separate occasions, when the three crossings could all have been done at the one time.”

The PTUA has also cited safety concerns as a reason for removing all three crossings. Mr Lunn noted that according to a two-year audit based on the Australian Level Crossings Assessment Model (ALCAM), the level crossings on Springvale Road, Nunawading, and Mitcham Road were two of the three most dangerous in Victoria.

“Added to that, the Rooks Road crossing, which is between the other two, was the site of a death in March this year,” he said.

Removing the three crossings simultaneously will mean significant economies of scale, and also take account of problems with the local geography.

“Due to the lay of the land, grade separating the Springvale Road crossing on its own would recreate Luna Park’s Big Dipper on the railway line,” Mr Lunn said. “So it’s essential that the three level crossings are replaced together.”

“The ultimate goal should be to get rid of every remaining level crossing between Ringwood and Surrey Hills. Doing that would eliminate any conflict between trains and cars, and remove the potential for incidents and delays,” he concluded.