From the Office of the Mayor Phil Goff:
Auckland Transport investing millions into rail safety
Nearly $8 million is being invested by Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency in rail safety upgrades for Auckland as passenger numbers continue to climb.
At a press conference at the Glen Eden train station this morning with Transport Minister Phil Twyford, Mayor Phil Goff said the investment will see new automatic gates and hazard lights installed at 11 crossings across Auckland and will help save lives.
“We are announcing today investment of $7.6 million towards rail safety to prevent avoidable accidents and loss of life that saw several people killed and 50 near misses for pedestrians at Auckland’s rail crossings last year,” said Mayor Phil Goff.
“Too many families and communities have lost loved ones due to rail-related deaths or are picking up the pieces because of a serious injury. We need to take steps to avoid the human, social and economic costs that these accidents involve.
“The presence at our launch today of the Matthes family, who lost their 16-year-old son Keenan in a rail accident last year, is a reminder of the human cost of these accidents.
“With rail patronage increasing rapidly, with 20.3 million train passenger trips in past 12 months, and with risk rising with more trains crossing Auckland, the need for improved rail safety measures is urgent.
“Work is already well under way with Auckland Transport completing seven automatic gate safety upgrades in the past 12 months.”
The gates are activated by a sensor on the tracks and have a safety zone with an emergency exit gate. When a train approaches these pedestrian level crossings, the bells sound, red lights flash on and off and the crossing gates close automatically.
“Automatic gates are an important safety feature but do not reduce the need for pedestrians to pay attention and look for trains at rail crossings,” said Mayor Phil Goff.
AT have successfully completed Phase 1A of their programme for the Automatic Pedestrian Rail Crossing Gates at seven sites along the Western Line, including Metcalfe Road, Glenview Road, Rossgrove Tce, Asquith Ave and Fruitvale Road, Lloyd Ave and Woodward Road.
The project team will now move on Phase 1B (St Georges Road, Chalmers Street, St Judes, Portage Road), which is due to be completed by June, in the current financial year. Phase 2 (Te Mahia, Spartan Road, Takanini, Manuroa, Walters Road, Taka St and Tironoui Rd) is expected to be completed in the 2019/2020 financial year.
These safety upgrades in lieu of full grade separation or closure of crossings can not come soon enough especially as the intensity of rail traffic especially on the Southern Line continues to escalate!