Western Line double tracking safety measures
29 May 2008
Western Line double tracking safety measures a first for Auckland
Special safety measures for pedestrians are a feature of the new double tracking between Henderson and Swanson to be commissioned by ONTRACK this weekend
Automatic pedestrian gates - a first for Auckland - are to be installed at two level crossings at Ranui and Sturges Rd stations to ensure those moving across the duplicated tracks can do so safely.
These gates are used at only two other locations in New Zealand - both in the Hutt Valley.
The new gates at Sturges Rd Station were officially opened today by Waitakere deputy mayor Penny Hulse and Cathy Turner, whose son Michael was killed at the Silverstream level crossing in Wellington five years ago.
Cathy Turner advocated strongly for gates to be used on the network - and the first set in the country were installed at Silverstream two years ago. A second has now also been installed at Trentham.
ONTRACK chairman, Cameron Moore say the 'fit was right' for gates at the west Auckland sites.
"Silverstream was a prototype and we took time to evaluate its success and determine if the concept could be used elsewhere.
"At both Sturges Rd and Ranui we have large numbers of people crossing the track and we decided automatic gates were the best way to allow them to cross safely."
"There is no doubt that people prefer the direct route across the tracks rather than over-bridges and where we can do so safely we take account of local feeling."
The western line will be closed to rail traffic from mid Friday morning to enable the five kilometres of new track to be commissioned this Queen's Birthday weekend. The duplication is part of Project DART - the Government's upgrade of Auckland's rail network, and has taken 18 months to complete.
Trains will begin using the new track from Tuesday morning, with passengers to use redeveloped stations at Sturges Rd, Ranui and Swanson.
The work is another significant step in developing a rail network that will allow more frequent and reliable commuter services, quicker travelling times and faster recovery from disruptions on the network.
It follows the commissioning this time last year of 7.5 kilometres of new track between Titirangi Rd and Henderson, and leaves just five kilometre of single track, in two sections (New Lynn Avondale and Newmarket) yet to be duplicated.
Three stations - Sturges Rd, Ranui and Swanson - have been redeveloped to give improved access and commuter facilities. ARTA has provided shelters, lighting, and signage on the platforms.
Because of the operational complexity of Swanson Station, which marks the new northern limit of double tracking, a pedestrian over-bridge is to be built at that station to give access to the new platform.
Two further level crossings have been upgraded at Metcalfe Rd, and Christian Rd for vehicles and with improved safety features for traffic and pedestrians.