Closure of station access at Millswood and Mile End
The Australian Rail Track Corporation has shown that it considers passengers of rail transport to be an inconvenience to its operations of freight services. Its disdain of the needs of residents, and the taxpayers who support the corporation, has become evident at both the Mile End and Millswood Railway Stations.
PPT is keen to learn if there have been any other such instances of negligence by the ARTC and which belie their website statement that “at ARTC we’re committed to respecting the communities and environments in which we operate.”
Members and others who are aware of any such instances are asked to contact us with further details.
Proposed Closure at Mile End
Early in 2016, the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) advised of an upcoming temporary closure of the Mile End pedestrian crossing adjacent to James Congdon Drive, Mile End. This closure would have applied from Monday 15 February and aimed to prevent persons risking their life during the passage of freight trains.
As the ARTC noted:
“Since October 2014 we have 16 recorded reports or witnessed incidents of trespass where people are either walking behind a freight train or, unbelievably, climbing in-between the carriages. One report for example, mentioned seeing incidents on ten different occasions.”
“We believe these numbers are only the tip of the iceberg and a continuation of this behaviour means it is only a matter of time before someone gets seriously hurt or killed.”
“As train drivers are up to 1.5km away from the crossing, they have no way of knowing if any members of the public are near the train – this coupled with the potential for rail freight wagons to roll back unexpectedly and trains departing at any time is a recipe for disaster.”
The proposed closure of the path was met with great concern by the users of the station. A group calling itself “Residents Against the Closure of the Mile End Pedestrian Crossing” issued a Press Release on the 18th January 2016 which stated the following:
“ARTC say the crossing is unsafe. We now have written evidence that they have been planning the closure since June 2015.
In more than six months nothing has been done to make the crossing safer. No signs, no boom gates, no public education campaign and no yard marshals to warn people away from trains. They say safety is their main concern but they haven’t acted to make it safer.
We want ARTC to eliminate the risk, not the crossing…They have been irresponsible on the safety issue, exaggerating safety concerns to avoid having to deal with pedestrian access”
Residents took their concerns to the West Torrens Council where the mayor pledged support to keep the crossing open; and similarly received support from the local Federal MP, Ms Kate Ellis.
We do not doubt that there are risks associated with using this crossing. However the ARTC solution involved a temporary closure for two years. It is beyond our understanding how a solution could take two years to implement and the residents were clearly concerned that a temporary closure was intended to be permanent.
PPT would recommend that either:
- improved fencing around the crossing plus automatic gates be installed to manage the risk; or,
- the existing subway that runs under the passenger lines be repaired, upgraded and extended to run under the freight lines as well.
At the time of writing, no action has been taken to close the crossing but neither has there been any action to make it safer.
Actual Closure at Millswood
In October 2015, the ARTC was responsible for the closure of one of the pedestrian paths at the Millswood Station. This was reported at the time on the Adelaide Now website (see link http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/messenger/east-hills/after-40-years-this-track-is-now-too-dangerous-australian-rail-track-corporation-closes-popular-walking-path/news-story/d71732221a307b28885a4f977f018c90
Ironically, we understand that residents had in fact sought repairs to the quite dilapidated fencing only to find that their access was taken away instead.
The path in question can be seen from its northern entry. The fence is both inadequate and in substantial disrepair. The path is no better.
At the other end of the path, ARTC “solved” the problem by putting up this fence. (picture on right)
Residents were dismayed by this closure. For many persons living to the north of the station, this path was by far the quickest approach to the station. Its closure has meant that people have to walk a considerably greater distance around surrounding streets to reach the southern entry. The added distance would appear to be prohibitive to persons who are elderly or otherwise unable to achieve good personal mobility.
The path at Millswood is owned by the ARTC. At the next station along, the path is owned by the State Government. Their response is very much in contrast to that of the ARTC.
At Goodwood, the State Government invested in proper fencing and pathways.