Passengers stuck waiting at pedestrian crossings

One point often missed regarding level crossing is that rail passengers also get stuck waiting at them – leaving them stuck on the wrong side of the tracks and missing the train they were trying to catch. An example of this is Yarraville station, as I found a few years ago.

Crowd of passengers abandoning the platform at Yarraville, after an announcement that no trains were running

Yarraville has a pair of platforms flanking the tracks with only a level crossing links the two.

I arrived there around 1:30pm and stood on the outbound platform.

Soon enough the level crossing went down, and the following trains passed through:

  • Werribee bound suburban
  • Geelong bound V/Line
  • citybound suburban

Of course, the entire time I had been waiting intending passengers headed for the city were stuck on my side of the level crossing, so the 1:36pm train for the city that just arrived was completely useless for them.

Alstom Comeng 670M arrives at Yarraville on the up

However that wasn’t the end of the wait – a second Werribee bound train was due through, followed by a second citybound train!

At 1:40pm the gates finally opened – but thanks to the distance between the level crossing and the platform, the passengers had no hope of making it on board.

The level crossing finally opens at Yarraville, letting the passengers past

Instead they just had to wait on the platform for the third citybound train to appear, which was the 1:52pm.

Alstom Comeng 339M with parts of the Metro logo missing

I’m sure the passengers were happy – turn up to catch the 1:36pm train, but end up on the train departing 15 minutes after that. Quite a wait!


My above example was from February 21, 2011 – it was a Monday, and back then the Werribee line received a train every 10 minutes off peak, and shared the tracks with V/Line trains to Geelong.

These frequent off-peak services were dropped in May 2011, with V/Line trains moved to the new Regional Rail Link route via Wyndham Vale and Tarneit in June 2015.

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16 Responses to “Passengers stuck waiting at pedestrian crossings”

  1. Kevin says:

    One word: Craigieburn.

    • Somebody says:

      Craigieburn as mentioned above is a great example of this, theoretically you could connect from the terminating suburban to the Seymour train following shortly behind it there, but by the time you get to the pedestrian crossing to reach the other platform, it’s already been activated by the other train that you wanted to catch!

      I’m sure the regular users of somewhere like Hoppers Crossinh would cringe when the level crossing goes off for a slow moving, 1.5km long freight train when they’re trying to catch their train leaving in 4 minutes.

  2. Ross says:

    Just last night I witnessed an ambulance wait for almost 4 minutes at Reservoir level crossing for the exact same reason. Level crossing removal will save lives in that kind of situation.

    • myrtonos says:

      The Reservior level crossing is in the middle of Resrviour Juctions, a complex of intersections quite tightly packed together. Reservior is also higher than next station (in the Up direction), so this raises the question of why the railway wasn’t lowered under here long ago. If it had been, the ambulance would have gone straight across.

      • Marcus Wong says:

        Back in 1985 the state government explicitly decided against grade separating the High Street level crossing in Reservoir:

        • myrtonos says:

          Did that level crossing still have interlocked gates and wicket gates at that time? Did they (short sightedly) decide against it because of construction cost?

          • Marcus Wong says:

            From the ‘Weekly Notices’ [EDIT] an internal railway newsletter that lists changes to infrastructure, among other things:

            1963 – Manually controlled boom barriers replace hand gates
            1988 – signal box abolished
            1991 – traffic light coordination provided

        • myrtonos says:

          I’m not sure what weekly notice you mean. It’s basically rediculous that previous governments did not replace that level crossing with a rail underpass.
          Then again, it’s rediculous that previous governments built freeways with public money, each likely costing as much as a tonne of road-rail grade separations, rather than removing more level crossings.

  3. Andrew says:

    Yet a number of pedestrian subways under train lines at stations have been filled in.

  4. Michael Angelico says:

    Daytime services are 15 minutes apart. When I was working at St Martin’s theatre and connecting from the Route 8 tram (as it was then) to the Glen Waverley train at Kooyong I’d often get caught by the 12.14am up service, causing me to miss the 12.16am down and wait for the 12.46. Even worse was the time I missed the last train home and got stranded… The temptation to jump the barriers was high.

    • myrtonos says:

      Speaking of trams; tram passengers can also get stuck waiting at traffic lights on wider streets, but it’s not so much a case of being stuck on one side of the tram tracks, but on the wrong side of one of the carriagieways, there is one to each side of the tracks.

  5. […] trains running every 10 minutes the boom gates spend more time down than up, leaving passengers waiting and waiting, as the train they intend to catch prevents them from accessing the […]

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