Closing roads to remove level crossings

There are many ways to remove a level crossing – with closing the road being the easiest. An example can be found in Terang, a town of 1,800 people located on the Melbourne-Warrnambool railway line in south-west Victoria.

N453 leads a down Warrnambool service into Terang station

The railway runs right though the middle of the town’s grid of streets, creating five level crossings in a 1.7 kilometres stretch of tracks.

VicTrack have slowly been upgrading the level crossings of Terang.

Looking south over the Shadforth Street level crossing

VicTrack annual report 2009–10

  • Seymour Street: upgraded from passive to flashing lights

VicTrack annual report 2012-13

  • Thomson Street: upgraded from flashing lights to boom barriers
  • Shadforth Street: upgraded from passive to boom barriers

VicTrack annual report 2013-14

  • Simpson Street: closed

Located only 250 metres from the the neighbouring Shadforth Street, closing the Simpson Street level crossing was an obvious choice. The resulting detour: 600 metres by road.

The level crossing at Simpson Street used to look like this.

But strangely enough, closing the road had to be funded by savings elsewhere.

Victorian Government-funded safety upgrades were completed at 22 level and pedestrian crossings across Victoria in 2013-14, mostly in regional Victoria. This exceeded the agreed target by one crossing for the Fix Country Level Crossings Program, with VicTrack able to fund the closure of the Simpson Street crossing in Terang from program savings.

Road signs aren’t free.

Former Simpson Street level crossing in Terang

And neither is the provision of a passive ‘crib crossing’ for the use of pedestrians.

Former Simpson Street level crossing in Terang


According to Vicsig the closure date of the Simpson Street level crossing was 16 May 2013.

And elsewhere

Until the 1990s the Upfield line through suburban Melbourne was the home of dozen of hand operated level crossing gates.

It took until 1997 for the line to be upgraded to modern standards, which some lesser thoroughfares were closed to road traffic.

  • Barkly Street (Jewell)
  • Phoenix Street (Brunswick)
  • Tinning Street (Anstey)
  • Shorts Road (Merlynston)

The remainder of the hand gates were replaced by boom barriers.

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3 Responses to “Closing roads to remove level crossings”

  1. Dark Knight says:

    You forgot 2017’s false economy by default on the Ballarat line upgrade; ‘a four kilometre passing loop near Bungaree which will make it possible to close the existing Bungaree loop and remove five level crossings’.

  2. Jacob says:

    Do you mean closing roads permanently?

    I wondered a few years ago about converting a lot of residential roads into one-way roads in order to build cycleways.

    Certainly new suburbs should be required to reserve a 2.5-metre wide corridor to enable a cycleway to be constructed in the future.

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