Geelong’s most accident prone boom gates?

I’m not sure what is in the water down in Geelong, but the boom gates at the North Shore Road / Station Street level crossing next to North Shore station seem to spend more time under cars than stopping them.

CDC Geelong bus #98 0500AO waits at the North Shore Road level crossing

October 31, 2013

August 12, 2015

Police and V/Line staff inspect a downed boom barrier arm at Station Street, North Shore

Boom barriers lower at Station Street, North Shore

Police and V/Line staff inspect the downed boom barrier arm at Station Street, North Shore

Downed boom barrier arm at Station Street, North Shore

November 16, 2016

December 14, 2016

February 15, 2017

Geelong Advertiser
Geelong V/Line train delays as damaged level crossings impact commuters

Almost 200 peak-hour commuters were stuck at the station this morning as a Geelong-bound train stalled at North Shore. The first service to suffer was the 7.10am from Southern Cross Station to South Geelong.

August 17, 2017

Another day, another disruption on the Geelong line thanks to a car taking out the level crossing at North Shore

Another day, another disruption on the Geelong line thanks to a car taking out the level crossing at North Shore

Geelong Advertiser
Boom gate damage at North Shore brings Geelong V/Line to standstill

Damage to a local level crossing caused commuter chaos for those travelling on in and outbound Geelong VLine services this morning.

November 27, 2017

December 12, 2018

Geelong Advertiser
Trains cancelled, replaced with buses
V/Line trains on the Geelong line were halted for an hour on Wednesday night due to a faulty boom gate at North Shore and at least two trains were cancelled. Trains resumed just before 6pm but commuters were still reporting long delays.

October 28, 2019 update

A new one – two hits in one day! The first one at 9.30am.

With trains back running again by 10am.

Only for someone else to take it out again for evening peak.

With traffic controllers taking an hour to arrive.

April 2, 2020 update

Another one!

Police say the collision between a freight train and a V/Line replacement bus occurred at the North Shore Road level crossing near the North Shore train station at about 10.50am on Thursday.

The ATSB report finding.

The coach had stopped past the boom barrier with the front-left corner of the coach foul of the western standard-gauge track.

The coach driver reported that they had stopped in response to the crossing warning signals and was reluctant to proceed across the crossing because of fear of a complaint.

The acute road-to-rail track angle may have influenced the driver’s perception of the crossing and the position of the left-front corner of the bus relative to the track.

The boom barrier protecting the inner lane of Station Street has been damaged by vehicles 20 times in the previous six years.

The driver also reported not expecting a train because they were operating a train-replacement service.

Had the driver not stopped the coach, there was adequate time to complete the crossing prior to the arrival of the freight train.

July 20, 2022 update

Yes, it’s happened again.

But compounding the disruption for affected passengers – incompetence by V/Line.

A four-hour delay for about 100 passengers on a Warrnambool to Melbourne train service on Wednesday was “embarrassing” and “not good enough”, V/Line’s chief executive officer has said.

The train came to a stop at North Shore in Geelong due to a damaged boom gate at the Station Street level crossing.

Ms Kelly said no water or food was offered to travellers until about 3pm, and it was not until around that time that one bus was finally sent to the stranded train.

But the bus could only transport about 45 people, leaving more than half of the passengers to continue waiting.

Those who were left on the train did not arrive at Southern Cross until about 6pm.

But the fix didn’t last long – two days later, the boom barriers got stuck, stopping road traffic.

But why?

Eight confirmed hits in six years – so why do so many motorists manage to take out the boom gates at North Shore Road?

The level crossing is on a curve.

VL22 leads 3VL41 at North Shore on the up

With a ‘T’ intersection on the northern approach.

With motorists from Station Street approaching the crossing on an angle.

But that doesn’t really answer the question – maybe decades of unfluorinated water rotted the brains, not just the teeth of locals?

A history of fatalities

December 30, 1907

A tragedy at the North Shore rail crossing. A father and daughter on a horse and buggy colliding with a train. The remnants of the buggy are on the right hand side.

September 19, 2005

The Age
Mother’s despair at teen’s train death

A distraught mother has spoken of her pain at witnessing her daughter’s death this morning as she was hit by a train.

Schoolgirl Sarah Stringer, 14, was running across the tracks at Geelong’s North Shore station when a V/Line express train slammed into her, killing her instantly.

Sarah, who was on her way to visit her grandparents in Melbourne, ran across the tracks because she was running late, but did not know the train was not stopping at North Shore.

What about removing the level crossing?

Way back in 1972 Neil Trezise, local member for Geelong North, questioned the progress made towards grade separating the level crossing:

(Question No. 813)

Mr. TREZISE (Geelong North) asked the Minister of Transport

With regard to the North Shore rail crossing at Geelong-

1. What is the present daily-
(a) road; and
(b) rail traffic figure?
2. When approval was given for grade separation works?
3. When it is expected that grade separation works will- (a) commence; and (b) be completed?
4. Whether plans or construction dates have been varied in recent years; if so, when and for what reasons?

Mr. WILCOX (Minister of Transport)

The answer is-
(a) The Country Roads Board has advised that its last traffic count at the North Shore road level crossing was in February, 1968. At that time the average week-day volume of road traffic passing over the crossing was 3,471 vehicles per 24 hour day.
(b) The number of regularly scheduled trains passing over the crossing on weekdays is 58, exclusive of shunting movements. Special train movements would raise this figure as high as 75 trains daily in busy seasons.
2. Approval was given for grade separation works on 7th November, 1969.
3. The timing of the grade separation at North Shore road has been discussed by the Abolition of Level Crossings CommiHee and the committee has not recommended a commencing date at this time.
4. No.

Fast forward five decades, and it looks like that grade separation won’t be coming any time soon.

Excavator digging out the old road surface at the Station Street level crossing at North Shore

According to the ALCAM 2008 list, the North Shore Road / Station Street level crossing is the 126th most dangerous level crossing in Victoria – and the current State Government’s level crossing removal program doesn’t feature it, despite including a half dozen level crossings lower on the list.

And a politics related footnote

Don’t confuse Neil Trezise:

  • Member for Geelong West 1964–1967
  • Member for Geelong North 1967–1992
  • Minister for Youth, Sport and Recreation 1982–1985
  • Minister for Sport and Recreation 1985–1992

For his son Ian Trezise:

  • Member for Geelong 1999–2014

I almost did!

Liked it? Take a second to support Marcus Wong on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

8 Responses to “Geelong’s most accident prone boom gates?”

  1. Martin Bennett says:

    As a retired train driver who was based in Geelong from the late 1960s I can assure you that North Shore level crossing, with five busy approach roads converging on it, and now the added complication of the third (standard gauge) track, is a train driver’s nightmare writ large. As you confirm, it was ear-marked for grade separation in the 1960s and it is utterly preposterous that half a century later, with both road and rail traffic having risen exponentially, no work has even begun. The station itself, though a slightly less squalid affair now than it was when I was there, appears to still have no footbridge, so that the island platform can only be reached by crossing the tracks on the level, again now with the added danger of the third track. I can think of no level crossing anywhere that combines in one location anywhere near as many overlapping dangers as this one, and I have seen an awful lot of really awful level crossings.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      About the only upside is that the decline in rail freight at Geelong has seen fewer trains pass through the crossing – no long trains to the Midway wood chip mill, no gravel trains to the asphalt plant, no superphosphate trains to Pivot, no boxcars to the Ford factory… the list goes on.

  2. Tom the first and best says:

    This level crossing should clearly be grade separated, including an significant upgrade of North Shore station.

    Until it is grade separated, the t-intersection and possibly what is currently the roundabout should be controlled by traffic lights, providing better and more visible control of traffic. Another pre-grade separation solution would be to install further boom-gates at the entrances to the t-intersection for traffic crossing the railway. This would probably require separating the right turn lanes from the either straight or left turn traffic, meaning that both sides of the section with the level crossing traffic could have flashing lights.

  3. Paul Westcott says:

    Time for another update, Marcus?

    However, AFAIK, the latest problem wasn’t caused by a road vehicle striking the booms.

  4. Lemmo says:

    Isn’t this crossing going to be grade-separated as part of Geelong Fast Rail? Also, freight traffic is increasing again here, especially grain, and the North Shore sidings built as recently as 2005 are being assessed for at least two new freight services, as well as being used for stabling.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *