Regional rail safety improvements, including potential safe level crossings, are being targeted by the Public Transport Authority.
The program is identifying safety improvements on the Eastern Goldfields Railway between Perth and Kalgoorlie following a budget reallocation.
A 12 month program to improve safety at four level crossings on the South West Main Line between Perth and Bunbury was completed in June. A railway pedestrian crossing was also added at Lakes Road in North Dandalup.
The $2 million program in conjunction with Main Roads converted passive level crossings to active crossings at Coronation Road and Logue Street in Waroona, Murray Street in Coolup and Riverdale Road in Cookernup.
Passive level crossings are controlled only by signage, while active crossings feature warning bells, flashing lights and automatically operated boom gates. The measures significantly improve safety and help prevent accidental collisions and near misses where regional roads cross railway tracks.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has approved surplus funding from the program for further safety works including a raised, safe access platform at Merredin Railway Station to help people with mobility difficulties, and an additional railway pedestrian crossing at Toodyay.
Further safe level crossings are also being evaluated by the PTA in conjunction with Main Roads.
A tender for the design and construction of the raised Merredin platform and new LED lighting is scheduled for release in early November. Practical completion of the work is estimated for April 2022.
The pedestrian crossing west of Toodyay Railway Station will give the community greater access between the shopping precinct to the north of the town and the community to the south. The PTA is finalising the pedestrian crossing design with railway maintenance contractor Arc Infrastructure. The tender is scheduled for release in 2022.
As stated by Transport Minister Rita Saffioti:
“The safety of the community using public transport facilities is of paramount importance to the McGowan Government, and one in which I have a deep, personal interest.
“The McGowan Government has been progressively working to improve regional rail safety and has been converting passive level crossings to active level crossings around the State.
“I recently discussed the issue of rail safety in regional WA with the Federal Transport Minister, and raised the potential for the Federal Government assisting the State in expanding this critical work.
“We will continue to pursue funding for an ongoing program of safety improvements in Western Australia’s world class road and rail network.
“Combined with education and community awareness, the Government is committed to minimising the risk of the significant trauma and suffering of families in avoidable road and rail tragedies.”