Crossings Going To Be Big Issue


In a couple of years Auckland will have electric trains roaring through at 10 minute intervals.

How will traffic at level crossings cope with the frequent delays as they wait, often for two trains in different directions to pass through?

Albert-Eden local board member Graeme Easte is asking why nothing has been done about Auckland’s railway level crossings -and no one seems to be taking responsibility for the issue.

There are at least 25 all-grade rail crossings (21 for road and pedestrian and 4 for pedestrian only) in Auckland and in his ward alone 7 (Normanby Rd, Porters Ave, George St, Morningside Drive, Asquith, Rossgrove and Woodward).

Easte says he has raised this for a decade but there’s been little progress in resolving them. Several level crossings has been grade-separated as part of the New Lynn trench project but nothing has been programmed to eliminate the remaining points of conflict.

Old story. No one would put their hand up to help.

Outgoing councils had nothing in their plans, ARTA no funding, KiwiRail says it’s not their issue as roads cross their railway tracks and NZTA says it’s not their problem. The ARC allocated $21m some years ago but this was withdrawn when no one offered to help.

In 2004 it was estimated it could cost $51m to eliminate every level crossing in the old Auckland City (not including Onehunga which had not opened). It will be more expensive now.

He says the crossings causes:

Traffic delays: Road traffic over the crossings vary from 585 to 20,000 a day and will increase as timetables change. That could lead to significant tail backs on affected streets. Buses will also be affected by delays.

Safety: With barrier arms coming down 12 times each hour, there will be an increase in driver frustration at being delayed, if not more  pedestrians rushing across as trains approach.

Morningside Drive : Raise carriageway and overbridge $3m+

Kingdon 7409 (vehicles a day) Solution: Close road + Ped crossing  Cost then $1.02m

Normandby 12,957 Raise carriageway + Overbridge $4.45

Porters Ave 2,816 Raise carriageway + Overbridge $3.28m

George St 2785 Close road plus pedestrian overpass $0.45m

Morningside 10,208 Raise carriageway + Overbridge $3.53m

Asquith 10,284 Lower carriageway and underpass $7.80m

Rossgrove 5211 Close rd, build bypass to Asquith $5.17m

Woodward 13779 Raise carriageway + Overbridge $4.63m

St Jude 19,898 Raise carriageway + Overbridge $5.04m

Chalmers 2,094 Raise carriageway + Overbridge $4.20m

St Georges Rd 10,711 Raise carriageway + Overbridge $3.75m

Sarawia St 585 Raise carriageway + Overbridge $4.21m

Church St East 1080 Close road. build alternative $1.40m

Easte’s report wil be presented to next week’s Auckland Council transport committee meeting.




  1. rtc says:

    Grade separation is in the future projects list for Auckland Transport.

  2. Matt L says:

    I have said for a while they need to do this, perhaps allocate about 10 mil a year towards it and work through them. The CBD tunnel case indicated how much more needed it will be with higher frequencies and to do it and roughly estimated about 100m for the task.

    It would also surely make the signaling easier as there is less to go wrong, just last night I was held up for about 10 mins on Metcalfe Rd in Ranui because the barriers came down but never went back up. I only went via Metcalfe Rd because the Sturges Rd bridge overbridge was closed.

  3. Matt L says:

    And on my way to work this morning I saw another good reason why we should grade separate these crossings, A fire engine was stuck, lights flashing having to wait as the train passed. I have also seen ambulances delayed before as well.

    Also this report only covers the old Auckland City council area, there are plenty more further out west,
    Portage Rd, Fruitvale Rd, Glenview Rd, Sherrybrooke Pl, Bruce McLaren Rd, Metcalfe Rd Christian Rd

  4. James B says:

    Closing George St is a bit of a problem as it is the only route between New North Road west of Dominion Road and Dominion Road south of the New North Road unless you go via Onslow or Walters Roads.

  5. James B says:

    My solution would be to get rid of the stupid New North Road/Dominion Road grade seperation (maybe keep New North Road going under Dominion Road) and make it a more standard intersection. Then close George Street. The advantage with this is that you could sell the land currently taken up by the flyovers to pay for it.

  6. Matt says:

    The other impact, if you’ll pardon the pun, of level crossings with 10-minute frequencies occurs if there’s a car v train collision. At that point the entire network will start to back up around that line, and remain backed up for a lengthy period of time. SCU investigations take 4-6 hours, normally, which is 48-72 affected services at minimum.

  7. kyotolaw says:

    This is a big issue for some communities in Japan. Older stations often have crossings nearby which seem to spend more time shut than open. It is often up to the local business association to campaign for change, and they find it very difficult against the behemoth that is JR (Japan Rail).

  8. Nick R says:

    I used to get stuck at my old station in Melbourne, where there are a heap of level crossings.

    The frustrating thing is the crossing was for both cars and pedestrains, and was activated as the train approached of course.

    This meant that the train station became sealed off from half the neighbourhood at precisely the most critical time, when a train is about to arrive. So many times all I could do was stand at the crossing while my train pulled in two feet from my face… then sit on the platform for 15 mins waiting for the next one.

  9. GJA says:

    This sounds like the perfect opportunity for the minister of roads to do something about the ROAS - Roads of “Auckland” Significance.

  10. Matt says:

    GJA, but they’re local roads, so not his problem, and it’s because of those nasty trains so he doesn’t care anyway.

  11. Matt L says:

    Matt - Yes but it means cars can flow unimpeded which should be good in his eyes. Also if we look back, the only way New Lynn was put in a trench was because of the impact double tracking would have had on cars as the barriers would have been down so often.

    They only got that by taking Michael Cullen out to the area and showing him just how bad it was with one train every half hour and that it was estimated that with double tracking and 10 min frequencies the barriers would be down 60% of the time.

    I agree with others that crossings near stations seem to be the worst as you not only have to wait for the train to pass but also for it to stop at the station.

  12. Paul Q says:

    Then you have issues like at both Taka St and Manuroa Rd in Takanini, where due to their proximity to Takanini Station, you can be waiting for either southbound or northbound (respectively) trains that have stopped at the station.

    Gets really annoying at Taka St, when a northbound train crosses and just as the arms are about to rise, a southbound train approaches Takanini and stops. You can be waiting for quite a few minutes in these cases!

    No wonder there have been so many pedestrian deaths in this area.

    Has any crossing system come up with a method of detecting trains stopping at stations, compared to through trains which would relieve this situation?

  13. antz says:

    Apaul, i think that is what they are using in wellington. because i remember the matangi stopping at Kallandallah while at the crossing about 50 metres away the barrier arms ahead of it remains up and the alarms are off.

  14. Paul Q says:

    @antz - Hmmm, I think you’re right there - I grew up in Wgtn, and Simla Crescent was similar to Khandallah (nice try at the spelling antz) with a crossing at the end of the platform. Of course, the J’ville line is single track, so didn’t have a major issue with both directions at once (except there is a loop at Khandallah!).

    Also, all trains stop at all stations on that line, which is not the case on the NIMT, so possibly a simpler system.

  15. Nankai says:

    Where I used to live, in Chofu, a suburb of Tokyo, there were numerous crossings and even more numerous trains on the Keio line from Shinjuku. The barrier arms had a sign that said “Please wait a while” (noty a “moment”, a “while”)


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