Life or death: is this Melbourne's worst railway crossing?

 
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Paramedics fear someone could die in the back of an ambulance waiting at a notorious Melbourne railway crossing, which is just 500 metres from hospital, unless an underpass is built.

Ambulance officers say they are often stuck at the Clayton crossing with sick or injured passengers in the back, a situation made more frustrating given Monash Medical Centre is so close - but across the tracks.

Paramedics say they dread driving north up Clayton Road for fear they will get stuck at the crossing, but say the route is unavoidable given the congestion across the south-eastern suburbs.
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One experienced paramedic, who declined to be named, rated the crossing the worst in Melbourne for time delays and said it was common for ambulances to be delayed for minutes at a time.

‘‘If you go into cardiac arrest, think how much of someone’s brain is going to die in one minute, two minutes, three minutes. These are people who don’t have time to wait,’’ she said.

‘‘Just fix the damn thing. It’s going to cost lives, it may have already cost lives. Just fix it. I don’t think there’s any other intersection ... that stands between people getting care and having care delayed.’’

A Southern Health spokesman said staff at the hospital were aware of the problems Clayton Road presented, but said he was unsure if delays had led directly to the death of patients.

Police have also labelled the crossing one of Melbourne’s worst, notorious for pedestrians lifting boom gates to cross the tracks.

Shoppers, traders and commuters are also desperate for something to be done to end long delays, and Monash Council says building an underpass would allow the state government to sell the land above as affordable housing or retail space.

The railway crossing — which carries trains from the Pakenham, Cranbourne and Dandenong suburban lines and freight and passenger trains from Gippsland — has for years sat high on the list of intersections earmarked for improvement but was overlooked when the state government this year allocated improvement works elsewhere.

In May the Baillieu government announced upgrades at 10 crossings across Melbourne, including two on Springvale Road, which were judged the most deserving by a 2008 government-sponsored assessment.

But a crossing in Brighton [ranked 223 on the list] is also set to be upgraded, ahead of Clayton [ranked seventh]. Brighton’s historic New Street level crossing is in deputy Liberal leader Louise Asher’s seat.

Monash mayor Greg Male said he had raised the issue with Transport Minister Terry Mulder, but had not had any word the government would address the problem. But he had heard of ministers being late for appearances in Clayton after getting stuck in traffic.

Cr Male said the government had the chance to be innovative, while making the project ‘‘budget neutral’’.

‘‘There is land owned by the government which could be developed for retail commercial and housing and the sale or the rental for that could effectively pay for the lowering of the station and the rail traffic,’’ he said.

‘‘The previous government and the current one pressured communities to densify, so here’s a chance. Let’s be bold and say there’s one here because there’s not a budget implication for us.’’

Cr Male said upgrading the Brighton crossing before Clayton was ‘‘a waste of time’’.

A spokeswoman for Mr Mulder said there were no plans to upgrade the Clayton crossing, but said the government had already allocated more funding to improving crossings than the previous Labor government.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/life-or-death-is-this-melbournes-worst-railway-crossing-20111122-1nrmb.html

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  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
As usual, the common element in all Melbourne's transport woes is neither the Government of the day nor the modal operators. No, it is the hapless mandarins of the Department of Transport. Unaccountable, unimaginative, and unwilling.

kosh Melbourne - November 22, 2011, 11:53AM

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/life-or-death-is-this-melbournes-worst-railway-crossing-20111122-1nrmb.html#ixzz1eOVs5ke5
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
A spokeswoman for Mr Mulder said there were no plans to upgrade the Clayton crossing, but said the government had already allocated more funding to improving crossings than the previous Labor government.
"freightgate"


The standard political get-out clause . . . we're doing nothing worthwhile, but we're better than the last mob.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
This is what happens when you let Derpy Hooves run stories on a slow news day.

  LamontCranston Chief Commissioner

Who could have imagined that Tom was a brony
  mikeymike Beginner

A spokeswoman for Mr Mulder said there were no plans to upgrade the Clayton crossing, but said the government had already allocated more funding to improving crossings than the previous Labor government.
"freightgate"


The standard political get-out clause . . . we're doing nothing worthwhile, but we're better than the last mob.
"Valvegear"


They do have a point here. The Bracks/Brumby Government spent 10 years in power and removed a total of 2 level crossings.

Not surprisingly the level crossings were in marginal seats in the eastern suburbs.

Big Ted has promised to remove 10 level crossings, hopefully he keeps the promise so they're all completed or work is underway by the next election.

Both sides of politics will always favour marginal seats.

If Ted removes the 30 level crossings in the most marginal seats in 5 years then that's terrific. Let's have an election fought over who can do the most improvements to public transport.

Note: the proposed Doncaster Railway would run through generally safe liberal seats, the proposed Rowville Railway would run through generally safe ALP seats. Neither has been built since proposed in the 1960s. I wonder why.

The Tarneit link is only being done because it'll improve the reliability of the Country trains (All have marginal seats)

Neither party could give a stuff about the electorates the train runs through
  Johnmc Moderator

Location: Cloncurry, Queensland
Who could have imagined that Tom was a brony
"LamontCranston"


The burning question is: "Which one of them is Fluttershy?"
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
Who could have imagined that Tom was a brony?
"LamontCranston"
You have some kind of problem with this?

The burning question is: "Which one of them is Fluttershy?"
"Johnmc"
Heh.
  lakeyboy Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne, Australia

They do have a point here. The Bracks/Brumby Government spent 10 years in power and removed a total of 2 level crossings.

Not surprisingly the level crossings were in marginal seats in the eastern suburbs.
"mikeymike"


They also removed 1 in a safe labor seat, Taylors Road. I have to admit i've never thought about the Clayton Road crossing with regards to ambulances and the Monash Med Centre before. Changes my whole thinking about what grade seps should be done before others.
  Speed Minister for Railways

I'm not sure how many minutes ambulances are waiting. If the gates are down, the road should be clear in the other direction for the ambulance to move to the head of queue. Once the gates are up again, it will have a clear road ahead.

Off peak, there would be few times when the gates would be lowered for more than one train, and even fewer for more than two trains.

Whatever the delay is, it's more likely to be an issue for ambulances enroute to an emergency. Once the patient is loaded on the ambulance, a minute saved on the way to hospital could just as easily be lost waiting to unload at the hospital.

Maybe level-crossings should be marked as highly congested during peak periods, thereby discouraging the deployment of ambulances that will need to cross railway lines to reach an emergency.
  Via City Loop Chief Commissioner

[quote="Speed"]
Whatever the delay is, it's more likely to be an issue for ambulances enroute to an emergency. Once the patient is loaded on the ambulance, a minute saved on the way to hospital could just as easily be lost waiting to unload at the hospital. [/quote]

This is the paramedics concern, people dying enroute. Not all ambulances attending emergencies are dispatched from Monash.


[i][quote]Ambulance officers say they are often stuck at the Clayton crossing with sick or injured passengers in the back, a situation made more frustrating given Monash Medical Centre is so close - but across the tracks.[/quote][/i]

[quote="Speed"]
Maybe level-crossings should be marked as highly congested during peak periods, thereby discouraging the deployment of ambulances that will need to cross railway lines to reach an emergency. [/quote]

I would imagine approach routes to hospitals are very carefully planned. Level crossings would most likely be avoided at all costs for possible delays but also the associated bumps.

Having had the good fortune of being a MICA patient one of the thoughts I had, some of which I thought could have been my last, was the driver calling out road conditions to the paramedics treating me. Bump, 3 bumps, incline etc as we travelled along.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
I always liked how the approach to the Royal Childrens along Gatehouse St had these quite severe chicanes to slow cars down installed in about 2008 - they were quietly removed.

Still, that's less able to whip up manufactured drama as the dribble that gets published (and for some reason, block pasted as threadspam)
  Gauntlet Chief Commissioner

Location:
They do have a point here. The Bracks/Brumby Government spent 10 years in power and removed a total of 2 level crossings.

Not surprisingly the level crossings were in marginal seats in the eastern suburbs.
"mikeymike"


They also removed 1 in a safe labor seat, Taylors Road.
"lakeyboy"

You can add Kororoit Creek Road Altona to the list and arguably the Somerton Road overpass at Roxburgh Park.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Working in Dingley as I do, I give the Clayton Road crossing a very wide berth.
I have had the experience of sitting stock still in a queue with the booms down for seven or eight minutes whilst several sparks and the odd country pass go through. The situation is exacerbated by road traffic lights, and there are vehicles everywhere.
This ensures that the queue is back to at least Centre Road.
If the ambos are part way between Centre Road and the crossing, they've got a problem.
If they wait for the crossing, they stop and start due to traffic lights etc, or it's a U-turn and very large detour through traffic to get to Westall Road overpass.
If they try coming up the wrong side of the road, they'll still get blocked by bods who (a) didn't know the ambos were there; (b) turn out of a side street or car park into Clayton Road; (c) don't care anyway.
To hell with New Street; put the railway under Clayton Road; it needs it now.
  tranzitjim Chief Commissioner

Location: Banned
Center Road would be easier, perhaps a flyover done there could ease the problems.

I have checked the Melways, it would be relatively easy to build the bridge to spit on the top with a side road, which lands somewhere along side Browns road, coming to land somewhere on the land used by PMP Printing.

The Ambo could then take the back streets to Monash Hospital/Medical Center.

Not only is Center Road fixed, and is the easiest one to do, but you also solve the Ambo blockage issue too.
  Bobman Locomotive Fireman

I agree that Centre Road would be easier, but I also suggest that both should be done at the same time.

I have worked nights in Clayton (up to 7 days a week) for about 10 years now and lived in the south-east my whole life.

I've often had "wait" times at that crossing for up to 5 or 7 minutes and the area is generally gridlocked. This happens between 5pm and 7pm, as well as mornings.

Now, I've also seen first hand ambulances as well as fire trucks delayed here. They can't just divert via Centre Road either as the boom gates are just as bad there with cars banking up close to Clayton Road and Clayton Road cars banking up to Centre Road.

The area is a mess and the crossing needs separation urgently as it could be you or a loved one who is en-route there via ambulance and suffers delays. Something to think about to those of you who seem to enjoy opposing grade separations on here.
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
Nice argument, Bobman. Do you normally wish pain, suffering and grief on people who disagree with you due to an undiagnosed case of sociopathy, or are you just too foolish to realise what a heartless prat you sound like?

Seeing as I tend to fall on the side of thinking that the majority of grade separations are a waste of money, and a lot of the news items are sensationalised beat-ups, I'm safe to presume that the veiled comment about wishing my loved ones die in the back of an ambulance is directed at me, even if he does not have the testicular fortitude to name usernames.

I tend to notice that the minor improvements - when they do exist - are almost always directed to the road user, who saves sometimes the length of time he or she may take to brush their teeth, yet the costs are borne and the disruption is placed almost universally on the rail.

Ambulances often may be delayed due to distance, availability, drivers not giving way or any one of a number of factors: yet it's the mean ol' level crossing.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Ambulances often may be delayed due to distance, availability, drivers not giving way or any one of a number of factors: yet it's the mean ol' level crossing.
"Sir Thomas Bent"


There is little doubt that many and varied things conspire to delay ambulances. There have been recent reports of long waiting times, not enough paramedics, traffic et al.
I don't think that the ol' level crossing is singled out unfairly. It is one contributing factor, and it would be a great step if all the contributing factors could be eliminated. You can't just ignore the effects of level crossings any more than you can ignore lack of paramedics, vehicles, defibrillators et al.
  AzN_dj Chief Commissioner

Location: Along route 69
I wonder whether building another hospital would be cheaper than a grade separation. Also, I believe the Monash Medical Centre is already over-capacity anyways. =P
  tomohawk Chief Commissioner

Location: Getting The Met to get around
I wonder whether building another hospital would be cheaper than a grade separation. Also, I believe the Monash Medical Centre is already over-capacity anyways. =P
"AzN_dj"



.... no. That's not to say another hospital isn't a wise idea, but if the sole reason were to avoid a grade sep, then no.
  Mel Deputy Commissioner

I wonder whether building another hospital would be cheaper than a grade separation. Also, I believe the Monash Medical Centre is already over-capacity anyways. =P
"AzN_dj"


I wonder if compulsory acquisition of Brighton would be cheaper?

So long as Ted gets his "base" votes. New street was far more important!
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
Nice argument, Bobman. Do you normally wish pain, suffering and grief on people who disagree with you due to an undiagnosed case of sociopathy, or are you just too foolish to realise what a heartless prat you sound like?
"Sir Thomas Bent"


Come on, STB, I didn't actually read anything in his post which wished that, it was more a case of saying"Before you object, jusy think it through, there might be other considerations you haven't thought of" - such as ambulances in this case.

We have all come up with ideas from time to time, and then someone else has thrown an objection at us which has caused us to sit up and say "Oops, I hadn't thought of that", so it is actually a wrothwhile process.

Dave
  Sir Thomas Bent Minister for Railways

Location: Banned
Not how I read it.  I don't wish the potential of grief on people to make a  point.
  thadocta Chief Commissioner

Location: Katoomba
Not how I read it.  I don't wish the potential of grief on people to make a  point.
"Sir Thomas Bent"


Didn't read that at all, all I read was "consider the other consequences.

Dave
  Speed Minister for Railways

Although we can understand that emergency vehicles don't normally wait at the lights and that level-crossings are an exception, the story still sounds like a beat-up. A large number of motorists are inconvenienced by the level-crossing and someone's heightened the emotion by saying, "It holds up ambulances on the way to hospital".

If the solution proposed were for ambulance drivers or the dispatch operator to radio Metrol, asking them to keep the gates raised for thirty seconds until an ambulance went through, I suspect that the local newspapers would be less interested.

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