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It was very concerning to learn about the recent collision and destruction of part of the historic Lydiard Street railway gate complex.
With confirmation that no serious injuries were sustained in the incident, the crucial follow-up steps must include determining why the incident occurred, and what must be done to prevent any future repeats.
Also a collective decision on restoring the installation to its state prior to the collision must be made.
During the 1990s much work was carried out by concerned citizen groups to ensure that the push for boom gate replacements, which were being proposed by the system operators, did not occur.
The subsequent agreement that automation was possible, with the original gate structure in place, was vital for the longer term-heritage integrity of Ballarat and of the very special Lydiard Street precinct in particular.
It seems inevitable this incident will bring out calls for boom gate installation, but if the history of Ballarat is to be protected from further damage, such calls must be seen for what they are - that is short-term interests displaying no concern for heritage and only focused on "modernisation" of civic assets.
Jeffrey Stewart, Canadian.
I moved to Ballarat last year.
I have always enjoyed the heritage value of this amazing town and would be sorry to see these gates go.
Let's face it, if you are in a hurry there is a bridge a couple of hundred metres up the road.
Keith Phasey, Ballarat North.
Without a doubt we should rebuild and preserve the gates and our history.
We have a beautiful city and it would be a tragedy to lose more of our history.
We need to be proud of what we have and preserve it for future generations.
Darren O'Hagan, Smythes Creek.
The Lydiard Street rail gates are unique.
Not only are they an important part of Ballarat's heritage landscape, they are loved, respected and accepted, by our commuting community.
They act as a reminder of former days, when our forefathers took pride in actively enriching our city with sturdy and lasting architecture.
Barry Wemyss, Smythes Creek.
I say definitely fix these gates and please keep our heritage.
There would be many railway workers who could help with the job.
These are difficult and many people are willing to get out and help the community.
Take notice of what people want, Ballarat is the best.
Margaret New, Creswick.
As an ex-Ballarat resident, I have sat at the gates and moaned about the wait.
However it is one of the good memories I have of Ballarat.
I have watched a tourist town tear down, change and modernise many of the things that tourists want to see.
I grew up in Ballarat and the streetscape is nothing like it used to be.
Look at the Lydiard Street/Sturt street intersection.
Why was the bank allowed to pull down a wonderful old building and put up something that looks so out of place and in my opinion, ugly.
Money has been spent replacing the lights that used to be at this intersection and the Lydiard and Dana street intersection.
What happened to all the old shop verandas?
Much of Ballarat's heritage has disappeared.
Let's save what we can while there is still something to save.
Gerald Hirst, Cathcart.
The Lydiard Street railway gates definitely need to be restored; they are an important part of our heritage.
They were not at fault, the train for whatever reason didn't stop.
Maureen Mason, Ballarat.
Please repair the damaged gates and not replace them with boom gates. Lydiard Street is such an historical street.
Don't spoil it with modern gates.
Jenifer Hocking, Wendouree.
As a former resident, I feel a strong attachment to the City of Ballarat and still visit regularly.
It is always a joy to wander and absorb the fascinating history including the wonderfully preserved buildings and structures.
Much of Ballarat's history involves the railways.
The railway station and precinct, including the Lydiard Street gates (almost the last of their kind in this state, if not country), is an integral part of Ballarat's origin.
It would detract considerably from its history if the damaged gates are not reinstated to their original design and standard.
I suggest that your history and tourism play a vital part in the decision concerning the future of the crossing.
Philip Dowd, Carlton North.
What was at fault, the gates or the train?
I would hazard a guess it was the train.
We are losing much of our heritage.
The gates are part of the complete railway system along with the bluestone buildings, the station and signal box.
Recast the iron pillars and re-install the gates.
Don't take the easy way out with boom gates, which would look out of place.
Quinton Wilkinson, Ballarat.
Has anyone asked how the driver, conductor or passengers are?
They must have been in shock, not knowing if they would live or die.
Ballarat is all about material things, not about our people.
People are more important than a set of gates.
Gates and trains can be replaced, people can't.
Christine Mitchell, Ballarat.
Without question safety should always be the principal consideration.
To say that if we had boom gates the train would not hit them if it drove through the crossing may be correct, but tell that to anyone who may have been on the crossing at that time.
Boom gates or old-style railway gates are not the issue if trains for whatever reason drive through them.
Why is the City of Ballarat concerned about the cost of replacing the Lydiard Street gates?
A Vline train demolished them. Victrack most likely owns them.
Is it not their responsibility?
Ray Schenk, Brown Hill.
All the heritage overlays and planning regulations we are all subject to will mean little if the heritage Ballarat railway gates are not restored and reinstated.
It is ridiculous to assert that it may not be possible to replicate the damaged gates, as it is inconceivable that they cannot be either welded, recast or fabricated in steel or other material to match the original.
An Australian engineering firm would relish the challenge.
As to cost, it is obviously not the responsibility of the council to fund the replacement, but clearly the responsibility of V/Line and the state government.
The only duty in this is for council and our state government representative, Juliana Addison, to ensure that they discharge their responsibilities and reinstate these heritage gates.
Rob Hale, Ballarat.
The historic railway gates in Lydiard Street must be restored.
Replacing them with modern boom gates would be a travesty and destroy the unique streetscape which includes the Lydiard Street railway precinct, the beautiful old buildings and the old gates.
A precinct of this type is the only one remaining in Australia. Members of the National Trust fought for and saved the gates in 1990 - 30 years on, must we do it again?
The ugly modern apartment buildings currently under construction on the north side of the station are bad enough - let's not continue the uglification of our beautiful Ballarat.
Please save the gates.
Dianne Olston, Lake Wendouree.
It is encouraging to see the heritage support for retaining the damaged Lydiard Street railway gates. We have certainly lost much of a very unique railway precinct of world interest. Care must be taken that any hasty decision following a sad accident does not undo and destroy it further. Future generations deserve this inheritance.
June Johnson, Alfredton
The Ballarat station historical gates are important, not just because they are part of the station's history but because they also act as a safety barrier for pedestrians.
Unlike other crossovers where boom gates are in place and pedestrians are not necessarily in a hurry to cross, Ballarat station doesn't have any other safe form of crossing the railway tracks when the gates are closed other than the stairs which can't be used by everyone.
If a pedestrian is in a hurry to access the Ballarat station, or just get across to the other side of the tracks, they will be able to attempt to do so if boom gates are in place.
Presently there are safety barriers in place to prevent this happening, but those safety barriers will be rendered useless if a pedestrian is able to just walk around or under a boom gate.
So, my view is that the pedestrian safety aspect must be taken into account before deciding to replace the historic gates with a boom gate. Even if/when lifts are installed there will be pedestrians who will not bother to walk the extra distance to use them.
Lyn Honeyman, Soldiers Hill.
This article first appeared on www.thecourier.com.au
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