Rail safety issues and actions

Escape or refuge areas

Issue number: RO-2012-007-SI-04
Who it affects: All road and rail infrastructure managers
Issue owner: Wyndham City Council
Transport function: Rail: Infrastructure
Background: Investigation Report RO-2012-007
Issue release date: 18 December 2013
Current issue status: Adequately addressed
Issue status justification:

The ATSB is satisfied that the action proposed by Wyndham City Council should addresse this safety issue.

Safety issue description

There is no available refuge or escape area within the traffic island at the northbound exit of the level crossing.

Response to safety issue by: Wyndham City Council

Council officers are investigating ways to provide escape and/or refuge areas. Potentially this can be done by reducing the size of the island just north of the crossing. Once a possible solution has been identified, a business case will be prepared for the Capital Works Program.

ATSB comment:

The ATSB has reviewed Wyndham City Council’s submission and notes their intention, but considers that further action is required to adequately address the safety issue.


Action number: RO-2012-007-SR-008
Action organisation: Wyndham City Council
Date: 18 December 2013
Action status: Released

The ATSB recommends that Wyndham City Council takes further action in relation to the provision of refuge/escape areas at the Cherry Street level crossing.

Additional correspondence

Response date: 07 April 2014
Response from: Wyndham City Council
Action status: Closed
Response text:

The creation of a refuge area using the island is a difficult project and Wyndham officers consider it has a lower priority than actions associated with the preceding aspects. The following points are noted about this aspect:

  • 􀂇􀀃A driver cannot physically access a refuge area created on the island if blocked in the right lane on the track by the car in front because the following car is too close.
  • 􀂇􀀃Creation of a refuge area (open area) on the island will require relocation of the crossing equipment, probably into non-standard locations. This could be contrary to the desires of the ATSB. ATSB and railway agency response to this is sought.
  • There is a possible "natural" refuge area on the east side of the central island- the south bound lanes immediately south of the boom barrier. The distance between the boom barrier and the closest rail is 3.5 metres. Relocation of the boom barrier equipment 2 metres north (and associated line marking/other signage) would provide sufficient space for a vehicle to store. This will require funding from PTV for relocation of the equipment.
  • 􀂇􀀃If a south bound vehicle is trapped on the tracks, there is a natural refuge area utilising the lane area between the boom barrier and the rail associated with the north bound lanes. The distance between the boom barrier and the rail is 10 metres which provides an excellent natural refuge area. No changes or works are required to create a refuge in this case.
  • Signage would need to be created and installed to highlight these areas/actions in the case of an emergency. This will need to be discussed with the railway agencies. A meeting was held on 9th January 2014 between VicTrack, Metro Trains Melbourne, VicRoads and Wyndham City officers to investigate and discuss actions and staging of treatment to  enhance the safety of the Cherry Street crossing.

From the meeting, the following actions occurred:

  • VicRoads is to further enhance the co-ordination of the red meter light at Railway Avenue. 
  • A business case was submitted by VicTrack to Public Transport Victoria for funding to:
    • further enhance the coordination of the pedestrian crossing light with the level
    • crossing.
    • the installation of two meter red lights on Market Road;
    • the installation of backlight on the existing Flashing Light masts; and
    • the installation of 'Keep Track Clear' sign.
    • the installation of a refuge area.
    • reduce the width of the level crossing.

VicTrack has confirmed that a funding sum will be provided for these works. The specific details of the scope of works and design is to be prepared between the agencies.

Last update 16 December 2015