The great Railway Crossing saga continues

Some of you will know that at the end of the Dawn ’til Dusk – Winter ride earlier this year, I crashed my bike on wet railway tracks and broke a bone in my knee. I reported the accident to Main Roads Western Australia through their fault reporting web site. This is what I said:

On Saturday the 20th of June 2009 at approximately 7:00 PM I was bicycling south-west along Railway Parade in Bassendean when my bicycle slipped on the wet railway tracks. The railway tracks are located approximately 270 metres from Collier Road. I was aware of the railway tracks and took care when crossing them but the front wheel of my bike slipped away as I crossed the tracks causing me to fall. I landed hard on my side, injuring my knee. The road surface should be modified so that a cyclist can cross the tracks without falling and being injured. Thank you for your attention to this matter.


Main Roads Western Australia sent the following email as a return:

Dear Greg,

Thank you for your email regarding the road surface at the rail crossing.

I have referrred your email onto the Public Transport Authority for their attention and a direct response as the location in question falls within a rail reserve for which they are responsible.

Should you require any further assistance, please e-mail enquiries@mainroads.wa.gov.au or call our 24 hour Contact Centre on 138 138.

Regards
xxxx xxxx
Customer Information Officer
Main Roads WA

I followed up with the Public Transport Authority (PTA) who informed me that they are not the responsible agency for maintaining the level crossing. I have now been advised that United Group Rail are responsible but this has not been confirmed.

More than two months after first lodging my fault report I found out that two more cyclists had crashed on the same crossing in wet conditions and one had broken his pelvis and leg.  I was very annoyed that although I had been trying to contact the relevant agency, I still had not been able to confirm who that was and the fault had not been rectified, leading to another serious incident.  At that point I contacted the local paper.

On 6 October, 2009, the Eastern Reporter – East published the article Uneven crossing ‘puts cyclists at risk’ on page 13. The article can be viewed here. The article raises a number of interesting points.

  1. A United Group Rail spokeswoman said the company was only aware of two accidents at the site
  2. I know of more than two accidents at the site. Either people are not reporting their accidents or the reports are not getting through to the relevant people. This will require further follow up.

  3. Town of Bassendean chief executive Bob Jarvis said the Town supported the extension of the shared path from Tonkin Highway through Bassendean
  4. I have been informed by two independent parties that the Town has worked against the extension of the shared path from Tonkin Highway through Bassendean. I will pass on this information to my sources as the Town is now on the public record that they support the extension of the shared path.

I doubt any of this will make any difference but a number of issues arise:

  1. Remind cyclists of their responsibility to report faults to Main Roads Western Australia
  2. Follow up to see if United Group Rail are recieveing faults reported to Main Roads Western Australia
  3. Follow up to advise relevant parties that the Town of Bassendean have gone on the record supporting the extension of the shared path

In the mean time, I hope there are not any more accidents on this crossing.

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7 responses to “The great Railway Crossing saga continues

  1. This is a great shame that no one really wants to take responsibility for this. An even greater shame that some one else got injured after it had been reported.

    We do have to take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the injury. What speed was the cyclists going etc. We do have to exhibit caution when things are wet, but it seems that every care was taken on your part.

    I wish you luck in getting some action and if you need any help let me know.

  2. Hi

    Great blog posting Greg. Maybe time for a little more formal chat with the Town of Bassendean and/or United Group Rail. Maybe send a statement a claim to them. That should spark there interest 🙂

    All the best with the battle.

    Regards
    Andrew

  3. Pingback: Railway Parade, Bassendean Railway Tracks | Aushiker: Bicycling & Hiking in Western Australia

  4. I just got clobbered by this crossing this morning and someone pointed me at this post.

    Conditions were damp – it wasn’t raining at the time but the road and rails were very wet. Front wheel got caught by one of the grooves, wheel went right and I hit the ground. Stupid mistake, I’m normally more careful across these tracks as I’ve been riding across them for the last year.

    Thankfully(?!) I seem to have escaped with a badly bruised hip and a torn shoulder muscle, and I was very lucky that my cycling buddy was riding in front of me at that stage or I would have collected her on the way down.

    I tried to report it over the phone to MRWA, but they threw me to the PTA, who threw me to Transperth, who decided I might like to talk to their Infoline….at which point I gave up. Just read your thread at ACN as well, I’ve reported it to MRWA via their website and I’ll see where it leads.

    cheers,
    (A very sore) Paul D

    • Paul, I hope you are ok. The last three incidents I know about at the crossing were a broken hip and leg, a broken elbow and a broken knee. I hope I nothing is broken and you make a quick recovery.

      • Thanks Greg – my partner, who has a lot more experience at breaking things, assures me I’d be in more pain if I’d broken something. *grin*

      • Greg,

        Another take on the ownership of that spur line, from a CIO at MRWA in response to my report:

        “Railway Parade is a local road under the care control and management of the Town of Bassendean. The rail crossing at this location is a private rail spur line which is leased from the Public Transport Authority by a heritage rail group.”

        Don’t know if that helps, or just further muddies the waters. 🙂

        cheers,
        Paul

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