Monday 31 January 2011

The New Street railway crossing in Brighton, no longer open to cars, still has a gatekeeper.

January 31, 2011

The New Street railway crossing in Brighton, no longer open to cars, still has a gatekeeper. 

A heritage-listed railway crossing dating back to 1882 has got a community worked up and may embarrass the state government, writes Geoff Strong.

THIS is a story about a relic from another age that has divided a community, could embarrass the Baillieu government and commands one of Melbourne's best bayside views.

It is the disused railway level crossing at the end of New Street, Brighton, on the junction with Beach Road, across from Hampton Beach. Intersecting a stretch of the Sandringham line that gives one of the most pleasant suburban train vistas in the country, the crossing is the last in Australia to have gates operated by human hand and dates from when trains were either pulled by black things that belched smoke or, if electric, were red, wooden and rattled.

1 comment:

  1. The Age article wrongly paints the gates as merely a quaint reminder of a bygone era etc.

    If I was going to take a hard line on this, I'd argue that they should be re-opened as hand-operated with sufficient additional features to mollify Connex=Metro=State Government transport bureaucrats, because:

    - no-one seriously contests that hand-operated gates have a much better safety record than fully-automated ones

    - Connex=Metro=State Government transport bureaucrats clearly have vested interests, amongst which is the corporate obsession with getting rid of any form of human involvement, and the fact that they seemed to almost welcome the recent 'accident' is very suspicious

    - of course they have great historic value, enhanced by their beachside location

    However, taking a more pragmatic approach, the best solution may be to leave them closed, but restore and preserve the structures in their current location (moving things like this can enormously detract from their heritage value).

    The Government will indeed be watched closely on this one.

    - Michael B., East St Kilda