Wellington's Don Mahoney happy Charles Street crossing is closed

CONCERNS: Wellington resident Don Mahoney was a string advocate for the crossing to be closed after seeing too many near misses. Photo: FILE
CONCERNS: Wellington resident Don Mahoney was a string advocate for the crossing to be closed after seeing too many near misses. Photo: FILE

After years of worry, Wellington resident Don Mahoney feels much safer now the Charles Street railway crossing is finally closed.

The crossing was permanently closed to vehicles and pedestrians this week, while the nearby Samuel Street crossing has undergone upgrades to improve the safety.

For Mr Mahoney, who lives next to the line, it's been a long time coming. Since he moved to Wellington in 2017 he believes about 20 per cent of cars were not stopping at the crossing to check for trains.

"My house is right next to the line and is in the firing line. If a carriage came off there and went at right angles to the track it would knock part of my house over. I was thinking of that and my own safety," he said.

"I don't want to get killed by that."

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A passenger train takes around 250 metres to come to a stop, while for a freight train it takes about two kilometres.

In three years, Mr Mahoney said he had seen "close to 30" near misses. He said cars approaching from the eastern side didn't have a clear view of any trains coming.

One morning Mr Mahoney saw a school bus go through the crossing without stopping. A freight train was going through and Mr Mahoney said by the time the bus cleared the train was no more than 50 metres away.

The Samuel Street crossing. Photo: DON MAHONEY

The Samuel Street crossing. Photo: DON MAHONEY

"I've seen the XPT have to stop on two occasions because the driver had gotten such a fright with cars going through that crossing," he said.

While it's now a "whole lot safer", on Wednesday Mr Mahoney said he saw a pedestrian who jumped the fence and ran across the tracks ahead of a train.

"I'm happy and I'm happy for the train drivers. At least now we might only have some idiots who want to jump over the top of the fence. They're not going to have motorbikes and cars driving through the crossing," Mr Mahoney said.

Not everyone agreed with the Charles Street crossing being closed. Some were advocating for the crossing at Samuel Street to be shut down. But Samuel Street will remain open with the addition of boom gates and lights.

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This story Rail crossing closed to cars after 'close to 30' near misses first appeared on Daily Liberal.