Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Newport Disconnectivity

There are a few times that I need to take an inter-peak Altona Loop shuttle train and change at Newport for a connecting train to the City.

I am always appalled at how low Platform 1 of Newport is compared to the train's floor. I could not help holding back a while every time I make that steep step from the platform to the train. My heart goes to those not physically agile who may find crossing between the platform and the train an arduous activity.

I had come across some train stations where a "chasm" exists between the platform and the train so wide that a misstep could land your leg in the gap. In fact, my wife had a frightening experience of the pram wheels caught in the gap at Footscray station. If not for the help from fellow passengers, the consequence could be disastrous. She is so traumatized that she no longer wishes to risk bringing a pram to Footscray station. I could not imagine how my wife could negotiate the sharply unequal level between Newport's Platform 1 and the train's floor on her own if she would to travel with a pram on board an interpeak shuttle train.

If such a structural rail hazard exists in Singapore (where I originally came from), it would have caused much public disquiet and immediate attention from the authorities. Here, it seems to depend all on the responsibilities, carefulness and alertness of individuals to ensure that their physical safety are not being compromised. It is not surprising that we often hear of rail accidents from the newspapers (Ref 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). In Singapore, the casualties are more a case of suicide rather than the result of an accident.

I do not know about Platform 2. But I believe raising Platform 1 at Newport to a safe level will be beneficial to all passengers, whether they are using Newport for connections or as a destination.

Anyone requiring assistance on and off the train can call Metro on 1800 69 63876.


Daniel Bowen said...

Most people are aware that when boarding with a pram, you push the pram on ahead of you... BUT many, many parents seem unaware that when alighting, you should get off first and pull the pram off backwards after you. This lets you easily see the gap and ensure the wheels make it across onto the platform.

Train operators could do more to fix the biggest gaps, and make sure people know how to best load and unload prams from trains.

Anonymous said...

I live in Newport and I've also noticed the huge leeway between the trains and platform 1. However, while this gap is quite significant with the newer 'upgraded' trains, the standard trains have a very minimal gap between the train itself and the platform. If this were to be fixed then we'd need to step down to get into the standard trains and the better trains would be the only ones that benefit. The trains are the problem because of the ways in which the height distances fluctuate.

Metro has also alerted passengers of certain ways to enter and exit the trains when travelling with prams and has also requested that people with prams enter the first carriage.

But yeah, our transport is crap.

Anthony Ang said...

This is strange. I use Westona and North Melbourne stations daily. Both stations do not have a platform-train unequal level problem, with either new or old trains. So I figure this is a platform design issue.

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