Safety for passengers and motorists along the Puffing Billy tourist railway attraction has been increased following a rail crossing upgrade at Menzies Creek.

The crossing at School Road along the 40-kilometre tourist railway route between Belgrave and Gembrook Stations is now safer following an upgrade to full booms, along with new road line marking and signage.

It is Victoria’s only railway crossing featuring full-closure booms with traffic sensors that hold the boom open if a vehicle enters the crossing when the booms have started descending. The heritage booms were designed to match the Puffing Billy Railway and surrounding buildings.

The $810,000 railway crossing upgrade is part of the Andrews Labor Government’s annual $7.6 million Statewide Railway Crossing Program which supports safety improvements to regional and metropolitan rail crossings, with sites selected based on risk modelling and incident history.

The School Road crossing at Menzies Creek, which had existing flashing lights, has had 36 near misses between vehicles and trains in the past five years.

The crossing upgrade will improve safety for all when tourists return to the Puffing Billy Railway, which is temporarily closed in line with coronavirus restrictions.

In another local safety initiative, work will soon begin on Mt Dandenong Tourist Road to create a safer riding space for cyclists, reduce congestion, and make it a more enjoyable experience for all road users on this scenic and iconic road.

Crews will be working on selected uphill sections between Janiesleigh Road and Churchill Drive in Tremont, and between One Tree Hill Road and The Crescent in Sassafras until early next year.

Works will include constructing an additional 1.5m wide sealed shoulder along sections of the road and rest areas for cyclists, road realignment and resurfacing, drainage improvements, and improvements to the Hilton Road and the Crescent bus stops.

Quote attributable to Member for Monbulk James Merlino

“The Railway Crossing Program continues to improve safety on our road and rail network, while supporting the operation of our important tourist and heritage railways like the Puffing Billy Railway.”

Quote attributed to Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing

“The addition of a full boom at this crossing will ensure drivers stop as trains approach, improving safety for motorists and for rail passengers.”

Quotes attributable to Puffing Billy Railway CEO Peter Abbott

“Level crossing upgrades are an important part of rail and road safety, so we are pleased to have received generous funding support from the Victorian Government for the installation of new boom gates at the level crossing at Menzies Creek.”

“As one of Victoria’s most-loved icons, this project will ensure Puffing Billy Railway continues to provide unforgettable memories for local families and visitors well into the future.”

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