Albury to Illabo: Level Crossings and Wait Times

We’ve heard through the public exhibition of the Albury to Illabo Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), Preferred Infrastructure Report (PIR) and our engagement with community members that people have a keen interest in how Inland Rail’s train movements may affect traffic at level crossings. This information explains the studies completed as part of the Albury to Illabo PIR and the key findings.

Double-stacked train passing through a level crossing

The Albury to Illabo section is an enhancement project. This means we need to make enhancements or modifications to certain structures to ensure there’s enough clearance for double-stacked freight trains to safely pass through.

For most level crossings, that means we don’t need to make any changes. At some level crossings we do need to change signal structures or remove obstacles. At locations where we are shifting the track for public safety reasons, level crossings will be upgraded, and in some cases this will introduce flashing lights, booms and bells.

No clearance works are required at the Fernleigh Road or Bourke Street/Docker Street level crossings.

PIR traffic assessments

We have completed microsimulation traffic modelling to examine the potential effect the planned additional Inland Rail trains could have on local traffic, including in Wagga Wagga.

What we studied

Our assessments included:

  • the lengths of current trains and their patterns of operation
  • the closure durations of level crossings
  • future traffic projections, using traffic growth rates suited to Wagga Wagga
  • surrounding land uses and street patterns, such as Wagga Wagga Hospital.

The introduction of Inland Rail trains will require longer and more frequent level crossing closures compared to now. Inland Rail trains will be 1,800 metres long, or 1.5 times longer than the typical length of current trains. For the assessment, we have assumed that all trains would be 1.5 times longer than current trains, not just the future Inland Rail trains.

Once Inland Rail is operating, current train lengths and patterns of operation are not expected to alter. With this conservative approach, we have then applied level crossing closure durations 1.5 times greater than existing durations. This adds extra conservatism into the closure durations modelled, as it includes longer periods while the booms close before and open after the train passes.

Why weren’t current train speeds used for this analysis?

Each train travels at a different speed. Using recorded level crossing closure time data represents the typical level crossing closure time at each crossing under standard operating conditions, encompassing both a range of train lengths and variable train speeds. Using ‘worst case’ scenarios, or the maximum recorded duration, would not provide a reliable basis to assess typical travel patterns.

What we found

Specific travel time routes were used to assess travel times for traffic using the Docker Street and/or Fernleigh Road level crossings. The modelling shows introducing Inland Rail trains would extend waiting times at the level crossings and nearby intersections. In 2040 with Inland Rail operating, average travel times through the Docker Street level crossing may increase by up to 15 seconds and at Fernleigh Road level crossing by up to 7 seconds.

For further traffic report details see section 6.1 of the PIR.