Boom problems persist

Contractors are repairing the booms.

The level-crossing booms at Kenilworth railway station should be working again by the end of next month, according to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).

The booms have been malfunctioning and have only worked intermittently since June last year, according to Prasa spokesperson, Riana Scott.

Flagmen are controlling traffic at the crossing in the absence of the booms.

The Tatler reported previously on problems at the station, including the faulty booms, illegal crossing at the level, inadequate warning lights, illegal structures and broken lights (“Kenilworth level crossing woes,” Southern Suburbs Tatler, September 2018).

Ms Scott said contractors were busy with repairs to the railway booms.

“The latest prognosis is that all things are going to plan and that the project would be completed by end of August,” she said.

But Jenni Coleman, manager of the Harfield Village Community Improvement District, said the crossing was not monitored properly and there had been some close calls between cars and trains.

“I personally always approach the crossing with caution and check in both directions before I proceed over the tracks, as I have no faith in those responsible for monitoring the crossing.

“I do this even if the car behind me is hooting furiously,” said Ms Coleman.

Ward councillor Ian Iversen said Metrorail – Prasa’s commuter-rail division – had failed to communicate with motorists and pedestrians about the failure of the booms.

“They could have handed leaflets out to people, advising what they were doing to address the problem but didn’t do so.”

Rory Marnitz, manager of nearby retirement complex Norfolk Place, said the trains had been particularly noisy since the beginning of the year, applying their brakes close to the home and hooting as early as 6am.

Harfield Village residents have shared mixed views on social about the level-crossing booms.

Sandy Stack said not having them eased traffic congestion. “I for one am happy and ensure that I always check before I cross.”

“There are big stop signs on either side of the crossing with marshals, so between the two all is good,” Astrid Haupt said.

But Mahbobah Bobbie Jacobs wanted the booms back. “The train hooting is disruptive and intrusive and not very safe. Would much prefer working booms to ensure safe crossing,” she said.

Ms Scott said anyone crossing the line when no flagmen were there should proceed with due care and caution as they would approach a road intersection without traffic lights.