This week progress has been slow but there has been headway in completing a set of mosaics for Christchurch along the Main South Line corridor. Another activity is in importing the old Google Earth maps that I have maintained from the beginning of the NZ Rail Maps project, into the Google Maps site. Another option I am investigating for these maps is the Open Historical Map site, which I have just found. At any rate, there will soon be a web based option of some form for placing the online map data that I currently have in KML files on my computer. These maps are very useful for quickly finding a rail route and stations and I use them all the time when looking up the Google Maps satellite pictures for an area. They are not actively maintained as part of NZ Rail Maps and are not recommended as a primary source of data.
I now have a second blog, Christchurch Transport Blog, and much of the recent work around Christchurch is more properly addressed by this blog, with the maps which appear on it being produced by the Christchurch-specific sub-project of NZ Rail Maps. Hence, from here on in, Christchurch Transport Blog will be talking in more depth about the Christchurch specific aspects of transport, that will take in a range of transport subjects about Christchurch. However, this blog and the NZ Rail Maps project will continue to talk about the rail-specific historical maps that are being produced as part of Christchurch Transport Blog. The CTB project also has its own Facebook group associated with its more specific segment of transport activism.
Something which is also of concern and deserves a greater focus is level crossing safety. There was this week a serious level crossing accident resulting in fatalities at Pongakawa, which is a small settlement along the East Coast Main Trunk railway between Te Puke and Edgecumbe. The full information on this accident is not yet available but we have to question the ability of local government roading authorities to be able to understand how to design safe level crossings because there are around the country numerous crossings of this particular design which have been shown to be hazardous. In this case the crossing concerned is regarded as dangerous by the local community but there has not been action taken to address their concerns. There are questions over Kiwirail’s assessment criteria for what constitutes a hazardous crossing, the maintenance of crossings in safe working order, roading design, and funding for improving dangerous crossings.
Christchurch Transport Blog is going to have a post or two in the near future about crossing safety because concerns exists about some of the crossings in Christchurch and whether there is any incentive for either Kiwirail or CCC to address these concerns.