50 level crossings to be removed

 
  hotdogpants1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Here.
Are all of these grade separations going to be rail under road? Surely some, like Kororoit Creek Rd which is in the middle of an industrial area could be rail over road or road over rail
So far all we know that the first 10 level crossing removals including 1 completed at Burke Rd, Glen Iris will be rail under road.
- Main Rd, St Albans
- Furlong Rd, Brimbank near Ginifer Station
- North Rd, Ormond
- McKinnon Rd, McKinnon
- Centre Rd, Bentleigh
- Blackburn Rd, Blackburn
- Heatherdale Rd, Mitcham near Heatherdale Station
- Mountain Highway & Scoresby Rd, Bayswater
This level crossing removals are determined by a range of factors from geology, surroundings such as roads, shops, homes, trees and bus/tram interchange and all the least disruption caused during the construction phases.
I'm sure you've heard rumours of a possible sky rail along the Dandenong corridor as the cheapest, quickest and safest option to remove the 9 level crossings there. That decision is still under tender so no option has been left out as of now.
For Kororoit Creek Rd in Williamstown North, both of these options you've mentioned are possible. I predict it'll be rail over road given the adjacent waterways hence the ground likely has a high water table so it'll be difficult for workers to dig a trench for the tracks to go under the road.
slowcoach

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  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
An update on the Blackburn Rd level crossing removal:

Civil works are proceeding in a corridor on the north side of the railway track that is bound by the railway tracks and in many cases goes right up to the walls of warehouses. The back of the Gainsborough warehouse is being used as a staging area for construction equipment.

The LXRA seem to be taking the opportunity to get rid of the hill between Blackburn and Nunawading Railway Stations whilst they remove the level crossing.
  Edith Chief Commissioner

Location: Line 1 from Porte de Vincennes bound for Bastille station
I have heard a rumour that Koroit Creek Road will be a one track rail bridge over the road. This would require an exlensive duplication one day.
  John.S Beginner

I believe I read somewhere that the LXRA's main role is to "maintain the status quo" whilst removing level crossings, aka "keeping things cheap". The fact that the Dandenong Line isn't being quadded (mind you, there's no where for the trains to go once they hit Caulfield, but that's where the original two-part metro tunnel would've easily solved that), or the fact that the altona loop is being duplicated at the same time as the long shut down. It's stupid and short sighted. Save money now to spend more later.
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
Kororoit Creek Rd will be one track with space for a second track built in, according to community consultation seminars.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Further update on the Ormond - Bentleigh grade separation in the past week.

The summary: all piling on the east side of the line has ceased except for the auger piling machines at Ormond and Bentleigh. Piling has started on the west side of the line between McKinnon and Bentleigh and at Bentleigh.

At Ormond the eastern entry to the subway (ramp and stairs) were closed by Tuesday 8.3. Access to the station is now only possible from the western side of the line. Passengers from the east consequently need to cross over the line and then double back under the line. This is allowing piling behind the ramp between North Road and the small station building on the former Down platform. The ramp is getting knocked around a bit, and I think it is extremely unlikely the eastern entry will be opened again.

As jdekorte has mentioned, the formwork around the new culvert at the north arm of Elster Creek has been removed. Concrete formwork extends north and south of culvert for a retaining wall (but above or below ground - that is the question).

At McKinnon they have excavated an deep hole on the eastern side of the line just north of McKinnon Rd extending about the first 10 metres of the concrete piles. They are now jackhammering out the concrete from the piles, and my guess is that they are going to build another of the massive beams. This is likely to be the foundation of the new station building. The former Down platform has been almost completely removed - only a short section remains intact around an overhead stanchion. They are nibbling away at the main station building. The work on the toilets, mentioned in the previous installment, was almost certainly asbestos removal as the air monitors and plastic sealing of the toilet doors have been removed. Curiously, they have now removed all of the built in wooden seats. Three park benches have taken their place. The western car park has now been completely closed.

Piling work started last week on sheet steel piling on the western side of the line north of the south branch of the Elster Creek. This was undertaken by the 'resonator' and you could certainly hear it working. This short section seems to have been completed. A second machine was putting down small re-inforced concrete piles just a bit north of the sheet steel piling.

At Bentleigh, the large piling machine was still working along the northern end of the Down platform. Two new piling machines are working in the former car park on the western side of the line. These are a new type not previously used. The former western car park has been completely closed, stripped of most of its furniture (light poles and boundary rails), and is being used as a storage area for massive numbers of sheet piles. The little shoe repair place, which had been relocated into a portable in the car park, has been closed completely and the portable removed. The western ramp and stair to the former subway at Centre Road was excavated and the concrete work removed, and the site filled in and compacted. Piling work on the eastern side of the line south of Centre Road appears to have been completed.

Information has been released about the long Easter shut. At McKinnon, McKinnon Road is going to be shut between Elm Grove (155 metres west of the line) and Prince Edward (190 metres east of the line). This pretty much encompasses the entire McKinnon shopping centre, and all of the main part between the railway and Elm Grove. The advertisements exhort the locals to continue to patronise the local shop keepers as they will be open. There will, however, be very little parking near the shops. And, of course, judging by previous shuts they will also prevent parking in adjacent streets. We'll see if they actually need that much space.

Incidentally, I had an... ahhh... interesting experience at Ormond station. While taking photos of the construction work I was approached by the two PSOs. "Taking photos?" "Yes." "Do you have a permit?" "I don't need a permit," said firmly. "Yes, I know." (At this point I felt like asking why, if he knew I didn't need a permit to take photos, he had asked me if I had a permit. But I bit my tongue.) At this point the other PSO chimed in. "In these times you can't be too careful." "What do you mean." "You know." "No, I don't. Tell me." "Oh, terrorism." "Really?" "Oh, yes, you can't be too careful." At this point they explained to me that some unnamed local residents might be concerned if they saw a person taking photographs of a station. "Really?" My hostility must have been showing at this point as the first one that spoke repeated several times "We're just having a friendly chat." (Really?) They then asked if I was taking photos professionally. "No, just for myself." (Professional photography, of course, requires a permit.) "Been taking photos long?" "Yes." (Probably since before you were born, sonny, but I didn't say it.) Then the second one chimed in. "Are you catching a train?" "Yes." "Do you have a ticket?" "Yes." "Can I see it?" "Certainly." I handed over my Myki, which had been touched on before I entered the platform. He checked it, looking at both sides (probably checking if it was a concession, in which case they could have asked to see my concession card). Amusingly, they didn't test to see if it was touched on (although they wouldn't have had any joy there). I have little doubt at this stage they were looking for a reason to ask for my name and address. They handed it back. "Thank you." I walked off and took a couple more photos.

I don't doubt that the blonde PSO that approached me first was having a fun little game of harass the public to while away the time and feel big. He didn't have any joy. But I'm a late middle age anglo male with a bit of knowledge of the law. And paranoid enough to touch on before I entered the platform, so I knew they couldn't touch me there.

So the message is... be careful out there (*). Particularly if you are doing something unusual, like taking photographs. If you are young and/or of middle eastern appearance you might have had a bit rougher time than I did. Make sure you touch on before entering a platform. Don't trespass.

(*) The allusion to a police procedural show is deliberate.
  hotdogpants1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Here.
Tends to not be uncommon for PSOs to badger people... Standard case of 'slow night'
  northbritish Chief Train Controller


The LXRA seem to be taking the opportunity to get rid of the hill between Blackburn and Nunawading Railway Stations whilst they remove the level crossing.
"LancedDendrite"


How are they going to achieve that? Rail under would add to the grade or are they going to dig out a lot of dirt?
  LancedDendrite Chief Commissioner

Location: Gheringhap Loop Autonomous Zone
How are they going to achieve that? Rail under would add to the grade or are they going to dig out a lot of dirt?
northbritish
Rail under reduces the grade. The climb starts just Down from Blackburn station, and as I outlined, they're digging for a fair distance along the line towards Nunawading. Once the Heatherdale Rd and Blackburn Rd level crossings are removed the grades from Box Hill to Ringwood will be much less severe.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

I had a good look at the state of play over the weekend, just before the big Easter shut starting this weekend. As you would expect, work seems to be ramping down just at the moment.

Not much is happening at Ormond. Auger piling is still underway between the Down station building and North Road. They have closed Katandra Rd at North Road to provide space to operate the piling machines. Access to the shops on Katandra Rd is only possible by the footpath. Work continues on the construction of the massive concrete beams at the north end of the station - some of the beam has now been cast. Foundations for a small building are being poured bout half way along the former Down platform. No work has been done on the wall along Cadby Ave for some time. The vending machines on the Ormond station platform have been removed, as has the payphone. The Myki equipment is still on the Down platform.

The access box for the new culvert for the north branch of Elster Creek has been cast and the shuttering removed. It's about 10 metres north of the existing culvert and I think that it is likely that this will replace the existing culvert. This will allow the ramp down to McKinnon station to start slightly further north than otherwise would be the case. Work is progressing building a retaining wall extending north and south of the new culvert. The railway lines at Elster Creek will be on a short embankment. At the south end this retaining wall joins up with the sheet piling extending to McKinnon. At the north end the retaining wall ends well short of the cast in situ piles. I'd guess this section will be an earth wall.

At McKinnon the most interesting development occurred towards the end of last week - a building was erected on the east side of the line. It appears that this is the first permanent building of the new station. (albeit clearly constructed elsewhere and craned in). The building is roughly where the former Down station building was located but a bit further from the tracks. It fits neatly in a gap of the newly constructed concrete safety wall on top of the retaining wall. Some care has been taken with the appearance of the building - polished silver details and brown wall panels. It's about 7 metres long by about 3 metres wide - about the size of a PSO Pod - with a single door and no windows. I'd suspect the foundations at Ormond will be for a similar building.

The concreting of the walls at McKinnon north of this new building has been largely completed and it is possible to get an idea where the cutting and future platforms will be located. Two new cantilever overhead structures have been erected on the east side of the line adjacent to the existing portal structures on the platform. The existing structures will almost certainly be removed with the station.

Minor service works have been carried out over several nights at McKinnon Road. It's difficult to tell exactly what they are doing as the fill in the holes after every night. Some large diameter water pipes appeared one night, so I'd guess that some of the work is water supply. Incidentally, they must have damaged a water pipe under McKinnon Rd during one of the piling sessions about a month ago and there has been a slow seep of water through the road surface ever since. It's now making a real mess of the road. Fortunately it will all get replaced in about a week's time.

Incidentally, they've got lazy about putting up signs about road closures. Originally they'd put up the big illuminated signs warning road users of overnight (and longer) closures. The last couple of times these signs have been conspicuous by their absence.

South of McKinnon Rd they have been busy installing sheet piling on the west side of the line along Nicholson St. They started about 100 metres north of the substation and over the last two weeks have done about 2/3rds of the distance towards McKinnon Rd. Interestingly a third method of piling is being used here. This involves two machines. The first is a simple auger - about 30 cm in diameter - which drills a series of closely spaced holes. It appears this is simply used to loosen the earth. Following behind is an ABI Mobilram TM11/14SL with a vibrating piling attachment (something like http://www.abi-gmbh.com/telescopic-leader-masts.html?file=tl_files/content/pdf_ABI_Prospekte/ABI_TM1114SL_SR30T_deen.pdf). This has a 'resonator' on the mast that clamps the top of the section of sheet piling and pushes it into the ground while vibrating the sheet. The process is quite fast - a cycle of inserting a section of sheet piling seems to take around 15 minutes. It is, however, extremely noisy. When the project was commenced new technology quiet piling was promised. I rather suspect that they have chosen to use faster piling where possible rather than quiet piling

Closer to the substation a couple of large machines have been parked. One appears to be a horizontal drilling machine. The second appears to be a massive tank with a collection of filter banks, pumps and pipes mounted on top. The third is a large diesel generator. We'll see how they are used.

At Bentleigh, it appears that the auger piling on the east side might have been finished. The large piling machine has been parked nearly opposite the substation with the auger removed. Piling, however, has commenced in the former western car park at Bentleigh and appears to be working north towards the substation. It appears they are using the same technique of loosening the soil by drilling, then vibrating sheet piling into place. However, the machines used here are much larger than the ones nearer McKinnon. The vibrating piling machine is a Liebherr LRB 155 (http://www.liebherr.ca/MCF/en-GB/products_ca-mcf.wfw/id-11686-0/measure-metric/tab-1061_1523?file=%7e%2fcatXmedia%2fmcf%2fDocuments%2fLRB+155+data+sheet+en_8153-0.pdf) with vibrating tool. The auger is a Banut 655 (http://www.banut.com/banut-fixed-leader-masts.html?file=tl_files/content/pdf_BANUT_prospekte/BANUT_655.pdf). I should have mentioned that a deep excavation, just as at McKinnon, has been dug on the east side of the line just north of Centre Rd. I suspect this is the foundation for the station platform.

South of Centre Road construction continues on the syphon under the cutting. The clam shell bucket was working on the eastern side of the line. What appears to be a large filtration unit/pump has been provided on the west side of the line with a very large pipe leading across Burgess St to a connection underground.

I was wrong last time when I wrote that piling had ceased on the east side of the line except at Ormond and Bentleigh stations. A small piling machine has been steadily working south from Centre Road. It has reached about 60 metres from the end of the cutting, so has just about finished.

While it's interesting to watch, the locals are getting steadily sick of the disruption and noise...
  Heihachi_73 Chief Commissioner

Location: Terminating at Ringwood
Once the Heatherdale Rd and Blackburn Rd level crossings are removed the grades from Box Hill to Ringwood will be much less severe.
"LancedDendrite"


But the timetables will remain the same, of course, it's only natural that everything else is done before the service itself is improved; just look at the bus network. Shiny new buses (or refurbished/repainted ones, as with the current oh-so-70s orange trend) every year or two, yet still running hourly on the weekend and not on Sundays in some cases.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Two days into the nine day shut they have been busy between Ormond and Bentleigh.

Yesterday afternoon the Up line had been removed between Ormond and McKinnon, by today it had been removed through Ormond platform (and probably beyond), and all the way to the Brewer Rd overbridge south of Bentleigh. The overhead had been removed, and they are busy removing the overhead stanchions on the Up side of the line. The signalling on the former Up line between Ormond and Brewer Rd appears to have been completely removed, as has the Down signalling on the Centre Road.

The station buildings at McKinnon were demolished and removed sometime between Friday afternoon and Saturday lunchtime. They now appear to be working on removing the platform and, it appears the former ramps to the platform. As at Saturday lunchtime, the station buildings at Ormond were still standing.


At McKinnon Rd, the boom barriers were being removed on Thursday evening. By Friday lunchtime the whole crossing area has been cleared, including the tracks, and large machines were removing the heavily reinforced concrete that lay under the tracks. By Saturday trenches had been dug to expose the tops of the three rows of piles, they had been jackhammered clean, and work was progressing on constructing the reinforcing for the beams and erecting the shuttering.

The work at Centre Road was somewhat similar, but it appears that they were not as advanced.

As for piling... It appears the east side piling at Ormond has been completed and the CFA piling rig was folded up, bits removed, and being serviced. Some of the bits were in the car park on the western side of Ormond, and I'd suspect it is being readied to be move to the west side of the station for further piling work. Katandra Rd has been reopened for southbound traffic at North Road.

A CFA piling rig has been delivered to the former western car park at McKinnon and was being assembled on Thursday.

The CFA piling rig that had been piling at the north end of the Bentleigh Down platform has been relocated to the former western car park. The earth that had been piled onto the Down platform has been cleared away.

Re the trenching/skyrail debate. I overheard one local resident telling her friend while crossing the line at McKinnon: "Those anti-skyrail people should spend a week in my place." The local bakery decided to shut completely over Easter, judging that business would be so bad they might as well take a holiday. Their comment was that sales were already down on Thursday as many people didn't realise that the crossing would not be closed until the evening.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
Daniel Bowen has been tweeting some photos of the works around Bentleigh.



  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria
The CEO of Watergardens Shopping Centre appeared to be very enthusiastic about plans to remove the crossing - maybe they might even foot some of the bill.
If he's enthusiastic, it's because he won't be picking up the tab.
Further update to the Main Road St Albans  project
Sunbury line  to be closed to all trains between Sunshine and Sunbury from January 2nd to January 9th inclusive with bustitution occurring .
Main Road St Albans to be closed to vehicular traffic from January 2nd to the 22nd inclusive for major works .
   Work continues out here in the west as well.
Furlong Road Level Crossing will be closed from 8 pm Thursday 18th February to 5 am Monday 22nd February .
The station car park on the western side of the line adjacent to the station will be closed at this time . This is the larger of the two car parks at Ginifer .The car park on the Eastern side of the line is being enlarged to cater for the increase in cars using this car park .Unfortunately this WILL make access to the station more tedious for the majority of motorists who drive to the station as they currently use the western side car park .
   This is being done to enable major excavation works to begin preparatory to lowering the line as the line is to go through what is now the car park area .
    There will be a further closure in March / April which will be to enable the construction of the road bridge over the line at Furlong Road .
     The Main Road Level Crossing project in St Albans is also progressing with the bridge being installed ( with it`s ancillary works ) during  the shutdown of the level crossing that occupied 19 days in January
Crossover
   Furlong Road level crossing closed yesterday and is due to remain closed until April 24th .
 Work has begun excavating under the line to enable the insertion of the bridge decking to carry the road over the tracks        when    the line has been lowered sufficiently .
      Ginifer station car parking has been dramatically altered to allow the works to continue as well but the station remains    open as in St Albans and the there are no planned shutdowns to the trains that I am aware of .
       Work is also continuing at Stans in excavating the trench for the tracks under Main Road and adjacent to St Albans           Station
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
For those of you on Facebook, the Level Crossing Removals Authority has placed a vast quantity of photos both ground & aerial of current projects at North Road (Ormond), McKinnon Rd (McKinnon), Centre Rd (Bentleigh), Main Rd (St Albans) and Furlong Rd (Ginifer). The level of construction activity is pretty amazing, and by now the current McKinnon & Ormond stations have been demolished.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

They are continuing to work around the clock on the Ormond - McKinnon - Bentleigh grade separation.

At Ormond the overhead portals that spanned the platforms had had their Up side legs removed by Saturday and were supported by new legs on the former island platform. Both station buildings at Ormond were demolished between Saturday afternoon and late Sunday morning. By Tuesday the platforms had been largely removed, with only mounds surrounding the new portal legs. Resleepering work was in progress on the Down track.

The bridges at both McKinnon Rd and Centre Rd had cast in situ reinforced concrete decks. I was told these are about 800mm thick. I was somewhat surprised that precast pre-stressed concrete beams weren't used.

At McKinnon, excavations had been completed for the new bridge deck by midday Saturday, the tops of the piles exposed, and work had commenced on erecting the reinforcing for the supporting beams. Shuttering was erected around these beams late Saturday. Mass concrete was then poured between the beams late Saturday. This had no re-inforcing and was not part of the bridge deck. It appears to have been used as the formwork for the lower side of the bridge deck. By Saturday evening they were constructing the reinforcing for the bridge deck. This was an immense job - taking all of Sunday and Monday (and possibly a bit of early Tuesday). By mid Tuesday morning they were pouring concrete - they'd done about a third of the bridge deck and beams. The line-up of concrete trucks was most impressive - of course you don't want to stop a mass pour for anything. The concrete pour had been completed by Tuesday night and the deck was covered. On Wednesday morning they were constructing shuttering around where the Down and Centre lines would be re-instated. I missed the next bit, but by this evening they had re-instated both rail lines and were ballasting the track. Elsewhere the concrete had been buried by fine crushed rock and further concreting work was going on outside the actual bridge deck. I'm assuming that they are working on providing the temporary road surface (which is about 60cm above the original surface). Both boom barriers had been replaced. Hi rails were working across the bridge deck on the rails, so I'd guess the concrete has cured to some extent.

Bentleigh followed the same construction technique and sequence as McKinnon, but was about half a day to a day behind. This probably relates to the wider width of Centre Road. The concrete pour took place over Tuesday night - it had been completed by Wednesday morning. By this evening the two tracks had been re-instated over the crossing.

While the bridge was being constructed, work was being undertaken to restore the Down line to trafficable condition. Sleepers were replaced and ballast augmented - both were taken from the former Up line.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Everyone in Ormond, McKinnon, and Bentleigh is recovering from the big shut over Easter, and enjoying being able to move around the local neighborhood again. The railway line was reopened as scheduled on Monday morning. All of the signalling on the Down line has been restored to use. Centre Road was reopened early - about midday on Monday. By Monday afternoon the flashing road signs approaching Bentleigh had been reprogrammed to say 'Centre Road Open'. McKinnon Road was opened on schedule on Tuesday morning. There was a fair amount of confusion about the station reopenings - the local paper incorrectly reported that Bentleigh would be closed as well as Ormond and McKinnon. Bentleigh seems less busy than it did before the shut.

Working from the north to the south.

Track on the Up line has been lifted south of the Dorothy Ave underpass to about halfway between Brewer Rd and Patterson. Fencing has been erected to protect the worksites.

The south east corner of the EE Gunn reserve (to the northwest of Ormond, bounded on the north by the Rosstown railway alignment) was taken over as a dumping ground for spoil during the shut. A significant pile has already been accumulated - presumably the earth dug out of McKinnon and Centre Roads. More spoil has been used to construct a ramp up to the railway line (which is on a fairly high embankment here). As this location is one of the staging areas for spoil during the 40 day shut, I doubt the community will get this land back until after August. Interestingly, the Scout hall appears to be totally isolated and must be out of use.

A single CFA piling rig is in service on the western side of the former Ormond station site. The only remnants of the former station are a couple of short segments of platform, and the former underpass. No other work appears to be in progress between Dorothy Ave and Ormond, or between Ormond and Murray Road.

One of the little hydraulic sheet piling rigs is in use working south between Murray Road and the former McKinnon site. This appears to be the same machine that did the piling on the east side of the line in this same stretch, and the piling south of Centre Rd towards Brewer Rd (which must have finished just prior to the shut). About 100m of piling seems to have been installed.

A single CFA piling rig is in service in the former car park on the western side of the former McKinnon station site. About the only remnants of the station is one segment of the former Down platform, and a couple of pieces of wall from the former subway. One lone bush has survived. Pedestrian crossings have been restored on both sides of McKinnon Rd. The level crossing has a noticeable hump in it, and the new road level is about 30cm above the former level.

No piling work appears to be active between McKinnon and Bentleigh. A section of sheet piling was constructed between McKinnon Rd and near Elster Ck before the shut on the western side of the line. During the shut, the temporary pedestrian crossing was located near the northern end of this piling, and it could clearly be seen to curve out away from the line. This clearly marks the widening of the cutting to the start of the McKinnon station box.

What appears to be grouting work is being undertaken on the western side of the line near the southern branch of the Elster Ck. A large horizontal boring machine is in use with a very large water conditioning machine.

At least three piling rigs are situated on the western side of Bentleigh station - two very large sheet piling machines, and the CFA piling rig that was working on the eastern side of the line at Bentleigh. It's not clear how many of these piling machines are in actual use. A lengthy section of sheet piling has been completed opposite the northern end of Bentleigh platform.

South of Bentleigh work was continued on the syphon under the line just south of Centre Rd. The work in progress during the shut was constructing the pipe under the line. This was undertaken by using hydraulic jacks to push the concrete pipe under the line. The jacking was conducted from the large pit on the eastern side of the line. The shaft that was dug on the western side of the line was jack hammered away and a large pit was dug.
  Nightfire Minister for Railways

Location: Gippsland
hotdogpants1
The dead space under the railway viaduct could be leased as storage vaults.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

Update on the North Rd - McKinnon Rd - Centre Rd grade separations.

First, a comment on the impact on Traders. More gossip from the local traders indicates that, as you would expect, very patchy impact. One trader indicates no impact whatsoever, despite being very close to the level crossing. His neighbours have made no money for three weeks. A big influence, of course, is the type of business. Traders dependent on commuter traffic are starving with the closure of the station. As you would expect, almost no commuters walk toward or through the shopping centre with the closure of the station.

A bunch of traders just west of the level crossing in Bentleigh put up suspiciously professional looking posters attacking Daniel Andrews, apparently about the level crossing removal. The most recent issue of the local paper, however, published a letter attacking these traders. The letter stated that the level crossing removal was of long term benefit to the locals, and that the trader she patronised (and who had a poster) had told her that he hadn't lost any trade. She further stated that, until he removed it, she was going to go to one of his competitors. Most of the posters have subsequently been removed.

The most positive spin of this is that there is a real tension in the community about the short term pain/long term benefit of the level crossing removal. A more negative view is that politicians are playing games.

Second, I remember promises made at the beginning about a revolutionary new silent piling method. These seem to have been forgotten about, and most of the piling is being done using a very noisy piling rig.

Three method of piling have been used so far. Work started using CFA piling in which the piles were cast in situ. This has been used on both sides under the roadways and where the station buildings will go (i.e. load bearing areas). On the eastern side, it was also used around the station boxes (where the cutting will be deepest), and between North Road and Elster Creek. On the western side, however, it is different. Most of the western side of the Bentleigh box uses sheet piling, and no stretches have been done outside the station boxes after the very first section. While some of this may be due to different ground conditions, it's hard to escape the conclusion that the CFA piling was too slow/expensive for general use.

The second piling system was using sheet piles driven under hydraulic pressure with an inbuilt auger to loosen the soil. This method has the advantage of being feasible close to property boudaries. This has been used for the eastern and western stretches between Elster Ck (Murray Rd) and the McKinnon station box, the eastern section south of McKinnon Rd, and the final section south of Centre Rd to the end of the cutting near Brewer Rd. This method is also essentially silent, but is also slow.

The final method uses sheet piles, also driven under hydraulic pressure, but assists the driving using high frequency vibrations. A 'resonator' is clamped to the top of the sheet pile and it vibrates the pile as it is pushed into the earth. A separate, simple, auger is used in advance of the driving to loosen the earth. Needless to say, this is noisy. I live about a kilometer away from the work, on the other side of a ridge, and it is loud enough to be annoying. It would be quite unpleasant to be close to the work. It is, however, fast.

So, to the actual work done over the past week or so.

The big pile of earth in the EE Gunn reserve (north of Ormond) has been removed. It seems some of this earth may have been used to make working areas for piling. A quick glance from the train yesterday suggests that the fenced area of the reserve has been massively increased.

No piling work appears to have been done yet on the western side north or south of Ormond station, but the CFA piling rig has been working on the Ormond station box. A lot of work has been done immediately north of Ormond levelling and clearing the piling site. On the east side, work has continued on casting the beam at the top of the cast in situ piles.

South of Elster Ck (Murray Rd) sheet piling has been driven on the west side, starting about 150m south of Murray Rd and ending at the McKinnon station box. The compact piling rig was relocated just to the south of McKinnon Road at the beginning of the week. CFA piling has been continuing on the western side of the McKinnon station box. Until now, work has been undertaken in the former car park, but the rig has just been moved north to work behind the private properties (plenty of room as this was where the station platform was).

South of McKinnon Rd a long stretch of sheet piling has been nearly completed west of the line, running from just north of Elster Ck to just south of public toilets. A significant portion of this was driven before the big shut, and, last Sunday, one of the vibrating piling machines was driven up Nicholson St to continue the work. To prevent the tracks damaging the road surface, very large sheets of plastic were used between the tracks and the road (think very industrial versions of office mats). A large team moved the sheets from behind the machine as it move to in front of the tracks. The compact sheet piling machine was relocated during the week to just north of the public toilets at McKinnon, and will pile the tight bit behind the level crossing control boxes towards McKinnon Rd. The south pedestrian crossing at McKinnon Rd has been closed (again) to allow this to occur.

I'm still trying to work out what they are doing at Elster Ck near the substation. As previously noted, a large horizontal drilling machine is in use here. It appears to be drilling at an angle of about 30-40 degrees from the horizontal, and at a shallow angle under the line. The drill strand is about 10cm in diameter, and initial great pile of drill lengths has dwindled down to a few. It's not clear whether they have drilled one hole (with the lengths remaining in the hole), or one very long hole.

Work is being undertaken inside the substation building, but what is not clear.

A very long stretch of sheet piling has been driven on the west side from about the Bentleigh station buildings north and it has now nearly reached the substation. Two piling rigs have been used in this section, but one was moved (to McKinnon), and the remaining piling rig is quite small (obviously the piles get shallower as they move towards Elster Ck).

The CFA piling at Bentleigh (the south end of the station box from about the station buildings to Centre Rd) appears to have been completed. The piling rig was being dismantled on Wednesday and has now been removed. Work has commenced on digging out the soil around the tops of the piles before starting work on casting the beams. As at Ormond, work has continued on the eastern side of the line concreting the beams at the top of the piles.

Bentleigh station toilets have a notice on them saying that the toilets will be closed as from late April. A portable toilet is being erected at the south end of the station building. The sign directs patrons to the station toilets at Moorabbin or Caulfield, the public toilets in Bent St Bentleigh, or an accessible toilet at the station.

Work continues on the syphon south of Centre Rd, but it's hard to see exactly what they are doing.

Little work seems to have been done piling on the western side of the line south of Centre Rd, although an auger has been set up. I'd suspect the vibrating piler from McKinnon will be moved down here when McKinnon has been completed.
  Valvegear Oliver Bullied, CME

Location: Norda Fittazroy
historian, you really are a mine of information.
Well done, and thank you.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

A quick update on the North Rd - McKinnon Rd - Centre Rd grade separation as the piling work changed this week.

The large CFA piling machine that was working at Bentleigh, and was noted as being disassembled last Wednesday, was relocated to Ormond. It is now working on the eastern side immediately to the south of North Road. Indeed, on Monday, it was working right at the southern pedestrian crossing. There is a short gap (~100 m) between the bridge abutments and the existing piles, and I'd wondered about a month ago if that section had been piled or not. Clearly it hadn't been.

The small, compact, sheet piling machine that had been working on the west side of the line south of Murray Rd towards McKinnon Rd was relocated late last week to just south of McKinnon Rd between the public toilets and the level crossing equipment boxes. A couple of lengths of pile were driven towards the end of the week, but they worked extremely hard on Sunday to pile north to the McKinnon Rd abutment (blocking the southern pedestrian crossing which was, again, closed). On Monday the machine was relocated back to its starting point, but facing south, and today it was working past the public toilets towards the run of sheet piling being driven from Elster Creek. The piling depth is here is clearly at the maximum this machine can work at, and the auger head needs to be supported by a crane when starting a new pile. Its position on Sunday meant that it was easy to see exactly how this machine worked. I would expect this piling section to be completed very soon.

Finally, the sheet piling machine working northwards on the west side of the line has been relocated south of Bentleigh. It probably started driving piles yesterday or today, and appears to be working northward along Burgess St towards Centre Rd. This is the first piling work on the western side of the line south of Centre Rd. A simple auger has been working in this stretch for about a week loosening the soil.

Also, a note on the syphon just south of Centre Rd. I may be misinterpreting things, but I wonder if they had trouble with the western leg. Before the big easter shut, they were busy sinking a shaft by casting heavily re-inforced rings at the surface and digging the soil out using a clamshell bucket. During the shut, I noticed that they had cut away the top of the concrete shaft and excavated a large pit around the top. More recently, I've noticed that they have dug up the entire width of Burgess St to a depth of about 30 or 40 cm.

The eastern half of the EE Gunn reserve in Ormond has been fenced off as a spoil store. The bits that aren't fenced off are the children's playground (the old Rosstown railway), the Aussie Rules oval (surprise there), the tennis courts, and the car park along the northern boundary. They have even gone to the extent of fencing off the thin strip of land between the oval and the tennis courts.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

It's been about 11 days since an update, and the piling machines have been considerably relocated in that time.

I was wrong that no piling had been done north of Ormond on the west side of the line. A short stretch (~100m) of in-situ piles have been cast behind the houses in Newham Grove. This appears to have been done around the time of the big shut, or shortly afterwards. In this area the former Up line has been flattened and covered with earth to make a working platform.

The CFA piling machine working on the western side of Ormond station worked steadily through this period, and was last noted behind the gym. A second CFA piling machine was working on the short section on the eastern side of the line immediately south of North Road. It was still there late this week, but just today I noticed that its mast was not visible on the skyline, so this work may have been finished. Work on the beam at the top of the eastern cast piles continues, and the main beam appears complete south to the small building.

South of North Road, a CFA piling machine has been set to work on the western side of the line at the southern end of the tennis courts (about 225 metres south of North Road). The machine was being erected on the 21 April. This machine appears to be working north towards North Road.

McKinnon was extremely busy, but now has become extremely quiet. Eleven days ago there were three piling machines working in the area. There was a CFA piling machine working on the western side of the line in the area of the old platforms. There was the resonating sheet piling machine working north on the west side of the line towards the public toilets, and there was the small sheet piling machine working south behind the public toilets. Around 19 April, the resonating sheet piling machine had finished. It was being dissembled on 20 April and was relocated back to the works depot (the former western car park at Bentleigh). This left the small sheet piling machine working south past the toilets towards the completed piles. This work had been completed by 22 April, and this piling machine was also relocated to the car park at Bentleigh by 24 April. The CFA piling machine by this stage was working behind the houses in Glen Orme Ave, quite close to the end of the run of sheet piling. Just today I noticed that it had been moved back to near McKinnon Rd and had been folded up for transport. It's quite likely that piling works in the vicinity of McKinnon have been completed. The only work underway at the moment is constructing the curved formwork for the south west corner of the bridge parapet.

At the horizontal boring machine near the substation between McKinnon and Ormond, it appeared that work on drilling northwards had been completed by 20 April. The drill string had been withdrawn and stacked in racks. The boring machine was then turned around (by 22 April) and preparations were made to drill southwards. Again, the drill is about 30 degrees down and is angled underneath the railway. They appeared to be spudding in on Friday morning.

The resonating sheet piling machine working north from Bentleigh towards the substation on the western side of the line appears to have finished its work around 20 April. This machine was then relocated south of Centre Rd to work along Burgess St.

Work in the former western car park at Bentleigh has been extremely varied. It appears that there was a gap between the end of the sheet steel piling (which finished around the level of the station buildings), and the cast in situ piles near Centre Road. The resonating piling machine that had been working at McKinnon was moved back to Bentleigh and set to work by 22 April extending the sheet piling. This machine has since ceased work, and by 28 April its place has been taken by the small sheet piling machine that had been at McKinnon. This is curious, as the special feature of this machine is that it can work in a restricted space, but space here is ample for any machine. A crane is being used to support the auger head of this machine as the piles being driven are so long. I mentioned in the last update that the toilets at Bentleigh had been closed (from 18 April). Clearly the reason for this was that the piling would destroy the sewer connection.

In addition to these piling machines, a classic impact piling machine has been brought in by 22 April to finish off some piles on the western side of Bentleigh station. It doesn't work often, but when it does you can certainly hear it work.

Excavation work has commenced behind the northern end of the island platform at Bentleigh. Earth has been taken out to a depth about 3 metres and the full width from the former platform wall to the sheet piling. About 80 metres has been dug out. On Friday 29 April a small drilling rig was at the bottom of this excavation, drilling through the sheet piling.

Work started just north of Centre Rd last week constructing the beams at the top of the cast in situ piles. The standard process was followed; the tops of the piles were jack hammered out to expose the re-inforcing. Massive beams of reinforcing are now being erected.

Work on the syphon south of Centre Rd has nearly been completed. On the east side of the line a gullet has been dug leading into the excavated pit, and by 28 April a very large diametre steel pipe was being constructed to connect the surface drain with the eastern leg of the syphon. On the west side, Burgess St had been dug out by the end of the end of the week to a depth of about 2 metres to expose the massive north south drain under the street.

Finally, work has commenced on the sheet steel piling on the western side of the line south of Centre Rd. Work commenced on or just before 19 April using the machine that was working northwards from Bentleigh towards the substation. Work is proceeding northwards towards Centre Rd.
  Crossover Train Controller

Location: St. Albans Victoria
The CEO of Watergardens Shopping Centre appeared to be very enthusiastic about plans to remove the crossing - maybe they might even foot some of the bill.
If he's enthusiastic, it's because he won't be picking up the tab.
Further update to the Main Road St Albans  project
Sunbury line  to be closed to all trains between Sunshine and Sunbury from January 2nd to January 9th inclusive with bustitution occurring .
Main Road St Albans to be closed to vehicular traffic from January 2nd to the 22nd inclusive for major works .
   Work continues out here in the west as well.
Furlong Road Level Crossing will be closed from 8 pm Thursday 18th February to 5 am Monday 22nd February .
The station car park on the western side of the line adjacent to the station will be closed at this time . This is the larger of the two car parks at Ginifer .The car park on the Eastern side of the line is being enlarged to cater for the increase in cars using this car park .Unfortunately this WILL make access to the station more tedious for the majority of motorists who drive to the station as they currently use the western side car park .
   This is being done to enable major excavation works to begin preparatory to lowering the line as the line is to go through what is now the car park area .
    There will be a further closure in March / April which will be to enable the construction of the road bridge over the line at Furlong Road .
     The Main Road Level Crossing project in St Albans is also progressing with the bridge being installed ( with it`s ancillary works ) during  the shutdown of the level crossing that occupied 19 days in January
   Furlong Road level crossing closed yesterday and is due to remain closed until April 24th .
 Work has begun excavating under the line to enable the insertion of the bridge decking to carry the road over the tracks        when    the line has been lowered sufficiently .
      Ginifer station car parking has been dramatically altered to allow the works to continue as well but the station remains    open as in St Albans and the there are no planned shutdowns to the trains that I am aware of .
       Work is also continuing at Stans in excavating the trench for the tracks under Main Road and adjacent to St Albans           Station
Crossover
Meanwhile out west ; -This is a summary of the work done at Furlong Road ( Ginifer Station ) during the recent Crossing shutdown .
                           28 Beams installed for the Ginifer station concourse and Furlong Road Bridge .
                           10,000 cubic metres of rock and soil dug out
                            460 cubic metres of cncrete pour completed .
                             100 tonnes of steel reinforcement fitted
                             200 tonnes of Asphalt laid .
                             60 metres of new station sewer main installed .
                             Installation of new traffic signal foundations and poles for the Furlong Road / St Albans Road / Willaton Street intersection .
                              Removed a traffic island on St Albans Road .
                              Relocated the traffic island at the intersection of St Albans road and Furlong Road
                              Relocated power , water , electricity gas and telecommunications underground ,
                              COMING UP - More digging to lower to excavate rock and soil .
                                                 A new pedestrian footpath will be opened on willaton Street with station access relocated further east towards Bond Avenue .
                                                  Towards the end of May installation of the lift shafts for the new Ginifer station will commence . These will be on the corner of Furlong Road and Willaton Street .
                              MAIN ROAD WEST - St Albans Station .- Mid May work is to commence on the new station concourse , including Lift shaft an concrete beam installation . This will be followed by by the commencement of construction of of the new platforms (2) on the lower level .
                              Work continues .

.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

The LCRA has sent out a new 'update' that clarifies the immediate timetable for the Ormond-McKinnon-Bentleigh project.

There will be a two day shut over the weekend of 14/15 May. Major works will be further demolition of Ormond station (exactly what is not clear; there is not much left now) and commencement of construction of the concourses at McKinnon and Bentleigh.

A second two day shut will occur over the weekend of 4/5 June. Bentleigh station will be closed on and after the 4 June and will be demolished during this shut. For roughly the next three weeks, trains will run express Patterson - Glenhuntly.

The big shut will run from 9pm Friday 24 June. The line will reopen on Monday 1 August in the cutting. I've seen elsewhere, but can't find it at the moment, that McKinnon station will reopen with the line. Ormond and Bentleigh will reopen in late August. As with Gardiner, the car parks will be the last stage of the projects.

As to the current state of the works...

There are, or soon will be, three CFA piling machines working at Ormond. The large CFA piling machine continues to work on the western retaining wall in the area of western car park. Two E6050 CFA piling machines are working north and south of Ormond station. To the south, one of these machines had been working on the western retaining wall adjacent to the tennis courts about 200 metres south of North Road. By 1 May this machine had been moved to the works depot at Ormond. The machine that had been working at McKinnon had finished up there by 1 May, and was relocated to Ormond. By the 5 May one of these two machines was being reassembled behind the houses in Newham Grove, north of Ormond station. A short section of shallow cast in situ piles has been installed here, and it appears that this machine will work south from this point towards Ormond. The other machine had been moved and was working south of North Road.

The large CFA machine that had been working on the last portion of the eastern retaining wall immediately south of North Road finished up towards the end of last week, and had been taken away by 1 May. This machine (ex Bentleigh) appears to have left the construction. By 5 May the southern pedestrian crossing at North Road was closed and the tops of the piles were being excavated to construct the beams.

North of North Road, work is still continuing constructing the concrete beams at the top of the piles. This has been completed north of the small building. Work on constructing the reinforcing cage between this building and North Road was underway on 5 May.

As an aside, it appears that the ground conditions around Ormond are the worst on the line. The retaining walls around the station box and both north and south of the station on both sides appear to be solely cast in situ concrete piles. No sheet steel piling has been used in this area.

As already mentioned, the E6050 CFA piling rig at McKinnon finished up towards the end of last week. By 30 April it was parked near McKinnon Road and was subsequently moved to Ormond. This marks completion of piling in the vicinity of McKinnon. By 2 May work had commenced on excavating the cutting at McKinnon. The final remnants of the pedestrian subway was being removed from the western side of the line, and digging was in progress south of McKinnon Rd. By 5 May they were digging out the earth between the centre pier of the McKinnon concourse and the western row of piles. Excavation work is also in progress between McKinnon Road and Elster Creek.

At Bentleigh the small sheet piling machine continued to work on extending the western sheet piling south past the Bentleigh station buildings. It was still working this morning, but by this evening this work had been completed and the machine had been removed. This appears to mark the completion of piling north of Centre Road. During the week the beam at the top of the piles on the western side, immediately north of Centre Road was constructed. Excavation work continues behind the platform at Bentleigh on the site of the former Up line.

South of Centre Road, the resonating sheet piling machine has been working north towards Bentleigh station. A new large auger has been provided south of this, towards Brewer Road.
  jdekorte Deputy Commissioner

Location: Near Caulfield Station
Thanks historian for your timely & detailed updates!

I have also been travelling up and down the line observing the works, but there has obviously been lots that I miss from a train window.  However there are a couple of other interesting things going on which are related.

Since the start of the works, a tiny John Holland depot has been maintained north of the Glenhuntly station carpark, with entry from Neerim Rd.  I've been puzzled as to what they are actually doing here but I suspect it's got something to do with signalling. If anyone else is more enlightened about this please speak.

Also, the sidings at Caulfield appear to be having a bit of a refurbishment in preparation for the big shut.  Beside both sidings, new asphalt paths have been constructed.  And one of the formerly derelict buildings beside the sidings has been completely renovated and I think it's now become a train driver ready room. It's been repainted charcoal grey with olive green trimmings and it's in stark contrast to the other derelict building beside it.  Again, John Holland seems to be involved in these works as their trucks have been parked beside the sidings most days.

On a side note, the former substation building at Caulfield has also been completely renovated and seems to be a much bigger signals depot and office.  This area is going to be very busy in the next few year with construction gearing up on the Caulfield - Dandenong level crossing removals.

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