50 level crossings to be removed

 
  Lad_Porter Chief Commissioner

Location: Yarra Glen
Preliminary work is starting at Mooroolbark and Lilydale.  

"08 May 2020
Early construction work has started on the level crossing removal projects at Manchester Road, Mooroolbark and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale.
Works to set up our construction sites at Lilydale and Mooroolbark are now underway, as are preparations for service relocations and some vegetation removal. Temporary fencing will start to be visible around both sites, along with an increase in construction workers.
These early works will continue for several months to pave the way for major construction to begin towards the end of 2020.
From 6 May 2020, a test pile will be constructed in a small section of the western commuter car park at Lilydale Station.
Piling is when we dig vertically into the ground and fill the hole with concrete to create strong foundations for our bridge structures.
The test pile at Lilydale will help our engineers determine how deep the foundations need to be for the new rail bridge over Maroondah Highway. This work will be complete in early June.
From early May until 2022, there will be a temporary closure of the pedestrian and cyclist path behind the Mooroolbark Community Centre, leading to Ellen Road and Croydondale Drive. This location will be used for the construction site offices and as a laydown area for the Manchester Road Level Crossing Removal Project.
New stations will be built at both Mooroolbark and Lilydale as part of the project, as well as a new multi-deck car park at Mooroolbark, which will contribute to doubling commuter parking to 900 spaces.
Both projects will be completed in 2022."

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  EmrldPhoenix Station Master

Location: Melbourne, VIC
A question regarding the works at Maroondah Highway, Lilydale. Will the new rail bridge require the John St bridge to be removed or upgraded? There is only about 150m between John St and Maroondah Hwy, so I would expect to see a longer rail bridge.

John St only has a 2.7m road clearance, but that is not a big concern by any means. So would an updated bridge structure even be worth it?
  stooge spark Chief Train Controller

Location: My House
stooge spark; what have you started????Very Happy
Valvegear
I'm hoping a very rational discussion.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

A question regarding the works at Maroondah Highway, Lilydale. Will the new rail bridge require the John St bridge to be removed or upgraded? There is only about 150m between John St and Maroondah Hwy, so I would expect to see a longer rail bridge.

John St only has a 2.7m road clearance, but that is not a big concern by any means. So would an updated bridge structure even be worth it?
EmrldPhoenix
Lilydale will be similar set up as Mernda, the new bus interchange will be on either side of the railway, the new station will be built above John St, thus increasing the height to allow track buses access. The front entrance to Lilydale High School may no longer exist.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
closure of Lilydale High front entrance - trainbrain
Not disputing that statement but there are a number of industries along that road that would suffer if their access road was closed. Not a good idea, politically, to force closure of these; although the same happening in Bulleen for the NE Link isn't causing much loss of sleep in the ALP, it appears, so I may well be very wrong on that account.

Neil
  kitchgp Chief Commissioner

The artist impression shows John Street levelled out, ie fully rail-over-road. William Street East, including south of the roundabout, remains.

From LXRP website:
https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/projects/maroondah-highway-lilydale/image-gallery#gallery-384499-4
  lkernan Deputy Commissioner

Location: Melbourne
Noticed Kananook yard was in use last night as I drove past.   Spotted Comeng and Siemens sets in there, possibly an Xtrap too.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
Looks like the NIMBY's of Willamstown prefer a concrete trench to rail over, see Consultation Report
Interesting that a large number of them are worried about noise from trains running over a raised line, especially when reports from people living along the CD9 project have commented about how quiet trains are on the elevated line; their loss or is that gain, as far as graffiti goes?

Neil
  EmrldPhoenix Station Master

Location: Melbourne, VIC
Looks like the NIMBY's of Willamstown prefer a concrete trench to rail over, see Consultation Report
Interesting that a large number of them are worried about noise from trains running over a raised line, especially when reports from people living along the CD9 project have commented about how quiet trains are on the elevated line; their loss or is that gain, as far as graffiti goes?

Neil
ngarner
Rail under was always going to be the most likely choice. Now we have confirmation.

On other matters, I've always associated trenches with more graffiti. The trench is just one big canvas for a budding graffiti 'artist'. Not that the crap on there is in any way comparable to art.

On noise, the design of the skyrail sections means noise is directed upwards, away from the ground level. I haven't experienced it myself but I'd expect skyrail to be just as quiet, if not quieter, than a trench solution.
  simstrain Chief Commissioner

How many trains run from newport to williamstown in peak hour?

Why even bother removing the level crossing if so few trains are run?

Surely there are other areas more important to look at then a low frequency line.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
How many trains run from newport to williamstown in peak hour?

Why even bother removing the level crossing if so few trains are run?

Surely there are other areas more important to look at then a low frequency line.
simstrain
As someone has written somewhere (sorry, can't remember where) this project isn't about rail so much as road. Sure, rail benefits due to the ability to increase frequency, reduce delays & improve safety but road users benefit far more and that crossing is one that road traffic will benefit greatly from removal of.

Neil
  freightgate Minister for Railways

Location: Albury, New South Wales
Are there any examples of improved frequency on lines where level crossing removals have already been completed ?
  CraigieburnLineUser Locomotive Fireman

Are there any examples of improved frequency on lines where level crossing removals have already been completed ?
freightgate
Off the top of my head, the only I can think of is Grange and Lower Plenty Rd removals on the Hurstbridge Line where they duplicated track and redid the timetable
  mejhammers1 Chief Commissioner

How many trains run from newport to williamstown in peak hour?

Why even bother removing the level crossing if so few trains are run?

Surely there are other areas more important to look at then a low frequency line.
As someone has written somewhere (sorry, can't remember where) this project isn't about rail so much as road. Sure, rail benefits due to the ability to increase frequency, reduce delays & improve safety but road users benefit far more and that crossing is one that road traffic will benefit greatly from removal of.

Neil
ngarner
Personally, I would look to convert that Branch to Light Rail and try to develop a light rail netwrok for the west based in Newport, Footscray and surrounds. Williamstown is just taking much needed paths from the far more important Werribee corridor.

Michael
  Lockie91 Chief Train Controller

How many trains run from newport to williamstown in peak hour?

Why even bother removing the level crossing if so few trains are run?

Surely there are other areas more important to look at then a low frequency line.
As someone has written somewhere (sorry, can't remember where) this project isn't about rail so much as road. Sure, rail benefits due to the ability to increase frequency, reduce delays & improve safety but road users benefit far more and that crossing is one that road traffic will benefit greatly from removal of.

Neil
Personally, I would look to convert that Branch to Light Rail and try to develop a light rail netwrok for the west based in Newport, Footscray and surrounds. Williamstown is just taking much needed paths from the far more important Werribee corridor.

Michael
mejhammers1
Will never happen for two reasons.

Firstly, closing a rail line is political suicide. Even for conversion.

Secondly, a lot of development is happening in the bayside area thanks to it proximity to the city. You will end up with the current situation you have in St Kilda. If we put aside the great urban renewal thanks to the conversion of St Kilda and Port Melbourne to light rail. We are now in the situation where the Light Rail is at capacity and additional infrastructure needs to be considered. In hindsight it would have been better to keep heavy rail which would have been able to carry 1000 people per train every five minutes, compared to 200 per tram.

As for Ferguson Street, its an old fashioned pork barrel. The LX isn't high one anyones list in terms or congestion or safety. It is the seat for the new minister for transport Hon Melissa Horne. Saying that the ALP has held it pretty much uncontested since 1904.
  Valvegear Dr Beeching

Location: Norda Fittazroy
Williamstown is a special case. Basically that is because you don't go through Williamstown to get to somewhere else. It's on a little peninsula of its own. You may skirt around it at North Willy but that's about it. It is also pretty unlikely for the area to suffer from too much more so-called "development".  Willy is now very trendy with a lot of money spent buying houses and renovating them. There's not a lot of land available for the developers. The other factor in play is the reduced road traffic in the area since the closure of Nelson Pier, the Naval Dockyard et al.
  Lockspike Deputy Commissioner

Personally, I would look to convert that Branch to Light Rail and try to develop a light rail netwrok for the west based in Newport, Footscray and surrounds. Williamstown is just taking much needed paths from the far more important Werribee corridor.

Michael
mejhammers1
Willy will not experience a reduction in service, and the grade separation will be rail under because that is what Willy wants. Willy is cashed up and influential...
  justapassenger Minister for Railways

As for Ferguson Street, its an old fashioned pork barrel. The LX isn't high one anyones list in terms or congestion or safety. It is the seat for the new minister for transport Hon Melissa Horne. Saying that the ALP has held it pretty much uncontested since 1904.
Lockie91
The ALP has such a margin currently that pork barrelling for the majority of this electoral term will be about internal politics, not about defending seats.
  trainbrain Chief Commissioner

Just leave the Willy line as is , it is in the same league as the Sandy Line. far more important lx's that need to be removed first.
  EmrldPhoenix Station Master

Location: Melbourne, VIC
I want to supply some context for the potential reason for the Ferguson St LX removal. This is using wildly out-of-date information, but it is the latest publicly available information we have.

In the 2008 ALCAM assessment, Ferguson St ranked as the 22nd most dangerous crossing in the state. When ignoring the crossings that were removed between 2008 and 2014, Ferguson St jumps to #19. ALCAM says their assessments expire every 5 years, so given the state election in late 2014, I am going to assume that the LXRP policy was formed in 2012/13, and the shortlist of LXs was finalised by the Labor party early in 2014, just as the ALCAM analysis reached the end of its useful lifespan.

This is shaky reasoning at best, as even VicRoads didn't include it in their 2013 LX analysis, but I hope it helps frame the argument on why this was chosen back in 2013/14 as Labor policy.
  ngarner Assistant Commissioner

Location: Seville
A piling rig in now sitting in the western car park at Lilydale, ready to or already, doing a test drill, as apparently LXRP still don't know how deep they need to go for the piles for the new station.

Neil
  Lockie91 Chief Train Controller

I want to supply some context for the potential reason for the Ferguson St LX removal. This is using wildly out-of-date information, but it is the latest publicly available information we have.

In the 2008 ALCAM assessment, Ferguson St ranked as the 22nd most dangerous crossing in the state. When ignoring the crossings that were removed between 2008 and 2014, Ferguson St jumps to #19. ALCAM says their assessments expire every 5 years, so given the state election in late 2014, I am going to assume that the LXRP policy was formed in 2012/13, and the shortlist of LXs was finalised by the Labor party early in 2014, just as the ALCAM analysis reached the end of its useful lifespan.

This is shaky reasoning at best, as even VicRoads didn't include it in their 2013 LX analysis, but I hope it helps frame the argument on why this was chosen back in 2013/14 as Labor policy.
EmrldPhoenix
This very much an internal pork barrel, the facts are a coincidence. The majority of the LX's do stand on their own merit, this and about a dozen others are questionable.  Gap Road, Sunbury (No.186) & Camp Road, Broadmeadows (No.161) are ones that come to mind. Both in Labor seats that had around a 5% margin at the last election. No.9 Macaulay & Riversdale Rd No. 21 are some major ones that missed out.
  EmrldPhoenix Station Master

Location: Melbourne, VIC
This very much an internal pork barrel, the facts are a coincidence. The majority of the LX's do stand on their own merit, this and about a dozen others are questionable.  Gap Road, Sunbury (No.186) & Camp Road, Broadmeadows (No.161) are ones that come to mind. Both in Labor seats that had around a 5% margin at the last election. No.9 Macaulay & Riversdale Rd No. 21 are some major ones that missed out.
Lockie91
I agree that some are questionable, but if we are going to use only the facts as they are given, I can make arguments for all of the LXs you have listed.

Camp Rd in Broadmeadows may not be the most important LX, but it is a requirement to remove if there are plans to duplicate the Upfield line. This one is is a little shaky, as the Barry Rd LX needs to be removed as well, alongside an Upfield station upgrade.

But on Gap Rd, this one is easy for me to justify. At the time of the ALCAM analysis, the only trains to pass through Sunbury were Bendigo VLines. At the time, the electrified line only went up to Watergardens. For this reason, the risk rating is so low. When the line was electrified, the LX saw significant growth in the number of trains, and may have encourage population growth in the Sunbury area, increasing traffic around the LX.

Macauly Rd on the Craigieburn line is apparently going to be difficult due to grade. I am not a local, so I don't actually know the truth of this. Riversdale Rd should have been included IMO, but any upgrades to the Alamein line are almost wasted. The line will not see any significant changes to patronage or to service numbers, and it is basically a given that it will only receive a basic service. No improvements to the line will change this.

I also want to draw attention to the fact that none of these crossings were put on VicRoads' 2013 list of priority removals.

The linked appendix has the full list of crossings grouped into 4 levels of priority; high, medium, low and no priority. This VAGO report makes judgment on the first 50 pledge, and does not account for crossings pledged in 2018, given the report was commissioned in 2017. But if you also include those 25 LXs, you can fill in the gaps.

https://www.audit.vic.gov.au/report/managing-level-crossing-removal-program?section=32701--appendix-d-vicroads-2013-priority-list

As of now, there are 2 high priority LXs and 2 medium priority LXs that haven't been committed to; Glenferrie Rd (#71), Madden Gr (#76), Westgarth St (#92) and Gaffney St (#44). These are on the Glen Waverley, Hurstbridge and Craigieburn lines. Note that while Gaffney St is quite high up on the ALCAM list, it has a lower priority than the the Glen Waverley line LXs.

Times change, priorities change. But I hope we can agree that government actions are always one step behind.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

While I'm normally a fan of VAGO, this report, IMHO, was not one of the better ones.

There was the unintentional irony when they noted that Abbotts Road (South Dandenong) was not on the VicRoads priority list, and received a low ALCAM score. 'This shows that the LXRP is not meeting its stated objective of removing 50 of the most dangerous crossings in Melbourne.' Abbotts Road, of course, was where a truck driver plowed into a spark in 2012, killing a passenger and critically injuring the train driver.

The problem for VAGO is that neither the VicRoads list, nor the ALCAM list, were necessarily a good basis for a level crossing removal project.

VAGO notes, in section 2.2, that the dominant basis for the VicRoads list (60%) was 'strategic fit in the transport network'. In other words, VicRoads has a strategic plan for the road network, and a level crossing is a priority if it is on that plan. This is why Madden Gv is a priority (access to the freeway and a bridge over the Yarra), but Camp Rd is not (parallelled by the Ring Road).

ALCAM is based on a risk surrogate multipled by an exposure. While this sounds sensible, the risk surrogate for metropolitan crossings should be very similar (as they are all uniformly protected by boom barriers), hence the score is dominated by the exposure - i.e. number of car movements. In other words, the ALCAM score predominantly reflects how busy the level crossing is. It's not clear, with uniformly protected crossings, that the usage is the dominant risk factor. It may be other characteristics - chance of stacking over the crossing, for example, or the presence of high speed heavy transport.

Accidentally, the VAGO report highlights the limitation of professional decision making. Ideally, decisions are based on a rational analysis of the situation. But the report highlights that the 'facts' on which such an analysis is made are often contingent on priorities and assumptions.

The level crossing removal program was generated by the government when in opposition, and when it is didn't have access to the public service advice. The VAGO report suggests that the basis for the program was the public RACV list - in turn based on the RACV's annual 'blackspot' survey.

Ironically, this suggests why the program has been so politically successful. Inadvertently, the government picked level crossings that the public wanted removed, not ones which the public service thought should be removed.
  John E Locomotive Fireman

Long disruption for Upfield line passengers https://www.railpage.com.au/news/s/four-level-crossing-removals-among-program-of-winter-works.

I'm assuming it's easier and quicker to build without having a live railway line below, plus the low frequency and relatively few stations past Anstey make it easier to justify such a long shutdown.

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