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Just 12 metres below the North Melbourne home of Steve Cross, trains will one day speed back and forth at up to 80 kilometres an hour.
He, and about 50 of his neighbours, are worried.
Not about the trains - they support the new $11 billion rail line the Andrews government is building from South Kensington to South Yarra.
They are worried about what impact the noise and vibration will have on their homes.
Last week, the group met with the government's Melbourne Metro Rail Authority to hear precisely what that impact would be but "they didn't seem to want to say," Mr Cross said.
The North Melbourne street Mr Cross lives in, Curzon Street, is among several blocks that lie between the proposed new Arden and Parkville railway stations.
During construction an average of 260 trucks a day will cart soil from the tunnel being drilled underneath houses in the area - but it's not just construction that residents are concerned about.
The bigger problems could begin once the trains start running.
The area where the group of concerned residents live is one of the points where tunnelling will be at its shallowest. Among other things, they are worried about the impact on property values.
They question why the planned tunnel depth is so shallow where they live.
"Is it just a cost measure? Why should the neighbourhood be sacrificed when one more escalator down would fix it?" Mr Cross asked.
The government, in a report prepared for the Environment Effects Statement, concedes homes in the area will be badly affected once the rail line is in operation, unless additional work is undertaken to reduce noise and vibration levels.
North Melbourne houses - indicated by black dots - that would be badly impacted by the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel if no mitigation work is done. Map: Victorian government
The North Melbourne group want the government to assess the state of all houses before work begins, so any deterioration once the rail line is in operation can be checked.
"We've been told it's $2500 to have someone check the noise and vibration in our house now," says Mr Cross, with a similar figure for a report on the house's current condition. "Why should we have to pay to have our houses assessed?"
The group met with the rail authority last week but says the responses it received about the impact from the new line on their homes was "dismissive".
This article first appeared on www.theage.com.au
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