The basics of todays announcement include:
- The removal of level crossings at Koornang Rd, Murrumbeena Rd, Clayton Rd & Centre Rd. (with provision to remove all the other level crossings)
- Associated rebuilding of Carnegie, Murrumbeena & Clayton Stations
- Upgraded signalling.
- A new train maintenance yard at Pakenham East
- 25 new high-capacity trains (which I assume will be of X'Trap models).
Construction is scheduled to start next year and continue to 2019.
Please excuse me for being a bit cynical (given this is an election year and in 2010 the Liberals managed to hoodwink the sand belt seats into believing they were going to upgrade PT along the Frankston line).
I'm cynical for a few reasons mainly because I simply don't believe that $2 Billion will cover all of this. My reasoning is that in 2007 there was a plan to remove level crossings along the Glen Waverly line from High St to Glenferrie Rd called 'Operation Double Fault'. This plan to remove 5 level crossings was priced at $4 Billion (according to media reports). So between 2007 & 2014 have the costs for level crossing removals really dropped that much? I travel along the Dandy line each week, I know how constrained it is land wise - these are not going to be cheap removals.
I've also been increasingly annoyed by rolling stock announcements. I know I'll open a can of worms here about rolling stock but we have some very distinct models of trains here in Melbourne. Everyone has been lamenting the loss of manufacturing in this state yet we still continue to buy trains from overseas when we have some very capable train builders in Australia, such as Bombardier in Dandenong. Correct me if I'm wrong but X'Traps are built in Poland & Italy then shipped over here and fitted out in Ballarat? Adelaide has ordered 22 electric train sets from Bombardier in Dandenong based on the VLocity design. Is there any reason why Vic can't do the same? Melbourne trains built for Melbourne conditions? In fact the Bombardier factory is ideally placed to help with maintenance of the fleet. It's very puzzling to me...
And with the upgrades, are we likely to get provision for a future Rowville connection at Huntingdale, provision for a 4th platform at Dandenong & possible duplication of the Cranbourne line? (pipe dreams).