Public Transport Victoria forum hears call for more Maryborough train services
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Premier Daniel Andrews hears efforts to address Central Goldfields disadvantage, push for more Maryborough trains
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North-West Rail Alliance urges more council support amid push for return of Mildura passenger rail
Grampians Rail Trail: Shire calls for community to step up and manage facility
A while ago we looked at our sorriest bus stops. But what about stations? How do people rate Melbourne's 220-odd train stations? One could spend hours doing vox pops. Or one could look at Google map reviews. Nearly all stations have reviews and most have comments as well. The first thing I should point out is that ratings should be viewed with caution. Extreme caution as some simply don't make sense. People who do reviews are not necessarily representative of the general population. Some stations have only had a handful of reviews. And you've got no idea of what is important to people when they decide whether to give a station a 1 or a 4 (on a scale of 5). It could be a bad experience of a cancelled train, some hoodlums sighted or a bike stolen. Or, the view might have been good or the rater might have been in a good mood that day. Comments might give a better indication but even here there will be a skew towards the negative. Even at what you might be called our 'worst stations' the vast majority of journeys take place without incident and passenger impressions are far more often mediocre than downright bad. But people will disproportionately write about the latter. And non-train users will read these reviews and gain possibly an unfair impression of the system. Also note that where stations have been rebuilt many reviews relate to the old rather than the new station with the average distorted accordingly. With these caveats in mind I thought I'd work around the map and see where our worst rated stations were. Later I give 25 ideas on improving them. The very low (2 - 2.5 stars out of 5) 2.3 Sunshine A busy station and major rail hub. It and the area have a reputation for anti-social behaviour. As some of the comments have indicated, the new station is nicer than the old one. The old underpass was considered notorious. But there is still a road flyover that makes the station area a major barrier between south/west and north/east Sunshine. 2.4 Carrum (note new station) An even newer station than Sunshine. Not sure why it's marked so low so I'd take this one with as many grains of salt as there is sand on the nearby beach. It is possible that some of the reviews might have come from people who wanted to use it but it was closed down for construction. Improved timetables mean it enjoys a service every 10 minutes (day) and 20 min night, which is superior to stations on other lines. The Frankston line is somewhat prone to unplanned shutdowns due to track/signal faults and planned shutdowns due to works. But the bay view is spectacular and having entrances at both ends is good (though one should have been north of Mcleod Rd to avoid crossing what is now a traffic sewer since it was punched through to Nepean Hwy). 2.5 Jacana I don't think anyone can contest the score here. With the ring road adjacent, power pylons overhead, austere pedestrian bridge and spartan toilet block style shelter, this unattended station is a great backdrop for a dystopian movie where bad things happen at night. 2.5 Reservoir (another new station)Also a new station but it remains in the middle of a road-choked area that is hostile for pedestrians. Service frequency is only 20 minutes day, 30 minutes night and 40 minutes Sunday morning so people are often waiting twice as long as they would at another low rated station like Kananook. Also buses rarely connect. 2.5 Batman A small unstaffed middle-suburban station. Service frequency is like Reservoir but with less peak service. 2.5 Bonbeach Same service levels as Carrum. But it's unstaffed with few shops and no toilets. The latter is a point of frequent complaint in comments. In summer a nice beach is nearby as well as a French deli for the gourmands. Expect this to be one of the biggest improvers next year after the new station is built as part of the level crossing removal program. The low (2.6 to 3 stars out of 5)2.6 General Motors (!) A closed station that only ever saw few trains but some people wanted to rate it! And it got a higher rating than some open stations. 2.7 HastingsThis score is earned. It's poorly located relative to town centre with poor paths to it. On the unreliable, infrequent and often suspended Stony Point line. However this by itself cannot explain the low rating as other Stony Point line stations rate much higher. It's probably the line's busiest station, and that may have some influence. Unstaffed. 2.7 Flemington RacecourseStation only used during special events. Hence it is likely to be disproportionately used by those who only rarely take trains. 2.8 OfficerUsed to be in the middle of nowhere but attracting growing usage with surrounding suburbanisation. 2.8 KananookOn the frequent but not always reliable Frankston line. Got rebuilt about 10-15 years ago. In the middle of a busy road with access via a bridge. Area has a poor reputation for safety, especially at night. Unstaffed with no toilets. 2.8 Mooroolbark2.8 UpweyOuter suburban station with infrequent (30 min) off-peak service. Unstaffed. No toilets. 2.9 CraigieburnRail terminus serving a major growth area in the northern suburbs and the terminus of some of Melbourne's most productive bus routes like the 529. It's getting a major expansion to its car park.
2.9 CranbourneOne could argue that its location isn't the most convenient relative to local attractions. One complaint is that when there are disruptions trains can be terminated at Dandenong. However the Cranbourne line duplication should improve reliability. 2.9 GlenroyA typical fairly austere postwar middle suburban station. But, unlike Jacana to the north, it is fully staffed and has an active shopping strip surrounding it. Not much to do here on Sunday morning with 40 minute gaps between trains. 2.9 Merinda ParkSort of behind a housing estate with no local shops. Similar comments as apply to Cranbourne with regards to line reliability and future upgrades. Unstaffed. Medium rated (a selection only - not all included)3.0 Willison Quiet station on the quiet Alamein line. 3.0 CoolarooRelatively new and fairly austere station whose access is handicapped by being next to the very busy Pascoe Vale Rd. No local shops. Area perceived as being unsafe at night. Station was proposed in the '70s but only got built after the Craigieburn electrification in the 2000s, with it opening in 2010. 3.0 GlenbervieIn established middle northern suburb residential area. Limited unique catchment with it being very close to Strathmore. 3.0 Cardinia RdA growth area new station with an unextended bus that still stops just a few hundred metres short of it. 3.0 Leawarra
Melbourne's quietest station near a university. Located on the infrequent Stony Point line facilities and shelter are basic. This is what it looked like 9 years ago and it's doubtful much has changed.
3.0 LalorUtilitarian postwar middle northern suburbs station that, unlike Thomastown and Epping, did not get rebuilt about 10 years ago when the line had major upgrades. The most active shopping strip is a little way away and bus timetables don't evenly mesh with trains. 3.0 ChelseaSimilar comments to Bonbeach but active shopping strip and higher usage. Unstaffed during the day but public toilets (Exeloo) were added a few years ago. Will shortly be demolished and rebuilt as part of the level crossing removal program. 3.0 Bentleigh (despite new station) Rating looks a little unfair since Centre Rd was grade separated a few years ago and the station rebuilt. However the new station loses points by having only a single entrance (to the south) that limits its pedshed. A radical rethink of the Frankston line when being grade separated could have involved such a northern entrance with McKinnon not being rebuilt to increase travel speeds with minimal impact on station accessibility (due to the close spacing between Ormond/McKinnon and Bentleigh). And it would have been cheaper than what got built. 3.1 Deer ParkFormerly a stark station in the middle of nowhere this station has steadily seen more trains stop here, particularly on weekdays with it now being on a junction. The station will be rebuilt as part of the Derrimut Rd level crossing removal. An evaluation of access to the planned rebuilt station is here.
3.1 ArdeerA similar catchment to Albion (on the north side of Sunshine) but very different services with Ardeer getting nice but less frequent (especially on weekends) V/Line trains compared to the Metro service Albion gets. The station is quite austere with a residential catchment and no shops nearby. 3.2 Hoppers CrossingIf you ever wanted a station that was spartan and unstaffed for the high patronage received then Hoppers Crossing is it. There's not a lot of shelter and people reaching the station must cross the tracks. Pedestrian connectivity is poor from the hospitals precinct to the south due to excessive priority to vehicles. And it's best described as being mediocre from the north. Bus passengers (and there are a lot here) wait on cold concrete blocks that pass for seating in the bomb-shelter inspired bus interchange. Old Geelong Rd is getting its level crossing removed but unfortunately the scope of the project does not include a much needed station/bus interchange rebuild. For many years the state seat was taken for granted by Labor with what locals tell me was limited representation from the disgraced Telmo Languiller. 3.2 WestgarthBasic inner northern suburban station with tram and bus nearby. 3.2 South KensingtonMost often heard by passengers as 'stopping all stations except South Kensington'. The station is somewhat isolated and isn't much to look at but it now enjoys a 10 minute daytime frequency so you're unlikely to be waiting for long. 3.2 Beaconsfield
A basic suburban fringe station a bit away from the shops on the main street. Limited local buses.
3.2 MordiallocStaffed station near shops and beach. Has underpass. Covered waiting area. With many stations on the Frankston line being rebuilt as part of the grade separations this will soon be one of the few historical stations left on the line. 3.3 Roxburgh ParkOften derided for its brutalist concrete architecture, it could have been built 50 years ago but in fact only opened in 2007. It's not just looks but usability with one of the comments being about the unsheltered ticket machine. There is a shopping centre nearby but the station is sort of behind it. Hence there is limited passive surveillance. 3.3 DandenongA major junction station serving both metropolitan and V/Line trains. A transport hub for a redeveloped town centre. The station was rebuilt in the 1990s about when the Cranbourne line was electrified. However it has not aged well with lax cleaning standards. Some platforms are quite narrow and it has reputation for crime. 3.3 TyabbProvided you can work around the limited Stony Point train timetables or navigate the bus as a back-up this is a delightful destination for day trippers with many secondhand and antique stores and some cafes. As is common for Stony Point stations it can best be described as austere. 3.3 TarneitNow V/Line's busiest station (except for Southern Cross) this is one showpiece of the very successful Regional Rail Link. Many buses connect it to the surrounding area. However walks from the train to the bus are further than they should be and pedestrian connectivity is limited with parking being dominant. 3.3 PakenhamSuburban rail terminus and interchange with V/Line but a fairly basic station. Local buses are typically hourly. 3.3 LynbrookNice newish station. Built after most houses were. No local shops. Better than average positioning for walking with a good wide shallow underpass but no cross street reduces its efficiency for direct bus routes. Could also benefit from more than one entrance.
3.3 GlenhuntlyAnother station that won't be long on this earth due to a planned grade separation. This is a 1970s/80s brick building a bit like the old Ginifer. Mostly unstaffed. Lacks a southern exit. Near the tram and shops with the main objection (like Hoppers Crossing) being the requirement to cross the tracks to reach the station (as most trains run on the island platforms). 3.4 FrankstonRecently got a makeover that changed its looks but not its inherent problems that make it not fit for purpose for a major suburban hub and interchange for reasons explained here. Has a somewhat poor reputation not assisted by the mix of businesses opposite. Desperately needs a northern entrance for easier access to homes and the Bayside shopping centre. 3.4 BroadmeadowsA higher rating than I thought it would be. Station has a poor reputation with a dark 1970s/80s era development that meant well but had poor passive surveillance. Inferior off-peak train frequencies to similar lines to south and east. If passengers get the 901 bus from Melbourne Airport this is the first impression for visitors of a Melbourne suburban station and it's not all good. A previous government proposed an upgrade but they lost office before it happened. 3.4 MoorabbinA must visit for postwar brutalist fans with lots of concrete and ramps. Station got put into a trench as part of 1959 grade separation. Moorabbin was seen as a major district centre in the 1954 plan (similar to Box Hill, Preston and Footscray) but while it attracted residential development and light industry to the east the station precinct did not develop much beyond a few buildings (like the Kingston Civic Centre). Southland took over as being the area's highest order centre while Highett and Bentleigh are more favoured for daily needs. Being on the Frankston line Moorabbin enjoys a frequent service (maximum waits 10 min day, 20 min night) and is staffed first to last train. However access to platforms is indirect and is only possible from one point. Unfortunately this mistake appears to have been replicated at some newly grade separated stations such as Mentone, though the proposed Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach have better designs. 3.4 PattersonEvery station has a 'runt' station. One that's the most inferior in the pack. For the Frankston line that would be a toss-up between Kananook and Patterson, both of which were built during austere times in the railways' history. Patterson is an elevated 1961 station that reduced walking distances for some residents at the cost of slower through travel for everyone else. There is a small shopping strip nearby. In an ideal world it wouldn't have been built, with the resources being put to improving access to nearby Moorabbin Station (including a northern entrance north of South Road). 3.5 AlbionA tired-looking station accessible via a (mercifully short) ramp and underpass to its north. Lacks southern access. No staffing most times. No local shops and much vacant land nearby. Has great potential as part of an enlarged Sunshine centre with historical interest provided by the silos. The first contact on the metropolitan rail network for buses approaching from the west (Melton and Caroline Springs). 3.5 HuntingdaleAnother utilitarian station but one that has punches well above its weight as regard to patronage due to the 601 express shuttle bus to Monash University. Now enjoys a 10 minute 7 day service thanks to service upgrades on the Dandenong line. However weekend evening frequencies remain at a low 30 minutes. 3.6 Narre Warren
Nearest station to the large Fountain Gate shopping centre. Hub for local buses. Area not known to be very walkable with high traffic volumes and car-friendly design. Some shops near station.
3.6 EdithvaleSimilar comments as for Bonbeach and Chelsea. Frankston line bayside station about to be rebuilt and repositioned north as part of grade separation. 3.8 McKinnonThanks to the recent grade separation, this is a much grander station than its patronage might otherwise justify. Has a shopping strip with good east-west pedestrian connectivity via McKinnon Rd. A short walk from Ormond to the north and Bentleigh to the south.
3.8 OrmondLike Bentleigh and McKinnon this got transformed and rebuilt by the level crossing removal. A very good feature that should be replicated everywhere is access points on both the north and south side of the busy intersecting road (North Road). This aids bus and walking access to the station with improved directness and less waiting. 3.8 Yarraman3.8 Sandown ParkA racecourse station with some residential catchment. Now enjoys a 10 min off-peak service thanks to it being on the Dandenong line. 3.9 BerwickSignificant outer south-eastern suburbs station. Staffed. No shops at station but there is a strip to the north on the highway. Also near a university campus and hospital. A significant bus hub. 3.9 ClaytonA rebuilt and now elevated station as part of the so-called 'Skyrail' project on the Dandenong line. High patronage with many passengers changing to bus. Buses here are well-used but often underserviced. Stinginess with myki readers and exits mean that the walk to some bus stops is less direct than it should.
High rated4.0 SpringvaleAnother newish station, but, unlike Clayton sunk rather than elevated as it was done before the 'Skyrail' project. Staffed first to last train with high all day patronage. Its single exit is its main failing, especially the lack of a direct entrance from the west side of the busy Springvale Rd. 4.0 CheltenhamStaffed station. Frequent train service. Shops nearby. Toilets. All the ingredients of a high rating. Although buses in the area were a mess with complex routes stopping at different places around the station. The old above ground station has now been replaced with a 'trench rail' station as part of the recent grade separation. 4.1 HighettFrequent service and near shops which have improved over the last 20 years. Unstaffed most times but generally considered a safe area. Like many stations it could benefit from additional entrances (in this case to the north). Only some express trains stop here but the new January 31 2021 timetable made Frankston line operations simpler. 4.1 OakleighHad a makeover in recent times. A major bus hub with more buses to this station going in more directions than just about anywhere else. Staffed. Several streets of active shops nearby to the east. However it suffered from the spate of 1950s-70s 'road over' Country Roads Board grade separations that blighted less favoured sides such as to the south and west. This can be likened to Sunshine and Huntingdale where the same happened at about the same time. 4.1 SouthlandThis much needed addition to the network opened a few years ago. Previously trains went right past this large shopping centre but there was no station. Previously passengers had to alight at Cheltenham and either walk or catch a complex to catch bus to Southland. The new station does have some problems though. For example as it was designed for city commuters and not for local travel there is poor shelter on Platform 2. Also it could benefit from a western entry point and a reconfigured local bus network including stops on Bay Rd as part of a direct route to Sandringham.
4.2 Noble ParkThis had a reputation for gangs and violence about 15 years ago with the station precinct considered particularly seamy. Unlike further up the line at Carnegie and Murrumbeena, locals enthusiastically welcomed the elevated rail. And it and the new station can be regarded as a success with Noble Park generally seen as better now than then. 4.2 WestallThis station was previously fairly quiet with the area being somewhat light industrial. However there has been quite dense townhouse development to the south. It had a major fire about 15 years ago, necessitating its rebuilding. 4.5 Mentone Highly rated, but note again that many ratings are of the old station before the grade separation. You could describe the old station as being Paris on Platform 1 (gardens, nice trees, shops) and Detroit on the Platform 2 side (billboards and parking). An underpass provided fairly direct access under the rail and the old station was well located with regards to shops. The recently opened new station (official opening tomorrow) is aesthetically pleasing for non-users with much effort going to preserve and relocate the old building. However it is a case of one step forward, two steps back for most station users as the station is moved south, further from the shops, buses and its likely densest pedshed. 5.0 CarnegieIn a lot of ways this is a showpiece station. Not only due to the new station but also the surrounding area which had been rapidly densifying for the previous 10 - 15 years. The main street is busy with substantial retail development as well. Enjoys a 10 minute daytime frequency with express trains all day to the city. Service however drops on weekend evenings. Making stations betterThere does seem to be a 'new station' effect where rebuilding has improved how station are viewed. But this can't be done everywhere. To lift the network to a better overall standard it is also important to attend to improving amenities at even stations that aren't part of signature projects like the level crossing removals. This involves a larger number of smaller projects rather than a smaller number of larger projects. And upgrades could be tied in with local initiatives such as shopping strip rejuvenation or bus network reviews. Budgets for each project would range widely. Project examples could include: - Drinking fountains (like some newer stations have)- Better local walking, cycling and bus information at stations- Highlighting connectivity to popular nearby destinations- Real time information displays (for train, tram and bus)- Better disruption information- Improved platform shelter coverage (both from rain and shade)- More myki touch on/off points- More entrances to stations (all directions, both ends of platform)- Added pedestrian bridges or underpasses to and between platforms- Opening all entrances full time that are sometimes closed (eg Richmond)- Public toilets either in the station or nearby- Staffing for unstaffed but busy stations- Better passive surveillance (eg removing, repositioning view-blocking billboards)- Bicycle parking- Electric wheelchair charging points- Using wall space to showcase local art- Upgraded paths and pedestrian crossings in the area surrounding the station- Improved cleaning regimes- More frequent train service with max 20 min waits day or night (so you're waiting there less)- Art and sculpture to liven dead surfaces and areas - Tougher anti-graffiti measures- Platform surface, edges and markings- Projection onto blank walls at night / screens that show silent local indie films / animations- Renovating deteriorating station buildings- Harmonising bus with train frequencies to cut loitering at stations & speed travel- Gardening and plantingPlease add your comments below if you have thoughts on the above list or opinions to share on various stations discussed here. Index to Building Melbourne's Useful Network itemsThis item was written by Peter Parker http://www.melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
This article first appeared on melbourneontransit.blogspot.com
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