Sky rail ‘grounded’

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High and dry: The state government has announced elevated rail will not run all along the Frankston line but the door remains open to rail over road at some level crossings. Picture: Gary Sissons

High and dry: The state government has announced elevated rail will not run all along the Frankston line but the door remains open to rail over road at some level crossings. Picture: Gary Sissons

THERE will be no extended sky rail from Mordialloc to Frankston along the Frankston line.

Labor Transport Minister Jacinta Allan declared at the weekend “there has never been a plan for extended elevated rail on the Frankston line”.

The state minister in the Andrews government decided to step in and end speculation about sky rail being built along the full rail line amid a doublecrossed.com.au flyer campaign, financed by the Liberal Party, in the federal seat of Isaacs urging voters to “put Labor last” and vote against federal MP Mark Dreyfus since “Labor is now planning to build Sky Rail lines four stories [sic] high near you on parts of the Frankston line”.

“We will not be building a Dandenong line-style ‘sky rail’ on the Frankston line. Any allegations we will are false,” Ms Allan said in a statement.

Mr Dreyfus slammed the Liberal Party for its “dishonest campaign” against sky rail on the Frankston line.

“It is, and always has been, a totally false representation of the state government’s plans to improve safety on the Frankston line and to improve travel times for those using the roads,” he said in a statement.

Mr Dreyfus noted the doublecrossed.com.au flyer and associated website are authorised by ‘S. Frost’, who “although it was not stated”, is the state director of the Victorian Liberal Party.

Liberal state opposition spokesman for planning David Davis called the wording of the Labor statement “slippery” and said Ms Allan had not ruled out elevated rail.

It has also emerged that the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) is currently monitoring the impacts of rail noise “for improved or new passenger rail infrastructure and changes to land use near existing and planned rail corridors”.

A LXRA letter dated May 2016 obtained by Simon Johnson, founder of the noskyrail.com.au group, asked residents living near the Frankston line to allow the authority to install “noise loggers” at their properties “to seek your assistance in carrying out the noise monitoring for the Level Crossing Removal Project”.   

When contacted by The News LXRA project director Adam Maguire said rail noise is assessed using Victorian Passenger Rail Infrastructure Noise Policy guidelines.

“LXRA is currently conducting noise monitoring at locations near the eight level crossings that are being removed between Cheltenham and Frankston to record all surrounding noise from trains and roads,” Mr Maguire said.

“The testing is being undertaken by noise specialists AECOM using portable noise loggers at approximately 45 homes and businesses for periods of up to seven days with the permission of owners and tenants.

“This information is used to evaluate the best solution for each site. We will provide further information and will seek feedback from the community later this year as we progress through the design process.”

The LXRA will next month announce options for level crossing removals along the Frankston line.

Earlier this month Frankston Council decided not to follow Kingston Council’s lead in formally opposing elevated rail along any part of the Frankston line.

Frankston councillors decided to defer a vote on the divisive matter until 18 July.

Decisions on whether elevated rail or road under rail is more appropriate are still to be made for crossings at Balcombe Rd (Mentone), Charman Rd (Cheltenham), Edithvale Rd (Edithvale), Eel Race Rd (Carrum), Seaford Rd (Seaford), Skye/Overton Rd (Frankston), Station St (Bonbeach), Station St (Carrum).

Road under rail works are underway at three level crossings at North Rd (Ormond), Centre Rd (Bentleigh) and McKinnon Rd (McKinnon).

The LXRA will release options for level crossings removals in July before final decisions are made at the end of the year.

LXRA project director Adam Maguire said planning and consultation is continuing for the eight remaining level crossing removals along the Frankston line.

“This is quite unlike the Caulfield to Dandenong project where the Level Crossing Authority is removing all nine crossings between these two suburbs.”

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 15 June 2016

This article was amended on 17 June 2016 to attribute comments about the state Liberal Party’s anti-sky rail campaign to federal Isaacs Labor MP Mark Dreyfus. The original article inadvertently attributed those comments to state Labor Transport Minister Jacinta Allan due to a poorly-worded media release.

Despite no retraction or amendment being sought The News wishes to correct the record.

Comments by the LXRA, provided after the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News print deadline, also included on 17 June 2016.

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20 thoughts on “Sky rail ‘grounded’

  1. Government has a clear preference to elevate the railway and to any local resident, the term sky rail to them refers to any elevation of the Frankston railway. Lets not get technical

  2. As a local of Carrum, the message couldn’t be any clearer and dissapointedly no Labor MP is representing the community

  3. The fact that a carefully worded statement has been issued is a good sign, it shows that the Government are concerned that there will be implications of their failure to represent community interests. This is a campaign that has been running by local residents since late last year and began to get traction in January and February. This is long before any other parties jumped on the issue. The Government has been clear in their intention from day dot to remove specific level crossings, and I don’t believe too many people expected to see continual elevation, however the fear is that the line will likely be elevated at the marked level crossings for removal. This fear is genuine and supported by evidence yet to publicly surface. If this is a genuine consultative process, then the Authority will rule out any elevation of the rail next month.

  4. Also, one must query why the Park Road, Cheltenham and Lochiel Avenue, Edithvale level crossings have just recently been unofficially added to the level crossings to be removed on the Frankston line. This only adds to the growing mistrust between residents and the Authority.

    • Given the proximity to the Charman Road crossing which was already on the list and Cheltenham station which is only 80 metres away I would have thought that Park Road was not only a no brainer but required to make it all work.

  5. I think the inclusion of Park Rd and Lochiel Av in crossing removal is actually a good sign. It shows that LXRA have listened to people who actually know these areas. Both crossings are close to key crossings that were scheduled to be removed. It makes sense to include these crossings regardless of what options are put forward.

    • I agree Martyn, given the proximity of Park Road and Lochiel Avenue to the marked level crossings for removal it probably does make sense. My question is, if this makes sense to someone without technical engineering knowledge, then why were they not discussed during the Drop-In Sessions or marked for removal?

  6. Michael stevenson 17 16 June 2016 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    Given the water table issues (as can be seen in the photo ) it is not practical to underground the railway the community might be well advised to reconsider all,options with an open mind

    • The water table is there, no one denies that and it will certainly be factor when considering the foundations for elevated rail. The figure I have been provided with is that the foundations will be 4m deep. Alternatively the rail can be lowered using the cut and cover method. The required depth for this is 6m.

  7. This is something you will be seeing everyday for the next 20 years lets get it right put it underground. Being above the ground will devalue homes around the train line extra noise poulltion and a terrible view why wouldn’t the government pay a little extra to complete the task they set out to do.

  8. C johnson station street Chelsea 09 17 June 2016 at 8:09 am - Reply

    With the amount of maintenance they do on the line WHY. Would you lift / move a Whole rail line up in the air – wasting all that money – when you cld build a few over passes were the road can’t go under ??? I live on station street in Chelsea – it is noisy now – it will be worse and ugly and destroy Chelsea let alone that strip of bayside – it will be turned into an ugly Bronx style traffic runway – blocking out light and creating havens for drug users – people who live here and love our suburbs and are impacted by this shld be the ones making the decision.. Not some idiot with a copy of some kids year 10 assignment ..!! Transport shld be seen and not heard … Not 9 meters in the air .. This article is a poor attempt at covering up what they really intend on doing if re voted back in … How stupid do they think we are .. Back to the drawing board boys !!! Unless you can come up with something equal to our Brifhton friends .. Hands off

  9. Can any one protesting here about elevated tracks come up with a financially viable option? To go under roads or tracks is nigh on impossible in sandy waterlogged conditions. A few overpasses to alleviate traffic congestion at crossings and allow more trains to run on the line is in the long run more beneficial than the system is at the moment. Shopping strips along the line like carrum and Chelsea will be opened up and not divided by the line as they are now. There will be more room for much needed car parking at train stations and if maintained these areas could be quite an asset. The train line as it is now is hardly what you would call a beauty spot.

    • Another armchair expert? The difference between elevated rail and underground is marginal, with a sizeable component tied up with costs associated with the shutting down with the line, i.e. the longer the line is shutdown, the higher the cost to run alternative transport

      • Sounds like you’re the armchair expert.
        There will be considerable more expense firstly installing and then maintaining a trench compared to an elevated rail.
        The same people complaining about increasing sea level seem to conveniently forget about this when wanting a trench rail.
        The close proximity to the water table of thesea and wetlands means extra costs in pumping.
        If we want this infrastructure to be around in another 100 years then the obvious option is to build above ground, not to appease a few selfish people because their views are blocked.
        I live in Edithvale.

      • I would like to see the rail moved from Parkdale along the edge of Mordiallic creek crossing Boundry Rd along the back of aspendale gardens an run along the centre of the freeway maybe even branch off at pen link and travel down in the cryer to Sorrento I have seen a similar system in Europe which works quite well and maybe people sitting in traffic jams watch train go buy them might use them more. With parking along or under or above the freeway edges and shuttle buses going back and forth to Nepean highway strips

    • To John, how exactly will Chelsea be opened up when the removal proposed is at Edtihvale, Bonbeach and Carrum?

      Carrum would benefit from a bridge across Station Street. Many cars need to cross the railway line twice as it is now!

      Putting a rail under Patterson River could be a major challenge. The other alternative a SkyRail higher than the bridge is now, would look hideous!

      Why the Swanpool crossover has not been mentioned is totally mind numbing. There are no lights and more accidents than the Bondi Rd crossover. Aspendale where it joins Nepean Hwy is also a trouble spot! If the gates are down indefinitely there is no access, apart from driving back towards Edithvale!

  10. When sea levels rise and flood the original wetlands area our descendants will be amazed at our short-sighted selfishness of building a significant rail line underground which will no longer be of use.

    • I’m paying taxes today for today not for my decedents or future generations. They can pay for a wall when it floods them…. Why would I pay for it now. Ridiculous ! It’s cheaper to run pumps until then!

  11. This is a blatant Trump wall and if people honestly believe this is for sustainability – the government has you fooled. The incentive to live there is as much about aesthetics as it is about quality of life. If the population of Bayside city council in particular the rail between Hampton /Brighton Beach along Beach Road was affected you’d never hear the end of it let alone a whimper that it could be possible and get passed its residents. BS. Good for some but not for others. Sustainability should be unified not selected. This sky rail will be the worst thing that could happen to the lifestyle and feel of the precinct with its Trump like wall in ready for graffiti, tatters and druggies. Put your noise monitors away because no stupid device can compare to reality day after year of wistelling train and track noise. Come on we are not all stupid. .

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