ELEVATED rail is coming to Carrum as part of the state government’s promise to remove level crossings along the Frankston line in a plan dubbed “sky rail” by opponents of any form of raised rail.
Labor Transport Minister Jacinta Allan visited Carrum train station on Monday morning (6 March) to announce a 900-metre long eight-metre high “rail bridge” will be built over McLeod Rd and level crossings at Station St, Eel Race Rd and Mascot Ave will be removed.
Station St will be connected with a new road bridge over Patterson River.
A new train station and “a new Carrum village” built around the station “will revitalise the bayside suburb forever”, according to the state government.
Train stabling at Carrum will be moved to Kananook.
“Not only will we remove these level crossings – we will turn the ugly stabling yard in to a new Carrum village that will transform our community forever,” Carrum Labor MP Sonya Kilkenny said in a statement.
The Level Crossing Removal Authority said seven commercial premises in Kananook will be compulsorily acquired to build the new stabling for trains.
Jayco Page Bros Caravans is one of several businesses impacted by the property acquisitions.
Business owner Trevor Page said he is unhappy at the prospect of trying to find a new site for the caravans company after five decades at Wells St.
“It’s a real kick in the guts,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to have a lot of choice. Where are we going to get eight acres? And it’s got magnificent frontage.”
Frankston Council criticised the state government and the LXRA for failing to consult council about the Kananook train storage plans before Monday’s announcement.
“Frankston City Council is extremely disappointed that the Victorian Government will build a train stabling facility in Kananook, including the compulsory acquisition of properties that house Frankston businesses,” mayor Cr Brian Cunial said in a statement.
“Once again, the Victorian government and the Level Crossing Removal Authority have failed to advise council of an impending announcement regarding the options for level crossings within Frankston City.
“Furthermore, at no stage was council advised that this unfavourable option was going to be pursued.”
Frankston Council has been lobbying the state government to build trains stabling berths at Baxter as part of a long-term push to electrify the Stony Point line to Baxter.
Ms Kilkenny said the LXRA had informed Frankston Council last September that Kananook was a possible site for trains to be stored.
“The LXRA have had ongoing discussions with Frankston City Council about all aspects of the level crossing removals including the Kananook stabling option,” she said.
“Frankston Council’s request to delay the removal of the level crossings in Carrum until the line is electrified through to Baxter is not consistent with the community’s desire and the compelling safety and congestion needs to get rid of these crossings as quickly as possible.
“The removal of the level crossings on the Frankston line will create thousands of jobs and local training opportunities.
“The stabling at Kananook will include the capacity for a maintenance facility in the future.
Ms Kilkenny said the Labor state government continues to work with the federal Coalition government on the business case for the electrification of the rail line to Baxter.
Liberal state Upper House MP for the South Eastern Metropolitan Region Inga Peulich said “Labor’s sky rail con will be a blight on our bayside landscape”.
“Sonya Kilkenny has been missing in action despite strong community opposition to sky rail,” Ms Peulich said.
Ms Allan said a rail trench “was not feasible due to the proximity of the project to the Patterson River”.
Ten level crossings will now be removed along the Frankston line from Cheltenham to Frankston as part of a state government project to separate road from rail at level crossings across Victoria.
Construction works will mostly begin next year and train commuters will suffer short-term disruptions to train services while Metro Trains supplies buses along sections of the Frankston line affected by level crossing removals.
An environment effects statement study will be carried out to investigate impacts on the nearby environmentally-sensitive Edithvale-Seaford wetlands, home to several species of birds, some rare, and wildlife.
Rail under road has been installed at Bentleigh, Ormond and McKinnon. Rail trenches will be dug at Cheltenham, Mentone, Bonbeach and Edithvale.
The LXRA announced late last month that a “hybrid design” will be built at Seaford by lowering Seaford Rd and the rail line will be “placed on a planted embankment to separate road from rail”.