BUSINESS deals to build sky rail along sections of the Frankston line won’t be “torn up” but any incoming Coalition state government in Victoria will look again at any level crossing removal not finished and put rail lines under road.
Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy visited Carrum on Tuesday (14 March) – where the Labor state government confirmed elevated rail will be built – to accuse the government of “playing politics” with rail projects.
“I believe a new government can and should negotiate a new contract and put those level crossings underground as they were always meant to be,” Mr Guy said.
“Some communities get sky rail, some communities get a trench. And it depends in some areas on the seat margin, who’s talked loudest and on internal Labor politics in relation to where a member sits in relation to a friendship with the Premier.
“It’s just not the way to build infrastructure. Do it properly, do it consistently and do it right from the start.”
The Level Crossing Removal Authority confirmed last week that 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.
Carrum Labor MP Sonya Kilkenny welcomed the decision alongside a plan to move train stabling from Carrum along the Frankston line 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,” she said in a statement last week.
Mr Guy accused the government of being “pig headed” and “arrogant” in insisting elevated rail must be built in Carrum.
“If it’s about the water table, then we would never have built CityLink, it goes 10-15 metres below the Yarra river.”
The opposition leader said he disagreed with moving stabling to Kananook. The government announced last week seven properties – most with businesses on site – will be compulsorily acquired in the Wells Rd, Seaford area to accommodate the Kananook stabling.
“I’m certainly not in the business of tearing up contracts but there is a broader discussion about Frankston station as to whether that terminus is the right spot for the end of the line,” Mr Guy said.
“There seems to be a continual ‘band aiding’ of the Frankston train station.”
He favoured extending the electric rail line and building stabling at Baxter or Leawarra.
Eleven level crossings will now be removed along the Frankston line – two more than originally planned – from Cheltenham to Frankston as part of the state government’s pledge 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.
Metro Trains will run buses alongside sections of the Frankston line affected by level crossing removals.