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Rail trenches for Cheltenham and Mentone, hundreds of new units in the development pipeline to benefit

The Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, this morning announced the preferred design option for removing level crossings in Cheltenham and Mentone would include sinking the rail lines under existing road grades and rebuilding both stations in respective trenches.

The level crossings on Frankston line to go are Park Road and Charman Road in Cheltenham and Balcombe Road in Mentone.

According to the Minister, "lowering the rail line at Cheltenham will require the acquisition of 32 properties - 25 hours and 7 businesses.  There are no acquisitions required at Mentone".

Initially, only Charman Road was included in the scope of the level crossing removal project in Cheltenham, however Park Road - which along with the railway line and Charman Road form a distinct triangle in Cheltenham's activities district - was added during the community consultation period.

LXRA diagram from community consultation phase in Cheltenham

The image above was used during the early consultation phase for the entire Frankston line suite of level crossing removals.  The quite substantial property acquisitions for this station precinct appear to be related to Cheltenham station needing extra space below ground to fit three platforms and three tracks (and respective connections).

At present, Cheltenham's third platform is only connected to the main running tracks for the Frankston line on the 'up' (City) side of the station - in a video released by the Level Crossing Removal Authority, the three platforms and tracks appear to be connected at both ends.

"The project will also re-instate the third track at Cheltenham Station and extend it to connect with the mainline, creating space for more trains, more often on [the] Frankston Line".

Cheltenham received a mention in the Melbourne Metro Tunnel's business case as one of the mid-points on key rail lines that were likely to receive extra rail infrastructure to support shorter train runs - Essendon on the Craigieburn line and Gowrie on the Upfield line were the other two explicit mentions.  (Click the image below to see a larger version - Cheltenham, Essendon and Gowrie are listed under the 'Wider Network Enhancements - Other Corridor Works' section).

The 'plan on a page' from the Melbourne Metro Tunnel business case - the link between multiple current rail transport projects underway in Melbourne

And judging by the development pipeline in Cheltenham, coupled with the new station nearing completion at Southland, this area is going to need a new tier of service.

Upwards of 650 units are currently in the pipeline in Cheltenham alone - 200 of which are under construction.

The project listed below are all within a 500m radius of the existing station entry.

This article has been amended to include new Cheltenham Station details.

16 comments

Alastair Taylor's picture

Age report mentioned multi-level car parks at both stations are to be built....

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Kristian Woodford's picture

So multi-level car parks are just a given? Not only has the government seemingly 'given in' to mild community pressure, but to then just roll over on talk on active transport connections is pretty poor. Not only do I think elevated rail is a missed opportunity, there doesn't seem to be any evidence that this government is serious on attacking costly car parks.

Confused too that multi-car park buildings coughing out cars is somehow more desirable and less visually intrusive than a well-planned elevated rail corridor? I would also like to see the benefits of a better functioning rail station/corridor for the wider community being discussed, rather than the narrative focusing on the comparative handful of residents whose property adjoins the rail corridor, as if those people must be appeased in order for a project such as this to be worthwhile.

Keen to know others' thoughts.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Mentioned by Daniel Bowen elsewhere, but you can look at how people get to stations through the data published on PTV's site here: https://www.ptv.vic.gov.au/about-ptv/ptv-data-and-reports/research-and-s...

Cheltenham specifically, quoting Daniel "At Cheltenham, 2013-14 saw 3,240 boardings per day. 26.1% arrive by car, 60.3% walk to the station."

~650 units in the pipeline in the Cheltenham activities district (and how many more in the next few years?) plus a station at Southland that's likely to give [almost] door-to-door access for those living in Cheltenham CAD (many might be walking right now) - to give so much of the space up for car parking is just absurd - it should be used for housing more people.

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Aussie Steve's picture

THEALMIGHTYM is correct. The fall of the land helps this project go under rather than over. But I do wonder how they will keep the 2 historic train stations.

I also agree that there really isn't any need for multi-level car parks, mind you, the local businesses in the strip shopping centres will love the additional car parking spaces for their customers.

But why is there no mention of Latrobe Street between the two stations? Is that not going to be removed? How silly if not.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

Car parking for all:

I wouldn't think that decking over the rail line to provide surface car parking spaces would be economically viable.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

Mentone:

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

From the crossings website:

Last year we consulted on the option to close Latrobe Street level crossing because of its relatively low traffic volumes and close proximity to the other level crossings being removed at Charman, Park and Balcombe Roads. However, over half of the community feedback that we collected in September – October 2016 showed a preference to keep the street open. We have decided not to close Latrobe Street at this stage.

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Atomic's picture

It makes perfect sense to not close Latrobe St, there are no other crossings between Cheltenham and Mentone Stations. Not surprised they are putting it underground, politically they would lose seats. I live near Carnegie and Skyrail is not very popular, especially, if they had some brains and would do four tracks as removing crossings. Much better planning for the future and thinking ahead 10 years in advance.

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Adam Ford's picture

I'm afraid I have to disagree about car parking.

The walkable catchment for a train station is finite. As Daniel's stats show, it's not the people already within walking distance we need to get the next quantum leap of folks out of their cars.

There was a study on park and ride that showed even in reasonably inner suburbs, lots of people who live really close to the station were still driving there. So I'm afraid it's a mode we need to cater for if we're to keep growing patronage in zone two. At least until the bus network is more capable of doing the final yards work.

What I hope is the car parks are better designed than what they did at say Syndall, where the structure actually blocks station access. It's also an opportunity to get a properly integrated bus interchange happening at these stations, as Alastair s map shows, but I note nothing to that effect in the announcement.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

Car parking should be underground or intergrated into mixed use developments, not surface car parking or stand alone multi level car parks.

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Nicholas Harrison's picture

If you are going to be partisan at least make a reasonable argument or you are just wasting your time. There is no reason to think these crossings will not go ahead as planned based on the current government’s record of getting crossing removals planned and delivered quickly and efficiently.

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theboynoodle's picture

Come on Chris Lucas, do it.. call it "Fake News".. I know you want to! Every post reads like a Trump tweet.. don't hold back on us here!

Seriously, though. What's the point? If you want to join the discussion then that's great.. all political perspectives are welcome as far as I'm concerned.. but you're just trolling. Badly. And it's a waste of your time and everyone elses. I wouldn't have said anything, but sadly this site doesn't have a mute button so I'm going out on a limb and hoping there might be a reasonably intelligent person there who'll realize that there are better places for his particular approach to internet discussion.

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George D's picture

Not only are these going ahead, but they're ahead of schedule and under budget.

Apart from the SkyRail mob, who deserve to have their level crossings kept there indefinitely as a monument to stupidity, most Melbournians are tremendously grateful for this ambitious project.

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johnproctor's picture

^ while I disagree with you on the merits of the current government Chris (and am diametrically opposed to your position on getting the Liberals back in power and giving Matthew Guy and Michael O'Brien the keys to the wheel) I really am starting to think Andrews might lose.

I personally think this would be a disaster for the state and think it would be grossly unfair. But in actually doings things (the first premier in this state to 'do stuff' since Kennett) Andrews has pissed people off. Andrews already only holds power on a knife edge so it won't take much to swing the vote against him.

So far he has anti-skyrail people, 'CFA' people, law and order people and 'no youth prison' in Werribee people against him. probably a few people who voted for him but didn't expect him to cancel East West Link as well. people in the La Trobe valley who'll vote against him for Hazelwood closing etc.

So thats why I wouldn't be surprised if he loses. On the flip side here's why sensible people shouldn't mark him down on those issues.
1. the CFA issue is basically a mess of Liberals making for not doing anything to resolve firefighters pay dispute in their 4 years in power. Its also common sense to give more responsibility to the professional (CFA) firefighters at stations where they exist. This 'responsibility' is being demonised as giving power to a union.

2. SkyRail is a good outcome for a modern railway in an area that had been passed over as too hard by successive governments for 20 years. It will see more level crossings removed in 1 project than had been done in the past 10 years. Unfortunately the whole world is now NIMBY and that may play against Andrews.

3. Youth Justice. Again a report into youth justice failings was handed down about 1 month before Bailleu took office. What did the Liberals do about it? Nothing. They left a steaming turd in labors lap and are now getting political credit for it. The Werribee situation - Liberals were calling for it to be fixed - where would they build it???

4. despite what most right wingers think The Age is not a lefty paper. They have a consistent anti Labor/Andrews agenda in Victoria which stems back to the 'tape gate' issue where some labor supporter stole an age reporters recording device and leaked a Liberal conversation. So Labor in this state has to put up with the Herald Sun basically being a liberal party mouthpiece and The Age being very anti-Labor. Liberals get a free ride from Hun and some scrutiny from Labor.

I can't think of anything worse than the Liberals getting back in and doing what they did last itme. Fucking around, 'reviewing' everything, making populist promises they don't intend to keep, and spending bad money after bad on those things (eg. EWL 0.8 BCR, add South Yarra STation to Metro Tunnel 0.2 BCR, rail under road at all times for no good reason etc).

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johnproctor's picture

^ and thats just considering it from an economic/infrastructure perspective (for which I would consider myself an SME) - the things the Liberals are supposed to be good at!!

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pdoff's picture

Amen. Andrews is the best thing to happen to this city in a long time but unfortunately our political / media establishment doesn't reward the proactive. Too many actions.. just like too many words.. provide too tempting an opportunity for criticism and click-bait.

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