Jam Factory redevelopment piles on the pressure to upgrade Caulfield Station

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Upon reading about Newmark Capital's intention to redevelop South Yarra's Jam Factory, my first thought was 'gee South Yarra station's going to be busy'.

Busier than it currently is in peaks, mind you.

The headline numbers are quite impressive: an end-value of $1.25 billion and 100,000 square metres of mixed-use space. 50,000 square metres will be new office space with floorplates up to 4,000sqm spread across 4 office towers up to 15 levels in height.

If approved, tenanted entirely and opened as planned, the 5,000 jobs that would exist on the site once the redevelopment is complete is not a figure to dismiss. The comments in relation to rethinking the lack of a Metro 1 stop at South Yarra have already begun and it's likely many 20:20 hindsight anecdotes will follow.

Render of the proposed development

Given the likelihood the state government would revise its earlier decision to not include an interchange at South Yarra is slim at best, focus should shift to the existing interchange at Caulfield which will be the only point at which passengers from the Pakenham and Cranbourne lines will be able to interchange with a Frankston line service to get to South Yarra station.

Caulfield station is a relic of times gone by.  The existing platforms and connecting ramps are subject to flash flooding like many other stations with the same design (looking at you Oakleigh), the track layout leaves much to be desired (and a lot of people thrown about inside the trains) plus trains are slowed right down to 25kph when they traverse the pedestrian subway which links the 4 platforms.

Ideally, Caulfield station would have a 5th platform added with a 1 track flyover at each end of the station to lift either the citybound Pakenham/Cranbourne track or the Frankston bound track over the other. 

This would allow for same-direction trains from Pakenham/Cranbourne and Frankston trains to enter Caulfield on the same island platform - facilitating a seamless platform transfer between lines - and vice versa.  Likewise, a secondary entrance build overhead with escalators and lifts would mitigate future flash flooding risks as well as provide an alternative to the pre-disability standards-era ramps.

Noting it is the second-best option compared to a full and proper interchange at South Yarra, the passenger interchange infrastructure and experience at Caulfield should be top priority, especially as more employment space is created in the inner suburbs further up the line.

2 comments

theboynoodle's picture

Will Cranbourne and Pakenham trains not stop at Hawksburn? That's barely further from Jam Factory than South Yarra Station, and would be better than a change at Caulfield no matter what was done to the station there.

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pdoff's picture

Once the MMR is finished, Dandenong/MMR services will run express from Caulfield to Domain, so only Frankston line trains will continue to stop at Hawksburn, Toorak, Armadale and Malvern. Whether MMR trains COULD stop is another question, the main impediment would appear to be the longer high capacity trains eventually intended to be rolled out on the MMR line will be to long for the older stations.

Given the ALP is fighting South Yarra platforms all the way, you would think Hawksburn would be a common sense alternative. Even without the access to the Sandringham Line that a South Yarra interchange would have provided, Hawksburn would still provide quick and easy access between the highly active South Yarra activity centre and the Dandenong corridor. As a transfer station, it would also provide quicker and easier access between Domain Station (and its burgeoning local population) and the areas around Toorak, Armadale and Malvern stations (also with local development and growing populations).

But unfortunately speed and efficiency tend to be the first things to be sacrificed in the politics surrounding transport investment and the Government would no doubt argue that these passengers could just change at Caulfield (or Flinders Street if travelling from the opposite direction) or even take a tram from Domain... all slow and cumbersome options of course.

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