Road closed for elevated rail line construction.

Melbourne road closed to enable elevated rail line construction

A major road in Melbourne’s north has been closed to traffic to allow for the installation of giant bridge beams to carry the raised Upfield line.

Bell Street in Coburg was closed to enable cranes to lift into place the L beams above the road.

Bell Street is where one of four level crossings are being removed on the Upfield line, with level crossings at Munro and Reynard streets in Coburg and Moreland road in Brunswick to be gone by November.

The locally manufactured L beams weigh up to 110 tonnes and measure up to 32 metres in length. For each viaduct segment four L beams are joined together to form two U troughs which the trains will run on.

Once complete, the rail line will travel on 2.5 kilometres of viaducts with two new stations at Coburg and Moreland.

Crawler cranes as well as custom-built 90-tonne gantry cranes have been enabling the lifting to take place. Up to 14 bridge beams can be installed a day, hastening the progress of the project.

In Chelsea, a suburb south east of Melbourne, a new pedestrian bridge will be installed above the rail corridor as part of the removal of three level crossings in the suburb.

The bridge is in addition to the works along the rail corridor with an injection of $750,000 from the local Kingston City Council.

Early works on five level crossings in Chelsea, Edithvale, and Bonbeach are underway, and major works will begin in early 2021. A one-week closure of the Frankston line is now underway to prepare the worksites for major construction. This will involve upgrades to power and signalling, as well as the relocation of utilities. Support pads for heavy machinery and piling rigs will also be constructed.

The lowered rail line will be completed in 2022, enabling better road and pedestrian connections in the region.

Next week, services on the Cranbourne line will be replaced by buses between Cranbourne and Dandenong. The shutdown will enable crews to relocate the Greens Road boom gates to make way for the construction of a new rail bridge. Piling and earthworks further along the line will also be undertaken. These works together will allow for the last level crossing between Cranbourne and Dandenong to be removed.

New crossover for Upfield line

A new crossover will be installed near Anstey Station on the Upfield line, and then be moved to north of the new Coburg Station.

Construction has begun today on the 24/7 project to remove four level crossings on the Upfield line in little more than three months.

To minimise disruptions for commuters south of the project site, the crossover will enable trains to keep running. The crossover will first be installed near Anstey Station, to allow services to continue between the stop in Brunswick and the city while level crossing removal work is underway.

This new infrastructure will enable 60 per cent of commuters on the Upfield line to continue to catch trains.

The turnback will allow trains to terminate at Anstey Station and then return to the city circle.

While the turnback is installed buses will replace trains on the entire length of the Upfield line. Buses will continue to replace trains for passengers travelling north of Anstey. Passengers are advised to change at Brunswick.

Once the construction blitz on the Upfield line is complete, the turnback will be removed and replaced with a permanent crossover north of the new Coburg Station to allow greater flexibility for trains on the line in the future.

The construction blitz will remove four level crossings by late 2020, with new stations at Coburg and Moreland to open after that. Crossings at Bell Street, Munro Street, Reynard Street, and Moreland Road will be removed.

As part of the work on the Upfield line, two custom-built 90-tonne gantry cranes are being used in an industry first. The cranes will move up to 14 bridge beams a day, enabling the project to be completed faster.

Local manufacturers have been producing the concrete elements of the rail bridge, including 268 L-beams for the 2.5km rail bridge. The project also requires 53 crossheads and 49 precast piers sourced from local suppliers.

Reservoir

A sustainable finish for new Reservoir Station

The final details have been completed at the renovated Reservoir Station and have included a focus on sustainability.

Reservoir station is the first in Victoria to have remote metering of energy and water use and features a rainwater tank to limit its draw on utility networks. Additionally, construction materials incorporated recycled glass sand in concrete, as part of a trial with the University of Melbourne and Sustainability Victoria.

The new station, which was renovated as part of the High Street level crossing removal, reopened in December 2019, and crews have now finished the civic plaza and station precinct with landscaping works involving 300 trees and 60,000 shrubs and grasses.

High Street was the 31st crossing to go as part of the Level Crossing Removal Project, and the one kilometre rail bridge has supported the safe operation of trains on the Mernda line.

36,000 vehicles per day are now able to pass underneath the rail line, without having to wait for six boom gates to lift, which were down for up to 24 minutes in the two hour morning peak.

Upgrades to pedestrian and cycle links to the nearby suburbs were also completed as part of the project and the amenity of the station area improved.

Designs for Coburg and Moreland finalised

The updated station designs for Coburg and Moreland have been completed, with input from the community received.

Feedback on accessibility and separated walking and cycling paths was garnered from the community, and this has been reflect in the final design. Flexible community spaces for small events will also be part of the new stations, along with a nature-based Moreland playground design.

Coburg and Moreland stations are being upgraded as part of level crossing removals on the Upfield Line. Crossings at Moreland Road, and Reynard, Munroe, and Bell streets will e removed.

Williamstown

Williamstown level crossing to be replaced by rail trench

The Williamstown line will be lowered under Ferguson Street to replace the current level crossing in North Williamstown.

The rail-under-road design was decided upon after community feedback expressed a clear preference for such a design.

As part of the works, North Williamstown Station will also be renewed, with lowered platforms, plaza areas, and landscaping. Community feedback is being sought on the design of the station precinct.

Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan said that it was time for the dangerous level crossing to go.

“This crossing has been the scene tragedy and puts the community at risk every single day – we’re getting rid of it.”

In the past decade there have been five near misses, and the 110 trains that travel through the crossing each weekday cause delays for the 25,000 motorists who wish to cross the rail line.

“Our big build is removing traffic bottlenecks and building a better rail network across the west and right around Melbourne – and it’s creating vital jobs as we rebuild from coronavirus,” said Allan.

The Ferguson Street level crossing removal is one of six level crossing removals in Melbourne’s west on the Werribee and Williamstown lines. In Werribee, crews are preparing the area by relocating underground services and moving traffic lights to enable the construction of a new rail bridge.

Construction in Williamstown will begin in early 2021 and the crossing will be removed by 2022.

Rail delivered to Coburg
New railway track has been hauled to Coburg as part of the Bell to Moreland level crossing removal project.

Made in Whyalla, South Australia, the 10 kilometres of rail strings were transported in 27 metre lengths to a depot in Spotswood, Victoria. There, the strings were welded together into 165-metre lengths, before being hauled by rail to the work site on a 210-metre long train pulled by a diesel locomotive.

The rail will be stored on site before they are placed on the 2.5km elevated rail bridge. The bridge will replace level crossings at Bell, Munro, and Reynard streets in Coburg, and Moreland Road in Brunswick.