Level crossings to go and access improved on Armadale Line

The Western Australia government has unveiled a series of works for Perth’s Armadale Line to improve safety and increase access along the line through Perth’s south-eastern suburbs.

The WA government and federal government will jointly fund the removal of up to six level crossings.

The $415 million plan to remove three level crossings at Oats Street, Mint Street, and Welshpool Road, along with assessment of three level crossings at William, Wharf, and Hamilton streets has been submitted to Infrastructure Australia.

Procurement will begin on the Metronet project before the end of 2020, said WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.

“Submitting the business case to Infrastructure Australia is the next step forward to removing these boom gates,” she said.

The rail line will be raised over the road at the level crossings for up to 2.8 kilometres. The elevated rail option will enable better connections between adjoining communities, safer roads, and less noise.

As part of the WA Recovery Plan, train stations on the Armadale line will be upgraded to improve disability access.

$8 million will be spent on Cannington, Gosnells, and Kelmscott stations to bring them up to the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (DSAPT).

These improvements will include better pedestrian access, the relocation of passenger information and ticket vending machines, and better lighting, signage, and CCTV coverage.

At Gosnells station, upgrades to the parking area will be part of the works, while at Kelmscott Station the bus stand infrastructure will also be improved.

“Public transport is for everyone, and we have a responsibility to ensure that anybody using our stations can do so as safely as possible, regardless of their mobility levels,” said Saffioti.

“These upgrades will mean all patrons using Cannington, Gosnells and Kelmscott stations will be able to use Transperth train services with dignity and independence.”

The project is part of the WA Recovery Plan, which has identified projects that can begin immediately and inject activity into the WA economy.

Six level crossings removed in latest Metronet works program

Six more level crossing are to go on the Armadale Line in Perth as part of the next major works package in the Metronet project.

The level crossings are at Mint, Oats, Hamilton, Wharf, and William streets and Welshpool Road. All the crossings will involve elevated rail except at Hamilton Street, where land has been reserved for a road over rail solution.

Up to 2.8 kilometres of elevated rail could be constructed, with roads and active travel links created under the rail line.

In addition to the level crossing removals, new stations will be built at Oats Street, Carlisle, and Beckenham and potentially Queens Park. Oats Street Station will replace the current Welshpool station, which will be closed.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said that removing the level crossings would benefit commuters and the wider community.

“Metronet is also about connecting the community – for the first time in a century this will remove parts of the rail barrier that have separated the communities of Carlisle, East Victoria Park and Cannington,” she said.

“Commuters can finally say bye, bye boom gates – we’ve all felt the pain sitting at a level crossing waiting for one, two, sometimes three trains to pass by.”

As design work is just beginning, Saffioti said that she hopes the community will get involved.

“This project will also mean new train stations at Carlisle and Oats Street and potentially Queens Park, giving the local community the opportunity to have their say on what they would like these new stations designs to look like.

“It will create opportunities for new and unique public space and developments around stations, connect our communities and allow us to wave goodbye to boom gates.”

$415 million of state funding has been committed to the Mint, Oats, and Welshpool level crossings while funding for the other three is subject to an agreement with the federal government.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the project will deliver a changed community.

“This plan will transform the Armadale Line as we know it, setting it up for the next 100 years and creating more liveable and vibrant communities linked to METRONET.”

The current boom gates are closed 233 times a day for up to six hours per day.


MTM releases footage, warns motorists, students of level crossing risks

Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) has released footage of severe crashes and near misses at level crossing around Melbourne, as passengers and motorists begin to return to the transport network.

Last year, vehicle incidents have caused delays or cancellations to 700 trains, with incidents highest on the Mernda and Frankston lines.’

General manager – safety operations Adrian Rowland said that motorists need to understand the severity of an incident.

“Trains don’t stop on a sixpence – and if you end up in a compromising position on a level crossing, there is nothing a train can do about it and you’re going to come off worse,” he said.

The most common incident is when vehicles damage boom arms or level crossing equipment, which happened 83 times in the past 12 months.

MTM has also been encouraging school students to be aware of risks around trains, with MTM community education officer Kelli Williams engaging with Victorian school children.

“Trains are 140 metres long, weigh as much as 250 cars, and can’t swerve or stop quickly – so there can be serious consequences if young people take risks,” said Williams.

Minister for Public Transport Melissa Horne shared these concerns.

“Please look out for yourselves and others as our rail network gets busier. There’s no excuse for risk-taking behaviour.”

Incidents involving school students often cover mobile phone and headphone distractions, rushing for trains, forcing open doors, illegally crossing tracks, and using skateboards and scooters on platforms.

MTM said that the continuing program of level crossing removals will improve safety around the network, with currently 75 level crossings to go.

Toorak level crossing removed ahead of schedule

The Level Crossings Removal Project estimates that the Toorak Road level crossing will be removed six months ahead of schedule.

A revised completion date of April will see the new rail bridge operational, with cars travelling underneath.

Work currently being completed includes the installation of 18 concrete columns to support the new rail bridge. During February and March, U-troughs will be installed which will form the rail bridge. 20 of the structures will be installed along with retaining walls in Tooronga Park and Talbot Crescent.

While works and being undertaken, the rail line will be closed during the next months. These will be scheduled during off-peak periods.

In early 2021, 23,000 trees, plants, and grasses will be plated to finish the project.

Other projects currently underway as part of the Level Crossings Removal Project include site investigations for upgrades to the Hurstbridge Line. Surveys and investigations have occurred in Greensborough, Montmorency, and Diamond Creek.

As part of the Level Crossings Removal Project, the Victorian government plans to duplicate the rail line between Greensborough and Montmorency, and between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen. Work will also be undertaken at Greensborough and Montmorency stations.

Train stabling at Victoria Park will also be upgraded and power and signalling will be improved along parts of the Hurstbridge Line. Submissions on changes to the Planning Scheme Amendment which will enable the project are now open.


Vic awards $910m in crossing removal work

A pair of major contracts awarded on Monday will see the removal of six level crossings and the construction of three new train stations as part of the Victorian Government’s Level Crossing Removal programme.

A team of Lendlease, Acciona Coleman Rail and WSP has won a $744 million deal to lower the Frankston line and remove level crossings at Edithvale Road in Edithvale, Station Street in Bonbeach, and Argyle Avenue, Chelsea Road and Swanpool Avenue in Chelsea.

The contract also includes new stations to be built at Edithvale, Chelsea and Bonbeach.

The second contract, awarded to Fulton Hogan, is a $166 million deal to remove the Clyde Road level crossing in Berwick by lowering the road under the Pakenham line.

Premier Daniel Andrews said the two new contracts were evidence Labor was following through on its promise to remove 50 level crossings by 2022 and 75 by 2025. The two contracts announced on December 9 bring the total number of contracted crossing removals to 50, paving the way for the first part of that promise to be fulfilled.

“Every level crossing removal makes local streets safer, improves traffic flow and allows us to run more trains – and every one of them creates Victorian jobs,” Andrews said.

“These level crossings choke our roads and put lives at risk,” state member for Mordialloc Tim Richardson said. “Getting rid of them will make a real difference for our community and everyone travelling along this stretch of the Nepean Highway.”

Safety upgrades for North Island level crossings

NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail are conducting safety upgrades to railway level crossings in the north of New Zealand’s North Island.

A total of $26 million is being spent to make New Zealand’s crossings safer, using lower cost improvements.

Upgrades include the installation of half-arm barriers, flashing lights and bells to road signs and markings, road shoulder widening and improvements to crossing surfaces.

Twelve sites are up for upgrades across the Waikato and Bay of Plenty are currently undergoing improvements.

“Work has already been completed at four sites. Safety improvements at another four locations are underway in the coming months, with upgrades to all twelve locations expected to be completed by mid-2020,” said the Transport Agency’s Acting Director of Regional Relationships Ross I’Anson.

“On average five people die, five people are seriously injured, and there are 238 reported near-miss incidents at railway level crossings across New Zealand each year,” said l’Anson.

The upgrades target crossings on or near state highways where there is a higher risk of death or serious injury occurring, according to a NZ Transport Agency statement.

The works are not expected to result in delays to traffic, but motorists are encouraged to allow more time for their journeys.

Busy Glenroy level crossing in Melbourne faces removal

Glenroy Road’s level crossing is now set for removal, becoming the second crossing to be removed on Melbourne’s Craigieburn line as part of the Victorian Government’s Level Crossings Removal Project (LCRP).

The rail line will be lowered below Glenroy Road to accommodate the removal. The government stated that this method would be the most feasible design option as it avoided significant levels of compulsory property acquisition while also suiting the topography of the area. A new station will also be built as part of the works, which are set to conclude in 2022.

The government stated that Glenroy Road was one of North Melbourne’s most congested roads, with around 19,000 vehicles passing the level crossing each day.

“We are now undertaking further technical investigations. Later this year, we will be back out with more information and locals will have the opportunity to provide feedback on the project,” VicGov said in a statement.

“The boom gates at this level crossing can be down for up to 43 per cent of the morning peak, causing congestion for up to a kilometre along Glenroy Road. Delays will worsen as more trains and cars travel through Glenroy in the future.”

Acting Premier Lisa Neville, acting Minister for Transport Infrastructure Melissa Horne and Member for Pascoe Vale Lizzie Blandthorn convened at Glenroy Station to aonnounce the project

“This dangerous and congested level crossing holds up thousands at Glenroy Road each day – it’s got to go,” Neville said.

“This will make a real difference for people in Glenroy, making it quicker, easier and safer to get around.”

The LCRP has so far removed 29 of a planned 75 dangerous and congested level crossings in Melbourne, with the remainder set for removal by 2025.

Melbourne to axe three more level crossings by 2022

Three level crossings on the Werribee line in Melbourne are to get the chop as part of the Victorian Government’s ongoing Level Crossing Removal Project.

The crossings will be removed at Cherry Street, Werribee Street and Old Geelong Road in Hoppers Crossing by 2022. The means by which the crossings will be removed was eventually narrowed down to one of two options, with the government expressing a preference for each crossing.

The preferred design for the Cherry Street crossing is a road bridge running over the rail line at Tarneit Road, with ‘Design B’ comprising an underpass at Cherry Street.

The road bridge was cited as the preferred option as it would allow the project to use the irrigation channel reserve adjacent to Wyndham City Council officers to provide a direct connection from Princes Highway to Railway Avenue and Tarneit Road.

The alternate design would involve digging a 4.6-metre trench to lower Cherry Street while the rail tracks retained their present level.

A rail bridge is the preferred option for the Werribee Street crossing, with a new road bridge at Bulban Road as backup. The rail bridge was chosen as the preferred option as it would incorporate improvements at Wyndham Park, and open up space below the rail line.

For Old Geelong Road, the preferred option is a new road bridge connecting Old Geelong Road to the Princes Highway, with a road bridge at the current crossing as the ‘B’ design 

Two community drop-in sessions will be held around Werribee and Hoppers Crossing to prompt further discussion around the project and allow the public to get involved on Saturday July 13 from 10am12:30pm and Tuesday July 16 from 5pm7:30pm.

Governments budget $402m for Adelaide road grade separations

The South Australian Liberal Government and Federal Government are joint funding a $402 million grade separation project at Torrens Road (Ovingham) and Brighton Road (Hove) in Adelaide.

The funding will be delivered as part of the 201920 state budget and includes $231 million to fix the rail crossing at Torrens Road and $171 million for the crossing at Brighton Road. The funding builds on the previously announced $305 million for intersection upgrades for a total of $707 million in congestion-related infrastructure spending for the city.

State Premier Steven Marshall said that the changes would allow South Australians to spend less time stuck in traffic and more time with their loved ones at home.

“The State Liberal Government is building congestion busting infrastructure to cut travel times for motorists and improve safety on our roads,” said South Australian Premier Steven Marshall.

“We are partnering with the Federal Liberal Government to deliver two grade separations and seven intersection upgrades in the upcoming state budget.”

The two projects are intended to remove the crossings along the busy Seaford and Gawler train lines in order to ease congestion and cut travel times, according to Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.

“The Seaford and Gawler train lines are our most heavily patronised train lines and when the boom gates come day, it frustrates motorists on their way to work or home,” Knoll said.

“In fact, we know that during peak periods at the Brighton Road level crossing, the boom gates are down for about 20 per cent of the time – or about 25 minutes.”