Rail project “characterised by costly mistakes”

This week’s Regional Rail Link shutdown is not, of course, the first time major works have been done on the railways.

Argus articles about Caulfield lineThe more things change, the more they stay the same. Fascinating stuff from The Argus, 17th October 1914:


Provision has been made for the expenditure of £146,000 this year on the duplication and regrading of the Caulfield line between Caulfield and South Yarra. So far about £170,000 has been expended in connection with this work, which has been characterised by costly mistakes. When the work was begun its cost was estimated at £311,000, but the department, which only adimts having made minor errors of judgment, now estimates the cost at £391,000. The regrading and duplication is occupying a much longer time than wns anticipated, and it is highly probable that when the work is finished, the actual expenditure will have exceeded the estimate by over £100,000.

The Argus, 17th October 1914

This one also caught my eye:


On the occasion of important race meetings at Caulfield, the railway service on that line is generally disorganised, but on Saturday the delays were more serious than usual, and many persons had unpleasant experiences.

Doubts have been expressed as to whether the congestion now experienced on this line will be satisfactorily relieved when the present duplication work has been completed. Delays now occur chiefly between Flinders street and South Yarra, the section which is not to be duplicated, and no provision is being made for the more expeditious despatch of trains from the city.

The Argus 13th October 1913

Between South Yarra and Richmond there were only four tracks at the time. The line had been opened in 1860, expanded to four tracks in 1883, and wouldn’t be upgraded again to six tracks until a project that started in 1944 and concluded in 1960 with the opening of the current Richmond station (now itself slated for upgrade).

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

4 replies on “Rail project “characterised by costly mistakes””

Very interesting find. Of course, if history does repeat itself fully, this can be used to predict that a) after the RRL is completed, everyone will accept it and stop complaining and b) that it won’t be built to the best standard, since the MATHS stations were constructed with two side and one island platform rather than two islands (or only one!), and the last information we have is that Wyndham Vale at least will be built as two side platforms in a deep, expensive cutting rather than a ground level island platform.

Hmm.. maybe this could be turned into a problem-of-the-day, even if it is a future one?

Thanks … from the sources avaliable to me (including “Stopping all Stations”) it was possible to fill in when the caulfield line was duplicated, & line to South Yarra sextuplicated: but not when it was quadruplicated. You’ve provided a missing link.

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