Bentleigh/Mckinnon/Ormond level crossing removals update

The second big (longer than a weekend) shutdown for this project has commenced, so where are we at?

The project summary

Click here for my long post on the project details, or here’s a summary:

  • Originally just removal of the Ormond level crossing was funded by the Coalition. The project was expanded to include adjacent stations Mckinnon and Bentleigh after Labor came to power in November 2014 with a pledge to start removal 20 crossings by 2018.
  • Project works commenced in 2015, and an accelerated schedule will see it wrapping up by the end of 2016.
  • Each will be rail under road, with all three stations rebuilt.
  • All stations will sit under the roads. Ormond will get entrances on both sides of North Road. Mckinnon and Bentleigh stations will only have entrances on the northern side. All three to have pedestrian crossings right outside. In most cases bus stops will be moved to be outside the stations.
  • Unfortunately no additional pedestrian crossing points or access or is currently planned.
  • Bentleigh (Premium) will have fare gates. Ormond will have provision for future Premium status, including provision for gates.

The second big shutdown

This shutdown kicked off on Thursday night (24/3/2016), and will run through until Sunday (3/4/2016) — see more detail at the bottom of the post on this.

Bus replacements at Bentleigh during level crossing removal works

Ormond and Mckinnon station have now closed until they are rebuilt under the roads, so buses will continue running for those passengers, though many may find it quicker to walk to Bentleigh or Glenhuntly.

Here’s a bunch of pictures… (Click through to see them at a larger size on Flickr)

Around Bentleigh

By Saturday morning, they’d removed the westernmost of the three tracks.
Bentleigh - Third track removed during level crossing removal works

View to Patterson station, showing third track temporarily removed for level crossing removal works

The Centre Road level crossing was awash with construction workers and equipment, busy constructing the new bridge. Later on during the June/July shutdown, they’ll tunnel underneath it.
Bridge construction at Centre Road for level crossing removal works

Some video of works on Saturday at lunchtime, with bonus giant Easter bunny!

More trees are being removed along the rail corridor. Mostly it’s only a few palm trees that are left. The other palm trees have been moved into storage until the project is complete, but most of the other trees won’t be back.
Tree removal for level crossing removal works
Tree protection during level crossing removal works

Nearby house construction looks a bit mickey-mouse compared to the grade separation works. I suppose it might be a $10m project versus one 10-20 times that big.
Nicholson Street, Bentleigh during level crossing removal works

Pedestrian access is available across the tracks. The diversion route lets you see things you don’t normally get a good look at, for instance the appalling state of some of the wooden sleepers. Thankfully this particular section will be removed as part of the grade separation.
Track at Bentleigh

Despite buses being diverted around the area, the Smartbus sign was happily claiming the bus would be showing up soon.
Bus diversions in place for level crossing removal works

By Sunday afternoon, some of the concrete for the new bridge deck had been poured. More to come, I expect.
Centre Road - level crossing removal works


Looking south towards Bentleigh from Mckinnon, you can see all the equipment stored for works, and they’ve started building the safety fence to separate the workers from the trains when they return next week.
At Mckinnon, looking towards Bentleigh during level crossing removal works

As at Bentleigh, they’ve building the bridge for tunnelling under later.
Mckinnon bridge construction during level crossing removal works

It’s harder to see the works up close at Mckinnon, but they’ve made quick work of removing the station buildings.
Mckinnon station demolition, during level crossing removal works


As you go up towards Ormond, part of Cadby Avenue has been closed off during construction, and in fact it’ll be made permanently one way at the northern end to accommodate the extra station entrance. Again, most of the trackside trees have been removed, and it appears won’t be coming back. (Hopefully at least new ones will be planted.)
Between Mckinnon and Ormond, during level crossing removal works

Unlike the other two crossings, the road is open at North Road — they got the bridge for this one built in January.
Ormond station being demolished, during level crossing removal works

The station buildings here have also been demolished.
Ormond station being demolished, during level crossing removal works
Ormond station - during level crossing removal works
Ormond station platforms 2+3, during level crossing removal works
Ormond station demolition during level crossing removal works

Oh dear, looks like someone foolishly had left their bike chained up on the platform when the station closed.
Ormond station ramp - during demolition for level crossing removal

Where to from here?

Some of the information is quite confusing, so here’s a timeline of where things go from here.

(I’ve rounded to the nearest day. For instance if a closure starts late on Friday night, I’ve listed it as starting Saturday.)

Fri 25/3/2016 Easter shutdown begins. Ormond and Mckinnon stations now closed until rebuilding is complete. Trains replaced by buses from Mordialloc to Caulfield, and also Frankston to Stony Point (because the Sprinter trains can’t get to the city for maintenance and refueling).

Centre and Mckinnon Roads are closed to traffic, causing diversions for buses 701, 703, 626 and nightbus 979.

Tue 29/3/2016 From this day the bustitution section shortens to Moorabbin to Caulfield for the (short) working week.
Mon 4/4/2016 Trains are back, using the remaining tracks 2 and 3, but not stopping at Ormond and Mckinnon. Timetables won’t be adjusted — the trains may not be able to zoom through fast anyway given the presence of workers.

Buses still operate from Moorabbin to Caulfield (but presumably less frequently) for Ormond and Mckinnon users. Centre and Mckinnon Roads still closed to traffic

Tue 5/4/2016 Centre and Mckinnon Roads reopen to traffic.
Tue 4/6/2016 Bentleigh station closes.
Sat 25/6/2016 The big shut commences for five weeks (the first two overlapping with school holidays). No trains between Moorabbin and Caulfield.

This is when they rip up all the track and dig out the trenches. They’ll take much of the dirt up (along the rail alignment) to the E.E.Gunn Reserve in Glenhuntly, where part of the park will be used to pile it up, then ship it away by truck.

No road closures, but lots of truck movements.

Early August Mckinnon station re-opens, trains resume running.
Late August Ormond and Bentleigh stations re-open.
Late-2016 Finishing touches; project completion.

Update: Video from Tuesday night. Bridge construction is well under way.

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.

12 replies on “Bentleigh/Mckinnon/Ormond level crossing removals update”

Took a good look at the works at Bentleigh today. Hard to believe they’ll get all that work done with the line running again in just a week’s time, but sounds like they already did similar before in Ormond?

Great update, thanks Daniel. It would be good if the government can boast “on time and on budget” for such major projects.
Not sure of the benefit of a giant Easter bunny – when my kids were small they would have been terrified.

It’s good to see that they approach this with a level of urgency not seen in many other projects.

A terrific summary of what is happening, thank you. It occurred to me that when Gardiner was reconstructed, when it should have been done when the freeway was built, that there was the space next to the line to place a whole new railway line. I guess this not the case at McKinnon, Bentleigh and Ormond, hence a longer closure of the line and more disruption. Two close friends use the FKN line and they have no complaints. One will walk north to Glenhuntly Station and the other will adjust his travel.

@Malcom it really depends on how the overhead rail is done. Potentially if its brown fields like the rail under shown there will still need to be allot of piling, pile cap, pier, crosshead, beam and deck construction done under occupations or track protection all with full overhead isolation. Also what you save in retained earth costs may well be made up for with additional structural concrete elements as you now have a structure many hundreds of meters long versus a short road deck. I suspect the labour is similarly large regardless of the solution and the difference is potentially in all the staging, bustitution, dead running, and driver training that a particular solution may offer etc. It may even be that rail over is more expensive initially but the operating savings such as tractive power, pumping stations (if you can’t free drain) and groundwater contamination treatment (if its near contaminated sources) amongst others could quickly switch the sums site by site.

It might be interesting to study the bus replacement passengers, see how many are ex-train users vs how many are using the service to get along Jasper Road. Could be just the right chance to get a permanent bus route?

It’ll be a joy to do it all over again when Glenhuntly gets grade-separated (assuming it gets trenched as well.)

to me overhead rail is visually ugly and noisy. I do understand that trenching trains gives passengers nothing to look at but grey walls, but I just think raising rails 2 storeys high will have a negative effect for more people living close to the rail line as apposed to those who just have their fences backing onto it. The extra space below is a good thing but my concern is that it will and it will attract unwanted activities…especially in areas like Noble Park. Not to mention who will take responsibility of the new open space reserve under the rail line. Someone will need to maintain it. Rail underneath is costly but once this costly infrastucture is put in place it is final and it will never change. We’ve spent billions and billions and billions on roads just in Melbourne alone. I think its time we invested properly in public transport, a more sustainable and efficent way of travelling.

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