(The suburb is spelt as two words, the station as one. No, they’re not fixing the discrepancy, despite building an entirely new station. No, it doesn’t make sense.)
A week’s closure of the rail line has just finished. One notable change is they’ve commenced demolishing the building on platform 3 of the station.
Last week the project team ran some tours for interested locals and others, and I was lucky enough to go along. They explained that the next phase is that express trains will be altered to stop all stations for the next couple of months – this commences on Monday.
This will allow them to do piling in preparation for digging the trench, alongside the rail line while trains keep running, by closing one track at a time.
It’s good to see they haven’t skimped on the signage.
As with the Bentleigh-McKinnon-Ormond project back in 2016, nearby palm trees will be temporarily relocated, then brought back later.
There’ll be more full rail line closures, including another in January 2023.
At some point in winter 2023, the station will close for about 4 months, with trains not running for about half of that period, while major construction takes place.
Apart from the obvious (the trench, two crossings gone, and a new station) the project will also straighten out curves north of Neerim Road, allowing trains to travel faster. Along with the removal of the tram square (tram/train crossing) which forces trains to slow down, it should cut train travel times.
You can see the difference in the current timings between Caulfield and Glenhuntly vs Carnegie, using late-evening timings (when passenger loads and track congestion generally are not an issue):
- Caulfield to Carnegie is 1.74km; taking 2-3 minutes – including for outbound trains, the climb up the ramp onto the skyrail
- Caulfield to Glenhuntly is 1.67km, taking 3-5 minutes
The project will also help reduce tram delays, as well as eliminating a cause of regular disruption when trams get stuck on the tram square – not to mention long delays to trams, buses, pedestrians and motorists when freight trains come through.
It’s great to see the removal of this crossing progressing.
And of course – it’s a state election year. The government’s current pledge is 85 crossings for removal. While the project has been expensive, it also brings widespread benefits and is politically popular…. So don’t be too surprised if they promise a few more in the coming months.