SRL Burwood/Box Hill

A few weeks ago the Suburban Rail Loop peeps invited me and a few others to look around the work sites at Burwood and Box Hill.

PTUA members can read about it in the latest PTUA newsletter (pay wall), but we couldn’t fit photos in the article, so here are a few.

First stop on the tour was Burwood (actual name TBA, as there’s already a Burwood station on the Alamein line) – across the road from Deakin University, and next to the 75 tram along Burwood Highway.

Suburban Rail Loop construction site - Burwood, with Deakin Uni in the background

They’ve chosen to build the stations adjacent to major traffic generators, rather than directly under them, mostly due to ground conditions, but also it also means they’ll have space to build the new precincts around the stations – a big part of the project is urban development rather than just a rail line.

That said, the distance that the Monash station site to the main part of the university campus just seems excessive to me.

These maps (also on the web site) show the line and the early works areas, as well as an indication of where the underground stations will be located and how they’ll be aligned.

Suburban Rail Loop construction site - Map of early works

At Burwood they’ve demolished an old electrical transmission facility, and the demolition contractor is working to see what building materials can be reused. It’s rather impressive to see stacks of bits sorted out, like a giant version of our household recycling bin sorting.

Sorting building parts for re-use, Burwood SRL site

At Box Hill they’ve taken over the middle of Maroondah Highway, with the tram terminus moved west, and the road narrowed.

Box Hill’s underground station will be built with a pedestrian connection directly into the Metro station to the south. It’ll allow for future extension of SRL northwards towards Doncaster and the airport, though who knows when that’ll be.

Suburban Rail Loop - Box Hill under construction
Suburban Rail Loop work site at Box Hill

The whole line will be set up for 4-car trains at up to 2 minute headways, though it won’t reach those frequencies initially.

It was an interesting tour, though in some ways there’s not a huge amount to see just yet given construction is in the early stages. But it was a good chance to see the sites and chat to the people working on it.

And while the SRL is enormously expensive, it’s important to see it for what it is – even the first stage is a big long term project, and definitely not just a rail line, but a wholesale urban redevelopment of the station precincts.

As a rail line, it will do things that no other project can do. The key will be if the government manages it properly, puts the stations in the right places, and builds enough of them, does the urban renewal part of it well, and provides the broader PT network upgrades to really make the most of it.

Thanks to the SRL project for inviting me.

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.

11 replies on “SRL Burwood/Box Hill”

“the distance that the Monash station site to the main part of the university campus just seems excessive to me.”
Yeah, I agree. Given the campus is open 24/7, it would have been better to put the station under the bus terminus which is near the Menzies building. The official SRL website map weirdly shows some gardens at the university but none of the buildings that students would be familiar with. Another example of where transport planners should have got Joe Average to look at their documents for a sense check prior to release.

@Roger The Northern area is better for development and has industry/commercial activity around it.

Putting it under the campus centre would be a little more equitable for most students but then u cant develop.

The station location is not the best but I recall having to park much further away to get to class…

@corkage. If the station is in “the northern area” it should be called Notting Hill because that’s where it’s located, not at Monash. Call a spade a spade!

The Monash station is in the wrong place because it should be on the south side of the university where it can connect with the existing bus interchange and future potential light rail in Wellington Road. Instead they’re placing it on a dead-end road with no connections east and west and the devil’s own job to get a bus in and out, let alone a “trackless tram”. I will die on this hill.

How will they decide the new stations names? Will SRL stations that intersect take the same name? Or get a new one?

FYI, Way back when, Box Hill was almost named Arundel. Box Forest was a contender for Fawkner, as that was the old name for the area, East Camberwell was almost called Prospect Hill as that was the old name for that area, and Clayton was one called Clayton’s Road.

@roger there was community consultation for all the stations online, and it was open to the public. Lots of people put suggestions in, including myself, for the station to be located near to the bus loop but now we can see where they ended up choosing the final location

Monash should actually have 2 stations – the one as proposed for the urban redevelopment, and 1 at the southern end. Alignment was apparently an issue – but it just seems an excuse. Not an either / or, but “and”. In the grand scheme of the project, incremental station capital cost is negligible. Same comment for the rest of the line – with at least 2 or 3 additional stations justifiable.

The Monash station is perfectly located. It’s central to its 2 targets – the employment area to the north and the university to the south.
I lived 600 metres from the station site for 35 years and more people work in the area than attend the university.

SRL is a great idea but it’s also a missed opportunity to open up more of the city to heavy rail and to have more-convenient stations.

For example, there’s a huge expanse between Cheltenham and Clayton that has no train lines, so a stop at somewhere like Moorabbin Airport would’ve been a good idea.

Rather than moving the station that’s north of Monash Uni, there should be an additional station near the bus interchange, coupled with light rail down Wellington Rd.

Another station could also go near the intersection of Elgar Rd and Riversdale Rd at Watte Park.

Would’ve also been good to start the line at Sandringham, but I imagine NIMBYism would be immense there.

And I guess the people of Doncaster will have to wait a few more decades before a train line reaches them – if it ever does.

SRL trains every 2 minutes at Glen Waverley and Box Hill connect with Metro trains every 30 minutes, what could possibly go wrong?

Regards the Monash station site – I lived in the halls of residence at Monash for three years, which is at the northern end of the campus on Normanby Rd, just near the future station. If nothing else, it will great for the students who live on campus.

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