Victoria has achieved a number of new rail infrastructure milestones across level crossing removal projects and capacity upgrades for bigger trains.
Cranbourne: level crossing contract awarded
A construction contract has been awarded for the Camms Road level crossing removal project, which will bring the Cranbourne Line one step closer to being level crossing free by 2025 and allow trains to run every ten minutes during morning peak.
The level crossing will be removed by elevating Camms Road over the rail line, improving safety and easing congestion for the 12,000 drivers passing through each day.
The project will remove one of the last two remaining level crossings on the Cranbourne line a year ahead of schedule in 2024.
The $92 million of works will be undertaken in a collaboration between Fulton Hogan Construction, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) and the Level Crossing Removal Project.
The collaboration has a strong track record, having successfully removed level crossings in Dandenong South, Lyndhurst and Pakenham, and is currently working on level crossing removals in Berwick, Deer Park and Ardeer.
Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said, “The Camms Road level crossing has frustrated locals for decades. This contract award is a huge step in making sure we’re well on our way to getting rid of it for good.
“Camms Road is one of the last level crossings to be removed on the Cranbourne line, making it level crossing free by 2025 and changing the way people live, work and travel in the area,” Ms Allan said.
More than 137 trains currently pass through the level crossing each day with more services to be added as early as next month, which means removing this level crossing is critical to improving safety in one of Melbourne’s fastest growing areas.
Early works will soon kick off at Camms Road including setting up the site, building work sheds and fencing off the work area to keep the community and workers safe.
Last year, concept designs of the Camms Road level crossing removal were released for community feedback, with more than 540 pieces of feedback received.
Improvements to safety, walking and cycling connections, landscaping and architectural elements were among the key themes.
Preston: milestones in level crossing site works
New milestones have been achieved in rail works in Preston to remove four level crossings and build the new Preston and Bell stations along the Mernda line.
The Level Crossing Removal Project construction team has continued work on the elevated rail line, installing more concrete segments and adding screens, balustrades and overhead power line structures.
Last week, the team installed the final concrete segment for the city-bound elevated structure.
At Bell Station two lift shafts were recently installed. Each lift is more than 15m tall, 3.2m wide and weighs 11.5 tonnes.
The lift shafts were manufactured in Dandenong South and painted in Laverton before being transported to Bell Station. The lift shafts will be craned into Preston Station later this year.
Later this year, trains will use this city-bound rail bridge while construction continues on the Mernda-bound bridge and new stations.
Work starts soon to build the new rail track in the elevated rail structure; around 4 kilometres of track will arrive in Preston, alongside 21,000 tonnes of ballast and 7000 sleepers.
The project is utilising a Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT), a massive, remote controlled agile lifting machine, to help install 18 of the project’s 232 giant concrete beams.
Featuring 16 axles and 128 wheels all working together, the SPMT allows a highly skilled team to manoeuvre tight spaces with precision.
The four level crossings at Oakover Road, Bell Street, Cramer Street and Murray Road in Preston are currently being removed.
The rail line will be raised over the roads on the Mernda line, delivering new open space underneath the 2km rail bridge.
These level crossings will be removed by the end of 2022 and the open space ready for locals to enjoy in 2023.
Sunbury line: boosted rail capacity for bigger trains
Round-the-clock upgrades to train substations on the Sunbury line – enabling bigger trains to run on the Sunbury Line and preparing for a future of turn-up-and-go train services – are now complete.
The upgrades will enable new high-capacity trains to run on the Sunbury Line in the future, using smart signalling technology to safely travel closer together, meaning more trains, more often on the Sunbury Line.
The trains will also allow space for 113,000 more passengers in peak periods every week once the Metro Tunnel opens in 2025.
Crews worked 24/7 over six days in late February to connect two new substations – Talmage Street in Albion and Willaton Street in St Albans – into the network, as well complete upgrades to an existing substation at Diggers Rest.
Six brand new substations have been built as part of the upgrade, including others at Delahey, Footscray, St Albans Road in St Albans, and one at Calder Park rail yard.
Crews also installed new high-voltage cabling between the substations and the rail corridor.
The Victorian Minister for Transport Infrastructure, Jacinta Allan, said, “This work is a big step towards enabling bigger, more modern trains to run on the Sunbury Line.”
Other improvements underway as part of the Sunbury Line Upgrade include building longer and more accessible platforms, upgrading tracks and expanding train stabling.
The Metro Tunnel will connect the Sunbury Line to the Cranbourne/Pakenham Line, via twin rail tunnels and five new underground stations – the CBD, Arden, Parkville and St Kilda Road, and a future rail link to Melbourne Airport.