Liberal Rail Trench Plan Would Cause Transport Chaos

Melbourne’s busiest rail line would be closed for more than seven months and local streets would be clogged with buses and dump trucks for two years if the Dandenong line was lowered into rail trenches.

The Opposition has repeatedly called on the Andrews Labor Government to dig a series of concrete rail trenches for kilometres through Carnegie, Clayton and Noble Park to remove nine level crossings, despite not removing any of them when in government.

Figures released today show digging the deep, open-cut trenches the Opposition wants would require the closure of the Cranbourne Pakenham line for 230 days during construction.

These closures would be between 30 hours and eight weeks long, and require hundreds of buses a day to move the tens-of-thousands of metropolitan and regional passengers that use Melbourne’s busiest rail line every day.

The closures would also affect the livelihood of businesses relying on weekly freight services to and from eastern Victoria, which would be shut down by these frequent, and often long, closures.

Local streets would be clogged with dump trucks day and night moving an estimated 86,000 loads of excavated soil – and major roads in Melbourne’s south east would be closed for long periods of time, often simultaneously, with no workable alternative routes for traffic.

In contrast, the elevated line can be built while trains continue to run on the existing line, meaning the Cranbourne Pakenham line will be closed for a fraction of the time it would be if the line was lowered.

There’ll be far fewer buses and almost no dump trucks clogging local streets, and major arterials roads will be open to traffic for most of the build. It also means these dangerous and congested crossings will be removed sooner.

In the long term, the elevated solution means instead of long, deep concrete trenches, communities throughout Melbourne’s south east will get kilometres of new parks, paths and community facilities.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan

“The Liberals’ plan for kilometres of long concrete trenches through Melbourne’s south east would close Melbourne’s busiest rail line for over seven months, causing chaos for passengers and freight services.”

“If the Opposition got their way, local streets would be clogged with buses and dump trucks, major roads would be repeatedly closed for long periods of time and the removal of nine of our worst level crossings would be delayed once again.”

“The Andrews Labor Government’s elevated solution means fewer road and rail line closures, a fraction of the truck movements, and kilometres of new parks, bike paths and community facilities, rather than ugly rail trenches.”

“These nine dangerous and congested level crossings need to go and elevating the line is the best way to get rid of them. After years of Liberal excuses, we’re getting on with it.”