Each and every level crossing between Caulfield and Dandenong is officially a relic of the past as part of the single biggest Level Crossing Removal Project in Melbourne's history, thanks to the Andrews Labor Government.
A new 3.2-kilometre stretch of elevated rail opened for passengers today between Caulfield and Hughesdale, removing the final four of nine dangerous and congested crossings along Melbourne’s busiest rail corridor. Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan was today among the first to catch a train along the raised track and take a tour of the new elevated platforms at Carnegie Station.
The historic removal of these four crossings means boom gates – previously down for up to 87 minutes each two-hour morning peak – will never again hold up traffic at Poath, Murrumbeena, Koornang and Grange roads. Drivers, cyclists and pedestrians are already experiencing free-flowing traffic after crews carried away four sets of the universally hated boom gates during night works last week – cheered on by hundreds of locals.
Now, work will move full steam ahead to build the new parks, paths and open space set to take the place of tired ground level tracks, connecting neighbourhoods and busy shopping strips long-divided by the rail line. Four out of five new stations have also been re-built as part of the landmark project. Four are now taking passengers, and a fifth at Hughesdale is set to be completed in coming months.
Hundreds of thousands of people will get home safer as well as sooner each day now that these crossings are gone, with accidents, traumatic near misses and fatalities to be a thing of the past.
The statistics for the nine Caulfield to Dandenong crossings are compelling: in the five years from 2013 to 2017, more than 120 accidents or near misses were reported, including 32 at Heatherton Road Noble Park, 26 at Clayton Road, Clayton and 21 at Grange Road, Carnegie.
Level crossings at Clayton and Centre Roads in Clayton, and Corrigan, Heatherton and Chandler Roads in Noble Park, were all removed earlier this year. Today’s milestone means that metro, V/Line and freight trains are now running across three sections of elevated rail, totalling six kilometres combined.
The new Frankston Station has also opened to passengers today, with the road open on June 27, when the Level Crossing Removal Program will reach the halfway mark, saving lives and making communities all over Melbourne safer and less congested.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan
“We said we’d do it, and now every crossing between Caulfield and Dandenong is a relic of the past.”
“With every level crossing gone on this corridor we can now get on with delivering more trains carrying more passengers Melbourne’s busiest rail corridor.”
Quote attributable to Member for Oakleigh Steve Dimopoulos
"This is a real game changer for our community. After 139 years the barrier that has separated suburbs and caused so much frustration is gone.”
“Locals can get to work, drop their kids to school and move about the community without ever having to worry about boom gates again. And they can do it knowing that our roads are so much safer."
Reviewed 19 August 2020