The level crossing removals at Ginifer (Furlong Road) and St Albans (Main Road) are nearing completion, and yesterday the new stations opened.
Originally the plan had been to remove the St Albans (Main Road) crossing — this was funded by the Coalition government in 2014, for a massive $200 million, recouped from savings during the Regional Rail Project. When Labor came to power in November 2014, they added the nearby Furlong Road crossing to the list, making it part of a $481.2 million package that also includes crossings at Blackburn and Heatherdale — packing the four together appears to have brought the cost down.
(Labor claims in their press release of 8/9/2015 that they funded the Blackburn Road crossing. But a Coalition press release of 27/8/2014 said they funded it, and this appears to be backed-up by the 2014 State Budget. There was a bunch of chopping and changing when Labor added extra crossings, but I’m not sure quite what’s happened here.)
Importantly, the Main Road and Furlong Road level crossings were the ranked most dangerous in the 2008 ALCAM list, after those at Nunawading, Springvale and Mitcham (all since removed), so these grade separations are very welcome.
The re-opening of the stations was not without some confusion.
- Originally the line and stations were to open first thing Monday, but there were (understandable) delays with the work due to bad weather last week.
- Then they said everything would open first thing Tuesday. But there were more delays.
- By Tuesday morning, they were saying that Metro services would resume at 2pm. V/Line were saying their trains would resume at 10am, and PTV were saying that V/Line’s trains would resume on Wednesday morning.
What actually happened was that trains resumed at about 9am.
Sunbury line: Train services have now resumed between Sunbury and Sunshine after the completion of @levelcrossings project works.
— Metro Trains (@metrotrains) October 31, 2016
I took a look on Tuesday afternoon.
Not being a local, I’d wondered for ages if Ginifer is pronounced with a soft or a hard “G” — according to the automated lady on the Siemens train I caught, it’s a hard G.
Edit: Yep, there it is:
— Jacinta Allan (@JacintaAllanMP) November 1, 2016
You can see the old rail alignment, on the eastern side of the new station trench. Given V/Line trains also use this section, one would hope this will be kept free of major structures, to allow future track expansion, as at Springvale.
There’s not much rain cover at present. The “up” (citybound) platform looks like it will get a fair bit of cover, perhaps about half the platform, but it’s less clear how much the “down” (outbound) platform will get.
At the northern end of the station, ramps are under construction, providing more access from that end, and also a handy backup if a lift breaks down. There also seems to be a little bit of space to extend the platforms — though it’s unclear if there’s enough space to cater for the planned longer trains without having to extend the trench.
It was only a quick look, and I didn’t get time to check location of bus stops, and how the new concourses fit into the existing streetscape… they’re probably still in flux anyway. (The trains are only every 20 minutes, and I had things to do elsewhere.)
But it’s great to see these dangerous crossings removed, and the new stations opened.