How to go shopping by public transport in Malvern

I found this flyer during a clearout of the PTUA office last week.

Judging from the text it appears to be from late 1992 — perhaps around the time Jeff Kennett was elected in October 1992.

How to go shopping by public transport in Malvern and surrounding suburbs (1992) - 1/2

How to go shopping by public transport in Malvern and surrounding suburbs (1992) - 2/2

What’s changed since then?

Tram routes

Route 69 is now route 16, connecting via St Kilda Beach through to the City/Melbourne University.

The other tram routes are much the same, though route 8 currently runs through to Moreland. There is a proposal for this to connect instead at Domain to route 55, running via William Street, the hospital precinct and the Zoo to West Coburg, forming route 58. PTV want feedback on this.

I think it’s a good idea. It’s part of a plan to better balance out large and small trams where the former are needed, and (if I understand this right, is yet again completely undersold by PTV) is associated with a frequency boost to 10 minutes across the entire tram network. Even if it’s not quite all of the network, they should be shouting about this from the rooftops.

I’m less sure about the route number. If you want to confuse people on the northern end, replace route 55 with route 8. If you want to confuse the people on the southern end, replace the 8 with the 55. Seems to me calling it 58 just confuses everybody.

But I digress.


Tram frequencies are mostly the same, but on Sundays they’ve improved a lot, particularly on Sunday afternoons, mostly to every 12 minutes.

Of course the imagery of tram conductors selling you a ticket isn’t something you’d see now! In fact these days you can’t buy a ticket (or top up a Myki) on a tram at all — both options were originally planned for the Myki system, but removed in the 2011 “de-scoping” by the Coalition state government.

No tram museum in Malvern anymore — you want the Hawthorn tram museum, up the road.


A footnote says a “small increase in fares” is due 1/1/93.

The $1.90 zone 1 2-hour base fare is now $3.76 on Myki.

The 2014 price for Z1 was $3.58. The RBA calculator only goes as far as 2014; it says if the $1.90 in 1992 had gone up only by CPI, it would have been $3.37 in 2014. But remember there was a slight price cut in 2013 when everyone was forced off single tickets onto Myki.

Due to the removal of zone 3 (2007) and the capping of zone 1+2 fares to the zone 1 rate (2015), the $4.50 quoted for zones 1+2+3 back then is now $3.76 as well. (With CPI rises, this would have been $7.97 in 2014. It was actually $6.06 then.)

This reflects what we know about fares — over the years, the removal/capping of zones has meant a real terms cut for those travelling in 2 or 3 zones. But zone 1 has increased in real terms. ‘Cos everyone in zone 1 is rich, right?

Other changes

I’m not sure why they list South Yarra and Malvern as being only on the Dandenong/Pakenham line. (The Cranbourne line didn’t exist then.) The Frankston line served both of those, though maybe they didn’t want people confused by expresses. These days it’s mostly the Dandenong line trains that run express.

The flyer doesn’t mention train frequencies, but outside peak, these have increased a lot since 1992. Back then most trains were every 20 minutes on weekdays, 40 on Sundays. Across the network, Sunday frequencies mostly doubled in 1999, and more recently the Frankston and Dandenong lines got upgraded to every 10 minutes or better, 7 days a week.

As for the shopping centre itself — how has that changed? Others might know better than me, but my guess is Malvern Central (which isn’t really in central Malvern) might be the biggest change there — as well as the de-regulation of shopping hours under Kennett.

Happy shopping!

Bentleigh/Mckinnon/Ormond grade separations: Lots of detail

To their credit, the state government is initiating Stakeholder Liaison Groups for the level crossing eliminations to happen across Melbourne.

The first of these covers the three Bentleigh area crossings: North Road, Ormond; Mckinnon Road, Mckinnon; Centre Road, Bentleigh. It’s convened by local MP Nick Staikos, and members include representatives from local traders, schools, community groups and public transport users. The latter is myself, as a local and with my PTUA hat on. (Note it’s not a group just for interested individuals — there are public forums for that — see below.)

Ormond/North Road level crossing

The first meeting occurred last week, with an overview briefing from the Level Crossing Removal Authority and contractor John Holland. The representatives at the meeting were very helpful, gave a lot of information and took a lot of questions.

Below I’m going to dump a bunch of notes — both information conveyed at the meeting, and some comments from me thrown in as well.

Any errors, misunderstandings or omissions in the information below are my own.

While part of the role of member is to share project information out to those in the community who are interested, I should emphasise that I do not speak on behalf of the Stakeholder Liaison Group, or any other members. And any journalists reading who want more information should seek it from the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA).

Initial projects

The pledge was for twenty crossings in this term of government, thirty the next. (The full list is here — most of them make sense with the possible exception of Werribee Street in Werribee, unless the Metro line is extended through to Wyndham Vale.)

In the Bentleigh area, three plus Burke Road, Glen Iris were awarded to John Holland and friends at a cost of $524 million.

Two in St Albans (Main and Furlong Roads), Blackburn Road, Blackburn, and Heatherdale Road, Heatherdale were awarded to Leighton and friends at a cost of $480 million (including a Commonwealth contribution of $151 million).

Add the nine along the Dandenong line (yet to be awarded, but there is a shortlist just announced), and that’s seventeen of the twenty, with the next three yet to be determined.

The Bentleigh area grade separations is the focus of the rest of this blog post.

This project (and I think the others also) is handled by what’s termed an alliance, consisting of: LXRA, VicRoads, PTV, John Holland, KBR Construction (the designer) and Metro.

Bentleigh station and level crossing

Overall design

For better or worse, all three grade separations will be rail under road. (I hope they are actively considering other options which may provide better community outcomes more cheaply, but given the Ormond design had already advanced considerably last year, I’m not surprised all three will take this option.)

There’s to be no net loss of station parking. Some parking will need to be rebuilt, and apparently the standards now are different, with bigger spaces, so they are looking at options such as increasing spaces at Glenhuntly to make up for any loss of spaces at the rebuilt stations. This may be an issue with other grade separation projects as well.

The Dorothy Avenue underpass (midway between Ormond and Glenhuntly) will become pedestrian/cycle only.

To my surprise, between stations the line will come pretty much back up to ground level. One of the main reasons for this is the high water table — some fairly elaborate designs are being used to ensure drainage isn’t made any worse, and this includes identifying paths for water flow underneath the railway line, and technology to keep water out of the railway alignment where the line is below the water table.

This also helps them with the various underground utilities which either have to be avoided or moved (expensive!).

Brighton sands are also likely to cause some challenges during excavation. (See also: Melbourne geology.)

All this should serve as a reminder that elevated rail may be a better/cheaper option at some locations.

The grade of the line will be no more than 2%, to allow freight trains to continue to use it.

With the track at ground level near Murray Road (between Ormond and Mckinnon), the hope of a pedestrian crossing of the railway line appears to be dashed. They are resistant to an at-grade pedestrian crossing due to safety risks, and an overpass would have very long ramps due to DDA (Disability Discrimination Act) requirements. And I’m sure they suggested the ramps would stretch almost back to North Road. Hmmm.

Impressive sounding statistics: They’ll remove a lot of earth during the construction, with some 280,000 cubic metres taken out, and bring in 12,000 cubic metres of concrete. It’s a big project.

Plan for new Mckinnon station (as at May 2015)
Indicative plan for Mckinnon station from May 2015. Subject to change.


Ramps, lifts and steps likely at all three stations.

Three tracks maintained, with “passive provision” for a later fourth track (which similar to Springvale, seems to mean not building anything in the way of it).

Mckinnon and Bentleigh to have retail shop frontages built into the structures.

It appears bus stops will be moved closer to station entrances, which is good, though it sounds like precise locations haven’t been finalised. This is particularly an issue at Bentleigh presently, where westbound bus stops are awkwardly placed, and at both Mckinnon and Bentleigh there is no nearby pedestrian crossing to access them — with the new designs, there will be pedestrian crossings directly outside the station entrances.

I wonder if it would make sense to re-route bus 625 at Ormond — at present it runs eastbound via schools in Leila Road, but westbound via North Road, probably because the lack of traffic lights makes it impossible to make the westbound trip via Leila Road.

Interestingly the Ormond traders may campaign for a lower speed limit on North Road once the level crossing is gone, so their shops aren’t a blur in motorists’ windows as they pass. This makes sense as a traffic calming measure — the Bentleigh shopping centre is a 40 zone from 7am-7pm, and Mckinnon has no signage, and therefore is 50 (the default speed limit in built-up areas — though I suspect many people treat it as if the limit is 60). It sounds like VicRoads is resistant to a lower limit on North Road though. It’s now 60, though once was 70… but it is flagged under the SmartRoads scheme as a priority pedestrian area, though it’s also part of a preferred traffic route.

There will be limited provision for possible future decking of the rail line. (I would note that while this is often talked about, there so far have only been very limited examples where it’s actually proven to be economically viable.)

Bentleigh, being a Premium station, will get Myki fare gates. Ormond, being a Host Station, will get provision for future Premium status, including gates, but for now will have standalone Myki readers. Mckinnon (neither Premium nor Host, though you sometimes see Host staff on duty there) will have standalone Myki readers and it sounds like it may have only limited provision for later upgrade.

One consequence of the gradients is that the station platforms will go under the roads, which helps provide extra weather cover.

I asked if it also allowed the option of an extra station entrance on the other (southern) side of the road. Initially they cited DDA requirements — the need for more long ramps and lifts. I pointed out that DDA access was via the other entrance. After all, not all access points into a station (or any other building) need to be DDA-compliant, otherwise stairs would no longer be allowed, at all. They changed tack and said that a second entrance causes issues with sight lines for passive surveillance for staff (including PSOs), as well as staffing issues for gates. They may have a point.

(There are times when it seems to me that DDA is used by some organisations as a convenient way of dismissing an option that they don’t want to provide.)

Plan for new Bentleigh station (as at May 2015)
Indicative plan for Bentleigh station from May 2015. Subject to change.

Construction schedule

Traffic modelling tells them chaos would break out if they tried to close North and Centre Roads at the same time. Fair enough. Instead, they’ll stage things in such a way that at least one of them is open.

They’re also wary of closing half of North Road at a time and building the overpass in halves… it sounds like it has more cons than pros.

There are likely to be numerous weekend closures over the life of the project. During road closures, it’s likely that pedestrian access will be made available across the tracks (after all, trains won’t be running). Obviously buses will need to be re-routed as well, and they’re in discussions with bus companies about this.

So, the indicative schedule at the moment is:

July/August 2015 Test works
September/October 2015 Piling works, using some fancy new technology to avoid lots of noise called a “silent piler”, though they noted it’s not exactly silent!
2016 during winter school holidays Centre Road closed for 9 days.

Sounds like they are planning for early decommissioning of one track (the “up”, or westernmost track I believe) immediately after the Caulfield Cup in October 2016, which will obviously mean some timetable changes to deal with the current use of three tracks in peak. (It’s been done recently during major level crossing works at Glenhuntly. From memory they made the expresses stop at the MATH stations, and the stopping trains ran express. That meant no need for overtaking.)

November 2016 Close Mckinnon station and demolish. You’ll still have the option to walk to Bentleigh or Ormond!
December 2016 Close and demolish Ormond and Bentleigh station (with the line left open). Tip for Bentleigh peeps: for the time the station is closed but the line is open, it’s not too far to walk to Patterson, and since the January 2015 changes, the fare is the same.
27 December 2016 Close the line completely for 34 days and do major works.

Given the locations where trains can be shunted/reversed, I’d expect the section of the Frankston line from Caulfield to Moorabbin to be closed during this time, with “bustitution” (substitute buses) running instead. Given this is one of the busiest lines, I’m hopeful they will put some thought into where people are going, and not simply try to replicate the train service with the buses, which often doesn’t work well due to local road layouts.

One idea successfully used on the Regional Rail Link project was to provide cross-town links into other railway lines, where connections can be quick — linking the southern half of the Frankston line from Moorabbin through to Brighton Beach, with extra Sandringham line trains, might be an option for instance.

End of January 2017 Line re-opens — but not the stations just yet!
End of February 2017 Stations re-open, minor works continue.
Mid-2017 All works complete — well before the 2018 election!

Bentleigh level crossing

Where to from here?

All these details are of course subject to change as planning progresses.

A public forum has been set up: 7pm Wednesday 29th July, at Mckinnon Secondary College.

It’s not confirmed yet, but I believe the plan is for a drop-in info session the next day, or soon afterwards. I’ll post details here when that’s confirmed.

It’s exciting to see this project (and others) moving ahead. Removing the level crossings really will make a difference — whether you’re on foot, on a bicycle, in a car or a bus. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve missed my train due to a long wait at the gates.

How they handle the disruptions of course will be critical, especially for the extended closure of the stations and rail line.

Franco Cozzo mural in Footscray

Despite news last year that Franco Cozzo’s Footscray building is up for sale, it appears the store is sticking around for now.
Franco Cozzo store, Footscray, June 2015

Recently I noticed work being done on a mural on the eastern side of the building…
Franco Cozzo mural being painted, Footscray, May 2015

Now completed, it looks rather splendid.
Franco Cozzo mural, Footscray, June 2015
(See this larger)

Note the roller door, which when closed, shows Franco’s words from the ad “Grand Sale! Grand Sale!”
Franco Cozzo mural, Footscray, June 2015
(See this larger)

A couple of weeks ago, the man himself posed in front of it. (Source: Maribyrnong Leader)
Franco Cozzo poses with mural, May 2015 (Maribyrnong Leader)

Further along the same street is more street art celebrating local landmarks, including a Hitachi train (tagged, alas) and you might notice a small tribute to “Sinch”, who was electrocuted while train surfing.
Mural, Footscray, June 2015

Perhaps more palatable to some is this rendition of the old Olympic Doughnuts van.
Olympic Doughnuts, mural, Footscray, June 2015

There’s actually a fair bit of street art around Footscray and the inner-west; it’s worth looking out for if you’re in the area. Here’s a piece I spotted in Yarraville recently.
Street art, Yarraville

I love Bentleigh

Do you want to do this thing, they asked? For a weekly feature in the local paper.

“Sure!” I said… all I had to do was nominated places (mostly restaurants) in my neighbourhood that I like. Easy, and it might help push the cause.

I got my photo taken in one of the local parks. You can’t tell from the picture, but I was crouching uncomfortably to get the flowers into shot, and it was starting to rain. But the photographer was a cheery bloke who made it work.

Fairfax Weekly Review 3/6/2015

This seems to be part of the Fairfax local paper strategy of filling its pages entirely with lifestyle pieces rather than news. It ended up basically being a plug for all my favourite local businesses.

I think I may have given a bigger plug to the Frankston line’s 10 minute services than PTV or Metro have managed since they were introduced.