On Tuesday the Level Crossing Removal Authority put out a whole raft of information on options for removal of crossings on the southern end of the Frankston line. If you have any interest at all, particularly if you’re a local, they’re definitely worth a look.
The Opposition’s withering response:
“The controversial ‘Sky Rail’ monstrosity on the Pakenham line has been dumped by Daniel Andrews for a ‘Roller Coaster Rail’ on the Frankston line.
“The Big Dipper belongs at Luna Park, not on the Frankston line.”
Three things on this:
2. Unless there’s an extended section of elevated rail or trench, you do end up with rail lines going up and down like a roller coaster. It’s inevitable.
Extended sections of elevated rail between crossings are clearly not what the Opposition want, because that’s “sky rail”, which they’ve decided is evil (or at least, a chink in the Andrews Government’s political armour).
Extended sections of trench are impossibly complex and expensive and disruptive to build. The longer the trench, the more underground services have to be moved, and this takes a lot of time and money to do properly.
The three level crossings recently grade separated at Ormond-Mckinnon-Bentleigh are in relatively close proximity to each other, but between each, the rail line comes back up to ground level because it wasn’t practical to do it any other way. For instance between Ormond and Mckinnon there’s a massive storm water pipe (at Murray Road) just below ground level, so the rail line goes over it.
As shown in this video, and the top photo (snapped from Bentleigh, looking towards McKinnon), the ups and downs are very visible.
But — despite suspicions from myself and others that it would feel like a roller coaster, it really doesn’t when you’re on the train, thanks to only very slight grades (typically no more than 2%) and the natural topography of the area.
(Heading north out of Ormond is slightly steeper, and is more noticeable. This was done to preserve the Dorothy Avenue underpass, which is also part of the old Rosstown Railway line.)
This sort of thing happens all over the place without anybody noticing — except perhaps the train drivers.
Riding the trains, you might think it’s flat from Caulfield to Malvern… but it’s not:
If this is “roller coaster rail”, then we’ve already got it, lots of it.
Finally, something to always keep in mind whenever a politician opens their mouth:
3. This is the Opposition doing what Oppositions do; criticising government no matter what.
In this case the options documents that have been published are a really good step to help locals understand the design decisions to be made, and the trade-offs of each method.
In fact, it’s not hard to argue that this sort of information should have been provided on all the crossings before designs were finalised.