The new Carnegie and Murrumbeena stations opened on Monday morning.
These used to be my local stations. I lived close to Murrumbeena in my teens, and again from 2003 to 2005, and occasionally used Carnegie as well, and still sometimes pass through on the bus to Chadstone.
As this photo from Saturday shows, immediately after the train leaves Caulfield it starts climbing to go up and over Grange Road. It then stays elevated through Carnegie, Murrumbeena and Hughesdale (yet to be opened) before descending back down to street level.
The trains running on the elevated track seem a fair bit quieter than they were at ground level.
This is the view from Dandenong Road, where the impact of the elevated rail is far less than the other side where there is housing.
The old railway has been mostly cleared away.
This photo from Saturday shows the wraparound shelter – note the jagged edges – it’s not completed yet.
Metro and V/Line trains were running between Caulfield and Oakleigh on the weekend ahead of opening, for driver training purposes. This is continuing during normal running days, with already-trained “On The Job Trainers” accompanying drivers through the new section. This is a train leaving Carnegie towards Caulfield on Saturday.
Monday was opening day. At Carnegie the old subway has already been filled-in with concrete.
Temporary stairs up to the platform, while they get the lifts and escalators working — unlike Noble Park and Clayton, these stations are in exactly the same spot as the old stations, so this will take a while to get done. In the meantime, there are shuttle buses between Caulfield and Oakleigh for those who can’t use stairs.
At Carnegie there were lots of staff, ABC 774’s Jon Faine was doing a live broadcast, and a number of politicians and senior government and operator types were milling around, as well as some police.
The wraparound roof structure is similar to the other skyrail stations. Unfortunately it doesn’t run the length of the platform, but other shelters provide some coverage further along. This is Carnegie…
…and this is Murrumbeena, basically the same design.
At Murrumbeena I had a chat to some locals, including Twitter’s “CrossingWatchin”.
— Crossing Watch (@CrossingWatchin) June 18, 2018
Given it refers to the crossing, this sign seems to have been recycled…
This view from the temporary stairs at Murrumbeena shows the space where the escalators and lifts will go.
Here’s the view from Murrumbeena looking towards Carnegie and the City. Note the Eureka building on the right.
View from Murrumbeena towards Hughesdale — same design, but flipped around 180 degrees, as the new station is on the western side of the road, not the eastern side.
The train back to Carnegie was delayed… eventually it arrived, and it was packed. A reminder than reliability, frequency and capacity on this line needs to improve, given it’s the main route for a huge area of Melbourne.
Back at Carnegie a local resident spoke to me – he is one of those affected by the line being just above his backyard. He made it clear he’s not very happy, and he berated me somewhat for a somewhat jokey tweet from Singapore back in 2016. Hopefully he’s read the rather more detailed, nuanced, post about it.
His main beef was with the government – he said the local MP had refused to meet, and he cited a Level Crossing Removal Authority survey which claimed 82% of people support elevated rail — but it actually excluded people living within 400 metres of it!
Anyway, he was invited to express his grievance on-camera by Channel 9, and did so.
— Nine News Melbourne (@9NewsMelb) June 18, 2018
This should be obvious, but just in case not: PTUA did call for impacts on residents to be minimised, but this is not the first priority of public transport advocates — the focus is on services for passengers, amenity and disruptions.
One other point raised by detractors is that the project hasn’t added two more tracks. (Adding just a third track is not very useful.)
As noted previously, removing the crossings and other upgrades mean a huge increase in the passenger carrying capacity of the line, even if it doesn’t allow expresses or fast V/Line services.
But what about additional tracks? The government says this would only have been possible with large-scale property acquisition through Carnegie and Murrumbeena, where the existing rail alignment is quite narrow. The skyrail design as built allows light and rain to get in between the tracks, giving flora a chance to develop — but a four track viaduct wouldn’t allow this, and in any case would need more space through the alignment.
Will they need to do something about this in the future? What will the plan be? It’s clear there’s provision for future tracks on the south side of the line between Dandenong and Huntingdale, but what about closer in?
Some propose an entirely new alignment along Dandenong Road, though this may not be possible if Caulfield to Rowville light rail is built along there.
But ultimately, more tracks between Dandenong and Caulfield are of limited use without more tracks between Caulfield and South Yarra, and that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
So, apart from improved safety, better train reliability, the ability to run more trains (which starts with extra evening services later this year), better access into the stations and across the tracks (especially Hughesdale where there was no alternative to waiting at the gates), DDA compliance, and cuts to delays to buses, what has grade-separation ever done for us?
Unlike at Clayton and Noble Park, the original plans for Carnegie, Murrumbeena and Hughesdale stations actually excluded escalators, and had no changes to staffing levels: morning peak only at Carnegie and Murrumbeena, and PSOs after 6pm at all three.
PTUA lobbied for both. Escalators just seemed obvious given the distance from ground level up to the platforms, and if you’re spending all this money on stations in fast-developing areas, why wouldn’t you spend a little more and give them extra facilities and a full-time staff presence?
Fairly early on we had a win on escalators.
Just recently it was confirmed that the new stations will also have full-time staff. The State Government and the LXRA are to be congratulated on this – it means better amenity for passengers, and all the security and assistance benefits that a proper staff presence brings.
So, everybody will welcome the removal of the crossings, and the rail line having re-opened. But there are also some definite wins for passengers with these new stations. Now, bring on the development of the space under the tracks.
— Daniel Bowen (@danielbowen) June 17, 2018