Carnegie and Murrumbeena stations opened

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.

Skyrail driver training - a 3-car Siemens train leaves Caulfield towards Oakleigh, Sat 16/6/2018

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.

View of Caulfield to Carnegie skyrail, from Dandenong Road 16/6/2018

The old railway has been mostly cleared away.

View towards Caulfield, from Carnegie 16/6/2018

Both Carnegie and Murrumbeena are basically the same design, and similar to Clayton and Noble Park.

This photo from Saturday shows the wraparound shelter – note the jagged edges – it’s not completed yet.

623 bus passes underneath Carnegie station, 16/6/2018

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.

Train leaves Carnegie towards Caulfield on a skyrail training run, 16/6/2018

Monday was opening day. At Carnegie the old subway has already been filled-in with concrete.

Carnegie skyrail station - operational but still under construction. Old subway filled in

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.

Carnegie skyrail station - temporary 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.

Carnegie skyrail station opening - live broadcast by Jon Faine of ABC Radio Melbourne

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…

Carnegie skyrail station - open but not completed

…and this is Murrumbeena, basically the same design.

Murrumbeena skyrail station - open but not completed

At Murrumbeena I had a chat to some locals, including Twitter’s “CrossingWatchin”.

Given it refers to the crossing, this sign seems to have been recycled…

Spot the recycled sign, at Murrumbeena skyrail station

This view from the temporary stairs at Murrumbeena shows the space where the escalators and lifts will go.

Murrumbeena skyrail station - open but not completed

Here’s the view from Murrumbeena looking towards Carnegie and the City. Note the Eureka building on the right.

Looking towards the City from Murrumbeena skyrail station

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.

Murrumbeena skyrail station, looking towards Hughesdale

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.

Citybound train at Murrumbeena skyrail station

Grievances

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.

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.

Track expansion

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.

Murrumbeena skyrail station - open but not completed

Premium!

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?

Well…

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.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment. You can subscribe via feed reader RSS, or subscribe by email. You can also Follow me on Twitter, or Like the blog on Facebook.

16 Replies to “Carnegie and Murrumbeena stations opened”

  1. I believe that the skyrail sections are quieter because they use continuously welded rail, rather than sections. This avoids the click-clack which is typical of urban rail.

    There are advantages and disadvantages to either technology, but in this case noise-reduction was a priority.

    Do the stations have toilets?

  2. The whole line is getting some TLC, the platforms at Oakleigh have been renumbered and old platform closest to Haughton road has been decommissioned, hopefully get come direct access from Haughton road instead of the underpass.

  3. Hi Daniel

    What is the source of the information that properties within 400 metres of the line were excluded in the survey. on satisfaction? The reason I ask is I heard similar claims made by the Waverley Powerlines action group… while at the same time living within 400 metres and being surveyed…

    Greg

  4. @George, yes as with all Premium stations, there are toilets.

    @Greg, see the link in the paragraph that mentions the survey. (I’ve just enlarged the link; it may not have been very obvious before). Page 25.

  5. @George

    I am pretty sure most modern railway these days use continuously welded rail, Melbourne included.The clack-clacks are something from history books or in older railways.

  6. @George

    At least in the case of Sandringham trains leaving Platform 12, the “click clack” sound you hear is not the rails, but the sleepers sitting above mud holes. Not sure if it is still there, but if you take the Route 70 tram, and get off at the Rod Laver stop, then take the footbridge to the MCG, halfway up the ramp, wait for a train to go towards richmond from the nearest track pair, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.Those sleepers under the junctions with 50yo wooden sleepers that haven’t been replaced travel quite a bit under the weight of those trains.

  7. Whats with residents near Skyrail claiming that people can “see” into their backyards from the train? It’s not like the train is gonna stop to let people look into backyards! Trains zoom by quick which barely allows passengers to see out the window. Plus many passengers in this generation are busy on their phones (including me), reading the paper or chatting with friends. Seriously do these residents think that we so interested in seeing their backyards or are they trynna grow illegal stuff and not want us to see? Like seriously. I’ve used the Dandenong corridor plenty of times and even at Ground Level I could still kinda see the backyards as the train whizzes past (while standing that is).

  8. I sense some pessimism in your post regarding quadruplication, Daniel, and I have to agree it seems to have been pushed away into the never never.

    But is it something that can be easily ignored by a future govt? High capacity signalling will help, and so will the higher capacity trains.

    But if you thought the people coming in from Traralgon were annoyed at the delays and slow service now, wait until theyโ€™re having to navigate their way through a legitimate metro line.

    And then youโ€™ll have Metro passengers complaining about gaps in service so that the V/Line and freight trains can be funnelled through.

    Perhaps we could eventually see a new alignment for Gippsland trains a la RRL? That is, if Caulfield-South Yarra really is impossible.

  9. Just clarifying with the last part the stations are being upgraded to a Premium Station. Does this mean that ticket barriers will be installed? If so does this exclude Huntingdale or are all three stations being upgraded?

  10. About noise: apart from any improved track structure, govt policy now dictates that any new line has noise mitigation measures in place. Some info on this here: https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0016/213190/Rail-Noise-and-Vibration_Factsheet.pdf

    @Filly, yes, trains at ground-level have windows that are higher than the neighbouring back fences – you can often see right into people’s yards. In this respect, the elevated line restricts visibility into the properties closest to the line.

    @Darren, yes – the focus is on capacity, and all the measures together more than double capacity. Speed isn’t seen as a priority – certainly not at the expense of hundreds of lineside properties.

    Part of what made RRL viable was it’s shared by trains from Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo. The cost would be harder to justify for just the Gippsland line.

    @Jezz, you mean Hughesdale, not Huntingdale? The official language here is interesting: they talk about full-time staffing, toilets etc… they haven’t mentioned gates and “Premium”, but the latter term is something that seems to be being phased-out (eg the latest maps instead talk about Customer Service Hubs).

    So whether the stations end up with gates like other Premium stations… not sure.

  11. I remember when you first posted about this Daniel and as someone who’s back fence sits next to the line between Koornang & Grange plus uses Carnegie station daily it feels like a very very long time ago now! I was offered voluntary purchase last year but declined as I love the area and my apartment and I’m hoping present & future residents think the benefits of being close to better & more frequent public transport outweigh the negatives of living next to a large piece of concrete. The project (particularly over the last 6 months) and associated night works, detours, bustitution, industrial noise, 24/7 construction etc has been a rough ride for those living in the thick of it so I was thrilled that for the first time on Monday night I could sleep without the buzz of non stop generators vibrating through my walls! Fortunately I was relocated on and off through the worst of it and although that was very last minute in many cases, the LXRA staff that dealt with that aspect were fantastic and I was very appreciative of their efforts.
    There’s still road closures etc and a lot more work to do in the area (affecting residents more so than commuters at this point) but overall I think the new station looks great, I love the lighting, PIDs, being able to walk straight out on to Koornang Rd without the old crappy underpass and of course the whole point of it all, no more boom gates! The old station used to feel a bit dark and desolate while I was waiting for my 5.45am daily train to the city so even though it still feels a bit surreal that a big new modern station has appeared above my local shopping strip I think they’ve done a great job with it.
    As for the structure I’ve noticed the train noise is about the same (without the horns approaching grange rd) but there’s less vibration than at ground level which is especially noticeable with the freight trains, they used to drown out the TV and rattle my windows which is no longer the case! Speaking of TV the signal now gets a bit wonky on some channels when the trains go past but I’m more of a Netflix watcher anyway :-) With the privacy screens I can no longer see into our out of the train to my back yard (not that that was an issue for me personally as they used to go too fast to see anything anyway) but I guess the biggest change has been the loss of sunlight from my yard. I think it will improve over summer though and I must admit I’m pretty used to the structure being there now since I’ve lived with it for a couple of months, to be honest it seems to shock visitors who see how close and large it is for the first time far more than me!

  12. @Daniel Bowen

    Ashburton is listed as a Premium Station but does not have gates. I didn’t even realise it was staffed….

  13. @Deb, thanks, very interesting to hear your perspective!

    @John, not all existing Premium Stations have gates, but the general rule is that new/rebuilt Premium stations have them installed.

  14. No problem Daniel! there’s obviously been a lot of discussion in mainstream and social media about this project (much of which was uninformed and politically motivated) so I’m happy to contribute with a first hand account. Look I don’t think I’m ever going to love it and it’s certainly not the most attractive part of Carnegie but it was important to me to be within walking distance to Koornang Rd & the station so I didn’t have to rely on my car and that’s why I chose to stay. Obviously from a visual perspective I would have preferred a trench or tunnel being so close to the line but it is what it is so I’m learning to live with it!

  15. First off, I have the delight to say, I was on the first train through. I changed at Caulfield, and missed the first train back by that much. At least I got the second one back.

    I got off, had a look around both of these stations, got some of those $5 discount cards, and a free MyKi Monthly too.

    The line was closed for two weeks before the opening of the station. That should have been plenty of time to put in the permanant access points. Even if they would not be ready for opening day, I would expect to have seen workers, and clear signs of advanced progress by opening day. Yet, I did not see a hint of anything. Talk about slack.

    Response points I have are,

    #1, there are setbacks in this project. Such as the removal of one track at Oakliegh, and its purpose is to permit the construction of the bike path. I was half expecting a direct straight line into Caulfield, so trains could access #1 and #2 at a higher speed than they did in the past. By that, making it an advantage for express trains to go that way, especially with freight trains.

    #2, There should be enough room for a third track, and still have a way for light and rain to reach the ground.

    A third track, is better than two. Especially for V/Line services.

    You can put loops or alternate between three and four. Or, express trains in the counter-peak, can use the local tracks anyway.

    #3, In respect to noise.

    People I know who live right near the Chandler road flyover, say they have never heard a thing, while people who live close to Waverly Gardens say they can hear it.

    Not only the clicity clacks, but also good sound absorbing material would have been used, and would I trust, reduce the noise somewhat. Also, the noise deflectors would stop noise getting out.

    #4, I would love to see comparisons to going under as on the Frankston line nearby.

    Was going up any cheaper or less disruptive, and so on?

    #5, The Rail Futures Instittue, are campaigning for a new route along the Princess Highway, and direct into Southern Cross. They want three stops, Monash Uni, Chadestone and perhaps Caulfield.

    The idea is to divert all the V/Line trains this way, as well as introducing a new Metro line using this same track too.

    Would an elevated train line along this route, be easy to justify with both V/Line and Metro using it?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.