I haven’t managed to get to all the newly opened stations, but I did stop past Carrum for a little while on Wednesday night.
Carrum opened on Monday, with some hiccups – late completion of testing (apparently due to a police operation) and sign-off of new signalling equipment resulted in a delay to the first Monday morning train services, and ongoing issues through the morning peak.
But rewind a bit: Carrum originally opened in 1882. There seems to be a lack of information around, but the art deco signal box and station buildings used until recently might date from the 1940s, when interlocked crossing gates were installed.
The level crossing removal was promised by Labor in 2014, and includes a (somewhat controversial) skyrail design over Station Street, also allowing Macleod Road to cross the railway line for the first time, instead of Eel Race Road – the latter crossing has closed in favour of a walking/cycling-only underpass.
The nearby Mascot Avenue crossing has also been closed, so three crossings have been removed in this one project.
During construction last year, a temporary track was put in place alongside the existing rail alignment to allow the skyrail and station to be built while trains kept running. The recent two week occupation allowed the new section to be connected, and the temporary tracks removed.
The new elevated station opened on Monday, but works are continuing. The southern end is open, with some temporary buildings in place. Lift and stair access is available.
Screens at the station entrance show train departures and bus departures. Bravo! I remember asking for real-time bus information when Bentleigh/McKinnon/Ormond were being rebuilt. We didn’t get it (though a Smartbus sign was eventually reinstated), but it’d be great to see it as standard in new builds. It’s particularly important given many bus routes are so infrequent. (Note the mix of 12-hour time for the trains, 24-hour time for the buses.)
Up on the platform you get the sea view. Pretty good!
While it wasn’t particularly cold, it was a windy when I was up there. I was glad to have a coat.
Perhaps unique (so far) to Carrum are these pods which provide a level of protection from the sea breeze and rain.
Passenger Information Displays on the platform
Each end of the platform has a quite substantial shelter, with seating. The middle section is largely uncovered. Whether this is sufficient remains to be seen – I’d be interested to know how it fared during the storm on Tuesday night, particularly for those passengers alighting from the middle of an arriving train.
Works are continuing, with the main entrance at the northern end of the station yet to open. Apparently it will include a periscope to view the bay!
What do the locals think? There were some interesting quotes in the local Leader newspaper, such as this:
“I used to be dead against this project … but it’s sensational,” Sharon Grace, 70, of Carrum said.
“I’ve lived here for years and I was handing out pamphlets against the sky-rail. But it’s fabulous.”Breathtaking beach views wow commuters at Carrum Station grand opening
Regardless of the design, it’s good to see more of these projects nearing completion, though even once all pledged projects are done, there will still be plenty of level crossings on the Frankston line, and well over 100 around Melbourne.
These are expensive projects, but given the benefits, and the wide public support for level crossing removals, hopefully future governments will keep funding them.