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New Mentone and Cheltenham stations

Last the weekend I got to take a quick look at the recently opened new stations at Mentone (opened 20th July) and Cheltenham (opened 16th August). Previously they’d been outside my 5km radius, but that recently lifted to 25km.

Click any of these photos to view them larger.

Mentone

The train line goes under Balcombe Road, with Mentone station just beyond being just below ground level.

Mentone station platform, looking towards Frankston

Further towards Frankston the line quickly comes back up to street level, with a pedestrian-only crossing just to the south. The designers have missed an opportunity to provide southern exits off the platform similar to Gardiner station – perhaps a consequence of providing Mentone with fare gates.

There are stairs, elevators and ramps to the concourse – the latter (as at Bentleigh) helping to distribute passengers along the platform – this could be important at peak times, including school peaks, as there are a number of big schools in the vicinity.

Mentone station platform

For those who haven’t seen it, the new standard for signage is present on the platforms and concourse. Fewer logos and serifs – and note the Frankston line green on the station signs.

Mentone station platform

There’s a waiting room on the concourse, as well as toilets, and a bus departures screen – not yet working. The back of this shows train departures for people entering the station.

Mentone station concourse, showing bus departures screen

Being what used to be called a Premium station, there are fare gates and customer service staff from first to last train.

I find the concourse entrance specifically very aesthetically pleasing. The sign above the fare gates, the patterns on the ground and brickwork underneath the customer service window.

Mentone station entrance

Above the entrance there’s a high roof – I know from a similar structure at Bentleigh this doesn’t provide much cover from Melbourne’s angled rain, so it’ll be interesting to see this in action.

The station concourse is not adjacent to Balcombe Road – it’s further south. The trench is dull grey like they all are these days, though sections of it are already becoming more colourful thanks to unofficial additions.

The concourse is actually above street level, so steps and ramps get you to Como Parade East or Como Parade West. Some locals were already using this as a shortcut – the old station had an underpass with (non-DDA-compliant) ramps to cross the line.

Mentone station steps to entrance
Mentone station ramp to entrance

On the western side, there are still works going on, but this will link directly into the Mentone shopping centre.

Mentone station entrance under construction

In fact there are still some works happening right around the station precinct, including a proposed plaza on the northern end, but overall it looks good.

However the bus interchange hasn’t been moved, and is several hundred metres up the road – so if you have a tight connection, I hope you’re a fast runner.

And – apart from a southern entrance off the platforms – there’s a missed opportunity to join up some of the pathways on the western side of the line.

To the north of the station is a shared path along the railway line towards Cheltenham.

Railway line and shared path looking towards Mentone station

Alongside the line is this trench, apparently designed to deal with heavy rain events.

Railway line between Cheltenham and Mentone stations
Railway line looking towards Mentone station

Midway between Mentone and Cheltenham is a ground-level pedestrian-only crossing (upgraded?) – and further along is the Latrobe Street level crossing, presumably not likely to be removed anytime soon now.

Latrobe Street level crossing, Cheltenham

A Cheltenham to Mentone skyrail would have put paid to this, but it was not to be. Thankfully it’s only a minor road. It does appear some new traffic calming measures (which also help people cross the street) have been installed.

On approach to Cheltenham is sign with its official code of CTM which appeared to be stuck there with tape. I’m guessing something more permanent will be used at some stage.

CTM sign, near Cheltenham station

I also presume this is not an official art installation. Marcus Wong identified it: it’s a dust deposition gauge (eg a monitoring device).

Near Cheltenham station

Cheltenham

The entrance to Cheltenham has a similar style to Mentone. But unlike Mentone where it connects directly into the shopping strip, at Cheltenham the entrance is down a pathway, midway between Charman Road and Park Road – the train line now goes under both roads.

Cheltenham station entrance to concourse
Cheltenham station platform, looking west

Interestingly there’s an emergency staircase and gate from platform 3, but not appears to be secured, not for regular use. The focus on a single entrance/exit for these new staffed stations is not surprising given the recent focus on including fare gates.

Cheltenham station - emergency exit from platform 3

While the main Charman Road bus stops remain close to the station, just south of the path to the entrance, the Park Road bus stops (serving route 822) remain frustratingly distant. It would be good to see them moved closer as the works finish up.

The station concourse includes a screen for buses/trains, and there are lifts and stairs down to the three platforms.

Cheltenham station platform, looking south towards concourse

Three platforms? Yes – the track layout allows trains from the City to terminate here and head back inbound.

For some reason however the layout doesn’t allow trains from Frankston to terminate here, for instance during works or disruptions. A assume they’ll aim to still use Mordialloc (to the south) or Moorabbin (to the north) for that.

The main platform is nice and wide.

Cheltenham station platform

If you compare these designs to the 4 year old stations at Bentleigh/McKinnon/Ormond – they’re all similar in that they’re below street level.

But it’s good to see the designs have been refined a bit along the way. The strong branding above the entrance, the newer style of signage, the varying patterns in walls and floors, the displays showing live bus departures, the bigger screens on the platforms… and the less of an abundance of shades of grey in the colour scheme. It all helps.

As the recent RACV stations survey found, the station upgrades we get when level crossings are removed do make things better for passengers. It’s a reminder that motorists aren’t the only beneficiaries.


15 replies on “New Mentone and Cheltenham stations”

I don’t quite like the idea of having a speed hump AFTER the level crossing. It can cause motorists to mistakenly stop on the crossing.

The relocation of Mentone Station to the south of the shops, opposite Kilbreda, is a problem for transfers to and from the 903 Smartbus. At the old location, passengers arriving from the city in the evening would cross Balcombe Road just in time for the bus (95 metre transfer). It was faster than squeezing into the underpass and then waiting at the traffic lights to catch the 903 at the actual interchange at Mentone shops.

The new design requires a 200m walk and one road crossing to the Mentone shops, or 205m and one road crossing to the Bowling Club.

I still don’t understand why the station wasn’t rebuilt on the former station’s site. All the heritage buildings and plants were removed during construction and are now being rebuilt/replanted in a modified form. I do wonder whether it was solely to create a development site, which was flagged on some concept plans, over the car park fronting Balcombe Road.

Lightning along the path on the westside of the track would reduce some of the crime that happens after dark.

Kingston City Council have traditionally distanced themselves from the responsibility.

Shame they didn’t take it underground through Parkdale. We missed out. Whilst the level crossing is gone at Mentone, there is now a new set of lights at the junction with Balcombe, instead of a roundabout which is frustrating.

You have missed that there are no ramps off the platforms in Cheltenham. If you have something you can’t carry up the steps, you have to use the lift…. one of these had broken down within 3 days of opening. You also didn’t notice that the train info boards are placed at either end if the platforms, nothing in the middle, plus the clock is at one end and partially hidden by station structures. Dont get me started on the dull drab colour scheme. Once the connections are finished thru to Charman Rd the walk will be shorter but there are many missed opportunities at Cheltenham.

@Tramologist, theoretically motorists shouldn’t stop on the speed hump. It’s not a crossing. That said, I’ve seen some overly polite motorists (yes they do exist) give way to pedestrians in such locations. Hopefully it won’t cause problems.

@Dave, is the location of the new Mentone station related to the gradients and minimising the length of the trench to get under the road and still provide a 160m platform that’s dead straight and level?

@Jane, I can see the logic with replacing the roundabout. Roundabouts are often good for motorists but bad for everybody else. At least with the level crossing gone the overall delays should be reduced for everybody.

@Andrew, yes, stairs and lifts at Cheltenham, as noted in the post. Not every station also has ramps – they do take up a lot of space. (At Springvale they included ramps which are so long they need to double-back on themselves. I don’t think many people use them.)

Hopefully the lift reliability improves. Actually, I didn’t notice, are there two lifts on platform 3, or only one? (The platform 1/2 island pair has two lifts.)

The platform displays seem to be located close to the ends of the platforms, plus another set where people come down the stairs, which makes some sense – but yes it does mean there aren’t screens near where you enter the platforms from the lifts.

If the trench isn’t dealing with heavy rain events, then something else would have to – I remember the old (non-DDA compliant) underpass would frequently flood after heavy rain.

We need to be progressive but I grew up in Mentone in the fifties and will miss the old station. Great job on the new project.

Driving along Balcombe road now over the train line are 5 sets of traffic lights in less than 300 metres!I thought the line under the road was to alleviate congestion,it is just as bad now as previously……what happened to the roundabout at least the traffic seemed to keep moving.
The sight of the old station & garden area would be good for a small Wednesday & Sunday craft/ farmers market.Good for the local community.

@Daniel, new Mentone is about 500m from Warrigal Road and 800metres or more from Latrobe St level crossing (not sure of the exact bounds of the new station because it isn’t in Google Maps yet)- I wouldn’t have thought moving it south would be a track grade issue.

I should say overall, I think the upgrades are a good outcome for the community and perceptions of public transport, whether by lowering tracks or elevating them.

Can we at least for just 1 decade go without having a new logo/livery/brand update with our public transport?!?!?!
Every couple of years I am always seeing station signs/liveries being changed. Its getting a bit pointless now.
Many cities in the world go for decades with the same logo/branding and we cant even go for a decade without any logo/livery/brand changes!

I think both Mentone and Cheltenham whilst overall improve access and transport access for both drivers and public transport users, the lack of a second entrance/exit at both stations (at Cheltenham a northern entry/ exit and at Mentone a southern entry/ exit would be beneficial) is an issue and reduces the walkability catchment of both stations. Furthermore, more electronic display signs should be displayed on Charman Road, Balcombe Road and on Como Parade West/East to tell train users when the train is coming, rather than having to go to the concourse to get this information.

I also think Warrigal Road, Mentone and Parkers Road, Parkdale would have been good to remove, with awkward road layouts, roundabouts and lots of school traffic. Maybe in the next round of crossing removals they will hopefully be removed. Also I think after examining traffic levels over the next few months, Latrobe St Mentone could potentially be closed to traffic, but still retaining the pedestrain crossing, removing one more crossing and cars could instead cross over at Charman and Balcombe Roads which are now level crossing free.

The bus departures sign at Mentone was working on the day of the station opening so hopefully it will be working again soon…

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