At the same time, they’ve announced more detail on the station locations for Stage One. This map shows them.
So the stations will be at:
- Southland (in Cheltenham, but not at Cheltenham station) – and seems likely to prompt Frankston line timetable changes so express trains stop there
- Clayton – interchange to Cranbourne/Pakenham and V/Line trains
- Monash University – north side of campus, which apparently is where they expect the next stages of campus development to be.
- Glen Waverley – the existing station will need an upgrade or rebuild due to very narrow platforms
- Burwood/Deakin – name to be determined – Deakin University has multiple campuses, and there’s already a Burwood station
- Box Hill – the northern terminus of Stage One, but with provision for Stage Two extension further north. Set to be a very busy interchange given the existing lines through there.
In an ideal world, the new stations would be directly below the existing ones and/or directly below the major traffic generators they serve. It appears they’ve varied this a bit to make construction less impossibly difficult. A high quality pedestrian environment will be key to making this work.
I’m told local buses networks in each area will be redesigned when the line opens. This makes sense. In many cases trips parallel to the line will switch to the train, so some bus routes should be reoriented to feed into the new stations.
However it’s unclear if existing major bus interchanges such as at Box Hill, Monash and Southland will be relocated.
They’re also looking at how the proposed Caulfield to Rowville light rail might connect with the line. (Yes, that idea is not dead!)
Remembering that SRL will be an entirely new independent line, there’s going to be a stabling yard at Heatherton at ground level, and there’ll be provision for extra stations to be added later somewhere around there (which I suspect would make a good urban renewal site) and potentially at Mount Waverley. Provision for a station meaning, in this case, a section dead straight level track long enough for platforms.
Stage Two (Box Hill to Airport) is away in the future, but works could start while Stage One is underway. The route beyond that still seems very vague, but I think is good opportunity to do some good urban planning and design new major western suburban centres around new stations, rather than just waste an opportunity by following the existing RRL line with barely any stations along the way.
Indeed, in the shorter term, the State Government’s terrific plan to build 12,000 social housing units is a reminder that urban planning and transport need to be done hand-in-hand. It would be a pretty poor outcome to place thousands of homes so far from jobs and education and services and good frequent public transport that all the residents have the burden of driving everywhere.
There’s often talk about “city-shaping projects”. SRL is one that will shape the city in a positive way, enabling cross-suburban trips by public transport that are impractical or very time-consuming today by any mode.
All this is years away of course. Stage One works will start in 2022, but it could easily take until 2030 for it to open.
Meanwhile they will also need to progress other major rail projects – the Metro (1) tunnel is progressing, Airport Rail Link is long-anticipated, and other projects such as Melton electrification and Metro 2 will also be key as the city continues to grow.
And massive spending on SRL and other mega-projects is not an excuse to neglect local bus services, which desperately need service upgrades now, and will still be important even after SRL opens, to help residents reach the new stations.