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Glenhuntly crossing works underway

Works to remove the level crossings in my old neighbourhood of Glen Huntly are underway, including construction of a new Glenhuntly station.

(The suburb is spelt as two words, the station as one. No, they’re not fixing the discrepancy, despite building an entirely new station. No, it doesn’t make sense.)

A week’s closure of the rail line has just finished. One notable change is they’ve commenced demolishing the building on platform 3 of the station.

Glenhuntly station during level crossing removal works
Glenhuntly station platform 3 piling works for level crossing removal

Last week the project team ran some tours for interested locals and others, and I was lucky enough to go along. They explained that the next phase is that express trains will be altered to stop all stations for the next couple of months – this commences on Monday.

This will allow them to do piling in preparation for digging the trench, alongside the rail line while trains keep running, by closing one track at a time.

It’s good to see they haven’t skimped on the signage.

Signage at Glenhuntly station during level crossing removal works

As with the Bentleigh-McKinnon-Ormond project back in 2016, nearby palm trees will be temporarily relocated, then brought back later.

Palm trees to be relocated during level crossing removal works

There’ll be more full rail line closures, including another in January 2023.

At some point in winter 2023, the station will close for about 4 months, with trains not running for about half of that period, while major construction takes place.

Level crossing removal works between Glen Huntly and Neerim Roads
Glenhuntly station during level crossing removal works

Apart from the obvious (the trench, two crossings gone, and a new station) the project will also straighten out curves north of Neerim Road, allowing trains to travel faster. Along with the removal of the tram square (tram/train crossing) which forces trains to slow down, it should cut train travel times.

You can see the difference in the current timings between Caulfield and Glenhuntly vs Carnegie, using late-evening timings (when passenger loads and track congestion generally are not an issue):

  • Caulfield to Carnegie is 1.74km; taking 2-3 minutes – including for outbound trains, the climb up the ramp onto the skyrail
  • Caulfield to Glenhuntly is 1.67km, taking 3-5 minutes

The project will also help reduce tram delays, as well as eliminating a cause of regular disruption when trams get stuck on the tram square – not to mention long delays to trams, buses, pedestrians and motorists when freight trains come through.

It’s great to see the removal of this crossing progressing.

And of course – it’s a state election year. The government’s current pledge is 85 crossings for removal. While the project has been expensive, it also brings widespread benefits and is politically popular…. So don’t be too surprised if they promise a few more in the coming months.

13 replies on “Glenhuntly crossing works underway”

Finally! It’s ridiculous these Tram Square crossings weren’t at the top of the list for replacement. It’s difficult infrastructure to maintain, affects the reliability of 2 popular forms of public transport and causes the whole line to slow down. Great to see Glenhuntly going.

Is it the last one standing?

There’s still one on the Alamein line, isn’t there?

I caught the rail replacement bus between Caulfield and Bentleigh last Saturday – couldn’t believe it took us down a narrow residential street to get to Glenhuntly Rd (and the bus almost wiped out a power pole turning into the street).

And I think I had to wait close to half an hour when going back at around 6pm – all while about four went the other way towards Moorabbin. At least I only had to wait a couple of minutes at Caulfield for the train.

The silver lining though was that where I was going was right near the replacement bus stop!

@Steve, there will be two tram/train level crossings left after the removal of the Glen Huntly road square. The others are Glenferrie road at Kooyong station and Riversdale road at Riversdale station (or should that be Rivers Dale station for consistency with the naming of Glenhuntly station?). There used to be a fourth square at Burke road near Gardiner station, but that was eliminated in 2016. I think there may have been one or more in the western suburbs, but if so, that was many years ago.

@Steve, almost all the buses I’ve seen recently have stuck to Jasper Road/Grange Road. Maybe your driver was lost… or maybe Neerim Road was closed temporarily?

Yep it’ll be good for all the tram squares to be removed.

Riversdale might be some time off, but I heard a good rumour that Kooyong pre-planning is progressing, so I won’t be surprised if it gets pledged before the November 2022 election.

The Kooyong crossing would enable the new Federal Labor member for Higgins to deliver something for her electorate. So perhaps some money from Canberra might be in the wings? Rumours abound.

I bicycle over the kooyong tram/train crossing and the cement at the tracks always gets cracked and loose, creating huge gaps which is not pleasant for anyone trying to cycle over them. Can’t wait for that one to get the deluxe level crossing removal treatment.

I’m glad they are finally getting rid of this crossing. Should have been one of the first to go on the Frankston line, considering how much that tram square slowed down both trains and trams. I think they have missed an opportunity to simultaneously remove the underpass at Woodville avenue, thereby connecting the Ormond trench with the Glenhuntly trench and making the line flatter. I used to live right next to the Ormond road northern ramp, and the freight trains make a lot of noise climbing up out of the trench while heading north. Must be close to the maximum allowed gradient in that spot.

Would be nice if the Kooyong grade separation coincided with extending the 58 tram up and over the hill to Deakin Uni and the 75 to Knox in one fell swoop. Better still, once the tracks are there, cut the 75 short at Deakin and run the 58 to Knox instead. 58 from Knox to the city (or Kooyong/South Yarra) would be a lot faster than the 75 via Camberwell and Bridge Rd, and the E class trams would finally make some good use of the Burwood Hwy platform stops which have been sitting around for the best part of twenty years.

@Marcus. Correct, I remember that project very well, I was living in Ormond all through the construction. Before they began work, I thought it was a good idea to leave the underpass there. But once it was finished, it became clear that it was a compromised solution. The grade is quite steep, and the Diesel freight train really works hard to climb up out of the trench. I was hoping the Glenhuntly works could be an option to rectify this issue, but I suppose it would be quite expensive to remove the underpass and do a whole bunch of extra excavation just for that. Now we will be stuck with two clearly separate trenches, with a useful but not essential underpass in between. In an ideal world, Ormond and Glenhuntly could have been planned together, and potentially a new road/pedestrian/cyclist crossing could have been built over the trench, perhaps a few blocks further north of Dorothy Avenue, where the tracks and surrounding areas are at the same level (Wattle avenue). Oh well, maybe one day!

@James – even on projects with multiple level crossings being removed, LXRA doesn’t sink the line into a complete trench: the Bentleigh/Mckinnon/Ormond project is three trenches that almost come back to ground level before going back down again. Even worse the Furlong Main project even left behind a pedestrian crossing midway between the two level crossings they did remove.

https://wongm.com/2016/05/furlong-main-st-albans-level-crossing-removal-project/

Daniel, the LXRA is apparently not aware of the Geographic Place Names Act,
(updated 2022 version: https://www.land.vic.gov.au/__data/assets/word_doc/0018/501093/Naming-rules-for-places-in-Victoria-2022.docx), and the Principles for the Consistent Use of Place Names,
(https://www.icsm.gov.au/sites/default/files/consistent_place_names_principles.pdf); it’s surprising that Glen Eira City Council wasn’t familiar with this act, since most councils have to deal with name changes often enough.
These appear to contradict the keeping of different naming/spelling for Suburb, Street, and Railway Station, all 3 are mentioned in the Act.
Perhaps LXRA thought updating the signage might add a $100M to their already expensive project ?
If the Council and LXRA are unwilling to pursue this, you could make a request yourself via the DELWP — or throw them a spanner and request Glen Huntly be changed to an Indigenous Place Name.
For what it’s worth, I’m a big fan of their design for the forecourt faรงade, especially the night-time rendering.

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