Focus on more level crossing removals: Craigieburn Line

Focus on more level crossing removals: Craigieburn Line
Focus on more level crossing removals: Craigieburn Line

Yesterday the Andrews Government announced it was extending its level crossing removal programme and taking the promise to expand the list of 50 to 75.  The announcement named 14 level crossings and a further 11 would be revealed in due course.

In 2017 the Victorian Auditor-General recommended the development of a 'transparent selection and prioritisation process' for the removal of level crossings beyond the government's commitment of 50.  That framework was published by the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) on Sunday.

Focus on more level crossing removals: Craigieburn Line
Key principles and underpinning factors used in the prioritisation framework

When the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project is operational and Watergardens-Sunbury services are taken out of the loop and start through-running to Pakenham and Cranbourne, the existing northern loop will receive a capacity boost allowing for more train services to run to both Craigieburn and Upfield.

The Craigieburn line was awarded in 2017 the dubious title of most overcrowded line on the network and is also the main artery for population growth in the inner-to-middle north-west of Melbourne.  Central Moonee Ponds is at the vanguard of increased development activity on the corridor with 21 projects on the Urban.com.au database.

Already residents are starting to move into Caydon's former Moonee Ponds market site and the continued completion of new apartments combined with the myriad of other local projects is set to continue to grow central Moonee Ponds' population over the next few years.

Throw in the growing outer north and patronage is likely to climb considerably on the Craigieburn line requiring more services to cater for all the new residents.  

Two level crossings on the Craigieburn line were included in the original list of 50, Buckley Street in Essendon which is now complete, and Glenroy Road in Glenroy which is still at a planning stage.  There are 5 other level crossings still in existence on the Craigieburn line - Macaulay Road in Kensington, Puckle Street/Holmes Road in Moonee Ponds, Park Street in Moonee Ponds, Gaffney Street in Pascoe Vale and Devon Road in Oak Park.

Three of the five remaining crossings have adjacent stations whereas Park Street and Gaffney Street are located away from existing station infrastructure.

As part of the Wider Network Enhancements in the Metro Tunnel project, Essendon station was identified as a point where shorter-run services could originate and terminate to increase frequencies on the Craigieburn line.  The Metro Tunnel Business case identifies Essendon because of its large interchange profile (the Airport West tram and multiple bus routes).

Given the context for increased need (large-scale residential development) and planned (Metro Tunnel Business Case) services on the inner to middle sections of the Craigieburn line, Macaulay Road in Kensington, Puckle Street/Holmes Road in Moonee Ponds are likely to fit the bill with the LXRA's prioritisation process.

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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John Smith's picture
Crossings that must be prioritised: Macaulay Rd Kensington: One of the busiest level crossings on the network. Also Macaulay Rd is one of a few roads that has 2 level crossings within 500m of each other. Probably Road Over Puckle St Moonee Ponds: A lot of development going on around the Moonee Ponds area. Most likely Rail Under Gaffney St Pascoe Vale: A lot of townhouses being built in Pascoe Vale. Also Gaffney St is the main arterial road linking the station to the majority of the suburb. Probably rail under
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nwharr
The heritage station buildings are only on the eastern side of the railway line so the station could be in a trench and the western side of the existing station building which could be incorporated into the new station at ground level.
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nwharr
Puckle Street is too narrow for a road under solution. I think it will definitely be a rail under .
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Adam Ford's picture
What are you going to do with the adjacent heritage station then? You're going to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a new underground station?
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MikeL
Maybe they could repurpose it for community use just like they will be doing to Mentone train station. Mentone is a heritage listed station and the LXRA are doing rail under road there and will be building a new station. By the way Moonee Ponds station is not heritage listed.
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