Victorian opposition continues its run of public transport announcements

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Hot on the heels of announcing that, if elected at the Victorian state election in November, a new Liberal-National government would extend the Cranbourne line to Clyde, the Victorian opposition has further announced another railway electrification and upgrade project to Baxter.

Extending the Frankston line to Baxter would include duplicating existing Stony Point line track, electrifying it and adding two stations at Frankston east and Langwarrin plus undergoing a major upgrade at the Baxter terminus.

The railway corridor in question currently operates as a diesel passenger service between Stony Point on Westernport Bay and Frankston station.  The line also sees freight trains run from the Long Island steel mills in Hastings.

The Victorian Government has a $3 million study to develop a business case for the upgrade underway and in the most recent Federal budget, $225 million was reserved for the electrification project.  Matthew Guy, the ABC reports, has committed to match the Federal contribution if elected in November.

The location of the Frankston East station is designed to cater for passengers travelling to the Peninsula campus of Monash University and the Frankston Hospital.  Leawarra station on the Stony Point line is within the vicinity but judging by the video from Matthew Guy's facebook feed above, the location of the Frankston East station would be located closer to the Moordooduc Highway.

The new Langwarrin station appears to be located in an isolated part of the rail corridor with the Langwarrin Flora and Fauna reserve to the east and another strip of open green spaces located to the west.

The terminus station at Baxter, historically the junction station between the Stony Point line and disused Mornington line, appears to correlate with the location of the existing station.

Analysis & comment

There is clear pub test logic in creating the new 'Frankston East' station away from the current location of Leawarra.  Thankfully both major political parties are committed to not introducing new level crossings and given the Liberal party's resistance to elevated railway lines, I assume a trench will be dug with Clarendon St and the Moorooduc Highway passing at their existing grades over the top.

Locating the Frankston East station directly underneath Moorooduc Highway would allow station entrances to be created on either side of the road - similar to Nunawading on the Belgrave/Lilydale lines - and in turn it would become a task of improving pedestrian links to Frankston Hospital and into the Monash University campus to encourage usage of the station by those two large patronage generators.

The location of a station as shown in the Opposition Leader's video at Langwarrin does not appear to be all that clear-cut, however.  The station is isolated between a protected wildlife reserve and open space next to the Peninsula Link / Frankston bypass.  There's no obvious centre - or major existing residential settlement in the immediate vicinity - to serve by placing a station in this area unless there are also plans to develop either the reserve or open space.

The Langwarrin reserve and Peninsula Link open space are outside Melbourne's Urban Growth Boundary.

Locating the station further south nearer Robinsons Road has clearer logic but there is still a lack of patronage generators. Perhaps the station could become a major park and ride station however that appears to be better served at Baxter where the Peninsula Link / Frankston bypass has two major interchanges to the north and the south of Baxter station.

Lead image credit: Matthew Guy on Twitter.

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