The Alamein line: time for a new purpose?

Melbourne loves its radial train lines. For over a century they have shunted commuters in and out of the centre of the city and even throughout the automobile age they've continued to be the best way to access the centre of the city as well as some peripheral centres based around junctions like Richmond, South Yarra and North Melbourne.

In the Outer Circle documentary, released in December last year, we learned politicians from over a century ago were just as susceptible of making curious decisions as modern day politicians when it comes to large-scale transport infrastructure projects - think East-West Link.

The last remaining operating section of the Outer Circle is the Alamein line. According to a report in 2010 in the Herald Sun, the Alamein line only carries 1.5% of all passengers across the metropolitan rail network and in a media release from PTUA around the same time, the 1.5% figure reported in the Herald Sun translates into 1.8 million boardings per year.

Alamein is a short branch serving a stable population and timetable-roulette over the past 10 years seems to have conspired to relegate the Alamein line to low (if any) growth. Thanks to election promises in 2010, the Ballieu Government commissioned multiple rail line studies early on in its term one of which was the Rowville Rail Line.

Perhaps most annoyingly, the Rowville study's scope was ring-fenced and only encapsulated the North and Wellington road corridors - essentially just creating another branch line from the Dandenong corridor.

One of the findings from the Rowville Rail study was that it required extra capacity on the Dandenong corridor for trains to operate to and from the city and thus the new line would be dependent on Dandenong corridor upgrades and the Melbourne Metro Tunnel project from South Yarra to Kensington.

Rather than create another radial train service, wouldn't it be more prudent to start thinking outside the box by connecting existing lines and start serving major employment, education and high-potential residential growth zones in worthy suburban areas?

Don't all groan at once, but I think there's a legitimate case for another study to look into the impact, costs and benefits of cross-connecting the Alamein line with the Dandenong corridor and the points listed below are meant only as a conversation starter.

Furthermore it would also be interesting to see how a connection and services running between the Alamein and Dandenong corridors might improve the case for the Rowville line given the employment, retail and educational precincts it would connect: Swinburne University, Camberwell, Holmesglen Institute, Chadstone, Oakleigh, Monash University & Mulgrave.

Is it time to give the Alamein line a greater purpose?

The map above serves only as a reference point to begin the conversation. Click the individual components for more detail or click the full screen button in the top right corner of the map to view the detail in another window.

There are many ideas for connecting this region and I'm by no means saying the above is the absolute best, I've merely selected it as it's likely to be the more expensive option (other ideas prevalent right across the web include a tunnel along the old Outer Circle corridor and connecting with East Malvern Station and Chadstone to Oakleigh).

Phase 1

The flagship link. A tunnel (red line) from Ashburton running south-east to Holmesglen with a new set of interchange platforms alongside and underneath Warrigal Road to enable connectivity with the Glen Waverley line. The tunnel would then head south-west to run under Chadstone with a new station located on site and then the tunnel would run south-east once more to connect with two new underground platforms at Oakleigh.

Changes to the existing Alamein corridor (green line) would involve grade separations at Riversdale and Prospect Hill Roads resulting in a new station in a trench and interfaced directly with Riversdale road in turn making Willison Station redundant. A new fourth platform at Camberwell to act as a service terminus and a relocated Burwood station in order to better connect the line with the #75 trams and the Toorak Road precinct.

The existing track from Alamein to Ashburton from the south would be removed and re-instated as parkland with station buildings at Alamein, Willison and the old Burwood station re-purposed for community or commercial facilities and a new dedicated high-frequency bus would run between Ashburton and Darling stations through the catchment of the existing Alamein station (grey line).

Upon opening, services would shuttle between Oakleigh and Camberwell on 10 minute or better frequencies.

Phase 2

Project area 1: between Camberwell and Burnley there would be a fourth track laid in the existing reservation (orange line) and new platforms at Auburn, Glenferrie and Hawthorn. The map also attempts to depict the associated bridge widening works required between Hawthorn and the Glen Waverley line flyovers at Burnley.

Project area 2: in essence building the recommended route as outlined in the Rowville Rail Line study (light and dark blue lines - map ends in Mulgrave, but the assumption is to build the entire line to Rowville).

Upon opening of the second phase, the Camberwell-Oakleigh shuttle would morph into a much larger rail line running from Rowville direct to Flinders Street via Chadstone and Camberwell and all trains from the existing Ringwood corridor would only stop at Camberwell, Glenferrie and Richmond.

Some statistics on journeys to work

Some food for thought: the three main municipalities directly affected by this project are Boroondarra, Stonnington and Monash and the following journeys to work data has been pulled from population and demography consultancy .id's public site.

In 2011 Boroondarra had 61,000 employed persons, 31% of which lived in the municipality. 9% of people employed in Boroondarra travel from Glen Eira - Caulfield (1,293 or 2.1%), Stonnington - Malvern (1,363, 2.2%), Monash - South West (694, 1.0%), Monash - Waverley West (1,443, 2.3%), Monash - Waverley East (775, 1.3%).

Stonnington, which would gain one new station and an expanded interchange station, had 45,000 employed persons in 2011 and only 23% live in the same municipality. The breakdown of people who travel from outside the municipality is as follows: Glen Eira - Caulfield (2,910 or 6.4%), Monash - South West (1,313, 2.9%), Monash - Waverley West (1,367, 3.0%), Monash - Waverley East (847, 1.9%), Boroondarra - Camberwell South (1,505, 3.3%), Boroondarra - Hawthorn (1,006, 2.2%), Whitehorse - Box Hill (755, 1.7%).

Monash in 2011 had 89,000 employed persons, 23% living in the municipality. Much of workforce who travels to Monash lives to the south and east of the municipality however just under 7% travel from adjacent municipalities located near this project. Broken down that is: Boroondarra - Camberwell North & South (2,237 or 2.5%), Stonnington - Malvern (1,486, 1.7%), Glen Eira - Caulfield (2,392, 2.7%).

Train travel, like car commuters on freeways, enables people to live greater distances from their workplace - and although policy should favour distances being reduced rather than increased - I think patronage forecasts would need to have catchment areas expanded, especially as Chadstone remains a key precinct in the region and attracts shoppers from right across the metropolitan area.

Future development options and value capture

This is Urban Melbourne and it just wouldn't be cricket if we didn't at least briefly look at redevelopment potential.

Beginning in Malvern East where Chadstone is located, Stonnington have liberally applied the new Residential Growth Zone to Dandenong Road and have continued to apply it along Warrigal Road from the intersection of Dandenong Road all the way up to Holmesglen Station. The Warrigal Road corridor is also interspersed with the mixed-use Commercial Zone 1 (C1Z) allowing for larger buildings.

The Holmes Hill development at 70 Batesford Road (C1Z), just off Warrigal Road approximately 200m from the existing Holmesglen station is a prime example of what is possible for increasing densities near the new or upgraded stations.

Holmes Hill - 70 Batesford Road, Chadstone. Image ©

In terms of areas where the rail corridor and service already exists, the strip along Toorak Road where Burwood station could possibly be re-zoned on the Boroondarra Planning scheme as C1Z. And despite Boroondarra's lack of Residential Growth Zone, they do have a small, but not insignificant amount of land zoned General Residential Zone - Schedule 5 (allows up to 3 levels on site) near enough to the Alamein corridor. Oakleigh is already seeing its CBD fringes being redeveloped thanks to the area zoned as C1Z with a large amount of General Residential zone adjoining it.

I've not read or come across examples on how value capture systems work in their entirety so I would be interested to hear reader's thoughts on how a value capture system could be applied on a local/regional basis to help fund any project that may come to fruition.

What about the cost?

Cost of a study: the Rowville Rail Line study cost $2 million, and quite frankly it was money well-spent and a similar amount should be allocated to look at making the Alamein line more relevant in the 21st century.

Cost of the proposal as shown above: Well that's what the study would be for! Nevertheless, here's a not-so-scientific approach at having a stab at the cost.

Taking a broader look around the country, one project that springs to mind - in terms of getting a ballpark cost figure to potentially apply to the phase 1 proposal above - is Sydney's North West Rail Link. The NWRL is a 23 kilometre line, approximately 15km of which will be underground, stretching from Epping out to Sydney's outskirts.

The total cost of the NWRL is $8.3 billion according to its website - underground rail, elevated rail, stations and train procurement - or better represented as a $360 million per kilometre figure.

Using the per kilometre figure from the NWRL and applying it to the 5.5km tunnel depicted in the map, that would total a smidge under $2 billion. The 5-6 kilometres of upgrade work along the existing Alamein line - primarily grade separations, upgrades to Camberwell Station and the relocation of Burwood station - would, clearly, cost a lot less on a per kilometre basis than that of the tunnels.

Lead image credit: Wikipedia.


Aussie Steve's picture

Excellent article. You outline many key issues that need to be addressed in any study, but realy the ultimate aim is to provide a cross city rail link, which allows people from the eastern suburbs, as far out as Pakenham, Cranbourne, Ringwood, and Lilydale not to have to go into Richmond to change to another line, but stay in the inner eastern suburbs.

The study is a no brainer as far as I'm concerned. At least with some key, hard facts, we can all make an informed decision about route, potential patronage and service.

Some of these projects listed above such as removal of level crossings, new station near or above Toorak Road, the 4th track through Boroondara etc. can and should all be done outside the project itself.

It is indeed a very exciting project that any government, especially a conservative one should promote as it services the blue areas of Melbourne.

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James Adams's picture

Great article, I completely agree with all your ideas. It would probably be necessary to complete it in separate projects, however, to avoid major disruption and public pressure. Say, the works along the existing Alamein line, including closing stations and shorterning the line to Ashburton should be the first phase (I'd also argue Hartwell should be closed, as it's far to close to Burwood). Then the tunnel to Oakleigh, and finally the actual Rowville rail line itself.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

I thought about that, but left it in, after all, wouldn't want to frighten the natives with Alamein and Willison disappearing :)

Looking at the Boroondarra Planning Scheme, a lot of Camberwell Road has a flavour of the general residential zone which supports this kind of development: and Hartwell station would support more of it in the long term.

Other possibility? Both Burwood and Hartwell are closed and new station built on top of Toorak Road. However then there'd be issues with the bridge itself (on the heritage register I think - also featured in the Outer Cricle doco).

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johnproctor's picture

good article Alistair. a few comments but generally agree that its a good idea worth further investigation (hopefully this comment isn't too long!)... the problem is the cost and finding ways to manage that as much as possible.

Having grown up in Ashburton, Uni'd at Monash Clayton, worked at Chadstone for 4 years and gone out drinking in Camberwell/Glenferrie through my early 20's I can very confidently attest to the fact that the 'band of influence' for people who live in those middle eastern suburbs spreads roughly in the arc you've drawn as a train line. I think it'd be very attractive to link the middle eastern suburbs to the Burwood Road Hawthorn jobs precinct, Swinburne University, Kew Schools precinct, Camberwell jobs precinct, Chadstone etc. And the same in reverse better linking 'boroondara' to areas south of Gardiners Creek to Chadstone, Oakleigh, Monash Uni, Dandenong (via interchange).

One query is why does the line need to extend to Roweville? Its 7km from Springvale Road to Rowville across a massive freeway reserve, very low density residential, dandenong creek valley to a location that could be somewhat high density but will always be a smallish player in a region where Glen Waverley, Knox, Dandenong are all within 7-8km of Roweville.

re: your costings --> the NWRL costings were $8.5 billion for 23 km of all infrastructure... you then used the per km of that to estimate $2 billion for a 5.5km tunnel... suggest the tunnel component of NWRL would be a higher per kilometre cost. you also didn't include the Rowville studies estimate of the cost of that part of the project (maybe another $2 billion or more I can't remember if the Roweville study mentioned a cost?).

re: Holmesglen Station - I reckon the best bet would be under the 5th at Malvern Valley Golf Course as probably the most constructable/affordable location there.

re: Burwood - while in an ideal world a brand new schmick station at Toorak Road would be the best solution I don't think its worth the expense. There is actually decent interchange to the 75 already with people walking to either the tram stop at the end of Summerhill Road or Highfield Road. Maybe a cheap and cheerful solution would be to keep the existing station building and running the platforms 160m north from there instead of roughly 50/50 north/south putting the platform ends (with myki scanners) about 100m closer to Toorak Road than the current myki entry. Also a new Toorak Road tram stop under the bridge with some development/zoning improvements to improve passive surveillance and perceptions of safety on the interchange walk.

The 'North Road' line to me is a place where you could potentially reasonably sell the argument that a viaduct development is a feasible solution to new rail in the corridor. There is relatively limited residential facing North Road along the route and those that are there are already affected by an up to 8 lane road and generally are the ones whingeing for improved public transport. That would help to reduce costs compared to the tunnel solution that was proposed at least in part in the recent government study.

its a shame (though understandable given safeness of seat, low use train line and the likely interaction with Prospect Hill Road) that Riversdale Road didn't make the Labor 50 level crossing list. I expect there'd be a decent BCR with the removal of 1 station, the removal of the tram square and the time savings for Riversdale and Prospect Hill Road drivers.

unfortunately I expect that a lot of the bridges with abutments for 4th tracks to be added between Camberwell and the Yarra River (the Yarra bridge includes a 4th abutment as well) would not meet current standards. I expect any project in that corridor would be a major pain in the arse trying to resolve how to make modern standards meet aging infrastructure.

I wonder if the best way to manage Camberwell-Yarra from a platform perspective would be to modify the Alamein flyover at East Camberwell to allow the Alamein tracks to become the northern most track pair through Camberwell station and on to the City. They would then be on tracks with 2 platform faces at Auburn and Hawthorn and the new 4th track would actually be for Ringwood trains avoiding the need for a 4th platform face to be built.

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Andrew's picture

Looks like a solid plan, although the connection to Holmesglen might be difficult, it is at the bottom of a reasonably steep valley and requires passing under a creek, not the largest engineering challenge but perhaps coming from the west would help ease the climb on the inbound leg.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Suburban business park being built on the corner of Springvale Road and the Monash FWY, roughly about a 600-700m walk from the corner of Springvale Road and Wellington Road (Mulgrave Station from the Rowville Rail Link study and on the map above): and

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Riccardo's picture

Regulars will know I have debated this in other places, and used to be broadly supportive of this approach, but I have since changed my views.

I would now suggest the ONLY reasons you would do anything with the Alamein line other than close it or turn it into a tramway, would be:

a) Massive increase in population density AND
b) to turn it into an intensively operated metro service that runs as a shuttle, if required, to preserve its metro features, and would therefore not run to Rowville in the same guise as it would run from Camberwell to Ashburton, and they would be separate services.

The Rowville operation, if it were built, would be needlessly compromised by the indirect and slow path that the Alamein line provides. For this line to have any chance, it needs to be as Mandurah-like as possible, fast, down a road easement, and with heavy emphasis on bus and car interchanges at stations that are a long way apart.

While the existing north south corridor through Ashburton needs to do its best to provide a turn-up-and-go service to walk-ups and local bus/tram routes and feed into a broader close-set rail network. It would be sensible therefore to have the line go through Chadstone and arrive at Oakleigh or even Huntingdale, where pax from the Rowville line could change trains, if they wish, to go either via Chadstone or via Caulfield. In the absence of a Rowville railway, the same pattern would apply for North Road buses at Huntingdale.

As for whether it is financially worthwhile, my thoughts are premised on massive population increase in the Booroondara and Monash areas, which a tough government would need to pursue.

As for the Alamein line itself, Hartwell/Burwood and Willison/Riversdale both made into one station, and the level crossings removed, and finally, consider abolishing the Camberwell junction and rebuilding the line below East Camberwell station like in the old days, with interchange onto a permanent Box Hill all stations metro service.

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Llib's picture

"I would now suggest the ONLY reasons you would do anything with the Alamein line other than close it or turn it into a tramway"

In the context of a growing population and density I don't think going backwards on PT infrastructure is a good idea.

"a) Massive increase in population density AND
b) to turn it into an intensively operated metro service that runs as a shuttle, if required, to preserve its metro features, and would therefore not run to Rowville in the same guise as it would run from Camberwell to Ashburton, and they would be separate services"

I don't believe you need HK or Chinese levels of pop density to invest in PT infrastructure,
Although the areas in between Chadstone and Camberwell are not high density they directly connect 2 busy train corridors and 3 major activity centres (CSC, Oakleigh and Camberwell) and 3 major educational institutions (Holmesglen Tafe, Monash and Swinburne Universities).

Additionally although density is quite low there has been an intensification of medium density housing along the corridor especially in Ashburton and Hartwell.

After the second phase, this kind of service would act as a radial line and tangential line linking these major activity centres. Some examples of the usefulness of this line I can see are listed below

- People arriving from the Ringwood corridor into Camberwell and transferring to Chadstone and Oakleigh for shopping or work as well as Ashburton and Hartwell to a more minor extent.
Additionally students will be able to travel from the same corridor to Monash University.

- People on the Dandenong rail corridor can more easily travel into Camberwell for shopping and work as well as students into Swinburne University (this allows for generally balanced loads going into both directions on the lines as well as many trips dispersed throughout the day and night).

- Tram passengers on Riversdale Road and Toorak Rd can more easily transfer to go either in to Camberwell and CBD or into Chadstone, Oakleigh and Melbourne university.

- People on the Glen Waverley line can easily transfer to go north and south and people from the above mentioned corridors (Ringwood and Dandenong) can access Holmesglen TAFE.

- City bound commuters having better CBD services on the original Alamein rail line as peak commuters don't have to transfer at Camberwell.

- An ability to increase frequency of services from Camberwell into the city an area that has seen major increases in density and expansion of Swinburne University.

For this to work you would need the state government to intervene in the areas along the Alamein corridor that would override the short sighted policies of local councils (Boorondara and Monash) that run NIMBY based transport and land use planning policies.

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Riccardo's picture

In NSW the entire Leppington to Central via East Hills is effectively new since 1988. More than half the Perth System is less than 25 years old. Adelaide has had a complete rebuild and so has much Brisbane.

Melbourne has tracks laid in the 1870s, resleepered in wood and with overhead masts and signalliing from the 1920s. And they wonder why the constant failures!

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Aussie Steve's picture

Granted that some of the area this line is going through isn't a high density area, nor is it designated for future high density, but what this extended Alamein line does is link key activity centres and creates our first cross-suburban line that Melbourne desperately needs, as has been demonstrated by the cross city smart bus routes.

It links major centres such as Hawthorn (inc many non-govt schools and Swinburne University), Camberwell and Box Hill (inc Box Hill TAFE); the Glen Waverley Line (inc many non-govt schools and Glen Waverley and Holmesglen TAFE); Chadstone (need I say more); the populous Pakeham and Cranbourne lines (both with major activity centres such as Oakleigh, Dandenong, Springvale and Clayton) and of course Monash Uni and surrounding business parks. And if the line was extended north to Knox, then that is another key activity centre.

But there are also the other benefits in this project (other than linking all the above) such as level crossing removals and the consolidation of train stations.

There are also other key tram connection projects that would also help this train project to link other transport generators such as extending the #3 Malvern East tram to Malvern East Station (thus connecting to Caulfield, Caulfield Racecourse and Monash Uni Caulfield); extending the #75 tram to Knox; extending the #72 tram to High St/Doncaster Rd, Kew East; extending the #48 tram to Doncaster. - Granted, many of these projects have been spoken about for quite some time, but to me, they are no brainers, as they create further connections to a network that is stuck in the 1920s, and although they are all in blue high density transport areas, they are still justifiable and vital to keep our population moving and connected as quickly and easily as possible.

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Llib's picture

"link key activity centres and creates our first cross-suburban line that Melbourne desperately needs, as has been demonstrated by the cross city smart bus routes"

This is why jobs figures from the article indicate the tip of the iceberg in terms of potential for the rail line. All the schools and shopping facilities can generate many trips from shoppers, visitors and students with many of those trips being off and counter peak.

Although the rail line dates from the late 1800's it can be upgraded with concrete sleepers, in cab signalling and new stations and rolling stock it can basically function as a modern metro with the side function of acting as a commuter line into the CBD.

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johnproctor's picture

Ricardo tend to agree why bother going to Roseville but I would extend beyond oakleigh /huntingdale to Monash university and employment precinct, it's the biggest agglomeration of jobs not called the CBD.

From what I understand the new '401' out there (is it 601)?) from huntingdale to Monash is going gangbusters and chadstone-oakleigh has a lot of buses an hour already as well which are now advertised as a high frequency set of buses. So in some respects two of the sections of route are already proven and operating costs could be offset with removal of duplicate bus services.

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Riccardo's picture

Tays and friends, before putting fingers to keyboard again about the Melbourne rail system again, get the premise right.

It is not about looking at the rail system and seeing what you can do with it. Rather, look at the city, what are its transport needs, does it need rail (after all other options exhausted) and only then, is there some of the legacy system that can be economically recycled, or is it too far gone.

The existing system was not built for its current purpose, so it is no surprise it doesn't work.

It was built in the 1870s to haul potatos and timber. And incidently a few passengers, who were travelling on what we would now consider 'country' journeys. It was a mixed traffic railway, using steam locos that were usually a generation behind world's best practice.

Melbourne has four million people including a core of ever increasing density. The primary means of serving that core was not the railway, but the tramways, but now they are grinding to a halt, pardoxically due to excess road traffic i suspect caused by the railway being poor.

The other three smaller mainland cities have not really had this problem, they are operating under 'interurban' style comditioms though it looks like Brisbane is hitting its limits too. Sydney, otoh, had had this problem for a while, tried to avoid doing anything about it but then bit the bullet and opened three underground railways to modern standards since 1979 and a fourth is underway
We need to stop asking does the Alamein line need to be improved. It probably should be closed. But if we ask. What future for South Booroondara? What are its transport needs? Intensive? Does it need rail? And finally, if it needs rail, can any part of the old Alamein line be reused?

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Riccardo's picture

Jpro, agree with your comment, but such a link does not require an Alamein line. Linking Chadstone is a better reason.

I would probably suggest the real issue is why the GWY was not extended back in the 70s, when the land was still free. A short tunnel on a falling grade would have got the GWY down the hill towards Jells Park, and then a simple at grade lime to either Cathies lane or on to Stud Rd, would have been plenty. Funded by Whitlam, built by Hamer, nobody would remember the financial impost by now.

Definitely a better spend than one half of the City Loop, or the Westona joke.

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Simon wxtre's picture

Having an interchange underground railway station at East Malvern would be preferable. While not as convenient as Holmesglen railway station as suggested the construction would be easier as it follows the old outer circle alignment.

Also with the extra railway track between Burnley and Camberwell. Could it also be integrated to add an extra railway track to Box Hill servicing the disused station platform.

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Ian Woodcock's picture

It's a good idea to improve network connectivity and to put places like Monash Clayton, Rowville SC and Chadstone on the heavy rail system. That aside, this may not be the best way to do it, though, given a) the immense cost of a tunnel through relatively low-value areas and b) the indirectness of the route compared to its catchments and c) the complexity of the transfer sequences. It might be better overall to spread such an enormous investment around on more cost effective ways of connecting such places to the Principal PT Network. For example, Rowville, rather than flowing into the Dandenong line, would be better as an east-west cross-suburban route all the way to Gardenvale - it could be a light rail, or heavy rail flowing into the Sandringham line, with interchanges at Huntingdale, Ormond and Gardenvale. The most sensible way to build it would be on a viaduct for as much of its length as possible. That would make Monash and Rowville far more PT-accessible to far more people than the proposed alignment to Rowville. As for Chadstone, it would be preferable to do a few things: a) upgrade and extend the tramlines along Dandenong Rd/Princes Hwy as light rail, so they pick up Chadstone on their way to Dandenong (yes - this is one way that pressure can be taken off the Dandenong Line while enabling more people to have access to PT by broadening the catchment of that general corridor); b) Extend a light rail line from the Dandenong Road corridor from Caulfield out along Ferntree Gully Road, so picking up Chadstone, Brandon Park SC and Mountain Gate SC; c) Run a light rail from Mordialloc to Doncaster, picking up Chadstone, Deakin Burwood, and BoxHill Tafe. These could well cost less than tunnelling from Alamein to Oakleigh and would provide much better network effects, assuming proper light rail or medium-capacity rail conditions (full grade separation, 3-400 passenger capacity vehicles), and provide many more ways of getting to a lot more of the kinds of places that need to be on the PT network and aren't.

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Riccardo's picture

Ian I think you are on the money at least partly. Referring to a "North Wellington Route" it would run from Rowville to Gardenvale, and like other such proposals would eventually build a grid patterned network which I have proposed as an alternative to the existing radial network.

For example, the Epping line at present linked to the Sandringham line via a short stretch of tunnel between West Richmond and Richmond, results in a grid line that approximates the road known variously as High St, Hoddle St, Punt Road as far as it goes and only diverges beyond Windsor and beyond Thomastown.

There is continuity between the Flemington Racecourse line, the dogleg between Flemington Bridge and Royal Park, the old Inner Circle, and the first five stations of the Hurstbridge line beyond Clifton Hill. The Upfield line follows Sydney Road/Hume Highway between Jewell and Upfield, and if a short tunnel was built to Parkville would link to proposed rail project.

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johnproctor's picture

Steve or alistir or me are not suggesting the route proposed in the article is for cbd trips (although via interchange this would occur). Most trips to/from the locations on that line are not cbd bound. Linking a series of major activity centres that are used by the people,along the route makes more sense than building a North Wellington route just because it is 'grid like' and connects a number of train lines...

As I said in one of my earlier posts on this thread the "band of influence" for Monash (uni and jobs precinct), oakleigh, chadstone, camberwell, hawthorn jobs precinct logically follows the arc of this train line. North/wellington is just a contiguous East west road that doesnt have the same level of interaction with people's places of interests. Eg. if you live west of the warrigal road and South of dandenong road you are in the southern suburbs/ beachside arc of influence where you are more likely to use monash caulfield then Clayton (or the cbd universities), you are as likely to use Southland or glenferrie rd Malvern as chadstone, a st Kilda road private school compared to a kew school, a st Kilda road job compared to a job on burwood road hawthorn etc.

Of course if you build a suburban railway it doesn't matter what the route is the zoning needs to change to justify the expense. In an Alamein example ashburton shopping strip would need to be zoned up to allow medium density development, same at burwood (happening more than ashburton) and east Malvern. Similarly a North- wellington route would need big regeneration around Ormond (which is a comparatively small centre even to ashburton) and the largest centre along north between gardenvale and huntingdale.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

Steve or alistir or me are not suggesting the route proposed in the article is for cbd trips (although via interchange this would occur). Most trips to/from the locations on that line are not cbd bound

Pretty much - the fact I put forward the idea to increase capacity between Camberwell and the Yarra and build Rowville as stated in the recent study - as shown on the map - are not the primary goal. It's primarily about linking all the existing, and growing, activity centres (And the different kinds of activity centres: retail [Chadstone is clearly the biggest elephant in the room(article)], education and existing employment areas).

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Aussie Steve's picture

Amen to JP and AT. Not every train line needs to head into the city. That is the problem with our current heavy rail network - there is no cross city route and this is one way to create this.

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