I predict the level crossing removals will be a bit of everything that most people want out of this upgrade.
- Because there's a rail bridge at Caufield junction and a road bridge (Warrigal Rd) at Oakleigh, it would be viable for an elevated section between Caufield and Oakleigh in order to maintain a smooth ride for Metro, V/Line and Freight trains. On the other hand, a rail underpass would involve cutting down old trees (environmental damage), land and business acquisitions and putting all heritage-listed buildings in jeopardy of demolition along the corridor.
- Next, I think an underpass beginning at least 200m West from Clayton Rd up to at least 200m East of Centre Rd would be the best solution given all the feedback residents shared in the consultation sessions.
- Another rail underpass for Heatherton and Corrigan Rds can be seen as the most viable in that section
- Finally I'm also thinking a rail overpass because of a riverbank about 200m west of Chandler Rd which already has a rail bridge.
The plan also includes rebuilding the following stations given they are adjacent to the level crossings:
- Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Hughesdale and Clayton
- To be honest, I thought Noble Park would be moved closer to Heatherton Rd for better bus and private vehicle interchange unless the government does not want to incur extra costs (~ Extra $200 million).
- I hope one day for the sake of the SE residents in the future Oakleigh, Huntingdale, Westall, Springvale, Sandown Park, Noble Park, Yarraman and Dandenong stations would be overhauled to fit 4 platforms. But there could be argument stating premium stations (Oakleigh, Huntingdale, Clayton, Westall, Springvale, Noble Park and Dandenong) would be economically viable to have 4 platforms rather than all stations along the corridor. But that's for a different debate.
I'm sure all of you would support the idea of future-proofing or (even better) construction for 4 tracks to cater for flexibility of rail services
- 2 tracks (Platforms 1 & 2) for Limited express Metro services, Gippsland V/Line services and Freight trains
- Another 2 tracks (Platforms 3 & 4) for Stopping services to e.g. Westall or Dandenong
- In the case of disruption, trains and cars can still move along with minimal interference
- High-capacity signalling to run more trains more often along the corridor
- Replacing all infrastructure including rusty signal poles, overhead wiring and stanchions replacing it with temporary stainless steel signal poles, expanded stanchions to cater for 4 tracks to run underneath.
There are also rumours of a long-awaited rail extension to Rowville via Monash University branching off Huntingdale once the Melbourne Metro Rail Project is near completion. If that is the case, then I predict it will branch off from Platforms 3 & 4 for stopping services given the amount of land construction workers can work with and an adjacent army base close by and minimal disruption for fast trains. That means the days of Bus Route 601 are numbered.
Currently the total cost is roughly $2.5 billion dollars according to the state government but don't be surprised if that figure changes.