50 level crossings to be removed

 
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
As far as I can recall, the rising gradient is after Bakers road. Also, if the line is lowered, then an Upfield rail tunnel might be viable later on. If a railway is (in both directions) uphill towards a level crossing and downhill away from them, then the most straightforward way to grade separate is to lower the tracks and flatten the gradient.

There are six ways to grade separate a level crossing:

*Two rail based options, rail over or under
*Two road based options, road over/under
*Combinations of two of those options.

No one option is best in all cases, different options will do best in different places. In fact, I doubt that any of these can even be touted as the best default. But on the whole, I do generally prefer road based options, and this is generally the way to go outside built up areas, specifically flat areas that aren't built up as of the time of grade separation. As for grade separations in flat areas, I do prefer road based grade separation before the area is built up over rail based grade separation after the area gets built up, which is part of the reason why I sometimes delve into past planning.

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  TOQ-1 Deputy Commissioner

Location: Power Trainger
Myrtone, your location says you're in North Carlton. In which case you should know what the area around the Upfield Line is like: densely packed in townhouses and apartments, with narrow roads between them.

Elevating or trenching the roads are not an option in this case, it would be far too disruptive.

Trenching the rail line is not a good option either: this will have to be wider than the existing tracks, and may affect the Upfield Bike Path. Pedestrian crossings that are currently at grade will have to be removed, and may not be replaced (with the LXRA counting providing a crossing at the station good enough). Long sections of trenches will also not allow any more pedestrian crossings to be installed. Sydney Road is an important commercial area, and trenches would block access to this to most people living west of the line.

Building a viaduct on the other hand will allow the bike path to be widened, and more space made available beneath. Pedestrian crossings would become irrelevant, as you now have one big one.

Grades aren't as relevant in the context now, as EMUs don't have as much issue with them as the steam trains that ran last century did. The Upfield Line is not going to see any heavy freight.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Elevating or trenching the roads are not an option in this case, it would be far too disruptive.
TOQ-1
Of course not, I only mentioned the road based options because they are options in other places. Had grade separation been done when the area was not yet that built up, changing the level of the roads might have been an option.

Trenching the rail line is not a good option either: this will have to be wider than the existing tracks, and may affect the Upfield Bike Path. Pedestrian crossings that are currently at grade will have to be removed, and may not be replaced (with the LXRA counting providing a crossing at the station good enough). Long sections of trenches will also not allow any more pedestrian crossings to be installed. Sydney Road is an important commercial area, and trenches would block access to this to most people living west of the line.
TOQ-1
Of course it is possible to put pedestrian bridges over rail cuttings, this was done in Fairfield, near Grange road. And actually, undergrounding of an electrified line even allows development above it.

Building a viaduct on the other hand will allow the bike path to be widened, and more space made available beneath. Pedestrian crossings would become irrelevant, as you now have one big one.
TOQ-1
Even digging a cutting would allow a wider path, or even separate bike and footpaths, the path(s) would just be elevated.

Grades aren't as relevant in the context now, as EMUs don't have as much issue with them as the steam trains that ran last century did. The Upfield Line is not going to see any heavy freight.
TOQ-1
Gradients steeper than say, 1%, will still make a difference, such as to train drivers, and if steep enough, to passengers. I was on a Frankston line train today and I could feel the gradients towards Ormond.
  Alphabet Train Controller

Location: Moonee Ponds
As far as I can recall, the rising gradient is after Bakers road. Also, if the line is lowered, then an Upfield rail tunnel might be viable later on. If a railway is (in both directions) uphill towards a level crossing and downhill away from them, then the most straightforward way to grade separate is to lower the tracks and flatten the gradient.
Myrtone
The rising gradient towards Upfield starts about 100-200 metres south of Bakers Road, not north of it.
  AndyChee Station Master

Gradients steeper than say, 1%, will still make a difference, such as to train drivers, and if steep enough, to passengers. I was on a Frankston line train today and I could feel the gradients towards Ormond.
Myrtone
What is the effect of gradients steeper than 1% to passengers?  Just feeling the gradient change doesn't mean anything in itself.  Perhaps you're suggesting passengers are going to be more susceptible to motion sickness?  Could you elaborate on the implications for passengers and train drivers.
  justapassenger Chief Commissioner

What is the effect of gradients steeper than 1% to passengers?  Just feeling the gradient change doesn't mean anything in itself.  Perhaps you're suggesting passengers are going to be more susceptible to motion sickness?  Could you elaborate on the implications for passengers and train drivers.
AndyChee
I can only think of positive effects for both train drivers and passengers.

Quicker adjustments between ground level and elevated or subsurface running are better for the times of the day when the sun is low in the sky (i.e. the morning and evening peaks, when more trains run) and having shorter sections with restricted access is good in the event of requiring an evacuation. Anything which makes train driving safer is automatically also an improvement for the passengers.

Having more noticeable cues along the route will help passengers know when to prepare for the train to arrive at their station. Passengers who are prepared can exit the train faster than passengers who are scrambling to get their stuff together at the last moment, which in turn helps control dwell times. Shorter dwell times = more chance of running a Right Time Railway without the train drivers being put under pressure to make up lost time.

The most recent grade separations built in Adelaide (two underpasses and one bridge) and the underpass currently under construction all have a ruling grade of 3%. There haven't been any issues for the drivers, and the passenger numbers have increased.

Myrtone is talking nonsense as usual. If he was blindfolded and riding a route he didn't already know, he wouldn't be able to tell the difference
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
I can only think of positive effects for both train drivers and passengers.
justapassenger

The effects that you mention are incomprehensible.

The most recent grade separations built in Adelaide (two underpasses and one bridge) and the underpass currently under construction all have a ruling grade of 3%. There haven't been any issues for the drivers, and the passenger numbers have increased.
justapassenger

But they make a difference to drivers, they have to know those gradients. It affects how much power and braking they need to apply. And as for those grade separations, were they even possible without those gradients?

Certainly the South Road grade separation could surely have been road based had it been done before the area was built up.

Here in Melbourne, most grade separations are rail based, that is by changing the level of the tracks, and in many cases, the only reason for that, and not a road based option is because they are already surrounded by buildings.

I plan to explore more above level crossings in other threads.
  TheMeddlingMonk Deputy Commissioner

Location: The Time Vortex near Melbourne, Australia
I can only think of positive effects for both train drivers and passengers.
The effects that you mention are incomprehensible.
Myrtone
Are you sure you meant "incomprehensible"? I had no issues comprehending justapassenger's post and see exactly where each of the listed points comes from. I am undecided as to how much of a difference each effect would have (I'd like some stats to back it up), but the logic appears sound.
  The Vinelander Minister for Railways

Location: Ballan, Victoria on the Ballarat RFR Line
Gradients steeper than say, 1%, will still make a difference, such as to train drivers, and if steep enough, to passengers. I was on a Frankston line train today and I could feel the gradients towards Ormond.
Myrtone

I'm certain the ramps into the Loop tunnels are steeper than 1% and it's unlikely there are people vomiting and fainting due to the roller coaster effect you are concerned about.

Mike.
  True Believers Chief Commissioner

The limits on gradients is 2.5% at most for electric trains. With freight it's 2%.

I found this information in this publication: https://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/media/publications/carrum-factsheet-design-options-considered

Feel free to have a look.
  ianb26 Station Master

Re Frankston line. I thought the crossings on the Frankston line would have to be SkyRail because they can't trench it due to the high water table along Nepean Highway.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Although 2.5% may be allowed, somehow it seems like best practice to avoid gradients steeper than 1% wherever feasible.
As for grade separation on that part of the Upfield line, it is already higher than Baker's road, Coburg and any part of the line south of Park Street, Royal Park. An elevated rail would make it even higher, and would preclude an eventual underground diversion that might otherwise be an option later on.
  True Believers Chief Commissioner

Although 2.5% may be allowed, somehow it seems like best practice to avoid gradients steeper than 1% wherever feasible.
As for grade separation on that part of the Upfield line, it is already higher than Baker's road, Coburg and any part of the line south of Park Street, Royal Park. An elevated rail would make it even higher, and would preclude an eventual underground diversion that might otherwise be an option later on.
Myrtone
I disagree. The elevated rail actually fits the geography of the Upfield line. The slopes are not so different when compared with trench rail. The benefits for elevated rail is opening up the community and a wider bike path. It's a much better solution in that area. I don't think anyone would disagree with that.

And I think your underground diversion idea is just total waste of money. Even in the future. The Metro 2 Tunnel is more needed than putting the Upfield line underground is such a flawed idea. Have you even done any research whether diverting the Upfield line is viable? Have you checked the cost and benefit comparison with elevated rail and trench? If those answers is a no, go do some research first.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
The elevated rail actually fits the geography of the Upfield line. The slopes are not so different when compared with trench rail. The benefits for elevated rail is opening up the community and a wider bike path. It's a much better solution in that area. I don't think anyone would disagree with that.
True Believers
But even if the rail goes under, it would still allow a wider path, just built over the cutting.

And I think your underground diversion idea is just total waste of money. Even in the future. The Metro 2 Tunnel is more needed than putting the Upfield line underground is such a flawed idea. Have you even done any research whether diverting the Upfield line is viable? Have you checked the cost and benefit comparison with elevated rail and trench? If those answers is a no, go do some research first.
True Believers
Yes, many other things including maybe a second metro tunnel are more needed than putting the Upfield line underground. But I'm not the only one supporting such a thing. It has been supported before by the Moreland and Darabin city councils.
Also, putting an electrified railway in a trench does allow for building above the tracks.
  drunkill Junior Train Controller

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Nobody is going to waste money building a deck over the cutting.

It is hugely expensive and would only be sold off to developers, it would not become a park or path.

Even incredibly valuable land on the edge of the CBD like Fed Square East has been a proposal for two decades now with no movement to deck the railyards. Nobody will make money decking a trench in Preston.
  True Believers Chief Commissioner

Response to Myrtone:

The decking over railways have never been that practical in an economic sense, otherwise you would see many more decking over railways all over Melbourne. Only Fed square, the recent developments at Southern Cross station and that Ormond section. There were potential decking developments at Bentleigh and Mckinnon but they were dismissed. In fact the Footscray one was demolished after RRL works.

It works better in more densier cities like New York. Not Melbourne.

Now you're saying decking the Upfield line for a cycling path is economical feasible. Are you kidding me? Just elevate the rail line, much cheaper and it can be delivered much more easily, you don't need them trucks to move all that soil. Cut and cover is just too expensive, I don't think the LXRA budget makes up 1-2 billion for these level crossing removals on the Upfield line.  If the budget wasn't a limitation sure just waste it on a full length trench with coverage. Honestly we don't just have money to purge on premium solutions at every level crossing removal site.

Myrtone, just because it's supported by local councils doesn't make the idea any more feasible. The local council in the Essendon area went on and wasted money on a full campaign against the road under solution for a more expensive trench solution that would have redone the Mt Alexander Rd as well that would of costed many more millions of dollars. Oh yeah I forgot, you would rather support a premium high cost solution instead of the cost practical solution. You know there are plenty of projects on the waiting list. Careless spending money on cut and cover and tunnel on one of the quiet lines in Melbourne is just gonna push more higher priority projects further down the waiting list.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
@drunkill I had no idea that decking could be that expensive. It's also the sort of thing that seems hard to believe if what makes it that expensive isn't explained.
  historian Deputy Commissioner

@drunkill I had no idea that decking could be that expensive. It's also the sort of thing that seems hard to believe if what makes it that expensive isn't explained.
Myrtone

It's not that it's that expensive; it's just more than the land is worth.

The typical cost of land around Carnegie, for example, is around $1 to $1.5 million per house block (other areas would be cheaper). It's not worth building a deck if the marginal cost of adding the deck is more than the value of the land created.

And $1 to $1.5 million per house block is not all that much money. It has to cover the costs of:
* the deck itself
* any additional excavation (the rail line needs to stay down; it can't immediately begin to return to the surface)
* the additional cost to the sidewalls and foundations to support the deck and whatever you build on it
* the additional construction time (e.g. bus substitution, slower construction due to working next to an operational railway)
* (if long sections, which are closer to tunnels) fire control and emergency services
* the geotechnical investigations, design and supervision work

The land becomes more valuable if you can use it for multistory buildings. This is why the Ormond redevelopment was designed for a multistory building, and why the Glen Waverley line proposal was the same. This additional value means that the cost of the decking more viable. But it means the deck, walls, and foundations become more expensive, so it's an optimisation. Ormond clearly demonstrated that the cost optimisation point in inner Melbourne for decking was a multistory building. But this means the locals are more likely to protest against the use - this is what's stalled the Ormond redevelopment. It's also what's stalled the Burke Rd, Camberwell, proposal.

On the other hand, a very light building on top means a very simple deck and foundations. That can be worthwhile if the land values around are high enough. The single story redevelopment over the Caulfield lines at Chapel St, South Yarra, is a good example.

Finally, if you don't redevelop it and use it as a 'park' or a bike track, it would almost certainly be more cost effective to buy the adjacent land instead.
  n459L1150 Train Controller

Location: at sunbury on a V/line service into melbourne, waiting for thousands of impatient people to get on
does anybody know what's going to happen at bell street Coburg (Upfield line)? Apparently the station is staying and they are just fiddling with the tracks and related infrastructure, I didn't think there was enough room to either trench or skyrail the line, and what would that mean for Batman?

I read in Railway Digest that the initial 50 are just the first batch of Level Crossings to be removed,
  justarider Assistant Commissioner

Location: Stuck on VR and hoping for better.
My 2 bobs worth.

A rather pointless discussion about Bell St and Moreland Rd.

In itself the Upfield line is minor and duplicated by trams anyway.
About 18 LX removals required to bring it up to speed is never gunna happen, nor expanding the Coburg Coles supermarket carpark into a fully fledged shopping centre.
Extra development land/airspace extraced out of the right of way is a pipe dream. Developers doing very nicely already with inner suburbs reinvigoration.

Just going back to why the 50 LX are being replaced, Safety and/or traffic congestion.

It's a no brainer for Moreland Rd and Bell St.
They are the 2 main on-ramps for the middle north suburbs onto the Tulla freeway.
As infrequent as the train schedule is, those 2 LX really stuff up the area big time and should go.  Anything more than that is just dreaming.

Coburg station is just a casualty of the crossing removal. Where ever the track ends up, so too will the station.

PS : Brunswick Rd also should go, for the same reason.

cheers
John
  Alphabet Train Controller

Location: Moonee Ponds
Boom gates at Essendon are gone.
  True Believers Chief Commissioner

does anybody know what's going to happen at bell street Coburg (Upfield line)? Apparently the station is staying and they are just fiddling with the tracks and related infrastructure, I didn't think there was enough room to either trench or skyrail the line, and what would that mean for Batman?

I read in Railway Digest that the initial 50 are just the first batch of Level Crossings to be removed,
n459L1150
Bell street Coburg (Upfield line), will be grade seperated at same time as Moreland road. Either both sites are rail under road or both sites are rail over road. 1 extra crossing is being removed in Coburg due to the close proximity, so that's an extra crossing completed that is not on the list. BTW just letting you know it is technically 53 crossings, not 50 now. 2 extra removed on Frankston line and 1 extra confirmed on the Upfield line. They would probably have to close the rail line to allow them grade seperate these crossings.

You can check on the level crossing removal site to see a map of either option being rail under/over.
  True Believers Chief Commissioner

In itself the Upfield line is minor and duplicated by trams anyway.
About 18 LX removals required to bring it up to speed is never gunna happen.

Just going back to why the 50 LX are being replaced, Safety and/or traffic congestion.

It's a no brainer for Moreland Rd and Bell St.
They are the 2 main on-ramps for the middle north suburbs onto the Tulla freeway.
As infrequent as the train schedule is, those 2 LX really stuff up the area big time and should go. Anything more than that is just dreaming.

cheers
John
justarider
I like to point out you said never? And dreaming. But in the future these crossings will have to be removed, let's say 10-20 years time. Why you may ask.

The Upfield line will become the Wallan line in the future. That's identified in the PTV plan. And if you look closely at the last few state budgets, there is feasibility case connecting the Upfield line with the Craigeburn line. It is something the government is looking at even though it's quiet about it.

So no it isn't a dream to see the Upfield line become a high frequency Wallan line that'll support the busy Craigeburn line. It's in the plans, just still got a long way to go. You used never like it'll never happen, but seeing that Upfield connection isn't so distant and the area to Wallan has been approved for development, I would be open to the idea that this connection may happen sooner than you think.
  justarider Assistant Commissioner

Location: Stuck on VR and hoping for better.
NEVER

fair cop, but very unlikely.

Join Upfield back to Wallan. Now that is a dream - why?

The "plan" is just re-join Upfield to Roxburgh, and then the 2 have to share the rest to Craigeburn (eventually sparks to Wallan - MAYBE)

Just compare like for like.

Upfield to Finders St      35 minutes
Coolaroo to Flinders St  40 minutes.

Upfield line  22 LX ( 2 planned replace) - the 18 that I said before was just generously leaving out some of the outers that don't currently cause issues.
Craigeburn    7 LX  ( 1 nearly gone)

If you are going to substatially increase traffic , there will have to be a full LX removal in the Roxburgh to SCS corridor chosen.

With no substantial difference in travel time, why would you spend three times as much for LX + cost of the new  extension + double track Gowrie to Upfield ?

Of course there is also the other "plan" for Wallan. Detour V/line Wallan to SCS via MARL.
That would be even faster and no LX.  Spark that - now I AM dreaming!

cheers
John
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Bell street Coburg (Upfield line), will be grade seperated at same time as Moreland road. Either both sites are rail under road or both sites are rail over road. 1 extra crossing is being removed in Coburg due to the close proximity, so that's an extra crossing completed that is not on the list. BTW just letting you know it is technically 53 crossings, not 50 now. 2 extra removed on Frankston line and 1 extra confirmed on the Upfield line. They would probably have to close the rail line to allow them grade seperate these crossings.
True Believers
If those two aforementioned level crossings on the Upfield line are to be grade separated, then so might every level crossing in between.

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