level crossings in Melbourne

 
  Straya Station Staff

Can some one explain to me why Melbourne still has level crossings in the inner suburbs ? , im surprised they don't call it light rail

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  railblogger Chief Commissioner

Location: At the back of the train, quitely doing exactly what you'd expect.
Can some one explain to me why Melbourne still has level crossings in the inner suburbs ? , im surprised they don't call it light rail
Straya
Probably because the government hasn't bothered to get rid of them.
  Raichase Captain Rant!

Location: Sydney, NSW
im surprised they don't call it light rail
Straya
Because it's not light rail, it's heavy rail?
  Gauntlet Chief Commissioner

Location:
I remember reading somewhere that in the 60's and 70's Melbourne were building freeways while Sydney removed most of their level crossings.
Melbourne's tram network and its affect on car travel might have been a consideration when making that decision.
  Gman_86 Chief Commissioner

Location: Melton, where the sparks dare not roam!
Actually it was earlier than that. After one of the World Wars (first I believe, please correct me if I'm wrong) New South Wales elected to spend their war surplus on removing the vast majority of their level crossings. Meanwhile Victoria decided to build The Great Ocean Road, therefore linking many small coastal towns and providing one of the best driving roads in the world. However this left us with some 200 (roughly) at grade railway crossings that successive governments from both sides of the political fence have effectively ignored, only dealing with on average 1 crossing per year. While in a perfect world it would be best if they could all be grade seperated ASAP, realistically it is simply too expensive to justify removing them all.

There have been points in the past where more work should have been done, for example when building the Monash FWY, as a part of the project the Glen Waverley line should have been relocated into the centre median of the FWY, then we could have eliminated 5 of the worst crossings in Melbourne, but alas for whateve reason it never happened and again we are left to deal with the mistakes of previous generations.

I'm not saying Victoria shouldn't have built the Great Ocean Road, as it's truley something to be proud of, however ALL state governments since could and should have done a lot more to address these crossings. Hopefully future governments don't follow the same trend. Of course in reality we all know they will.
  Black Hoppers Chief Train Controller

Location: Banned
Can some one explain to me why Melbourne still has level crossings in the inner suburbs ? , im surprised they don't call it light rail
"Straya"


Troll alert.
  dthead Site Admin

Location: Melbourne, Australia
Troll alert.
Black Hoppers
Straya might be a newcommer waing in at full throttle, or may be as you  say. However for everyone's benifit we often take out time
- we're renown for our slackness and time taking - so we  are giving this user plenty of time to sort themselves out. Report the posts, PM a mod but  until we have to act, we assume the user is new, and not up to speed. /but if a user plays up we will act sooner or later. some  get banned, some  have had plenty of time to change befroe we act.

Straya, go and reread the rules for posting, the Warning FAQ, and terms of use of Railpage. We advise not posting too much too often and work with a mod if possible if you have a issue with another Railpage user.  

So I hope that is all I have to say on that.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
Actually it was earlier than that. After one of the World Wars (first I believe, please correct me if I'm wrong) New South Wales elected to spend their war surplus on removing the vast majority of their level crossings. Meanwhile Victoria decided to build The Great Ocean Road, therefore linking many small coastal towns and providing one of the best driving roads in the world. However this left us with some 200 (roughly) at grade railway crossings that successive governments from both sides of the political fence have effectively ignored, only dealing with on average 1 crossing per year. While in a perfect world it would be best if they could all be grade seperated ASAP, realistically it is simply too expensive to justify removing them all.

There have been points in the past where more work should have been done, for example when building the Monash FWY, as a part of the project the Glen Waverley line should have been relocated into the centre median of the FWY, then we could have eliminated 5 of the worst crossings in Melbourne, but alas for whateve reason it never happened and again we are left to deal with the mistakes of previous generations.

I'm not saying Victoria shouldn't have built the Great Ocean Road, as it's truley something to be proud of, however ALL state governments since could and should have done a lot more to address these crossings. Hopefully future governments don't follow the same trend. Of course in reality we all know they will.
Gman_86

What we have basically done, so to speak, is laugh instead of doing the work, in New South Wales, they laughed (had fun) once the work was done. If we relocated the Glenn Waverly line, where would we put the stations?
  Braddo Deputy Commissioner

Location: Narre Warren
I was waiting for someone to write "Waverly". Guaranteed to happen every single time the suburb is discussed.

It's GLEN WAVERLEY Evil or Very Mad
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Actually it was earlier than that. After one of the World Wars (first I believe, please correct me if I'm wrong) New South Wales elected to spend their war surplus on removing the vast majority of their level crossings. Meanwhile Victoria decided to build The Great Ocean Road, therefore linking many small coastal towns and providing one of the best driving roads in the world. However this left us with some 200 (roughly) at grade railway crossings that successive governments from both sides of the political fence have effectively ignored, only dealing with on average 1 crossing per year. While in a perfect world it would be best if they could all be grade separated ASAP, realistically it is simply too expensive to justify removing them all.
Gman_86

Sydney being more hilly than Melbourne, which is flatter, has more cuttings and embankments that lend themselves to the construction of overbridges and underbridges, respectively. Thus Sydney had fewer level crossings in the first place. Many of these bridge would have probably been added with electrification in the 1920s, when major works such as widening of track centres to 12 feet (3.66m) were carried out. Such changes where not documented in the Weekly Notices, so dates are basically unknowable.

The North Shore line (c1890) had perhaps two xings, while the Bankstown line (c1900) had perhaps none. East Hills line (1930) zero. Cronulla line (1938.) zero. A few xings crossing major road started to be eliminated in (guessing) the 1930s, at North Strathfield, West Ryde, near Harris Park, Chatswood (Help St), Gordon (St. Johns Road). From 1960s, xings where ofter replaced by bridges some distance away from the old xing, usually at the station, such as Merrylands, Rooty Hill, Glenfield (fortunately high enough for the rail flyover just build). This might have been a disadvantage for any bus route that followed the old through road, but now had to be split into two routes terminating on either side of the station (perhaps Fairfield). Xings were replaced by bridge on the old road alignment at Penrith West, Emu Plains, Dog Trap (near Granville). The crossing at Clyde station was abolished.

The level xings at Chatswood and IIRC Gordon where inconveniently located in the middle of the crossing loop of single line days.

One might ask when and where was the last xing built?

See ARHS Signal & Track Plans, ver 3, at: http://www.railpage.com.au/f-t11374392.htm

Chatswood Interchange has many historic photo, faux signal box, and a copy of the track layout including level crossing at Victoria Ave near the barriers.

Is there such a thing for other states?
  ChoooChoo Chief Train Controller

Sydney being more hilly than Melbourne, which is flatter, has more cuttings and embankments that lend themselves to the construction of overbridges and underbridges, respectively. Thus Sydney had fewer level crossings in the first place.
awsgc24

That's a really interesting explanation.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
That's one I would go along with.  There are a few lines with hilly sections on the Melbourne network (Belgrave, Hurstbridge) but for the most part the lines were laid out at ground level taking advantage of the relatively flat land.  That resulted in a large number of level crossings being built.  When those lines were built road traffic was rather sparse.  Most of those crossings now see road traffic at levels they were never built to cater for.  

In many cases it hasn't been feasible to grade-separate and equally is untenable to close the crossings altogether.  As an example the Frankston line has a large number of level crossings yet if they were closed then in many cases residential areas would be cut off from their shopping strips and the nearest main road.  Those crossings which remained open would be under greater pressure than they now are.  With roads running beside the railway most of the way from Caulfield to Frankston there is no option to grade separate; in those few cases where it can be done on roads which need it then it is to be done and at very considerable cost.
  Flygon Train Controller

Location: Australia
In many cases it hasn't been feasible to grade-separate and equally is untenable to close the crossings altogether.  As an example the Frankston line has a large number of level crossings yet if they were closed then in many cases residential areas would be cut off from their shopping strips and the nearest main road.  Those crossings which remained open would be under greater pressure than they now are.  With roads running beside the railway most of the way from Caulfield to Frankston there is no option to grade separate; in those few cases where it can be done on roads which need it then it is to be done and at very considerable cost.
Gwiwer
What about sinking the railways underground? A subway, so to say. A good chance to give some much needed upgrades, even.

Then again, nobody would have the guts to invest the money.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
BIG bucks required on that one as well.  Some of the land is barely above sea level and natural water table.  You'd need a lot of waterproofing and pumping to keep a sunken Frankston line running for example.  And think how often it would close due to flooding every time it rained.
  73LJWhiteSL Deputy Commissioner

Location: South East Melbourne Surburbs
Sydney being more hilly than Melbourne, which is flatter, has more cuttings and embankments that lend themselves to the construction of overbridges and underbridges, respectively. Thus Sydney had fewer level crossings in the first place.
awsgc24

Sounds like a pretty spot on answer to me. Construction of the lines in Sydney would have been more expensive with all the cuts and embankments but then it does allow for less level crossings and probably easier to increase the frequency or length of trains to cope with demand.

Steve
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Sydney being more hilly than Melbourne, which is flatter, has more cuttings and embankments that lend themselves to the construction of overbridges and underbridges, respectively. Thus Sydney had fewer level crossings in the first place.

One of the few places in Sydney where there is what one might call an artificial hill is Narwee, where the track was raised to create an underbridge site. The road has a bit of a dog-leg to suit the railway. This was built during construction of the railway, and has 4 tracks instead of the original 1. It became 2 tracks in about the 1950s.

It helps that the East Hills line was built when the suburbs through which it passes were undeveloped, and the road network could be designed so as to suit likely overbridge and underbridge sites. It also helps if there are no roads close to and parallel to the railway, which makes it difficult to raise the road over the tracks while keeping the original level through nearby intersections.

One of several bridges north of Chatwood station had a low clearance in steam days, and was demolished during electrification.  There are 4 remaining bridges between Chatswood and Roseville.

The overbridge at Boundary Road between Chatswood in Willoughby council and Roseville in Ku-ring-gai council (hence the name) was originally about 4.2m and responsible for numerous "TruckStucks", was recently widened to about 4.5m for both extra road lanes and rail tracks.

On the Main South. a lot of bridges were built during duplication, using a square design with a solid steel beam.

One wonders how many bridges in other states have low clearance. This is also a problem in the USA where many bridges built ub the 1950s, are now too low for the vast numbers of overheight trucks.

There is a book about bridges in NSW, name forgotten.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Sounds like a pretty spot on answer to me. Construction of the lines in Sydney would have been more expensive with all the cuts and embankments but then it does allow for less level crossings and probably easier to increase the frequency or length of trains to cope with demand.
73LJWhiteSL
Some of these cuttings are quite deep:

* Mowbray Road, Artarmon-Chatswood

* Stanhope Road, Lindfield-Killara - this bridge partially collapse in the 1960s after very heavy rain which softened the clay foundations. It was replaced with IIRC concrete beams replacing the original standard steel ones.

* Pacific Highway, Turrumurra.

At these sites, it would have been much easier to build a bridge than to try and build a level crossing, even though the road traffic at Mowbray and Stanhope road would have been modest in the 1920s.
  Gwiwer Rt Hon Gentleman and Ghost of Oliver Bulleid

Location: Loitering in darkest Somewhere
One wonders how many bridges in other states have low clearance.

In Melbourne there are a number of regular victims.  Spencer Street railway bridge immediately south of the Flinders Street intersection gets a strike on average once a week though not all are serious and some only involve the tram overhead which is also low there because of the restricted headroom.  A major bash there brings half the city to a standstill if the road has to be closed and it is almost always a truck failing to take note of the clearly-marked height limit and warning signs which is at fault.

To raise the clearance under the bridge would require a total rebuild of the railway above it; the road cannot be lowered due to the proximity of the intersection making approach grades impossible to achieve.  Better still would be a truck ban altogether beneath the bridge as King Street offers a ready alternative and is reasonable for most routes.
  woodford Chief Commissioner


There is a book about bridges in NSW, name forgotten.
awsgc24

"Bridges down Under" by Don Fraser, Published by ARHS NSW divsion
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
"Bridges down Under" by Don Fraser, Published by ARHS NSW divsion
woodford

Does this book cover only bridges in NSW? If so, are there other books for the other states?
  Bogong Chief Commissioner

Location: Essendon Aerodrome circa 1980
Early in the 20th century, some of the most heavily used suburban lines in Melbourne were grade separated at huge expense.

* The Caulfield line was sunk and raised, and I think there are no level crossings at all between the city and Caulfield?

* The Camberwell line was also raised in some places and sunk in others, so the only level crossings are in the completely flat area near Burnley station.

* A totally new line was built from the city to Clifton Hill, featuring tunnels and high embankments with only one level crossing to the south of Clifton Hill station.

So our ancestors did a pretty good job a century ago, most of the level crossings today are in flatter suburbs that have become densely populated since the war.
  woodford Chief Commissioner

Does this book cover only bridges in NSW? If so, are there other books for the other states?
awsgc24

Yes "Bridges down under" only covers NSW railway bridges, there is a book on Victorian road bridges, I think it only covers road bridges, I've only had a quick glance through it. The fact I have not got a copy is something of a mystery really!

woodford
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
Yes "Bridges down under" only covers NSW railway bridges, there is a book on Victorian road bridges, I think it only covers road bridges, I've only had a quick glance through it. The fact I have not got a copy is something of a mystery really!

woodford
woodford

There are also the Bailey books on Viaducts and Tunnels, some of the latter may have roads passing overhead, such as the one south of Oak Flats on the Illawarra Line. These books are Australia-wide.
  Myrtone Chief Commissioner

Location: North Carlton, Melbourne, Victoria
There have been points in the past where more work should have been done, for example when building the Monash FWY, as a part of the project the Glen Waverley line should have been relocated into the centre median of the FWY, then we could have eliminated 5 of the worst crossings in Melbourne, but alas for whateve reason it never happened and again we are left to deal with the mistakes of previous generations.
Gman_86
Apparently there were complaints about this at the time that the South Eastern Arterial was grade separeted. Another example where not as much work was done as could have been is when adding a third track to the Frankston line from Caulfield to Cheltham, there was an oppotunity to grade separate at least two of the swing gated level crossings, but instead, all of the gates were replaced by boom barriers.
And when we built the city loop, we did not bother diverting the Upfield line to pass under the University, goodness knows how many (gated) level crossings would be gone today.

Early in the 20th century, some of the most heavily used suburban lines in Melbourne were grade separated at huge expense.
* The Caulfield line was sunk and raised, and I think there are no level crossings at all between the city and Caulfield?
* The Camberwell line was also raised in some places and sunk in others, so the only level crossings are in the completely flat area near Burnley station.
* A totally new line was built from the city to Clifton Hill, featuring tunnels and high embankments with only one level crossing to the south of Clifton Hill station. So our ancestors did a pretty good job a century ago, most of the level crossings today are in flatter suburbs that have become densely populated since the war.
Bogong
But do note that lots of stations are right next to bridges rather than driectly over them, I wonder why, it means that (approximately) half of all passengers boarding and alightling at these stations have to cross the roads at grade.
  awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney
On the East Hills (1930) and Cronulla (1938.) lines, bridges were built wherever possible, but where road and rail were at the same time, the roads were often closed, with no level crossing at all.

Generally where streets were cut in two, the parts were renamed say Park St. North, and Park St. South. Indeed this naming convention is often used by streets crossing the railway by bridge.

Cowra used to have an overbridge, but given the decline in rail traffic and likely old age of the bridge, this bridge was replace by a level crossing.

A level crossing on the now disused Main North line near say Deepwater was replaced by a realigned road about 2 metres above track level. Quite some work will be needed should that rail line ever be restored to service.

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