Frankston line update...
North Road was shut for piling works last weekend, however train services continued to run. The westbound lane was shut Friday pm and both lanes on Saturday and Sunday. Curiously, the road traffic in the area was far worse on Sunday with lengthy queues forming at McKinnon Rd.
The major work at North Road was driving a series of pile on the east side of the line to support the future bridge deck. This gave me the first opportunity to watch the new 'silent' piling in operation. The 'piling' machine is a massive drilling rig - the Liebherr LB28. I found it interesting just how popular the drilling rig was - lots of locals stopped and took photos using their mobiles.
It appears that they are using a piling system known as 'Continuous Flight Auger' or CFA. In this approach an auger the full height of the completed pile is used. After the auger has dug down the full height of the pile, it is pulled out. Concrete is pumped down the hollow centre of the auger as it is removed. The concrete prevents the hole from collapsing, and forms the bulk of the pile. Once the auger is removed the steel reinforcing is lowered into the liquid cement to complete the pile. This technique is apparently not only fast, but very suitable for saturated soils. It is also very quiet. The soil from the piling appears to have been stacked in the former McKinnon car park.
In addition to the piling on the eastern side of the line, the Up line was removed through the North Road crossing and a pit excavated underneath. It's not clear why, but it probably has to do with removal of the services. The pit has been filled in, but the Up line has not been reinstated. A further large pit was excavated in Katandra Rd to relocate services.
A further massive work session at North Road is planned for this coming weekend - presumably this will be the western abutment of the bridge. It will involve closure of both rail and road.
As expected removal of the express trains has allowed one of the three tracks. However, not as I expected. Instead the Up line has been taken out of use and, as from 14 November all trains are using the Down and Centre Lines. This will continue until the 10 December. On the following day, the Down line will be taken out of use and all trains will use the Up and Centre Lines. This will continue until late 2016.
At McKinnon both car parks are now completely closed (the western one until 24 November, the eastern one until late 2016 (or permanently)). The ramps and stairs for the now closed subway are to be removed between 15 November and mid December. Access to Platform 3 will be by the former car park - the sign suggests allowing an extra 5 minutes walking time
Taking out of service of the Up line appears to have altered the timetable of the late afternoon Up steel train. Formerly it ran about 5.30 pm and was refuged at Caulfield in the Through Siding. This is inaccessible now, and today the steel train ran through about 6. Presumably it was not refuged at Caulfield and through.