Elevated rail line starts to take shape at Preston
13 Sep 2021
A view of the Preston rail corridor, looking north from Cramer Street.
Giant concrete segments made in Kilmore, Melton and Laverton North have begun to be craned into place to form the foundations for the 2km elevated rail line that removes 4 level crossings in Preston.
Since August, crews have begun to install the 116 massive U-shaped viaducts, comprised of 232 L-shaped beams. Each beam measures between 22m and 32m in length and weighs up to 131 tonnes. Once stitched together, this structure makes up the elevated viaduct that trains travel in.
A pre-cast concrete L-beam on site at Preston.
Level crossings at Oakover Road, Bell Street, Cramer Street and Murray Road in Preston will be gone for good by the end of 2022, with new stations built at Bell and Preston.
Over the coming months, the construction team will build the city-bound elevated rail bridge and start building the new Bell and Preston stations.
All while trains continue to run on the existing tracks.
A view from the temporary Preston Station with scaffold in place in the background.
As construction progresses on the project, disruptions to train services on the Mernda line will be minimal, with the rail line not closing for more than 12 consecutive days at a time. This is to ensure trains can continue to access the Epping train maintenance facility, which is critical for the smooth running of the wider rail network.
Buses will replace trains on sections of the Mernda line on some nights in September to allow for level crossing removal works, work on the Metro Tunnel project and track maintenance.
Please visit the PTV website to plan your journey.
Next year, Bell and Preston stations will close for 3 months as work continues on the new rail line and modern stations.
This will mean the Mernda line will operate on a single track over the newly completed city-bound rail bridge between Regent and Thornbury stations.
During this time, trains will not stop at Bell and Preston stations, with a shuttle bus in service between these stations to connect passengers with nearby Thornbury and Regent stations.
This means the project can finish 95% of the new Bell and Preston stations before they open to passengers in 2022. The project team will have more information for the community before these works start.