Noble Park celebrates in style as traffic flows freely
Fire trucks, Bollywood dancers, sizzling sausages and even a selfie train were all a hit with Noble Park families who flocked to Ross Reserve on Saturday 24 February to celebrate the removal of three level crossings.
Around 400 people attended the community fun day, held as a ‘thank you’ for community members.
Since above-ground works started in March last year, locals have witnessed the step by step construction of a 1.5 kilometre stretch of elevated rail, built to remove crossings at Corrigan, Heatherdale and Chandler roads.
With trains now running on the new rail, the level crossings at are all officially removed, allowing traffic to flow freely.Attendees at the event - held at Ross Reserve – were treated to entertainment from the ‘With One Voice’ Choir and sweet treats from local Italian bakery Cirros.
The long-awaited change has been a boon for emergency services, including members of the Noble Park CFA, who celebrated the milestone alongside community members last Saturday.
Fire brigade Captain Terrence Sanford said in peak hour, Noble Park’s boom gates – taken down earlier this month – could hold up vehicles for as much as 10 to 15 minutes.
“Even though we’ve got the lights and sirens, we still have to sit at the boom gates and wait like everyone else,” he said.
“From an emergency services perspective, time is critical to us – we need to get on scene and on the job in the shortest amount of time and those boom gates were really restricting us.”
“With the boom gates gone, it’s really allowed us to get there quicker and do what we need to do.”
Residents are also noticing a ‘massive difference’, including Andy who regularly drives through the former level crossings at Heatherton and Corrigan Road.“At Corrigan Road especially, you could sit there for 20 minutes – it was a nightmare,” he said.
Reginald Vernon likewise knows Noble Park back to front, having lived there for 74 years now. “When the railway line was at ground level it split Noble Park in half,” he said.
“Once (the space underneath) has opened up, you’ll be able to go back and forth between both sides of the railway, Ian street shops and everything.“Some people say it should have gone underground, but I love it.”
While some final touches are still being made, train commuters are delighted with the modern, airy look of the new station.Meanwhile, crews are busy clearing stony ballast from the old ground level rail line in preparation for landscaping to begin.
Nine level crossings on the Cranbourne/Pakenham line are being removed this year as part of the Caulfield to Dandenong level crossing removal project.