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Bell to Moreland Q and As

19 Feb 2020

The level crossings at Bell Street, Munro Street and Reynard Street in Coburg, and Moreland Road in Brunswick are being removed by raising the rail line over the road. New stations will also be built at Coburg and Moreland, with 2.5km of open space created under the elevated rail line.

  • What level crossings are being removed?
    • The Bell to Moreland Level Crossing Removal Project will get rid of the boom gates at Bell, Munro and Reynard streets in Coburg, and at Moreland Road in Brunswick.

  • How will the level crossings be removed?
    • All four level crossings will be removed by elevating the rail line onto a continuous rail bridge.

  • Why are you removing the level crossings?
    • At these four level crossings, the boom gates are down for up to 25 per cent of the morning peak, causing delays and leading to congestion for road users.

      Removing these level crossings will enhance safety and improve traffic flow in the area for cyclists, pedestrians and other road users.

  • When will the level crossings be removed?
    • Work has begun for geotechnical investigations and service relocation, and construction will be ramping up in 2020. All four sets of boom gates will be removed by the end of 2020, with construction complete in 2021.

  • Are there going to be new Coburg and Moreland stations?
    • New stations are being built at Coburg and Moreland to accommodate the raised platforms and improve station facilities.

  • What is happening to the existing station buildings?
    • Both the station buildings at Moreland and Coburg are heritage listed and will be retained and repurposed.

  • Why has a rail over road design been selected for this project?
    • We consider a range of options for when determining how to remove a level crossing. For the Bell to Moreland level crossings, designs like raising the road over the rail line or lowering the road under the rail line were ruled out because they would:

      • Require compulsory property acquisition of up to 60 homes and businesses across both locations
      • Have permanent impacts for businesses along the shopping strips
      • Affect access to the tram depot on Moreland Road
      • Impact on future transport upgrades.


      Lowering the rail line under the road would require around 120 Olympic-sized swimming pools of material to be excavated. Much of this material is extremely hard basalt rock, which would be highly disruptive to nearby residents, causing greater noise, dust and vibration.

      Digging a trench would take almost twice as long as building a rail bridge, require a much longer shut down of the rail line and there would be more machinery, trucks and rock-breaking equipment on local streets.

      Due to the narrow corridor and properties close to the rail line, building a rail trench would also limit opportunities for new open space, impact the Upfield Bike Path and result in poor east–west connections, dividing the community.

      Major sewerage and drainage services servicing a large proportion of the community cross the rail corridor. A rail trench would require building several kilometres of new pipes and cause widespread disruptions, including loss of services and road closures across Coburg.

      Raising the rail line over the road will create opportunities for new open space under the rail line, better east–west connections and allow for improvements to the Upfield Bike Path.

  • How high and long will the rail bridge be?
    • The height of the rail bridge will vary along the corridor, however there will always be a minimum clearance of 5.5 to 7 metres from ground level to the bottom of the rail bridge. The rail bridge will be approximately 2.5km long.

  • Where will the proposed rail bridge start and end?
    • The rail bridge will begin to rise immediately north of Tinning Street, Brunswick and return to ground level just south of O’Hea Street, Coburg.

  • There are a lot of apartments close to the rail line – how will you manage overlooking and privacy?
    • Screening will be installed at points along the new elevated rail corridor to minimise views from the train line into houses and backyards. For more information on Screening, visit our publications page.

  • When will you release the final design?
    • We are currently reviewing all the feedback we received on the open space in September 2019.

      All the feedback on open space and from recent technical investigations will be fed into our design process. We will be coming back out to the community with updated designs in the coming months.

  • What will be built under the rail bridge?
    • Raising the rail line will offer the opportunity to develop new public open space below the rail line and around the station precincts.

      The community has highlighted the need for more open and green spaces in the area. Feedback also highlighted the importance of improving the Upfield Bike Path and improving transport connections in the area.

      We are considering different recreational activities for the new open space, including art installations, sporting areas, and dog parks.

  • How can I share my ideas on use of the open space?
    • We held community drop in sessions in May and June 2019 and asked locals to provide feedback and ideas on new open space for the Bell to Moreland level crossing removal project.

      Following this feedback, we released the Open Space Consultation Report summarising the key themes which emerged from the consultation.

      In September, we came out to the community again, asking for feedback to help further refine the design of the open space.

      We had close to 400 people attend our drop-in sessions, 420 surveys completed and 600 comments left on maps of the project area.

      We are currently reviewing all the feedback we received and will be feeding it into our design process. We will be coming back out to the community with updated designs in the coming months.

  • What improvements are being made to the Upfield Bike Path?
    • The level crossing removal project will see improvements to the Upfield Bike Path. These improvements include:

      • Separated walking and cycling paths for the majority of the 2.5km length of the project
      • Wider, straighter paths with less twists and turns
      • Safer paths with more lighting, upgraded surfaces and clearer sightlines
      • More bicycle parking at train stations
  • Why are you closing the Shared Use Path during construction?
    • To help facilitate construction works, a 2.6km section of the existing Upfield Bike Path from Albion Street, Brunswick to O’Hea Street, Coburg will be closed between February 2020 and mid-2021.

      The closure will allow us to safely construct power and communications for the new elevated rail, construct and operate the gantry crane which will be used to lift elevated rail into place and construct the new separated walking and cycling paths.

  • Will the project include a Voluntary Purchase Scheme (VPS)
    • A Voluntary Purchase Scheme is in place for this project and now that the final design has been released, the project team have contacted potentially eligible residential property owners.  The VPS is entirely voluntary and allows eligible residential property owners to sell their property to the State Government at market value.

  • Will you need to close the Upfield line during construction?
    • Rail and station closures will be required so that major project works can be safely conducted when trains aren’t running. In the second half of 2020, a construction blitz of about three months will see more than 1000 people work around the clock to remove the four level crossings and construct the new stations.

      A turnback facility will be installed at Anstey Station to allow trains to continue to run between the City and Anstey during the construction blitz, minimising disruption for about half of all Upfield line passengers.

  • How do you plan to coordinate the three month disruption?
    • We have coordinated a variety of large and complex disruptions across the network in recent years, most recently during the Autumn Construction Blitz which impacted the Mernda, Lilydale, Belgrave, Glen Waverley, Cranbourne, Pakenham, Sandringham and Frankston lines in April. We are working closely with PTV, Bicycle Victoria and the public transport operators to plan and coordinate the disruption on the Upfield line effectively.

  • How will disruption be minimised?
    • A turnback facility will be installed at Anstey Station to allow trains to continue to run between the City and Anstey during the construction blitz, minimising disruption for about half of all Upfield line passengers.

      We are looking at how we can minimise the impact to passengers on the Upfield line by reducing the number of passengers impacted over that period. A range of different train replacement bus services and public transport options will be available during planned disruptions to get passengers to where they need to go. We are mapping out bus routes early to ensure passenger journey times are minimised as much as possible.

  • What are the next steps for the project?
    • We are currently reviewing all the feedback we received on the open space. Your feedback will be fed into our design process. Along with feedback from key stakeholders, community feedback will help us develop the final design for the open space.

      We’ll be coming back out to the community with updated designs in the coming months.

      To help further develop project designs we are currently undertaking investigative works to explore ground conditions, and to identify the location of utility services along the rail line.

      In the coming months, utility services will be relocated, including electricity and telecommunications, and we will be setting up our work sites.

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