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Disruptions

Carrum Factsheet: Design options considered

01 Aug 2017

Carrum design solution

The Victorian Government has committed to removing the dangerous level crossings at Station Street and Eel Race Road, Carrum to reduce congestion and improve travel times, creating a safer and more connected community.

After careful consideration of the community feedback received, and the results of our technical and environmental investigations, the design solution to remove the level crossings at Station Street and Eel Race Road, Carrum, is a rail bridge over McLeod Road with the Eel Race Road level crossing to be closed.

This solution requires Eel Race Road to be closed at the rail line – keeping the connection to Station Street but no longer providing access to the Nepean Highway.

McLeod Road will be extended to connect with the Nepean Highway. Due to the close proximity of the Station Street and Eel Race Road level crossings, both level crossings need to be removed through the same design solution or the Eel Race Road level crossing must be closed.

Infeasible Options

A rail trench under Station Street or McLeod Road

This option would involve constructing a rail trench under either Station Street or under McLeod Road and closing the Station Street level crossing. There are a number of design and operational safety standards that must be adhered to.

These standards mandate the clearance levels and maximum gradients for railway lines – for both passenger and freight trains. It is not possible to construct a rail trench under either road - to meet the required 2 per cent grade standard and required design regulations – that would return to ground level before the Patterson River.

This would require the Patterson River rail bridge to be lowered and re-built in order to construct a rail trench under McLeod Road.

Re-building the bridge presents the following major issues:

  • Lowering the Patterson River rail bridge would not provide the minimum clearance required for  boats to safely pass underneath at maximum water levels.
  • Re-building the Patterson River rail bridge in the same position would also require up to a six month shutdown of the rail line during construction. This is an unacceptable disruption.

This option is not feasible as it does not meet design regulations and standards, would restrict boat access and would require a lengthy shut down of the rail line.

Realign Patterson River rail bridge

To avoid a six month shutdown of the rail line, we considered rebuilding the Patterson River rail bridge by realigning it along Station Street.

While this would enable trains to continue running during construction of the trench, it would still restrict boat access and would prevent constructing the Station Street connection over the Patterson River. Land acquisition of the properties along Station Street may also be required.

This option is not considered feasible as it would still impede boat access and would prevent constructing the Station Street connection over the Patterson River.

A rail trench under McLeod Road – that does not meet with current standards

Given the distance between McLeod Road and the Patterson River, avoiding any impact on the Patterson River rail bridge would require a design with a grade of approximately 3.1 per cent, which does not meet current regulations and standards.

Steeper gradients impact on a train’s ability to brake and accelerate, and cause an increase in the rate of wear on a train’s wheels and the track rails. The maximum gradient allowable for metropolitan services is 2.5 per cent, for freight services it is 2 per cent. The Frankston Line currently caters to freight services.

This option is not feasible as a grade of 3.1 per cent is too steep for both freight and passenger trains to operate safely.

Shift Mcleod Road further south – away from the Patterson River

This option would involve reversing the existing Station Street ‘dog-leg’ to allow enough room for a rail trench to be constructed below McLeod Road without impacting on the existing Patterson River rail bridge. This would result in the new connection to the Nepean Highway moving 150 metres south of McLeod Road. With this option, Carrum Station would also need to move approximately 350m south of its existing location – away from the shops and place it in front of residential homes.
This is not  consistent with good planning – where public transport should be linked to town centres to ensure that local services remain easily accessible to all. This would likely have a negative impact on traders. McLeod Road is an arterial (main) road, used by approximately 12,000 vehicles per day. The majority of traffic between the Nepean Highway and McLeod Road is travelling to/from the north. Moving McLeod Road to the south would add additional travel distance for many motorists.

This option is not feasible due to the potential impact relocating the station would have on local traders and train users who use the shops.

It would also not improve congestion and would increase the travel distance for the majority of traffic using McLeod Road to access the Nepean Highway.

Tunnelling under the Patterson River

A tunnel solution is not under consideration for any of the sites along the Frankston Line because:

  • A tunnel that would reach the necessary depth under the Patterson River, and that would meet rail design regulations and standards, would need to be at least 2km in length.
  • Based on the cost of other tunnel projects of around $1 billion per kilometre, the cost to tunnel 2km under Patterson River would be approximately $2 billion. The Victorian Government has pledged $6 billion to remove 50 of Melbourne’s most dangerous and congested level crossings by 2022.
  • The nine level crossing removal sites along the Frankston Line are non-consecutive. Each site is being looked at individually, and as such,  one continuous solution (tunnel or
    elevated rail line) was not considered for the Frankston Line.

This option is not feasible due to the unacceptably high cost and unsuitability of a tunnel solution for one site.

Combination of lowering the rail line and raising Mcleod Road (hybrid option)

Given the distance between McLeod Road and Patterson River, to achieve a rail design that meets the required 2 per cent grade and other regulations and standards, McLeod Road would need to be raised by approximately 2.5 metres at the rail crossing. The raised intersection would have the following impacts on the adjacent roads:

  • It would take approximately 100 metres to return to existing McLeod Road levels;
  • It would take up to 120 metres to return to the existing Station Street levels either side of McLeod Road; and
  • It would take up to 140 metres to return to the existing Nepean Highway levels either side of McLeod Road.

Changes in road levels affect accessibility to connecting roads, footpaths and adjacent properties. As a result of the road level changes, pedestrian and driveway access would be lost to some properties, meaning land acquisition would be required. Parking for the activity area along Station Street and the Nepean Highway would also be lost as a result of the road level changes.

This option is not feasible due to the property acquisition that would be required and the significant impact that raising the road would have on the Carrum activity area.

The design options outlined above were explored by the Level Crossing Removal Authority as part of the preliminary options assessment process, which investigated the feasibility of the options to remove the dangerous and congested level crossings at Station Street and Eel Race Road, Carrum.

We appreciate that some members of the community have reservations about a rail bridge in Carrum and may hold concerns about its potential impact on the local area. However, due to the engineering constraints presented by the location of the Patterson River and the close proximity of the two level crossings to be removed – the design solution that provides the best overall outcome is a rail bridge over McLeod Road with the Eel Race Road level crossing closed.

The level crossing removals will be carried out in conjunction with a full revitalisation of the Carrum village area. Construction on the Carrum Level Crossing Removal Project will begin in 2018. In the meantime, we will continue to engage and work closely with the community on this important infrastructure project for Carrum.

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