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Preston community update – November 2019

12 Nov 2019

Four level crossings going, two new stations on the way

We’re removing the dangerous and congested level crossings at Murray, Cramer Street and Oakover Road, Preston, and building new Bell and Preston stations.

By raising the rail over the roads, we will deliver new community open spaces, two new stations and improve safety.

We will introduce vibrant new open space under the two kilometre rail bridge and a community advisory panel will provide locals with the opportunity to directly contribute to the design of these areas.

The design of the rail bridge will maximise open space and allow for future upgrades on the Mernda line.

As we continue to develop our plans, we want to hear what’s important to the community in and around Preston.

Share your ideas online or at our ‘conversation booths’ coming soon to your local area. See the back page for details.

Early works will begin in 2020 and the level crossings will be removed by the end of 2022, with the open space ready for locals to enjoy in 2023.

Traffic waiting at the Bell Street, Preston level crossing

Bell Street level crossing

Why these level crossings have to go

  • 82,000 vehicles use these four level crossings each day
  • Boom gates are down for 40% of the morning peak
  • More than 200 trains travel through these crossings each day
  • The Mernda line carries about 33,428 passengers each day

Ariel map of the Preston level crossing removals.

Preston Level Crossing Removal Project. Click to enlarge.

What we are doing

New station precincts

We will build new stations for Bell and Preston, creating more open and welcoming areas with upgraded facilities and improved security.

A walking and cycling path in Noble Park.

Walking and cycling - Noble Park

More open spaces

By elevating the rail, we will create new open space, improved east-west connections and bring the community together. A community advisory panel will ensure the space reflects Preston’s unique culture and identity.

Open space with basketball courts in Clayton.

Open spaces - Clayton

Improved walking and cycling tracks

Locals can look forward to new walking and cycling connections, making it easier to walk and ride to key destinations such as the Preston Market.

Trees and landscaping at Middle Gorge Station.

Landscaping - Middle Gorge Station

Key considerations

Mernda railway line

This section of the Mernda line is one of the most challenging we’ve worked in for several reasons:

  • A bend in the track just north of Bell Station currently limits the speed and frequency of services on the Mernda line.
  • The Epping train maintenance depot services around half of Melbourne’s train fleet, meaning generally the Mernda line cannot be closed for extended periods without cutting train services across Melbourne’s rail network.

Preston Market connections

The Preston Market redevelopment is being delivered by the Victorian Planning Authority (VPA) and Darebin City Council and we will work closely with them to ensure positive outcomes for the wider community.

What we’re building

Detailed planning by engineers, including geotechnical and engineering assessments, has determined the best way to remove the level crossing, working within the significant constraints on this line.

  • The new rail bridge will have twin viaducts, made from locally manufactured concrete segments knows as U-troughs.
  • We’re also future-proofing the line to run more frequent services by slightly straightening the track’s curve after Bell Street.
  • We’ll work with Heritage Victoria and other stakeholders to identify and manage heritage impacts.

An example of a U-trough

Example of U-trough

We want your local knowledge

What are your priorities for the local area? What would you like to see delivered as part of the project?

This is your chance to tell us how you move around your neighbourhood, what’s unique to the area and what might make it better.

You can share your views with us vis our online engagement hub at from 25 November until 13 December.

Stay up to date with the project at or chat to one of our project team who will be in the local shopping precinct and at Bell and Preston stations over the coming weeks.

Preston Open Space Advisory Panel

The land below the two kilometre rail bridge will become the new open space, which could include new walking and cycling paths, places to play and relax, or feature public art. These areas can provide a great new community asset for the generations to come.

There will be a range of opportunities for the community to provide input and feedback about the open space on the project over the coming months. The local community will have a chance to directly contribute to the design of the open space with formation of a Preston Open Space Advisory Panel (POSAP).

More details about the POSAP, and how you can get involved, will be shared early in the new year with nominations opening in early 2020.

Traffic banked up at the level crossing at Cramer Street in Preston.

Cramer Strete level crossing

Project timeline

  • Site investigations
  • Technical and engineering assessments
  • Government commitment to remove additional crossings on the Mernda line
  • Confirm design
  • Further engineering investigations
  • Community engagements on what’s important to the Preston community
  • Concept designs
  • Nominations for Preston Open Space Advisory Panel
  • Further community engagement on defined negotiable elements of the design
  • Design finalised
  • Early work begins
  • Construction
  • Level crossings removed and stations opened
  • Open space ready for locals to enjoy

* please note that the timeline above is subject to change.

View the PDF version of this community update PDF, 863.6 KB.

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