Priority Level Crossing Removal Sites: Coburg
The Victorian Government has adopted a selection framework for future level crossing removals. Under the framework, crossings are prioritised for removal based on the following key principles:
Sites with a record of incidents and a high risk of incidents.
Sites with excessive delay, congestion and unreliability, caused by high train frequencies and high traffic volumes.
Sites where high train frequency significantly limits connectivity between communities and impedes access to important facilities.
Sites where there is an opportunity to increase investment efficiency and minimise disruption through leveraging delivery of other projects across the network.
Using this framework, crossings at Munro Street and Reynard Street in Coburg have been identified as priority sites for future removal.
About 13,000 vehicles currently travel though these Coburg crossings each day. These figures are forecast to grow by about 8 per cent to about 14,000 vehicles by 2026.
The boom gates at these two sites in Coburg can be down for up to 20 per cent of the 7-9 am morning peak, when up to 17 trains run through the crossings. Current network plans involve increasing trains running on the Upfield line, which would mean even more boom gate downtime.
As well as causing congestion and delay, the level crossings in Coburg present a safety risk. Across the two sites, there has been one serious collision since 2005 and 4 near misses since 2012, when train drivers have had to take emergency action.
These crossings also restrict access to important local places – making it difficult for locals to reach train stations, schools, shopping centres, a bicycle priority route and other important local facilities. Level crossings at Munro Street and Reynard Street are located between the current level crossing removal sites at Bell Street in Coburg and Moreland Road in Brunswick. Removing these crossings together would present significant delivery efficiencies – it would be cost effective and limit disruption to road and rail users.
The level crossing at Camp Road in Campbellfield has already been removed under the current Level Crossing Removal Project. Level crossings at Bell Street in Coburg and Moreland Road in Brunswick are also planned for removal. The removal of the Munro Street and Reynard Street level crossings would take the total number of crossings to be removed on the Upfield line to five.
Design and next steps
Early investigations suggest the most likely design to remove these two level crossings would be to elevate the rail line over the road. Using an elevated rail solution could provide significant local amenity benefits to the community, including connectivity across the rail corridor and new open space. This option would be subject to further engineering assessments and community consultation.
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