Council calls for safety improvements to rail upgrade

Nillumbik Council has called on the Victorian Government to make significant safety improvements to the proposed Hurstbridge Line rail duplication project.

Under stage two of the project, the track will be duplicated between Greensborough and Montmorency, and Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen.

Power and signalling upgrades will also be undertaken between Diamond Creek and Hurstbridge.

Council considered a report on the project at the Ordinary Council Meeting on Tuesday 28 January.

Nillumbik Mayor Karen Egan said while the project will provide residents with improved rail services, Council had identified significant safety shortcomings in Diamond Creek that the Victorian Government must address as part of the project.

“These include providing safe pedestrian crossing points for students near schools, upgrades to the Diamond Creek Station and works to enable the future removal of the level crossing in Diamond Creek,” Cr Egan said.

“And the opportunity to provide a shared trail from Greensborough to Eltham has also been ignored.”

Cr Egan said Council had written to the Minister for Transport Infrastructure Jacinta Allan urging that the improvements be included as part of the project.

Ellis Ward Councillor Peter Perkins said Diamond Creek students had been crossing the railway tracks to get to and from school and the rail duplication would significantly increase the danger to these students and other members of the community trying to get to the Community Bank Stadium.

He said this was because there would be two lines to cross as well as an increased frequency of trains.

“Diamond Creek has been crying out for a safe pedestrian connection from the two schools and community stadium to the residential areas to the north of the railway line. Now is the time for action,” he said.

Cr Perkins also said Platform 2 of the Diamond Creek Station needed to be urgently upgraded. It is understood that under the project, Platform 2, which is very narrow and has limited shelter, will become the primary platform for city-bound trains.

“The limitations of the platform will be a particular issue for people with children and prams, people with a disability and the elderly,” Cr Perkins said.

Cr Egan said a major issue was the lack of any plan to remove the level crossing on Main Hurstbridge Road, Diamond Creek, now or in the future.

“This crossing is a major source of traffic congestion in Diamond Creek, particularly during peak periods when there are more trains and more traffic,” Cr Egan said.

“The rail duplication will result in even more trains, and the crossing being closed more frequently, which will only increase congestion and safety risk given Main Hurstbridge Road is the main exit road from the township and other rural parts of the Shire

“To provide clear and proper improvement for Diamond Creek and the wider Shire, the railway crossing should be removed as part of the project. Failing this, the project should clearly provide for and enable the removal of the crossing at some point in the near future.”

Government consultation for the project has started. LXRP has sent letters to landowners within 250m of the railway corridor between Diamond Creek and Wattle Glen to outline the project, provide a project boundary map and request submissions.

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