Frankston line works and relocated advertising

The other day at Camberwell railway station I spotted two out of place advertisements – the first for a lawyer located in Highett, and the second for the Sunday market held in Bentleigh. Neither sign seems relevant to people travelling through Melbourne’s eastern suburbs by rail – so how did they end up there?

Frankston line advertising signage at Camberwell station

Both Highett and Bentleigh are suburbs located on the Frankston line, and at present three railway stations on that line are closed to passengers for level crossing works – Bentleigh, McKinnon and Ormond.

My theory – an advertising company sold space to the two pictured clients, but because the requested stations were unavailable, they dumped the signs at a station where they did have access.

If I was one of the advertisers, I would want my money back – why would someone in Camberwell be interested in traipsing all the way to the Bentleigh Sunday Market, or lawyer located halfway across town at Highett?

The company behind the advertising

Advertising space on the small billboards attached to Melbourne railway station fences is sold by a company called ‘Captive Vision’.

APN Outdoor and Captive Vision spruiking for new advertising clients at suburban railway stations

You can find their marketing spiel in their sales brochure:

Captive Vision Outdoor is an advertising platform offering businesses the opportunity to target their customers in a large, impactful way. There are a range of signage options available, providing a unique large-format display that is made from robust di-bond and produced with an anti- graffiti coating, enabling easy cleaning. The signs are continuously managed and maintained to ensure they always look their best.

  • Broad market reach and high, efficient frequency
  • 24 hours-a-day, 7 days-a-week presence
  • Geographically relevant locations
  • A cost effective strategic add- on/extension combined with other media activity or as a stand-alone campaign

Captive Vision reserve the right to relocate advertisements to irrelevant locations, with the following clause in their terms and conditions document.

3.3. The Media Space will be as close as reasonably practical to the size and location disclosed to the Advertiser. Captive Vision Outdoor reserves the right to relocate the Media where, in Captive Vision Outdoor’s opinion reasonably formed, such relocation is necessary. The Advertiser agrees that it will not object, claim any compensation or credit or terminate this Agreement as a result of such relocation

They also cover their arse against road closures or rail shutdowns with this clause:

6.2. Whilst Captive Vision Outdoor will use all reasonable commercial endeavours to ensure, if applicable, that the Media Space remains on any route or thoroughfare (e.g. bus route, major road), the parties acknowledge and agree that Captive Vision Outdoor is not responsible for any changes to same and that any such changes will in no circumstances give the Advertiser a right to terminate this Agreement or otherwise make any claim whatsoever against Captive Vision Outdoor, including without limitation a claim for damages, consequential loss, anticipatory profits or indirect loss.

More examples of rail projects disrupting advertising

Back in 2014 I was checking out the progress on Regional Rail Link at Footscray platform 4 – when down on the platform was a forgotten advertising panel, still scrolling through a selection of commercial messages to a non-existent audience.

Advertising panel still scrolling through adverts on the closed platform 4

And before that, I paid a visit to the brand new railway station at Williams Landing. A tall advertising billboard was once located beside the busy Princes Freeway, but construction of the station footbridge blocked the view from passing cars, so the structure was pulled down.

Now invisible advertising billboard, dismantled beside the station footbridge

Married men and Facebook ads for “Singles Events Melbourne”

The other day a suggested post for “Singles Events Melbourne” showed up in my Facebook timeline. Since I’m married, it isn’t exactly something I’m interested in.

Facebook suggested post - "Singles Events Melbourne"

I initially thought it a case of mistargeted Facebook advertising, so I followed the “Why am I seeing this?” link to find out why Facebook had decided to show me the ad.

Facebook suggested post - "Why am I seeing this?"

And there lay the answer.

Facebook suggested post - "Why am I seeing this?"

I tick all four boxes:

  • Relationship status: married
  • Gender: male
  • Age: 18+
  • Location: Melbourne

Yet I still don’t care.

Streets to nowhere in Sunshine North

Melbourne is an ever growing city, but only 10 kilometres from the CBD lies a curious grid of abandoned roads, in the industrial backblocks of Sunshine North.

Light industry at Sunshine North

The grid of proposed roads can be found in Melway Edition 1 on map 26 and 27.

Streets to nowhere in Sunshine North - Melway Edition 1, map 26

In the decades since the land on the western side of the railway line has been developed, but the other side lays empty – aerial imagery from Google Maps shows a grid of dirt tracks.

Streets to nowhere in Sunshine North - Google Maps

So why has such a large subdivision sit empty for so long?

I found the answer earlier this year, when a paper titled “Solomon Heights: A Zombie Subdivision?” was published. From the abstract:

Solomon Heights, 10kms west of the centre of Melbourne, Australia, on what has now become prime riverside real estate, is a case in point. Although subdivided into a residential pattern during the 1920s, the site had been rezoned industrial in the mid-1950s under Melbourne’s first comprehensive city plan. It was thereafter left fallow, for reasons unclear, without basic urban services like water or sealed roads. Environmental social issues have since come to impact on the site, while landowners seek the opportunity to build.

The rest of the paper is well worth the read, as are these other links:

Other abandoned subdivisions

Turns out the list of abandoned subdivisions in Victoria is quite long – here are some more examples.

I spotted ‘Scenic Estate’ at Phillip Island a few yeas ago – it has since been redeveloped as a nature park.

Abandoned subdivision - Scenic Estate, Phillip Island

Phillip Island is also the home of ‘Summerland Estate’ – a topic I’ve touched on before.

Abandoned Summerlands Estate, Phillip Island (2016 imagery from Google Maps )

Closer to home for me are two Geelong examples – ‘New Corio Estate‘ on Shell Parade, and ‘New Station Estate‘ on Broderick Road.

Abandoned New Station Estate, Corio (cadastral data from Land Victoria)

Abandoned New Corio Estate, Corio (data from City of Greater Geelong)

And finally, over in Altona the ‘Burns Road Estate‘ has lay empty since the 1920s, with council working to find a way forward.

Abandoned subdivision at Burns Road, Altona (cadastral data from Land Victoria)

Hunters & Collectors at St Kilda railway station

I spotted something interesting in a Hunters & Collectors music video the other week – St Kilda railway station.

Hunters & Collectors - Talking To A Stranger video clip, St Kilda railway station 1

The clip is for their 1982 single ‘Talking to a Stranger’.

The video starts with a man walking down the tracks.

Hunters & Collectors - Talking To A Stranger video clip, St Kilda railway station 2

He clambers up onto the platform.

Hunters & Collectors - Talking To A Stranger video clip, St Kilda railway station 3

Strolls down the train shed.

Hunters & Collectors - Talking To A Stranger video clip, St Kilda railway station 4

Then takes a seat, blowing the dust off his briefcase.

Hunters & Collectors - Talking To A Stranger video clip, St Kilda railway station 5

Which then leads into the music video itself.

Despite the empty look of station featured in the music video, in 1982 St Kilda still had an active train service – conversion of the line to the route 96 tram didn’t take place until 1987.

Maybe the filming was completed during one of the frequent rail strikes that delayed commuters throughout the early 1980s?


Visible in the second screencap is the text STK902 – the identification marker for the signal controlling citybound trains departing the platform. You can see the same signal in this diagram from 1981.

Cardinia Road’s new level crossing

With a program of 50 level crossing removals planned for Melbourne, with many of them already underway, one would assume that the last thing that the government would be doing is building NEW level crossings. But yet again, a lack of planning is seeing money go down the drain – this time at Cardinia Road on the Pakenham line.

Siemens 791M  and 787M cross Cardinia Road, bound for the city

Some background

Cardinia Road is a north-south thoroughfare on the western edge of Pakenham, connecting the Princes Highway and crossing the double tracked Pakenham railway line.

Once a two lane country road that served the rural community of Cardinia, in the past decade suburban sprawl has caught up with the paddocks either side of Cardinia Road, driven by the opening of the Pakenham Bypass and associated freeway interchange in 2007.

New houses fill in the paddocks between Officer and Cardinia Road stations

Public transport was forced to play catch up, with Cardinia Road station being opened to passengers in 2012.

EDI Comeng departs Cardinia Road station on the up

Surrounded by car dependant suburbs, the two lanes of Cardinia Road have been unable to cope with the flood of new residents.

Queued cars on the north side of the Cardinia Road level crossing in Pakenham

As a result, VicRoads commenced the Cardinia Road duplication project back in 2010.

Cardinia Road is being duplicated to two lanes of traffic in each direction from Princes Highway to Pakenham Bypass. The upgrades include road widening, a new shared use path and a new pedestrian crossing.

This road is an important north south route for the local community. These works will support growing traffic needs and improve safety and access along the route.

We’re ready to start on the final section of duplication on Cardinia Road, from Shearwater Drive to the Pakenham Bypass. Construction will begin in March 2016 on the remaining upgrades for an estimated six months.

The final stage now underway, with the new carriageway taking shape.

Road duplication works underway on the south side of the Cardinia Road level crossing

But one hand of government has not talked to the other, as VicRoads has decided that duplicating the existing level crossing is an acceptable outcome.

Road duplication works underway at the Cardinia Road level crossing

VicRoads claims grade separating the level crossing isn’t their problem, and use weasel words to justify their decision:

The Cardinia Road upgrade will include duplication of the road at the level crossing, and rail signal upgrades.

The removal of the level crossing on Cardinia Road is not included in the scope of this upgrade, however our works will not prevent grade separation of the level crossing taking place in the future. The upgrade will provide immediate and significant benefits for those who use and live near Cardinia Road, including improved traffic flow and travel times.

As part of the Cardinia Road upgrade, the rail signals will be improved to assist in reducing boom gate down time.

Quite a cop out from VicRoads, given the current government focus on removing level crossings.

Siemens 826M arrives into Cardinia Road station on a down Pakenham service

What about other road projects?

Many previous VicRoads road duplication projects that have resulted in level crossings being grade separated.

Narre Warren – Cranbourne Road at Narre Warren on the Pakenham line is one – in conjunction with duplication of the road, a new underline bridge was jacked into place over a single weekend in 2004.

Narre Warren - Cranbourne Road passes beneath the railway at Narre Warren

But a simpler solution is the staged construction of a road over rail bridge. The first example that comes to mind is Somerton Road at the Craigieburn railway line – duplicated and grade separated in 2007.

Half of the Somerton Road overpass built, level crossing still in use

And another is Kororoit Creek Road on the ‘express’ route to Werribee, duplicated and grade separated in 2011.

Not much done since my last visit

Road over rail projects are simple due to the way that the work can be staged:

  • Step 1: build a two lane bridge beside the existing level crossing,
  • Step 2: transfer traffic to new bridge, close level crossing,
  • Step 3: build second two lane bridge on site of level crossing,
  • Step 4: transfer traffic onto the new pair of bridges.

Far simpler to build a bridge now, than to rip up Cardinia Road in a few years time, don’t you think?

Meanwhile on the Cranbourne line

Another active road duplication project is Thompsons Road in Cranbourne – VicRoads have this to say on the scope of work:

Thompsons Road is an essential freight and transport route that carries around 26,000 vehicles each day, extending from Mornington Peninsula Freeway, in Patterson Lakes, to Berwick-Cranbourne Road in Clyde North. With this number set to increase, the Victorian Government is going to add two lanes in for 10.7km to improve the connectivity for those who live and work in the region.

This project also happens to involve a level crossing – but this time the message from VicRoads is different.

We found that road over rail is the most appropriate solution for removing the level crossing due to the groundwater challenges in this area. Although the bridge design is yet to be finalised, it is likely to consist of two separate structures, both will feature three traffic lanes and a shared use path. This allows the bridge to be constructed in two stages, minimising disruption to road and rail users during the works.

A curious decision from VicRoads – a road crossing the single track railway to Cranbourne warrants grade separation right now, while a road crossing the double tracked railway to Gippsland doesn’t.