Reopening the second entrance at Lilydale station

Political meddling in the provision of additional entrances to Melbourne railway stations is a topic I’ve covered before, and here is yet another example – the reopening the second entrance at Lilydale station.

Down train departs the back platform at Lilydale

Some history

Once upon a time Lilydale station had two entrances – the main one at the city end towards the main street, and a secondary one towards the railway car park.


VPRS 12800/P4, item RS/1199

Both entrances cross the tracks leading to platform 1, with pedestrian boom barriers protecting the main entrance since 1985.

X'Trapolis arriving into Lilydale platform 1

But the other end was an unprotected ‘crib’ crossing, which lacked Metcard ticketing equipment.

DERM shunting back from the yard into the platform at Lilydale

By the time Myki was rolled out, the entrance received ticketing equipment.

Signage at the down entrance to Lilydale station, now closed to public access

But a safety review saw the unprotected crossing deemed unsafe, so it was closed to public access in 2013.

Exit at the down end of Lilydale station, now closed to public access

The fight begins

Politicians to the rescue – Labor Member for the Eastern Metropolitan Region, Shaun Leane, tabled a petition with 281 signatures to the house on 12 June 2014.

To the Legislative Council of Victoria:

The petition of certain citizens of the state of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council the closure of the second pedestrian access to the Lilydale railway station platforms.

The petitioners therefore request that the Napthine government take immediate action to make safe and reopen the closed pedestrian access onto the Lilydale railway station platforms.

And in the leadup to the 2014 State Election, Labor promised to reopen the entrance.

A second, safer entrance for Lilydale station under Labor
October 9, 2014

An Andrews Labor Government will re-open the second entrance at Lilydale Station to make it safer and more convenient for locals.

Shadow Minister for Public Transport, Jill Hennessy, joined Labor Candidate for Evelyn, Peter Harris, and Labor Member for the Eastern Metropolitan Region, Shaun Leane, to announce the good news to commuters.

Currently, without the alternate entry and exit point, commuters have to walk unreasonable distances in the dark just to get to their cars. Labor will also install additional ticketing machines at the new second entrance.

Quotes attributable to Ms Hennessy:

“After an hour-long trip on a packed train, Lilydale locals deserve a bit more safety and convenience at the station, especially after hours.”

“Labor’s plan to transform our public transport system also focuses on the smaller things, like upgrading station car parks and making the daily commute more convenient.”

“I’m proud that Peter Harris has gone out in his community and listened to stakeholders and local residents, and I’m proud that Labor will get this done.”

Quotes attributable to Peter Harris, Labor Candidate for Evelyn:

“Local residents shouldn’t have to walk down the middle of the road in the dark to get to their cars.”

“This, together with the removal of the Maroondah Highway level crossing, has been the number one issue that commuters have talked to us in Lilydale and Labor have listened.”

“We ran a petition to reopen this entrance and we had overwhelming support from the community. Labor has listened.”

Labor won the election, despite transport related propaganda and pork barrelling from the incumbent state government.

'From plane to train in 25 minutes' propaganda for the Melbourne Airport Rail Link at Southern Cross Station

But progress on reopening the entrance at Lilydale station was slow – so local Liberal MP Christine Fyffe, Member for Evelyn, took up the case in parliament on 16 April 2015.

My request for action is to the Minister for Public Transport. The action I require is for the minister to say when the reopening of the second entrance at Lilydale station will be carried out, fulfilling an election commitment.

Prior to the last election, the government committed to fixing what it called a big problem for local commuters. The commitment was to reopen Lilydale station’s second entrance. The Labor candidate for Evelyn made a great deal about the severity of the problem and its impact on residents, saying:

People shouldn’t have to walk down the middle of the road in the dark to get to their cars.

That’s why Labor will work to make the second entrance at Lilydale station safe and reopen it in a timely manner.

The crossing was initially closed by Labor’s mates in WorkCover, who deemed the crossing to be unsafe. That is despite no known accidents having occurred at that crossing. One thing I do agree with the Labor candidate about is that it was wrong that people had to walk down the middle of a long, unmade car park, passing potholes and with cars pulling in and out, possibly in the dark. The crossing should never have been closed.

I have been informed that to install a crossing to today’s standards would cost around $870,000, which would ensure the proper interlinking of all necessary signal panels. I have also been told that the myki equipment that was at the now-closed second crossing has been removed and installed at Seymour station. If this is true, it will add to the costs of reopening.

With Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan responding.

The member for Evelyn raised a matter for me regarding the Lilydale station. Is it not fantastic to see the member for Evelyn embracing the Labor Party’s election commitments and wanting to make sure that it delivers on them? I can assure the member for Evelyn that we have absolutely every intention of delivering on our election commitments, including those that those opposite did not support but rather opposed. We will be getting on with doing that.

I am pleased to advise the member for Evelyn that Public Transport Victoria is currently working through the implementation of this commitment. The reopening of the entrance requires the government and Public Transport Victoria to address the very safety concerns that initially caused its closure.

A year later nothing had changed, so the local member put more pressure on the government.

Government called into line over Lilydale train station exit issues
Lilydale & Yarra Valley Leader
Sam Bidey
June 8, 2016

A Mt Evelyn commuter is calling the Government out on their pre-election commitment to reopen the second entrance at Lilydale train station.

Fed up after missing her train countless times, Rhiannon Skahill has asked why commuters still have to trudge hundreds of metres to get to their cars, when a second entrance would simplify the situation.

On October 9, 2014, then Opposition spokeswoman on public transport Jill Hennessy, and Evelyn Labor candidate Peter Harris, said if a Labor government was elected it would establish a second, safer entrance at Lilydale station.

Two years on and with no entrance in sight, Ms Skahill, a mother and disability support worker, wrote to Evelyn state Liberal MP Christine Fyffe to drum up some action.

“Unfortunately for me, Lilydale is one of the few train stations in the Melbourne metropolitan area to have only one entry and exit,” Ms Skahill said.

“Once you park your car, you then have to walk all the way back to the entrance over a kilometre away. It makes me angry.”

Ms Skahill said having only one entrance was not only inconvenient but also dangerous as during peak hour many commuters converged on the one narrow entry/exit point.

Mrs Fyffe said she questioned the Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allen about the crossing project in December 2014 and received a response that stated that “PTV is currently examining a number of options regarding this crossing, with an expectation that it will be reopened for public use in 2015”.

“As of May 2016, the second crossing remains closed,” Mrs Fyffe said.

“Labor has failed to deliver according to their own stated timeline.”

Ms Allen said the second entrance was closed under the former Liberal government and it would be reopened in coming months by Labor.

“Planning and design for the upgrade at the northern end of the platform is already under way. Construction will begin in the coming months and be finished next year,” she said.

“The entrance will be fully accessible and include automatic gates to protect the safety of people crossing the rail line.”

Work finally begins

Contracts for the work were signed in August 2016.

Station opens up
Mount Evelyn Star Mail
8 August 2016

The Victorian Government has announced Active Railway Signalling is to construct the second entrance at Lilydale Station which aims to make it safer and more convenient for locals and commuters.

Eastern Metropolitan Region MP Shaune Leane said work will now begin in the coming months and open by the end of this year.

Construction will include a new pedestrian crossing with automatic gates and bells to warn pedestrians of an approaching train.

Construction starting later soon after.

Delivering safer station promise
Upper Yarra Mail
1 November 2016

Works have started on a second entrance at Lilydale tram station, which aims to make it safer and more convenient for locals to catch the train.

The new station entrance at the northern end of the platform will include an accessible ramp, as well as a a pedestrian crossing, featuring automatic gates and audible alarms.

The existing second entrance was closed in 2013 due to safety concerns, forcing passengers to walk hundreds of metres through the station car park to access the main entrance.

The new entrance will be fully accessible and new myki readers will make the transition between the car park and platform as seamless possible.

Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane visited Lilydale train station on Monday, 24 October to announce the new entrance will be completed by the end of this year.

He said the Victorian Government was delivering on an important election commitment.

“We promised it, and now we’re getting it done – the second entrance at Lilydale station will be reopened by the end of the year.”‘ he said.

“People will no longer have to walk hundreds of metres through the car park to catch the train. This new entrance will be safer and more accessible for all passengers.”

Train services will continue to operate as normal during construction. with a temporary reduction in car spaces to get on with building the new entrance.

Shiny new asphalt laid between platform and car park.


Google Maps 2020

New signals installed.

Signal LIL304 protects the pedestrian crossing at the down end of Lilydale platform 1

Protecting trains in the stabling sidings.

Sidings A, B and C at the down end of Lilydale platform 1

In conjunction with a set of automatic pedestrian gates.

Second platform exit at the down end of Lilydale station

Allowing the crossing to finally be reopened.

Second platform exit at the down end of Lilydale station

With a local resident writing in to The Age to celebrate their early Christmas gift.

Hallelujah. Common sense has prevailed in that there is a second entrance to Lilydale railway station at the far end of the platform. No more long walks to board the train. I do hope that other stations will be given entrances at both ends of platforms. If only common sense could prevail on climate action, too. That would be a grand Christmas gift to all of us.

Elaine O’Shannessy, Wandin North

And the future?

With Maroondah Highway included in the list of 50 level crossings to be removed by the Victorian Government, what does the future hold for Lilydale station?

X'Trapolis 174M departs Lilydale station on the up

Luckily for rail passengers, the lessons of the past have been learnt – two entrances will be provided to the new elevated station, one either side of the Maroondah Highway.


LXRA diagram

But the second entrance that took years to reopen? It’s headed for the scrap heap – the heritage station building is being retained, but the tracks either side will be removed.


LXRA diagram

Footnote: gory technical details

Weekly Operational Notice No. 47/2016 includes the commissioning of the second entrance to Lilydale station.

Lilydale
Provision of pedestrian gates down end of platform no. 1

Between 21:00 hours on Monday 28th November 2016 and 04:00 hours on Tuesday 29th November 2016, automatic pedestrian gates and electromagnetic latched emergency exit gates located at the down end of platform no. 1 will be commissioned into service.

The following will be affected during these works:

Signal: LIL304 & LIL309
Track Circuits: 309T, 209T & 209AT

These works will be carried out in conjunction with an Absolute Occupation.

Further reading

In 2014 Melbourne-based economist Jason Murphy pondered the question of adding additional station entrances in his post ‘Faster train journeys – some low-hanging fruit‘.

Professor David Levinson also asked the same question in his 2017 post ‘Sydney train stations need two exits‘, the 2019 article ‘How to increase train use by up to 35% with one simple trick‘, and associated journal article with Bahman Lahoorpoor – ‘Catchment if you can: The effect of station entrance and exit locations on accessibility‘.

Playing spot the difference with Metro Trains Melbourne

Ready for the world’s lamest game of spot the difference? Ready, steady, go!

Open intercarriage walkway still in place on tread braked Alstom Comeng 479M-1090T-480M

Open intercarriage walkway still in place on tread braked Alstom Comeng 523M-1112T-524M

My favourite answer so far? 22.

Footnote

Both trains are members of the fleet of Comeng trains operated by Metro Trains Melbourne. The yellow stickers read ‘We’re deep-cleaning and disinfecting this vehicle every day’ while the open gangways between carriages are a dying breed – the Comeng Life Extension project has been replacing them with enclosed walkways.

Photos from ten years ago: November 2010

Another instalment in my photos from ten years ago series – this time it is November 2010.

Like most months we start down at Geelong, where I paid a visit to Marshall station. There I found a locomotive hauled train running around the carriage set, ready to form a new service back to Melbourne.

The shunter looks on during the run around at Marshall with N460 and a SN set

And a few kilometres away I captured a V/Line service from Warrnambool headed through the paddocks outside Waurn Ponds.

These houses have only sprung up in the past year or so

The scene at both stations is now completely different – the empty paddocks are now covered with houses, Waurn Ponds station having opened on the site in 2014, and VLocity railcars now run the bulk of services on the Geelong line.

On the other side of Geelong, track duplication work was underway on the main line west to Adelaide.

Work between the Geelong Ring Road and Anakie Road

The second track was completed in 2012, and allows grain trains to access the Port of Geelong without conflicting with through services.

On the drive up to Melbourne, I spotted a Qantas jet taking off from Avalon Airport, the pilot in training performing touch-and-go landings.

Have we got the wrong airport? Qantas 737 takes off from Avalon on a pilot training run

Today it’s more likely to be bound for long term storage.

I also found some American visitors on the apron at Melbourne Airport – Boeing E-4B 747-200B #31677 and Boeing C-32 757-200 #90004, bringing United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Australia on an official visit.

American visitors on the apron at Melbourne Airport

I can’t see any state visits by foreign officials happening any time soon.

Ding ding! Outside Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup day I found six trams sitting in the siding on Union Road, waiting to take patrons home after the big race.

Four B2s and two D2 class trams sit in the Showgrounds Loop to collect Melbourne Cup patrons after the race

This year – empty stands.

Back in 2010 Metcard was still the ticket to use to travel by train.

Armaguard staff swapping over the cash vaults from the Metcard machines at Flinders Street Station

They were eventually replaced by Myki in 2012.

A more random visit was the Bradmill factory beside the West Gate Freeway in Yarraville.

'Denim Park' at the Bradmill factory still intact

Back then it was just another factory, but in the decade since it has became an urbex hotspot.

With another changed industrial scene being the Melbourne Steel Terminal, located in the shadows of Melbourne Docklands.

XR551 stabled at the Melbourne Steel Terminal

Once used to ship steel products down to Hastings, the terminal closed in 2015 to make room for the ‘E’ Gate development, but was instead taken over by the West Gate ‘Tunnel’ project for a tangle of freeway ramps.

Finally, I made my way out to Melbourne Airport by bus, where the route 901 ‘Smartbus’ stopped out in the middle of nowhere.

Bus stop for the 901 Smartbus at Melbourne Airport: Invicta bus #8901 rego 2248AO

It’s a little easier to find these days – the Terminal 4 transport interchange.

But my destination was elsewhere.

Taking off from Melbourne Airport runway 34

Hong Kong.

Victoria Peak at dusk

During my two and a bit week long trip I had a monkey around with my Myki on the Octopus card readers.

WHY ISN'T MY MYKI WORKING! (should I ask the station staff?)

And I took thousands of photos, of which 2,391 of them eventually made it online.

Footnote

Here you can find the rest of my ‘photos from ten years ago‘ series.

Essendon Airport then and now

Here we are at Essendon Airport back in 1969, when jet planes were only just new, and Ansett and TAA were your options for domestic air travel.


Photo from The Age archives

And here is the same spot in 2013.

Check in counters for Sharp Airlines and Alliance Airlines

Pole 18 might still be there, but plenty of things have changed.

But there the story ends – the terminal has since undergone a $4 million renovation completed in 2019, that converted much of the main arrival hall into office space.


Essendon Fields photo

It’s a sympathetic nod to the past, but the time capsule from the 1960s is now gone.

Further reading

The evolution of Sunshine railway station

This is the story of Sunshine station, and how a railway junction created in the 1880s became the meeting point it is today.

The early years

The story starts in 1860 when the Melbourne to Bendigo railway opened.


County of Bourke 1866

However the trigger for the development of Sunshine was the opening of the direct Melbourne to Ballarat railway in 1889, which met the Bendigo line south of Braybrook.


VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5360

A township called ‘Braybrook Junction‘ was soon established at the railway junction, and in 1906 industrialist H.V. McKay moved his Sunshine Harvester Works to the new township, expanding it to become the largest manufacturing plant in Australia.


SLV photo H2016.33/103

And by 1914 increasing traffic saw a new 80 lever signal box erected to direct trains.


VPRS 12800/P1, item H 5562

As well as a footbridge at the Hampshire Road level crossing.


Charles Daniel Photograph, SLV H2016.33/102

The railway divided Sunshine in two.


1942 Morgan’s Official Street Directory, map 59 and 60

But steam trains still ruled the rails.


Weston Langford photo

Enter grade separation

In 1957 approval was given to construct a standard gauge railway between Melbourne and Wodonga, paralleling the existing broad gauge railway to remove the break of gauge between Victoria and New South Wales. A route via Sunshine was chosen, since adding a fourth track through the Hampshire Road wasn’t an option, the level crossing was grade separated.


VPRS 12903/P1, item Box 681/53

Ready for the running of the first ‘through’ standard gauge train.


VPRS 12800/P1, item H 4815

For rail passengers the only change was the pedestrian subway used to access the station platforms.


Through ’62: Victorian Railways

But motorists were given a new web of new roads allowing them to fly through the middle of the Sunshine.


Melway 1966, map 40

Leaving the shops surrounded by speeding cars.


Museum Victoria item MM 92947

Including the Sunshine post office.


Massey Ferguson collection, item MM 118013

Towards a place for people, not cars

By the 1990s it was realised that a shopping strip full of hooning cars isn’t the nicest place to visit, so moves were made to reclaim the tangle of roads for people.


Melway 1999, map 40

1994 seeing a new bus interchange created outside the station.

Plaque marking the opening of the new City Place station entry on 6 October 1994

Located where the post office once was.


Google Street View 2009

It was expanded further in 2000, occupying the space between Dickson Street and the station.


Google Street View 2009

With the roads beneath Hampshire Road turned to buses only.


Google Street View 2009

But the station was the same as before.

EDI Comeng arrives into Sunshine with a down Watergardens service

A rickety timber shack.

Station building at Sunshine platform 1

Regional Rail Link

After years of proposals for extra tracks between Sunshine and the city, in 2009 the ‘Regional Rail Link’ project was given the go ahead.

Looking up the line from the existing suburban platforms

Sunshine station was rebuilt from the platform up.

Siemens 769M arrives into Sunshine station on the up

The bus interchange on the north-east side of the station upgraded.

Bus interchange on the north-east side of Sunshine station

And the bus only ramps beneath Hampshire Road turned over to pedestrians.


Google Earth 2020

Leaving us with the scene seen today.


Melway 2020, map 40

But the Hampshire Road bridge? It’s still there today.

EDI Comeng departs Sunshine on a down Sunbury service

Will the Melbourne Airport rail link and the ‘Sunshine Super Hub‘ change this – I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Footnote: the signal box

The 80 lever signal box was commissioned at Sunshine in 1914.

Disused signal box at Sunshine

The mechanical interlocking remained in service until 1996, when it was replaced by an Solid State Interlocking. This interlocking was itself replaced in 2014, with the signal box being closed in 2016 when control was transferred to the Metrol train control centre.

Sources