The forgotten road to Caroline Springs station

Caroline Springs has been waiting a long time for a railway station but it is almost here – construction is well underway and the station due to open sometime in 2016. However the project has not been a simple one, and a lack of forward planning has resulted in a critical piece of infrastructure bring rendered almost useless – the access road!

VLocity VL32 and classmate pass the future Caroline Springs station on an up Ballarat service

Some background

The backstory is long and complicated but I’m going to start in November 2010, when politicians turned the first sod on the project.

Work on the access road to the new station was well underway a few months later.

Access road under construction to the side of the new station

But with a change of government work stopped, with that road being the only work completed.

The completed access road, with concrete traffic barriers preventing local hoons from using it

Fast forward to 2013, and Regional Rail Link was now the big project in Melbourne’s west. New tracks needed to be built from the Ballarat line at Deer Park to the Geelong line at West Werribee, and these passed to the south of the Caroline Springs station site.

These new tracks severed Riding Boundary Road, cutting off access to the Boral Quarry at Deer Park, so the decision was made to extend Christies Road south from the Western Freeway interchange into the quarry.

Work on extending Christies Road south of the Ballarat line

A new bridge over the Ballarat railway line was required.

Road over rail bridge for the Christies Road extension over the Ballarat line

But the task was made easier thanks to the work already done on the access road to Caroline Springs station.

Christies Road extension almost ready to be opened

The design was a little odd – concrete retaining walls were used on the approach embankments from both sides.

The use of concrete retaining walls for the Christies Road extension seems odd

But work wrapped up quickly, with the Christies Road extension opening to traffic on 16 April 2014.

Ballarat line bridge on the Christies Road extension

A good outcome – at least at first glance.

Back to the station

Meanwhile back at Caroline Springs, in November 2014 V/Line invited tenders for the construction of the railway station, with BMD Construction being awarded the contract to build the station in June 2015.

By August 2015 earthworks on the station site were well underway, with piling rigs at work sinking foundations for the station platform.

Piling rigs at work sinking foundations for the station platform

But for road vehicles, there was no way in – the brand new Christies Road extension made no provision for access to the future station car park, despite the road having originally been built as the “Caroline Springs railway station access road”.

Looking north from the Ballarat line bridge on the Christies Road extension

As a result the 18-month old roadway had to be dug up.

Christies Road bridge only just opened to traffic, and it is already being rebuilt for the Caroline Springs station entrance

The shared path along the eastern side of Christies Road was removed to make room for an additional road lane.

Christies Road bridge only just opened to traffic, and it is already being rebuilt for the Caroline Springs station entrance

And the western side of the embankment had to be widened, to allow the car park driveway to reach the correct level.

Looking north over the Christies Road bridge, station entrance to the left

By February 2016 the renovations to Christies Road had been completed, finally providing access to the nw railway station car park.

Looking north along Christies Road past the railway station entrance

But anyone not in a car is treated as a second class citizen – a narrow path is the only way to access Caroline Springs station on foot.

This narrow path is the only way to access Caroline Springs station on foot

And thanks to the incomplete shared path, cyclists are forced to share Christies Road with trucks accessing the nearby Boral Quarry.

Looking north along Christies Road from the railway station

A road built to serve a railway station became co-opted by another project, just to be altered in such a way that made it useless for the original propose – the lack of planning seen at Caroline Springs is outrageous.

Footnote

The new station at Caroline Springs will have 350 car parking spaces, a secure bike cage, drop-off zones, bus bays and a taxi rank.

Overview of the station, car park, and bus interchange

With Melbourne’s tradition of piss-poor bus to train connections, incomplete off-road cycle paths, and a narrow footpath leading to the suburb of Caroline Springs, I’m not sure how anyone is supposed to access this new station.

Liked it? Take a second to support Marcus Wong on Patreon!
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

16 Responses to “The forgotten road to Caroline Springs station”

  1. Daniel says:

    Between this and the second platform being funded after the first one was pretty much completed, we seem to have another triumph of Victorian transport planning.

  2. misguidedjenni says:

    Altona people would like the secure bike cage since no one in Caroline Springs will ride to the station. Or they won’t for long because they’ll be killed by a truck. Then there will be an enquiry about the failings and they’ll fix it in 30 years (just like the Federation trail). The people responsible should be sacked.
    😉

  3. Graeme says:

    Sort of like pin the tail on the donkey.Twelve months after opening the carpark will be grossly overloaded,trucks will be cleaning up cars trying to enter and leave the station, and pedestrians will be running the gauntlet.If only we had some really good forward planners who knew their stuff and a govt that supported them.

  4. Beren says:

    speaking of unfinished off road cycle paths, try this one. In Campbellfield to the south, near the old pipeworks is a cycle path which connects to the south along the creek, east to west along the main road, but to the north it swings underneath the ring road and ends. The connection is broken exactly at the hume border. Further north at Somerset road, the path continues.

  5. Andrew S says:

    Along with the default to dropping /raising rail for level crossings the other default for overpasses these days is to use Reinforced Earth walls to minimise bridge length and earthworks with batter slopes. Traditionally they were used where spaces were constrained but they seem to use them everywhere now and look a little odd on the open plains in Deer Park West. Not the best choice here as it will end up a graffiti-covered eyesore whereas grass batters would have presented no such issue.

    • Marcus Wong says:

      I’m struggling to think how a reinforced earth wall works out cheaper compared to a open batter.

      The only reason I can come up with is the land on either side of the bridge – if it is a grassland reserve, than covering it with an embankment wouldn’t be an option.

      • Andrew S says:

        The cadastral plan shows a narrow road reserve for Christies Road over the railway line, only widening for the freeway interchange and roundabout. Instead of acquiring more land they simply went for the RE wall treatment.

  6. […] wonder pedestrians avoid the road to Caroline Springs station like the […]

Leave a Reply