2 December 2020

Level crossings fast-tracked

Boom gates gone in 2023. Rail trench with new premium station providing more trains more often.

The Victorian Government has fast-tracked the removal of the Union Road and Mont Albert Road level crossings, with major construction starting in 2022 and boom gates gone in 2023.

These are of 2 of Melbourne’s most dangerous level crossings, with the crossing in Surrey Hills the scene of a tragic incident in 2016, where 2 local women lost their lives.

The 2 crossings will be removed with a rail trench and we'll build one premium station with separate entrances for Surrey Hills and Mont Albert.

The premium station will have more trains more often and will be staffed from the first train in the morning until the last train in the evening.

Extensive engineering and technical investigations found removing the level crossings with a rail trench and consolidating the 2 stations will meet safety standards, reduce impacts and compulsory acquisition of homes and businesses.

Fast-tracking the project will bring hundreds of jobs and see the boom gates removed earlier than originally planned.

By 2023, there will be no more level crossings between the city and Ringwood on Melbourne’s second busiest rail line.

Removing these dangerous level crossings will improve safety for tens of thousands of local drivers, pedestrians and cyclists every day.

Why these level crossings need to go

  • 22,000 vehicles use these 2 level crossings each day
  • boom gates down for 40% of the morning peak
  • 61 trains travel through these crossings during the morning peak
  • around 860,000 passengers travel between Lilydale and Hawthorn each week
  • 2 fatalities and at least 8 near-misses at these crossings since 2005

A new premium station

A premium station with separate entrances for Mont Albert and Surrey Hills will mean more trains more often.

A premium station means more trains will stop at the new station increasing services for Surrey Hills and Mont Albert residents.

The station will be staffed from first train to last, improving safety and service.

Following 18 months of technical and engineering assessments, we found that a single station design is the best way to meet modern rail safety and accessibility standards.

The existing stations are located on curved sections of track which obscure sight-lines for train drivers and create a dangerous gap between the carriages and platforms. Rebuilding 2 stations on curved sections of track would be a breach of rail safety standards and cannot be considered.

Moving the stations to straight tracks would have required moving them closer together – so close that it makes more sense to combine them.

With roads, businesses and homes so close to the rail line, building 2 new stations would have meant:

  • compulsory acquisition of homes in Mont Albert and the Coles supermarket in Surrey Hills
  • permanent closure of local streets
  • more tree removal
  • more excavation, and more trucks on local roads for months
  • a daunting 12m climb from platform to ground level at Mont Albert Station – equivalent to the height of a 4-storey building. The new station entrance at Mont Albert will meet all accessibility requirements.

A new premium station for Mont Albert and Surrey Hills

  • more trains more often
  • safer and more accessible
  • less impact from construction
  • premium facilities for both communities
  • staffed from first train to last.

To learn more about the selected design visit Engage Victoria.

Project overview

Dangerous level crossings gone

We’ll remove the level crossings at Union Road and Mont Albert Road by lowering the tracks, removing the risk of vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists being struck by a train.

New space at Union Road

Lowering the tracks and removing the level crossing and the old underpass will make new space available along Union Road. The future use of this area will be determined in consultation with the community.

Safer, more accessible car park

We’ll rebuild the car park at Surrey Hills to modern standards so that it’s easy to access for people of all abilities. We will ensure there is no loss of parking by arranging the spaces more efficiently. We’ll also install new lighting and CCTV.

New station entrance – Surrey Hills

The Surrey Hills entrance will include a service desk, kiosk and covered waiting areas. The station will be open and inviting, with good visibility, improved lighting and CCTV. It will also be more accessible, with ramps and stairs leading into the station, and lifts and stairs to access the platforms.

Easier drop-off at Mont Albert Road

There will be new drop-off areas close to each station entrance, making it more convenient and safer to drop off commuters at the station. To fit the new infrastructure and maintain access to local properties, we’ll make Lorne Parade one-way while Beresford Street will be closed between Gordon Street and Mont Albert Road.

New pedestrian bridge

We will replace the old underpass with a new, more accessible pedestrian bridge connecting residents north of the tracks directly to the Hamilton Street shopping village.

Better connections for pedestrians and cyclists

We will build new paths which will connect from the shops on Union Road to the new station and through to Mont Albert, making it easier to walk or ride between the 2 shopping villages. We’ll remove the old underpasses and create new connections at ground level, making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross the tracks.

Preserving the old Mont Albert Station building

The historic Mont Albert Station building will need to be removed during construction. We'll work with the community to find a new purpose and home for the building.

Connecting the station with the park

The Surrey Hills entrance will connect with Lorne Parade Reserve, which will be revitalised with input from the community.

New station entrance – Mont Albert

The combined station will have a distinct Mont Albert entrance, a short distance from Mont Albert Road. Like the Surrey Hills entrance, it will be designed to be open and inviting, with good visibility, and will be fully accessible with ramps and stairs into the station and lifts and stairs to the platforms.

Help shape your new station precincts

As we continue planning to remove these dangerous and congested level crossings, we want to hear from you.

Share your ideas about different aspects of the project design, including:

  • overall look and feel
  • how you want to use the new station precincts
  • materials used for the station and surrounding areas
  • screening and barriers along the rail trench
  • landscaping and seating options
  • pedestrian and cycling connections
  • style of the new pedestrian bridge at Mont Albert Village
  • future use of the old Mont Albert Station building
  • location and inspiration for public art
  • provision of car parking.

We will consider community feedback as we further develop the project design.

Surveys are open until Sunday 14 February 2021. To complete a survey, visit our online engagement portal.

Be part of the Community Reference Group

We're establishing a Community Reference Group to workshop ideas for the precincts around the new station entrances.

The group will work with our project team to gather feedback and ideas in a series of workshops in early 2021.

To view the key selection criteria and register your interest, visit our online engagement portal. Expressions of interest will be open until Sunday 24 January 2021.

If you have any questions about the Community Reference Group or for further information about the nomination process, call us on 1800 105 105 or email contact@levelcrossings.vic.gov.au.

Consultation timeline

  • online surveys open – Engage Victoria – Early December 2020
  • expressions of interest to join the Community Reference Group open – Early December 2020
  • virtual community information sessions – January/February 2021
  • first Community Reference Group – February 2021
  • community feedback report and updated designs – by mid 2021

Next steps

Site investigations

Now that the design solution has been confirmed, we need to undertake further site investigations to inform detailed designs for the project.

In December 2020 and continuing into the new year, investigation teams will be working in and around the rail corridor with equipment like trucks and small drilling rigs.

We will notify nearby residences and businesses about this upcoming work.

Planning approval

Planning approval for this project will proceed under Clause 52.03 – Level Crossing Removal Project of the Whitehorse and Boroondara Planning Schemes.

We are seeking community feedback on a range of planning matters, including:

  • construction-related impacts
  • environmental impacts
  • amenity impacts
  • native vegetation
  • heritage.

The consultation period is now open, and we would like to provide you with the chance to formally submit your feedback.

All feedback received will be included in a public consultation summary report. This report will inform the Minister for Planning’s assessment of the project under Clause 52.03.

Planning submissions can be made online at Engage Victoria by Sunday 14 February. If you would like a hard copy submission form sent to you, please contact us on 1800 105 105 or email us at contact@levelcrossings.vic.gov.au

Project timeline

Late 2020

  • Community engagement begins


  • Community engagement continues
  • Finalise designs
  • Early works begin


  • Major construction begins


  • Level crossings gone for good

Timeline above is subject to change.