29 June 2021

Getting ready for construction

We’re removing the dangerous and congested level crossings at Union Road, Surrey Hills and Mont Albert Road, Mont Albert by lowering the rail line beneath the roads in an open trench and building a new premium station with better facilities and more services.

The Victorian Government has fast-tracked these level crossings for removal, bringing hundreds of jobs to the local area and removing the boom gates 2 years earlier than originally planned.

The project will improve safety and reduce congestion for the tens of thousands of drivers who use Union Road and Mont Albert Road each day. Getting around the local area will also be safer and easier for cyclists and pedestrians with better connections between the new station and nearby shopping villages.

Early works for the project will start soon with major construction scheduled to start in 2022.

Why these level crossings need to go

  • 22,000 vehicles use these 2 level crossings every day
  • Boom gates down for 40% of the morning peak
  • 61 trains travel through in the morning peak
  • Two fatalities and at least 8 near-misses since 2005

The 4 phases of construction

A project of this size and scale involves months of planning to minimise disruption and make the most efficient use of the large machinery and hundreds of workers that we’ll bring to the local area.

To build the trench, we’ll need excavators, trucks and other types of machinery to remove more than 200,000 cubic metres of soil. That’s the equivalent of 80 Olympic size swimming pools.

  • 1.3km rail trench
  • Up to 10m deep in sections
  • 27m wide at the widest point
  • 80 Olympic swimming pools of excavated materials

Setting up and early works


In the second half of 2021, we’ll start setting up our initial storage areas and site facilities for construction workers and begin moving underground services that would otherwise be in the way when we excavate the rail trench.

These early activities will commence in spring and include:

  • setting up site storage and fencing off work areas to keep our workforce and the public safe
  • removing vegetation that will be in the path of the new infrastructure
  • temporary site building installation
  • relocating utilities that will be in the way of the major works, including water, drainage and sewer pipes as well as some power lines.

Some of the works to move underground utilities will involve trenching in or along the side of local streets. Our crews will manage traffic when we need to work along the side of local streets.

We’ll set up site compounds at several locations along the rail corridor and in the Surrey Hills station car park, Lorne Parade Reserve and at the north-west oval at Surrey Park.

Major construction


From early 2022, you’ll start to see more construction work in and around the rail corridor. Activities in this phase include:

  • works around the existing station structures
  • temporary changes to local roads
  • major water main and service relocation works
  • some major drilling activity
  • building the trench wall foundations, known as piling.

Trains will continue to run as normal during most of this phase. At times, buses will replace trains while we do critical works in the rail corridor.

Removing the level crossings


In 2023 we’ll undertake a large construction blitz where hundreds of workers will work around the clock to dig the trench and remove the boom gates.

We'll need to shut the rail line for one extended closure to prevent rolling disruptions and ensure the job is done safely and as quickly as possible.

The majority of works will be completed in this phase. This includes periods of 24-hour work, using at least 5 piling rigs to construct the trench. We’ll start by drilling into the ground to build the supports for the edges of the trench. With the edges secure, our crews will start using excavators to dig, lay the concrete base and reinforce the trench walls.

We’ll also:

  • build the new premium station
  • lay the new tracks
  • remove the boom gates
  • build the new Union Road and Mont Albert Road bridges over the rail trench.

Finishing works


This is where we’ll add the finishing touches to the project including:

  • completing the new station building
  • reinstating local roads and car parks, and Surrey Park’s north-west oval
  • planting thousands of new trees and plants.

What’s next?

In the lead up to major construction, we'll need to prepare the area before we can excavate the rail trench.

This includes setting up our site offices and facilities, installing temporary fencing, removing vegetation and relocating utilities like power lines, drainage and water mains.

Some of these activities will start in the second half of 2021, and we’ll provide more information to local residents and businesses well in advance of works starting.

Lorne Parade Reserve

Our construction crews will establish temporary site sheds at Lorne Parade Reserve as they prepare to use this site as a critical staging area for building the rail trench.

We will rejuvenate the park with new landscaping and a new play space once construction is complete, to celebrate Lorne Parade Reserve as a modern green space for generations to come.

Surrey Park

We'll need to use the north-west oval at Surrey Park for staff facilities and to store machinery and materials, for up to 2 years starting early 2022.

Tree and vegetation removal

Some existing trees will need to be removed so we can remove the level crossings and build the trench and construct the new station.

We’ll retain as many large trees as possible and plant new trees and shrubs, with 2 trees planted in the station precinct or nearby for every tree removed during construction.