Frequently Asked Questions

Introduction

The following has been prepared by the No Sky Rail Frankston Line Incorporated (NSRFL) community association to assist local residents and business owners with understanding the benefits of Rail Under Road.

The information is prepared as a counterpoint to the myths being perpetuated about the need for Elevated Rail (Sky Rail) and to debunk the mis-truths about Rail Under Road.

The points listed below have been compiled in response to related points in the LXRA “Preliminary Options Assessments” and other LXRA publications.

General Amenity Benefits of Rail Under Road versus Elevated Rail

Rail Under Road WILL Reduce Visual Impact

  1. There will be less visual impact with trains in a trench. In fact there will be less visual impact than the current ground-level trains.
  2. Elevated trains will be visible for miles. This is especially true along the stretches of track that are built on the high ridge of ground between Station St and Nepean Highway.
  3. Elevated Rail will have 2 metre high Noise Barriers – a concrete wall – running alongside the track 8 metres in the air. These concrete noise barriers will attract graffiti and block out sunlight.


Rail Under Road WILL Reduce Noise

  1. Noise from trains in a trench will be muffled by the walls of the trench.
  2. Noise from trains on a railway bridge will travel straight across the tops of houses.


Sky Rail Noise Barriers will be UGLY

  1. The LXRA promise to build noise barriers, but noise will still bounce between these noise barriers and escape.
  2. Noise barriers will only be built near stations.
  3. Noise barriers will NOT stop noise from Diesel trains which have their exhaust pipes at the top.
  4. These barriers will add to the Visual Bulk of Elevated Rail


Rail Under Road will NOT block natural sunlight

  1. A railway trench will be below ground so will not impact sunlight.
  2. An Elevated railway will be a large bulky structure that will cast a shadow from early morning until sunset. In fact, you won’t see the sunset from any houses east of the railway line as the Elevated railway bridge will block it.
  3. See also “Reduced Visual Impact”.


Rail Under Road will NOT obstruct views

  1. A railway trench will be below ground so our views will be improved as the existing railway line will NOT be visible.
  2. An Elevated railway will be a large bulky structure that will block and taint all views in its direction.


Rail Under Road will NOT cause property values to fall

  1. Property prices may actually rise with a rail Under Road solution.
  2. Higher property prices will lead to higher council rates and more services.


Elevated Rail WILL encourage people to dump rubbish

  1. Railway bridges provide easy cover for people to dump rubbish. Although council may be charged with removing rubbish, there will be no imperative to do so. It may linger for weeks.
  2. Any rubbish thrown into a railway trench will have to be removed, as it may become an obstacle.


Elevated Rail WILL encourage graffiti

  1. Graffiti vandals love nothing better than an exposed concrete surface to paint over. Long rail bridges with multiple pylons will provide ample cover and opportunity for graffiti.


Elevated Rail WILL allow Anti-Social Behaviour

  1. Railway bridges are notorious places for anti-social behaviour. While the causes of these issues are real and should be dealt with, building sites for this behaviour in the middle of residential areas is not the solution.

Health Risks Of Elevated Rail

INCREASED diesel particulates spreading for miles

  1. Raising diesel trains above houses on Elevated tracks will allow potentially-carcinogenic diesel particulates to become airborne for many kilometres with a mild sea breeze.


INCREASED brake dust particulates will spread over nearby housing

  1. Raising diesel trains above houses on Elevated tracks will allow brake dust to spread across houses for many kilometres as they travel on coastal breezes.


Noise travelling for MILES!

  1. Noise from Elevated Trains will travel much further when raised 8-plus metres in the air. With the tracks currently at ground level, this noise is buffered by housing adjacent to the track. This noise would be greatly reduced with the trains lowered into a trench.

Other Mistruths About Rail Under Road

More Parks are NOT possible

  1. Much has been said about the opportunity for more parks under Elevated Rail. This is FALSE. There will NOT be any new parks under the Elevated Rail solutions proposed for the Frankston Line. LXRA plans clearly only show car parking and electricity sub-stations. NO parks.


Linear parkland already exists… its called the BEACH!

  1. Unlike the Dandenong Line, we don’t need a new linear park (which LXRA are promising if we got extended stretches of Elevated rail.) We already have the best linear park in Melbourne. Its called the wetlands, Kananook Creek Reserve or the  beach!


Elevated Rail will NOT have more trees

  1. Large trees simply do NOT grow on a steep elevation or in the poor sandy soil conditions so close to the coast. There are NO large trees along most of the existing corridor. This will NOT change with Elevated rail.
  2. Most of the area beneath Elevated Rail will be CAR PARKS, not trees or parks!
  3. Minor landscaping is possible with both Elevated and Rail Under Road.


Elevated Rail will NOT have more pedestrian crossing points

  1. Most of the level crossings under consideration on the Frankston Line are flanked by major roads (Nepean Hwy, Station St, Railway Pde, Wells Rd).
    1. Crossing these roads at any point is jaywalking.
    2. Pedestrians will be shepherded to safe crossing points across these roads. These safe points can line up with pedestrian bridges over Rail Under Road. Elevated Rail will have fenced carparks underneath so pedestrians will NOT be able to cross through. You will NOT be able to cross at any point you like.


There will NOT be more open public space

  1. Car parks do NOT count as open public space
  2. There is not
  3. allowance for any other open space beneath the Elevated rail solutions for the Frankston Line.

Other Myths about Elevated Rail

More Parks are NOT possible

  1. Much has been said about the opportunity for more parks under Elevated Rail. This is FALSE. There will NOT be any new parks under the Elevated Rail solutions proposed for the Frankston Line. LXRA plans clearly only show car parking and electricity sub-stations. NO parks.


Linear parkland already exists… its called the BEACH!

  1. Unlike the Dandenong Line, we don’t need a new linear park (which LXRA are promising if we got extended stretches of Elevated rail.) We already have the best linear park in Melbourne. Its called The Wetlands, Kananook CreekReserve or the beach!


Elevated Rail will NOT have more trees

  1. Large trees simply do NOT grow in the poor sandy soil conditions so close to the coast. There are NO large trees along most of the existing corridor. This will NOT change with Elevated rail.
  2. Most of the area beneath Elevated Rail will be CAR PARKS, not trees or parks!
  3. Minor landscaping is possible with both Elevated and Rail Under Road.


Elevated Rail will NOT have more pedestrian crossing points

  1. Most of the level crossings under consideration on the Frankston Line are flanked by major roads (Nepean Hwy, Station St, Railway Pde, Wells Rd).
    1. Crossing these roads at any point is jaywalking.
    2. Pedestrians will be shepherded to safe crossing points across these roads. These safe points can line up with pedestrian bridges over Rail Under Road. Elevated Rail will have fenced carparks underneath so pedestrian will NOT be able to cross through. You will NOT be able to cross at any point you like.


There will NOT be more open public space

  1. Car parks do NOT count as open public space
  2. There is no allowance for any other open space beneath the Elevated rail solutions for the Frankston Line.

Other Dangers of Elevated Rail

Wind will be a MAJOR factor for Elevated Rail

  1. The wind is more powerful 10 metres above the ground (the height of an elevated train carriage,) where there are no trees, buildings or other ground objects to reduce it.
  2. Wind precautions may include cancelled train services or reduced speed. This would NOT be an issue for Rail Under Road.


Stations will need FULL HEIGHT wind barriers

  1. These barriers will rise up to 20 metres high to cover the electrical wiring over the top of the tracks. These will add to the visual bulk of Elevate Rail.


Evacuation will be VERY DIFFICULT with Elevated Rail

  1. There are no fire engine ladders in bayside Melbourne long enough to reach Elevated rail.
  2. One metre wide concrete walkways will have to be built on both sides of each track to allow people to escape from trains that have broken down. This will add to the visual bulk of Elevated Rail.

Other Myths about Rail Under Road

Rail Under Road does NOT have to be 8 metres deep

    The LXRA seem to have forgotten that they can use “direct fix” methods to attach rails directly to the concrete base of a trench. This removes the need for ballast to hold the rails thus reducing the height needed to go under roads by at least 1 metre.

  1. The same method can be used to attach the overhead wires when it passes under the level crossing roadway, reducing the height by another 1 metre.
  2. Both these techniques are used in the City Loop without issue. Why not use them here?

Other benefits of Rail Under Road

NO overshadowing

  1. There will NOT be any overshadowing if the railway is put in a trench. Compare that to the 8 metre to 20 metre high Elevated Rail that will be 8-plus metres wide.


NO loss of views

  1. People will NOT lose any views. In fact, views will be enhanced with the railway gone and overhead wires sunk into a trench.

Construction MYTHS about Rail Under Road versus Elevated Rail

Sandy Soil is more PROBLEMATIC for Elevated Rail

  1. It will be harder to build pylons in sand to support a railway bridge as the pylons will concentrate their weight on a single point. This will require a lot of extra concrete and deeper construction.
  2. A railway cutting will sit in much thinner concrete “sleeve” that will require less concrete and will not be as deep.


The Water Table is NOT an issue for Rail Under Road

  1. The water table is about 5 metres below the surface under the railway line (including south of Mordialloc where it is usually on the highest ground).
  2. If water is encountered, it can be dealt with as it is in every other construction project around the world since Roman times. The Ormond, McKinnon, and Bentleigh level crossing removals all encountered water. They simply pumped it away.
  3. Every apartment building in the sand belt has an underground carpark: most would have dealt with water table issues. Why can’t the LXRA?


Rail Under Road is only SLIGHTLY more difficult

  1. LXRA have confirmed going down is only “slightly” more difficult than elevated rail.


Rail Under Road is only SLIGHTLY more expensive

  1. LXRA have confirmed going down is only “slightly” more expensive than elevated rail.


Rail Under Road will NOT impact the Edithvale / Seaford Wetlands

  1. The LXRA are touting a myth that a railway trench will potentially impact the Edithvale / Seaford Wetlands by blocking them draining to the ocean.
    1. The Wetlands do NOT drain direct to the ocean.
    2. The Wetlands flow INLAND, away from the ocean.
    3. Once full, the Wetlands drain inland north or south to Mordialloc Creek or Patterson River.
    4. Patterson River was specifically cut to allow the wetlands drain through the primary sand dune that runs along the coast.
    5. If this is true, then the Wetlands do NOT drain direct to the ocean so a trench will NOT impact water flows.


Construction is will NOT take longer for Rail Under Road

  1. The LXRA options show disruption will be the SAME for Elevated or Rail Under options


Construction will NOT be more disruptive for Rail Under Road

  1. LXRA documents show and cite “thousands” of truck movements needed to remove sand for a Rail Under Road trench. Most of the excavation is pure clean white sand… it belongs on the beach, so only needs to be transported a short distance.
  2. LXRA documents fail to show the massive overhead gantry crane that will be required for “Sky Rail” if we get the same solution as the Dandenong Line.
  3. LXRA documents also fail to show the extra concrete trucks needed to bring in the extra concrete for the heavy duty pylons needed to support Elevated Rail in soft sandy soil.


Utilities will have to be moved for BOTH options

  1. Major pipelines and fibre optic cables near the railway line will have to be moved for BOTH options.

Rail Under Road is MORE efficient for trains

Diesel Trains will be MORE efficient with Rail Under Road

  1. A diesel train can coast into a trench and use the momentum going down to push itself back up the other side. With an Elevated Rail, diesel trains will have to accelerate hard to climb the slope, leading to more noise and pollution. Then coming down the other side, diesel trains will have to apply the brakes to slow down wasting the energy they gained on the climb up.


Electric Trains will be MORE efficient with Rail Under Road

  1. Modern electric trains are designed to re-generate electricity as they apply the brakes (just like hybrid cars).
  2. As they drop down a slope into a rail under road solution, they can generate electricity back in to the grid, that can be used to power back up the slope when they leave the station.