Press Release 8 – Residents sceptical of Sky Rail “options”

PRESS RELEASE: Sunday 11th September 2016

Bayside residents are alarmed at the way the Level Crossing Removal Authority’s options for the Frankston railway line have been tailored to favour elevated railway bridges.

LXRA Sky Rail Frankston Line
ALP Members Paul Edbrooke (Frankston) and Tim Richardson (Mordialloc) watch on as Jacinta Allan (Minister for Public Transport) announces at least 3 level crossings will be replaced by sections of elevated rail on the Frankston Line. (Photo: Level Crossing Removal Authority)

Five out of the remaining eight crossings to be removed on the Frankston Line have been given two options: an elevated rail bridge or sinking the railway line into a cutting passing below the crossing. Two crossings have been combined into one Railway Bridge solution and another single crossing will become a railway bridge.

Of the five crossings that have two “options”, the LXRA has overplayed the benefits of going over, and underplayed the negative impacts such as health concerns from noise and pollution and visual amenity.

The “pros” and “cons” are also clearly biased against Rail Under Road. For instance, the literature claims that barriers will be needed for a rail under option and these are listed as a negative. Alterations to cycle ways for Rail Under are given a maximum negative rating while the possibility of additional bike paths for the Rail Bridge option are given a positive rating.

At the same time glossy marketing material all but ignores community sentiment. Over 4,000 anti-Sky Rail comments from the first round of community consultation in March have been reduced to one 19-word paragraph:

“Many people expressed their preference for a trenched rail solution to preserve the beachside community and the seaside charm.” (my emphasis.)

No Sky Rail on Frankston Line community association president, Willem Popp, says it is clear that the LXRA are biased towards building railway bridges along the Frankston Railway line despite overwhelming community opposition.

“It is stunning that community sentiment – our preference – has been reduced to just 19 words,” Mr Popp said. “It was quite clear from the consultation sessions in March that the community do not want Elevated Rail in any form. To have over 4,000 comments to this effect reduced to just 19 words is insulting and plain stupid.

“Furthermore, why use the negative “trench” description, when it will actually be a “cutting”. This shows the LXRA’s bias against Rail Under Road,” Mr Popp said.

“Does the LXRA really think they can treat the community in this manner? Do they really think we will believe their propaganda and just roll over and let them do whatever they want? The answer is No. We will not be bullied into allowing them to build a solution that is simply not acceptable to the community.”

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Flyer – Walk Against Elevated Rail

With community opposition growing by the day, the No Sky Rail Community Group are organising a massive Walk Against Elevated Sky Rail next Sunday, September 18th. The walk will start in Victory Park in Chelsea at 10:30am and finish at 12noon in the Esplanade, Edithvale.

“We are asking the community to come out and show their opposition to any form of Rail Over”, Mr Popp said. “We need to show the government that we will not allow them to ride rough-shod over bayside communities.”

The mayors of both Kingston and Frankston will address the rally. The No Sky Rail community group will also present their own options for each of the eight crossings under consideration for removal.

(Download Flyer as PDF here)

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