I am very excited that the new Cheltenham Station is now open to the public after two months of intensive work along the Frankston Lines to remove three more level crossings.
Owing to Stage 4 restrictions festivities could not be had onsite this week unfortunately, however, it should be acknowledged that work was able to be continued with strict safety measures to support jobs and businesses through the pandemic, and deliver this important community connection.
Cheltenham is the eighth of 12 new stations to be built on the Frankston line as part of a $3 billion rail infrastructure investment that also includes removing 18 level crossings, more than any other rail line in Victoria.
The new station has two sets of lifts and stairs and a new forecourt and community open space along Charman Road featuring the iconic station palm trees. A multi-level rail passenger car park is set to be completed next year.
Finishing touches to the Cheltenham and Mentone stations, landscaping and a new 3.5 kilometre walking and cycling path between Cheltenham and Mentone will continue until late 2020.
Frankston line trains have been running in the new rail trenches below Park and Charman roads in Cheltenham and Balcombe Road in Mentone, since mid-July, and the roads have been open free of boom gates since June – easing bottlenecks that caused delays and frustration for the 38,000 vehicles that cross the rail line each day.
The new modern stations in Cheltenham and Mentone are five-star Green Star design rated and include solar panels, water saving and rainwater collection, and will significantly reduce potential greenhouse gas emissions.
Construction on large-scale public infrastructure projects has been deemed critical under Stage four restrictions, so works will continue, with strict health and safety protocols in place like significantly reduced workforce numbers.
Across Melbourne, the Victorian Government is removing 75 level crossings by 2025. The Cheltenham and Mentone project means 38 dangerous and congested level crossings are now gone for good.
As Victorians we are reminded to avoid public transport unless leaving the house for essential purposes, to always wear a face covering when in public, practice good hand hygiene and physically distance wherever possible.