Road and rail upgrades for south east commuters

Moving Well | Sue Hewitt | Posted on 14 July 2020

New road and rail initiatives to ease growing pains in Melbourne’s south east.

RACV has welcomed two major transport projects designed to ease commuter frustration on Melbourne’s fast-growing south-eastern fringe.

The state government has revealed designs for a new elevated train station at Hallam as well as announcing completion of the nearby $225 million Thompsons Road upgrade, four months ahead of schedule.

Train pulling in to Hallam train station

Hallam train strain is set to undergo major redevelopment.

RACV’s senior planner, Stuart Outhred, says both these milestone developments tie in with recommendations from RACV’s On Track survey, which rates commuter satisfaction with train stations and services, and RACV’s Redspot survey on road congestion which has consistently highlighted problems with Thompsons Road.

“It is a positive outcome; the government has acted on issues raised by the community through RACV’s engagement projects,” Stuart says.

The government says it will build a new Hallam train station with platforms spanning Hallam Road, including entrances, lifts and stairs on both sides of the road so commuters can access the station without crossing the busy road.

Work on the new station is part of the Hallam Road level-crossing removal project, which is due to begin later this year and finish by 2022.

The government says that the level-crossing removals combined with the Metro Tunnel and new bigger, better trains, will create capacity for an extra 121,000 passengers weekly on the Cranbourne and Pakenham lines during peak periods, a 45 per cent increase.

Local MP Luke Donnellan, member for Narre Warren North, says Hallam station will be a landmark. “[It will have] vastly better facilities and a bold design [that] will see the new Hallam station become a local landmark for one of the fastest-growing communities in Victoria,” Luke says.

Public seats at Hallam Station
Hallam train station, empty

Stuart says Hallam station has consistently rated poorly in RACV’s biennial On Track survey, scoring about five out of 10 since 2015 and scoring 5.04 in the latest, 2019 survey.

“We’ve found that when a station is revamped through the pipeline of works associated with the level-crossing removals people really appreciate it,” Stuart says, noting that stations at Carnegie, Murrumbeena, Bentleigh and Ormond have won approval from commuters following works completed through the level-crossing removal program.

“Hallam station has been a poor performer in RACV’s On Track survey for a long time; giving a clear signal that it needs to be fixed,” Stuart says.

Stuart says RACV has also been a long-standing advocate of the need to improve Thompsons Road, given the road’s congestion problems which have been highlighted in RACV’s Redspot congestion survey for years.

The just completed Thompsons Road project includes a major upgrade at the intersection of Frankston-Dandenong Road and Thompsons Road in Carrum Downs, used by 58,000 motorists daily.

Work on this area included removing a roundabout, installing traffic lights and adding new lanes over five weeks.

“Delivering the backlog of infrastructure in Melbourne’s growth areas remains an important task,” says Stuart. “While we are happy to see this project completed, RACV will continue to monitor ways in which travel around the Thompsons Road area changes over the coming years to ensure people have genuine transport choice."