THE Victorian Government is working on tackling a major bottleneck on Melbourne’s inner-suburban rail network with the construction of a second railway track between Clifton Hill and Westgarth.
The $52 million project includes the duplication of 750m of existing single track between the Clifton Hill and Westgarth railway stations, including a new bridge over the Merri Creek to duplicate the existing railway bridge.

Stage 1 of the project, which began earlier this week, involves removing signalling and cables needed to pave the way for the new track.

Premier John Brumby said currently all Hurstbridge line trains and some Epping line trains were forced to merge onto a single track at the Clifton Hill junction causing a bottleneck.

“By duplicating the track between Clifton Hill and Westgarth stations that bottleneck will be removed and commuters will see big improvements in the on-time reliability and efficiency of trains,” he said.

“It will also allow for up to six extra morning peak train services and lay the foundation for an extension of the Epping line to a Melbourne growth area – South Morang.”

Other aspects of the project include:

  • Construction of a new rail bridge that is specifically designed to complement and honour its urban, environmental and heritage context;

  • Substantial landscaping and revegetation with appropriate native vegetation to deliver improvements to the existing Merri Creek environment;

  • Improved pedestrian and bike access in the area, including between the Merri Creek and Clifton Hill stations; and

  • Improved pedestrian level crossings with four pedestrian level crossings to be upgraded to “active” crossings, complete with automatic gates with audible warnings.

  • The State Government will soon award the tender for the construction of the second track and bridge.

    The project is scheduled to be completed in 2010.