----- Forwarded message -----
Sent: Tuesday, 12 January 2021, 06:20:13 pm AEDT
Subject: Sat.4.10.20 daily digest
"190314Th-'CanberraTimes'-bus.network.jpg" Better will be available.
"201004Sa-Melbourne'Age'-Metro.Chinese.trains-a-ss.jpg" [everyone is wearing hivis, but only the posers are wearing helmets. Are they expecting a news helicopter to fall out of the sky?]
Sun.4.10.20 Metro Twitter:
Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Werribee/Williamstown until the last train of Sun 4 Oct (works).
Werribee Street, Werribee, closes at the level crossing until 7.00 while we install new bridge structures over the road as part of the level-crossing removal.
Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Sunshine until the last train of Sun 4 Oct (maintenance works).
Buses replace trains on sections of the Upfield line until the last train of Sun 15 Nov (level-crossing works at Coburg and Moreland).
Buses replace trains Epping - Mernda until the last train of Sun 4 Oct (works).
Buses replace trains Dandenong - Pakenham until 7.00 (works)
[only Saturday? Traffic changes are in place on Princes Hwy, Dandenong, near South Gippsland Highway (level-crossing works). Traffic is reduced to two lanes in both directions, with speed set at 60 km/h. Please merge with care].
17.25 Belgrave line: Major delays (police near Bayswater).
- 17.30 clearing.
Buses replace trains Dandenong - Pakenham from 21.00 until the last train (works take place).
Going green? Mining's dirty secret won't survive climate change [with ATN]
Herald Sun March 13, 20191 comment. Andrew Bolt
New bus network will start April 29, Transport Canberra says. March 14, 2019.
Transport Canberra may not have enough drivers to staff its expanded weekend bus timetable, six weeks out from the launch of the new integrated public transport network.
Extra weekend services has been one of the selling points of the controversial new network, the timetable for which was released on Thursday.
ACT Minister for Transport Meegan Fitzharris unveiling the new Rapid bus network for Canberra last April.Credit:Sherryn Groch
But Transport Workers Union secretary Klaus Pinkas said it would be a “little bit suck it and see” as to whether enough drivers would volunteer to work weekends.
“The weekend shifts are still a work in progress,” Mr Pinkas said.
“I can’t sit here and tell you we’re going to have enough drivers. I’m not saying we won’t have them. We'll just have to wait and see. We’ve indicated to ACTION it may be a problem but ACTION are proceeding like it won’t be."
While Transport Canberra tried to move drivers to seven-day rosters as part of its two-and-a-half year enterprise bargaining agreement negotiations with the union, the government backed away from compulsory weekend work in December, with weekend shifts to stay on a volunteer basis.
Mr Pinkas said Transport Canberra knocked back extra incentives for weekend drivers during the negotiations, and no acceptable counter offer was made.
He also said there were issues around driver breaks on the weekend shifts.
“It’s a safety issue. They need 10 minutes out of the bus between every second and third hour," Mr Pinkas said.
Executive group manager for Transport Canberra operations Judith Sturman said they had part-time and casual drivers to cover the weekend shifts and had a continual recruitment campaign going.
Transport Canberra has released its new public transport map with the new network expected to start on April 29.Credit:Transport Canberra
"We've done a lot of analysis that demonstrates we will have enough drivers to complete those services for us," she said.
But she acknowledged there was a risk services could be cancelled due to the driver shortage.
"I can't deny that, there's always a risk, but what we're doing is we're mitigating that risk by making sure that there will be enough and enough opportunities for drivers who want to do that additional shift to do that," Ms Sturman said.
The new seven-day network was completely redesigned using data from the MyWay ticketing system, and is made up of shorter, more direct routes, with services designed to connect at interchanges across the city.
There will be 4200 services a day under the new network, compared to 3600 currently, and 396 buses on the road compared to 384 at present.
However the true increase in number of buses on the road is more like 50, owing to light rail replacing buses on the Gungahlin to Civic corridor.
"It's a more efficient network," Ms Sturman said
Many bus routes on the new network will start earlier in the morning or run later at night than they do currently, with services to run from at least 6.30am until midnight Monday to Saturdays, and until 10pm Sundays and public holidays.
Most local services to run every 20-30 minutes at peak times, and every 30-60 minutes during the day, in the evening and on weekends.
The network also includes 10 rapid routes, along with light rail that will have services every 15 minutes or better along the rapid routes between 7am and 7pm on weekdays and weekend service times would be extended to 10pm.
Transport Canberra will also offer a free month of travel for all commuters travelling with MyWay cards to entice people to use the new network.
Ms Sturman said the new network was "vastly different" to the one that was released for public consultation last year.
Based on 13,000 pieces of feedback, the government made 37 changes to 58 routes, as well as adding 78 additional school services each school day.
"That [feedback] enabled us to reshape to some degree, so we stayed with the principles of obviously an integrated network … the model stayed the same but obviously where the routes eventually went was changed to reflect what most people wanted," Ms Sturman said.
"One of the key areas that came up with dissatisfaction was our weekend services so that's also played into our focus on delivering more frequent and more weekend services," Ms Sturman said.
However there remain concerns about how schools are serviced through the network.
While Transport Canberra designed the new network around the requirement of dropping school children off within half an hour before the bell - a marked improvement on the current arrangements - ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Association communications officer Janelle Kennard said parents were concerned about how far children would be dropped from school.
Several high schools, instead of the buses coming into the purpose-built bus bays at the front of the schools where they’re currently picking up and dropping students, they’re going to be picking up and dropping off students from bus stops distributed around the school," Ms Kennard said.
"We’re a bit concerned with that, because particularly in the afternoon being groups of teenagers moving out from the school grounds to those bus stops in some cases crossing busy roads.
"I guess we already know teenagers are poor at assessing risks and it’s worse when they’re in groups of their peers and we’re very concerned about road safety."
Transport Minister Fitzharris said there was a Schools Liaison Manager in Transport Canberra who would help school communities become familiar with the new network.
"We are also increasing safety across our network, with CCTV cameras on every bus and at all major interchanges, school crossing supervisors at 25 school crossings, improvements to infrastructure around schools and an additional 28 customer service assistants at interchanges," Ms Fitzharris said.
St Mary Mackillop College principal Michael Lee said he felt Transport Canberra and listened to and acted on feedback from his school community about cuts to school buses, but he was "very sympathetic" to the needs of students travelling to other schools.
"While there will be a level of adjustment ... we think were in a very good position in terms of meeting the needs of our students and their families," he said.
"We also understand that there are kids going to other schools who will be more significantly affected."
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Melbourne's new trains being built in China by blacklisted Belt and Road firm. Paul Sakkal October 4, 2020. 146 comments
The Chinese company which won the $2.3 billion contract to build Melbourne's new train fleet is central to President Xi Jinping's controversial Belt and Road Initiative and was recently blacklisted by the US government due to the security risks posed by its ties to the Chinese government.
CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles, which beat local bids in 2016 to win the contract to build 65 new high-capacity metro trains, is a subsidiary of major Chinese state-owned rolling stock manufacturer CRRC and has been identified as a beneficiary of Uighur labour.
Daniel Andrews unveiled the new CRRC trains at Downer's Newport facility in 2018.CREDIT:JUSTIN MCMANUS
The news comes after fresh scrutiny on the Victorian government's dealings with the Chinese government with the revelation that Premier Daniel Andrews last year advertised the state as being "China's gateway to Australia".
The train project, which is more than 18 months behind schedule, was signed a week before Mr Andrews travelled to China in September 2016. Three years later, when the Premier sought more Chinese investment and gave his official endorsement to the BRI, China's expansionist infrastructure policy, the deal was held up as an exemplar.
But CRRC has been flagged by the US Defence Department as a potential cyber-security threat through its involvement in critical infrastructure. It was also listed in a March report from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute as one of 82 companies directly or indirectly benefiting from the use of Uighur workers through potentially abusive labour programs.
The report found KTK Group, a supplier to CRRC, began using Uighur labour in 2019 at one of its Chinese factories. The Victorian government has sought assurances from the company that it is not benefiting from exploited labour.
A train chassis with CRRC livery at Downer EDI's Newport facility.CREDIT:CHRIS HOPKINS
An Age and Sydney Morning Herald investigation has also found the Andrews government hired a person who had recently worked for Downer, which is part of the Evolution Rail consortium with CRRC, to play a key role in the tender process in 2015. Just months after CRRC and Downer won the bid in 2016, the official went back to work for Downer, raising questions about the impartiality of the tender process.
A national champion
CRRC, now the largest rolling stock manufacturer in the world, was established in 2015 after two of China's biggest rail firms merged to create a national export champion. It turned over more than $44 billion in 2018 and employs about 180,000 workers at more than 40 subsidiaries.
Beijing's "Made in China 2025" policy lists 10 industries in which China seeks to become the global leader. At number six is rail equipment and CRRC is central to that ambition. The company is developing bullet trains for BRI signatory countries and has been involved in dozens of projects in BRI nations including Pakistan, Iran, Italy and Turkey.
In a 2018 CRRC report, in a section titled, "Promote the Interconnection of the World", the company said it "responded positively to the Belt and Road Initiative … from the traditional export markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America to Europe, the United States and Australia". The second project listed in the report was the Victorian train deal.
Though the Victorian government did not sign up to the BRI until 2018, it had embarked on its "China Strategy" in April 2016 which set targets for trade and strategic cooperation. The state government announced that CRRC won the contract on September 12, 2016, a week before Mr Andrews' 2016 trip to China to discuss with top Chinese officials the government's China Strategy and transport investment.
Mr Andrews signed a memorandum of understanding for the BRI deal in 2018 and officially signed up to the program in October 2019 in Beijing. In the October trip, he met with leaders of local infrastructure firms including CRRC. Speaking notes prepared for the Premier's address to a delegation stated: "I see Chinese companies establishing a presence in Victoria and actively bidding for Victorian projects as essential."
"You will find the Victorian market accessible, and my government will welcome your participation and do what it can to facilitate success. My government is dedicated to this effort, and I will personally continue to share the opportunities present in my state's infrastructure agenda".
Daniel Andrews unveiled the new CRRC trains at Downer's Newport facility in 2018.CREDIT:JUSTIN MCMANUS
The CRRC offering was chosen ahead of bids that would have resulted in the trains manufactured locally at established factories in either Ballarat, owned by Alstom, or Dandenong, owned by Bombardier. CRRC did not respond to requests for comment.
The federal government has repeatedly criticised the Victorian government for signing onto the $US1 trillion infrastructure-building plan and is preparing legislation that could be used to cancel Victoria's BRI deal. Many western governments and foreign policy experts believe the initiative is used by China to increase its geopolitical power and coerce developing nations by saddling them with debt.
'Knowing your supplier'
CRRC has also been active in trying to increase its footprint in the US over the past decade. It has built trains for the cities of Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles. However, increasingly, politicians from the left and right have voiced concern about CRRC's involvement in critical infrastructure.
In June, the US Defence Department made public for the first time a list of Chinese companies operating in the US that have close ties to the Chinese government or military. Companies on the list, which includes Huawei and CRRC, can be subject to emergency economic powers and sanctions by the US president.
"As the People's Republic of China attempts to blur the lines between civil and military sectors, 'knowing your supplier' is critical," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman said in a statement. "We envision this list will be a useful tool for the US government, companies, investors, academic institutions, and like-minded partners to conduct due diligence with regard to partnerships with these entities, particularly as the list grows."
Play video What is the Belt and Road Initiative? BRI is a web of infrastructure that spans continents, but what is China's motive?
The transport department in Washington DC last year inserted cyber-security safeguards into its tender for metropolitan trains that CRRC hoped to build. Andrew Grotto, a former senior director for cyber-security policy on the US National Security Council, said malware could divert data collected from trains' security cameras and be used for facial recognition and to track riders.
Chuck Schumer, the Democrats' Senate minority leader, last year demanded the Trump administration investigate national security risks associated with CRRC's involvement in New York's subway system, while the Pentagon pointed to Beijing's 2018 hacking of US business secrets as reason to beware of Chinese involvement in train building.
"The Chinese Communist Party's use of predatory economic practices like illegal state-sponsored cyber-theft reinforce concerns about Chinese companies playing a role in critical infrastructure – whether it be rail cars or 5G telecommunications networks," Mike Andrews, a US Defence Department spokesman, said in January 2019.
China-Australian relations expert John Fitzgerald, emeritus professor at Swinburne University of Technology, said claims CRRC trains could be used for espionage or cyber warfare were "overstated". However, Professor Fitzgerald said the train deal could expose Australia to further economic coercion by China, which he said "had shown many times it is willing to leverage Australia's economic dependence for its political advantage."
For the first half of last decade, he said, Australian governments had often opted for low-cost suppliers of core manufacturing such as automobile and rail equipment. As a result, Australia had lost its independent capacity for rolling stock manufacturing and had become reliant on China, exposing the nation to coercion.
Professor Fitzgerald said the "extraordinary focus" on China by the Victorian government may come at the expense of deeper engagement with India and Japan. "Did [Mr Andrews] offer similar investment opportunities on projects to Japanese, Indian and other regional partners?" he asked.
Questions over procurement
A person formerly employed as a contractor by Downer, a member of the same consortium as CRRC, returned to work at Downer shortly after holding a top role in the Victorian government's high-capacity train tender process.
The former worker was the Transport Department's project director, according to his LinkedIn profile which says he "managed a team of more than 100 staff and advisers to deliver and procure the [public-private partnership] up to financial close". He finished his role with the department in May 2017, eight months after the train contract was awarded, and soon afterwards, in July that year, took up a contractor job as Downer's director of major projects. He had also worked for Downer prior to working for the Victorian government.
A 2018 Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission report on corruption risks states that movement between the public and private sectors is common and can be beneficial but sometimes presents risks. The report urged the Victorian government to consider Commonwealth Public Sector Commission guidelines that recommend restricting successful tenderers from employing government officials who managed the tender process after it is completed.
One of the key risks, according to the federal guideline, is that "the employee, while still employed in the [public service], would use their position to influence decisions and advice in favour of the prospective new employer."
Downer spokesman Michael Sharp said the employee's "position at Downer has never posed a conflict of interest," and that "he has never held a Downer-related high-capacity metro train position". Downer did not begin contract discussions with the man until after he had completed his contract with the Victorian government, Mr Sharp said. The company "strongly rejected any questioning of probity" on the matter.
Delays and faults
The train deal is running more than 18 months late as trains have arrived from China with significant faults. According to leaked cabinet documents reported by The Age in September, the government is hoping for a December roll-out but pandemic-related delays could occur.
The Victorian government announced in 2016 that 60 per cent of content used to build the high-capacity metro trains would be locally manufactured. However, work that was originally being done in Melbourne was off-shored to CRRC's factory in April 2019 in order to meet efficiency targets. Multiple union officials familiar with the project say trains now arrive in Melbourne with electrical wiring and cabin installations already completed, representing many hundreds of hours of lost local work.
The Victorian government said the plan to do more work in China did not impact on the number of local jobs or the local content target. "We've been through a rigorous and competitive tender process to deliver brand new trains that will travel through the Metro Tunnel. The train design meets and in many cases exceeds all of our requirements and standards," a government spokeswoman said.
Luba Grigorovitch, secretary of the Victorian Rail, Tram and Bus Union, said in October 2019 that the state government was allowing the rail consortium to "prioritise meeting deadlines at the expense of local jobs."
CRRC had a history of low local content usage and late delivery before the HCMT project. The company used no minimal local content to build NSW's Waratah trains from 2006 which were delivered years late and arrived with defects. In South Africa, trains had defects and criminal charges were laid over corruption allegations. About 40 CRRC trains were taken off the tracks in New Zealand due to asbestos contamination in 2014 and the Singaporean government shipped back 26 faulty trains in 2016.
In 2015, China's rail operators blamed the rising number of train malfunctions on declining quality standards at CRRC.
Victorian officials were repeatedly made aware of CRRC's past issues during the procurement process, according to an industry source with first-hand knowledge of the tender process who was not authorised to speak publicly by their company.
RELATED ARTICLE Daniel Andrews defended his dealings with China on Friday. 'China's gateway': Daniel Andrews' Belt and Road pitch to Beijing
OCTOBER 4 2020 ACT election 2020: Greens promise business case for Mawson light rail extension. Jasper Lindell
The Greens say a Mawson extension of the Woden light rail route considered should be considered as part of a business case for the project. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
An extension of Canberra's light rail route to Mawson would be included in the business case for the second stage of the project under an election commitment made by the ACT Greens.
The party said a cost-benefit analysis of the Woden extension should include stops at Phillip and Mawson and the possible expansion of the Mawson park-and-ride facility.
But the duplication of Athllon Drive between Mawson and Woden would need to be stopped in the meantime to make sure a light-rail project did not need to tear up new road.
The party said the plan would prevent Mawson from being overlooked for light rail, which it said would be "shelved for several years" after attention shifted to the third stage to Belconnen.
"There is zoned land available for release in Mawson and Phillip that would be directly served by light rail to Mawson. Part of the cost of light rail to Mawson would be offset by higher land sales revenue," the party said.
Athllon Drive at Phillip, which the Greens say could carry a light rail extension to the Mawson Southlands shopping centre. Picture: Andrew Sheargold
Greens candidate for Murrumbidgee Emma Davidson said light rail to Mawson would be beneficial to southside residents in the same way it had benefited the north.
"Given that light rail from the city to Woden has been split into two stages, and that the second stage has been delayed by complicated federal planning approvals for the Parliamentary Triangle, there is now time to better consider the Mawson extension," Ms Davidson said.
"We can help keep costs down by getting this work underway at the same time as construction gets underway for the initial Civic to Commonwealth Park section.
"Considering this option in the business case will ensure the right cost-benefit assessments are completed before we commit to an extended route."
Stage 2A of light rail is planned to extend the route from its current terminus in the city centre to Commonwealth Park before stage 2B takes the route to Woden. The split project is to allow for the Commonwealth planning approval process.
The ACT government has refused to release full costings or cost-benefit analyses for the project, saying the documents are commercial-in-confidence.
The business case is not expected to be released before contracts are signed.
The Greens said the potential expansion would give passengers from the southern part of the Woden Valley and Tuggeranong better access to light rail, but buses from Tuggeranong would still terminate at Woden.
The Mawson Southlands shopping centre, which the Greens say should be serviced by a light rail extension. Picture: Dion Georgopoulos
In a policy document to be published on Sunday, the Greens said the route from Woden to Mawson was short, flat and did not require a major bridge.
The party argued the cost of construction would likely be reduced because staff and equipment would already be in place after the route reached Woden.
Last month, it was revealed in the latest territory economic update the cost of the second stage of light rail could be almost $2 billion, blowing out by up to $300 million on earlier estimates.
"The total cost for completing light rail stage two, including design, construction, purchase of additional light rail vehicles, an additional depot, and project management is estimated to be in the range of $1.5 billion to $1.9 billion," the update said.
Liberal leader Alistair Coe was forced a fortnight ago to backtrack on a suggestion from Liberal candidate Candice Burch the party would do a study on where the second stage of light rail should go.
"The next stage of light rail will be from the city to Woden," Mr Coe said on September 17 after Ms Burch suggested the party would explore extending light rail to Belconnen first.
Mr Coe has committed to an independent review of the light rail business case, which Labor Transport Minister Chris Steel has called a signal of the Liberals' opposition to the project.
"The only policy the Canberra Liberals have when it comes to light rail is to obstruct, deny and delay," Mr Steel said, adding a review would add years in delays.
Almost 4000 jobs to be created by $1.1 billion deal to boost roads, rail lines
Tamsin Rose and Tom Minear October 4, 2020 Herald Sun 141 comments
Thousands of jobs will be created in Victoria by an infrastructure blitz that will fund upgrades for roads and rail, with the regions set to massively benefit from the boost. These are the projects to be funded.
video: Building jobs a key focus in 2020-2021 budget The 2020–2021 budget is expected to focus heavily on building Australian jobs on the back of a historic recession ahead of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s…
Shovel-ready projects including rail links and highways will be upgraded and built as part of a $1.1bn federal government plan to supercharge jobs across Victoria.
Herald Sun can reveal almost 4000 jobs will be created by the infrastructure blitz — including major works on the Shepparton and Warrnambool rail lines — in Tuesday’s federal budget.
After a war of words between Daniel Andrews and Josh Frydenberg over infrastructure funding, Scott Morrison said the commonwealth had worked with Victoria “to invest in the infrastructure that is ready to go and can help rebuild our economy and create more jobs”.
The new federal commitment will cover the cost of hundreds of millions of dollars which the state government had vowed to spend on local road projects during the 2018 election campaign.
Building Victoria's future
Arthurs Seat pedestrian improvements $0.3m
Barwon Heads Rd upgrade $292m
Hall Rd upgrade $84.5m
Business case for improving connectivity to Port of Melbourne $7.5m
Improving passenger rail services from northern Victoria to Melbourne $7.5m
Narre Warren North Rd upgrade $31m
Shepparton rail line upgrade (stage three) $320m
South Rd upgrade $22.5m
Warrnambool rail line upgrade (stage two) $208m
Western Port Hwy upgrade $27.2m
Western rail plan $30m
Bonang Rd upgrade $7m
McKoy St-Hume Fwy intersection upgrade $104m
More than $315m was pledged by the Premier to upgrade Barwon Heads Rd, but the revised plan will see state contribution drop to $73m, with the federal government forking out $292m.
A $169m upgrade to Hall Rd promised by the state two years ago will now see the federal and state governments each chip in half the costs to get the upgrade completed.
“These projects will keep commuters safe on the road, get people home to their loved ones sooner and provide better public transport links for urban and regional communities,” the Prime Minister said.
The state government will also revise down its promised spend on South Rd in Moorabbin, Narre Warren North Rd and the Western Port Hwy.
Victoria’s regions will be big winners from the extra federal funding, with major rail lines upgraded and duplicated to make moving across the state faster and more reliable.
Trips between Shepparton and Melbourne will be quicker with $320m to upgrade the tracks to allow trains to travel up to 130km/h.
More than $200m will see the Warrnambool to Geelong link upgraded to improve the reliability of service, and help introduce the new VLocity-class trains onto the line.
The government will also bring forward $605 million to upgrade the line between South Geelong and Waurn Ponds with a partial duplication and station upgrades.
Mr Frydenberg said the package would get Victoria moving and unlock the “potential of our regions”.
“These commitments will help to get the Victorian economy moving when restrictions are eased,” the Treasurer said.
The Herald Sun understands the state government has been seeking a cut-price option to complete the problem-plagued $440m Murray Basin Rail project, which ran out of funding last year.
Victoria wants to reduce its funding share of the project, well below the agreed 50-50 split, but the federal government is keen to deliver the project in full.
The commonwealth has also tipped in another $30m to plan a solution to deliver its promised fast rail link to Geelong.
Urban Infrastructure Minister Alan Tudge said the package would help Victoria recover from the COVID-19 recession.
“This government recognises the pain many Victorians are going through and we know that jobs and economic stimulus through targeted infrastructure are what is needed right now,” Mr Tudge said.
Herald Sun revealed on Saturday that Mr Frydenberg wanted Mr Andrews to get on with approving projects that had been promised federal funding — including the East West Link, the Melbourne Airport rail link and fast rail to Geelong — which prompted a terse response from the Premier.
MORE: WHAT’S ON DAN’S BILLION-DOLLAR FEDERAL BUDGET WISHLIST
* Any article which uses 'home to your loved ones faster and safer' is open to suspicion. That grates worse than 'have a nice day' and 'thank you for your patience when we couldn't cope'. The small-scale railway ones have some merit, although running suburban railmotors to Warrnambool and Shepparton is hardly a worthwhile goal. The grand ones are designed and justified badly.
Kickstart Victoria: Call for free public transport for students to help revive university sector
Ian Royall and Olivia Jenkins October 4, 2020 Herald Sun 40 comments
Making public transport free for all university students is one of the big changes education experts want implemented to help reignite Victoria’s higher education sector. Here’s what else they’re calling for.
Public transport should be free for all university students as part of a plan to help kickstart Victoria’s higher education sector, the head of the University of Melbourne has declared...
An anti-graffiti policy would be introduced in Melbourne by lord mayor candidate Arron Wood [with ATN]
John Masanauskas October 4, 2020 Herald Sun 20 comments
Station makeovers unveiled
Sat.4.10.20 Melbourne 'Herald Sun' KIERAN ROONEY
The newly released design for Preston station.
KEY parts of Melbourne’s northern suburbs will be revitalised with stunning architecture under new designs for Bell and Preston stations.
The Andrews government has unveiled how the popular railway stations would look when work is finished in 2020.
A new-look Preston station will provide more space and access for Preston Market shoppers via an open forecourt. Architectural upgrades at Bell station will reference the area’s postwar houses and history while also improving pathways for pedestrians and cyclists.
Bell St, a notorious bottleneck, is one of four level crossings being removed in one massive project on the Upfield Line.
It is expected the project will save time for more than 100,000 Victorians once it is completed.
Other improvements at the new stations include lifts for each elevated platform, a waiting room at ground level, extra bicycle storage, solar panels and new toilets.