Fw: Tues.24.8.21 daily digest
  Roderick Smith

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Tues.24.8.21 Metro Twitter
Aircraft: No ramp access to platforms until late 2021 (pedestrian-underpass works).
Flinders St: still with a lane closed for tunnel works.
Mooroolbark: Station closed until late-2021 (level-crossing removal). A shuttle bus will operate Croydon - Mooroolbark - Lilydale, connecting with trains. There will be no access to station platforms or facilities during this time.
Edithvale/Chelsea/Bonbeach: Stations closed until late 2021 (level-crossing removal). A shuttle bus will operate Mordialloc - Carrum, connecting with trains. There will be no access to station platforms or facilities during this time.
The level crossings at Argyle Avenue, Bondi Road and Edithvale Road are closed until early-October.  Chelsea Road is closed permanently. See http://levelcrossings.vic.gov.au/projects/chelsea-road-chelsea
Until Wednesday 25 August the Royal Parade southbound service lane will be closed north of the Grattan Street intersection, adjacent to the Metro Tunnel Project site.   For more information on transport changes in this area, visit: https://metrotunnel.vic.gov.au/construction/parkville/changes-to-grattan-street
Buses replace  trains  between Newport and Williamstown until the last train of Friday 12 November (level-crossing removal).
6.33 Hurstbridge line: Delays up to 30 minutes (a train with a fault stopped at Ivanhoe).
- 6.41 Delays up to 20 minutes after the the 5.29 ex Hurstbridge was removed from service at Ivanhoe owing to a train fault.
6.51 The 5.36 Flinders Street - Frankston is stopped in the Chelsea area with a train fault. This may cause delays up to 20 minutes.
- 7.00 Delays up to 15 minutes are anticipated.
Calling all Victorian First Nations artists! Submit your EOI to create a permanent public artwork next to the Metro Tunnel entrance in South Yarra or at the future Gap Rd rail bridge in Sunbury. Registrations close 5pm on 6 September.
This spring eight more level crossings will be removed; six new stations will open by the end of November
We’re continuing maintenance works and major project works this spring; there'll be disruptions on the train and tram network.
We removed the Ferguson St boom gates over the weekend. Crews are working round the clock until Sat 13 Nov to remove the level crossing and build the new North Williamstown station.
Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Williamstown from 20.30 until the last train (maintenance and level-crossing works).
Buses replace trains North Melbourne - Werribee from 20.30 until the last train (maintenance works).
Pakenham/Cranbourne lines: Buses replace trains Caulfield - Westall from 20.40 until the last train (tunnel works).
Buses replace trains Clifton Hill - Mernda from 21.00 until the last train (works).
Buses replace trains Moorabbin - Frankston from 21.00 until the last train (maintenance works).
Buses replace trains Moorabbin - Frankston from 9pm to last train tonight, while maintenance works take place.

Aug 24 2021 Istanbul, Turkey: All aboard the world's greatest public transport thrill ride  Anthony Dennis
Red trams trundle along Istiklal Caddesi, the city's long, narrow and notoriously crowded avenue-cum-pedestrianised shopping mall. Photo: Getty Images
As the diminutive, ketchup-coloured tram trundles along at barely a walking pace, the vehicle's driver furiously sounds his bell in a vain attempt to thread a path through a throng of hundreds, maybe thousands, of oblivious pedestrians.
But the sound emitted is more a pathetic "dong" than resounding "ding". This bell is so clearly worn from overuse along this section of crowded track that the frustrated driver would do just as well if he bashed a frypan with a wooden spoon out the tram window.
It's mid-afternoon on a Sunday in Istanbul and I'm passing along Istiklal Caddesi, the city's long, narrow and notoriously crowded avenue-cum-pedestrianised shopping mall.
The Marmaray underneath the Bosphorus.  Photo: Alamy
This is the less than a two-kilometre journey aboard Istanbul's so-called Nostalgic Tram, a faithful and convincing replica of the original 19th-century version which once operated along here until it was, like so many city trams around the world, withdrawn from service.
Happily it was revived in 1990 with Istanbul's transport officials having to rely largely on old photographs of its predecessor in order to recreate it.
Today it connects two famous squares, Tünel with Taksim, the latter being Istanbul's main public gathering point.
I've visited many of the great transport cities of the world such as San Francisco, Lisbon and Hong Kong but for sheer variety of public conveyances in stupendous settings, Istanbul comprehensively mows all of them down.
To me cities like Istanbul, possessed with intricate, colourful and at times vintage transport networks designed to conquer both land and water and which are still actively patronised by their citizens, are akin to mammoth theme parks.
Every ferry, funicular, tram or train is a thrill ride of sorts to be savoured and enjoyed.
I'm visiting this beguiling city of 15.5 million, sprawling over 5000 square kilometres, on an overnight shore excursion, part of a pre-pandemic Mediterranean cruise aboard the Regent Seven Seas Voyager with Istanbul one of its premier ports of call. (The cruise line recently resumed cruising to the city as the effects of the pandemic in Europe have finally begun to ease).
With so little time in Istanbul, famously straddling two continents, I've devised, with the help of an experienced tour guide, a breakneck itinerary that will see me circle the city, sampling each of what I like to call its Turkish transports of delight and the sights en route.
I depart early from my luxury hotel, Raffles Istanbul, one of the city's best hotels which is set on a hill overlooking the Bosphorus. I've just spent a night here off the ship with the plan to look around and return to it in plenty of time to continue my cruise.
Haydarpasa Main Station in Kadikoy, Istanbul  Photo: iStock
All going well, I'll have enough time to also visit the Spice Market and Blue Mosque, though this being a Sunday, the Grand Bazaar is sadly closed.
As it eventuates, there are two Nostalgic tram lines in Istanbul - one on the European side and another on the Asian side.
In order to reach the Asian shore, I need to take the modern Istanbul metro from Gayrettepe, the station below Raffles Istanbul, and connect to the Marmaray railway tunnel, among the great feats of modern-day engineering.
Opened in 2013, the traffic-beater Marmaray stretches almost 14 kilometres with a large part making its way beneath the Bosphorus.
The name "Marmaray" is derived from the combination of the name of the Sea of Marmara and the word "ray", Turkish for "rail".
During the construction of the tunnel, work had to be halted after the discovery of ancient trading boats that had been preserved, complete with their wares, for centuries in the mud of the seabed.
After the trip on the Marmaray, which, to be honest, feels much like any modern underground train ride, we emerge from the European shore into the daylight of the more subdued Asian side of Istanbul where our plan is to take the other Nostalgia tram.
It was introduced after the success of the original service on the European shore. It began as an experiment in 1990 and proved such a hit with Istanbulites and tourists alike that it continued.
We've arrived a little before the Nostalgic tram has begun its daily service which allows time to explore the nearby narrow pedestrianised streets and to sample menemen, a classic Turkish breakfast omelette-like dish, at a local al fresco café in the fashionable suburb of Kadıköy.
This neighbourhood is stacked with worn low-rise apartment blocks with restaurants, cafes and shops below them, and even though this is the Asian side of Istanbul the palpable cosmopolitan ambience is reminiscent of a distant continental European city.
After our delicious repast, downed with typically thick Turkish coffee, we venture back to the Kadikoy ferry and metro stop where the Nostalgic tram has started its daily run along Bahariye Street and down through the fashionable neighbourhood of Moda.
The area's original Number 20 tram operated on the Kadıköy-Moda route and began service on October 29, 1934, the anniversary of the foundation of the Turkish Republic.
I'd like to linger longer in this delightful, easy-going part of Istanbul but I have a ship to catch, though there is time to take another vessel in the form of one of the classic public ferries that criss-cross the Bosphorus.
Of course, I could make it easier for myself by returning to the European side by taking the Marmaray but that would mean missing out on a ferry ride across the busy Bosphorus and its awesome views of the city with its emblematic dome and minaret-studded skyline.
By crossing the two continents on the Bosphorus the visitor is able to glimpse the city's magnificent historic palaces, the summer houses of the Ottoman Sultans and the famous Maiden Tower in the middle of the ever-turbulent waterway.
Firmly back on the European side, if there's one form of transport that the citizens of Istanbul most cherish it's what is known simply as "Tunel".
The almost 600-metre subterranean funicular is claimed to be the world's second oldest underground train line after the London Tube and the first in continental Europe.
Originally steam-powered, today it remains a beloved feature of Istanbul's intricate and colourful public transport mosaic, delivering citizens and tourists from the port to near Istiklal Caddesi along which the aforementioned Nostalgic tram travels.
There's one other, much more modern and far less romantic funicular, opened in 2006, which connects Taksim Square with the Sultanahmet tram line which we need to take to connect us back to the port.
From here, another modern tram across the bridge will take us towards a lunch of all manner of kebabs at a lively restaurant overlooking the Bosphorus and then visits to the famed Spice Market and the Blue Mosque.
It's been an enthralling, action-packed exercise circumnavigating this magnificent city on all of its myriad modes of transport and negotiating its relentless crowds.
There's been no time to pay a visit to other Istanbul attractions like its mysterious whirly dervishes, a centre for which we passed back in the Tunel district. But, as I make my way back to the ship, elated as I am, I do confess to feeling more than a little spun out.
The Portuguese capital boasts one of the most spectacular public transport rides in the form of Tram 28, which negotiates the city's hilly hoods. There are also quaint funiculars, ferries across the Tagus and the quirky Gustav Eiffel-designed elevators to Lisbon's upper levels. See visitlisboa.com
The famous cable cars dipping up and down San Francisco's wildly undulating streets are joined by a lesser known street-car system along with ferries connecting outlying localities such as Sausolito and passing famous sites such as Alcatraz. See sftravel.com
Tokyo's massive metro and huge stations are an urban marvel but there's also the largely above ground, easier to navigate Japan Rail circle line (Yamanote Line). Don't miss the Tokyo Sakura Tram (Toden Arakawa Line), the last one in the Japanese capital as well as the monorail to and from Haneda Airport. See gotokyo.org
Hong Kong has it all when it comes to transport: the Star Ferry linking Kowloon and Victoria, the double-decker trams running the length of the island, a sophisticated city escalator system, the funicular to The Peak and, of course, the superb metro system. See discoverhongkong.com
The Thai capital's death-defying (and not so death-defying) tuk-tuks and its elevated Skytrain, the world's biggest moving air-cooler. are two things. But it's the bargain round-trip on the crazed Chao Phraya river commuter ferry ride that takes the sticky rice cake. See tourismthailand.org
STAY Doubles at the five-star Raffles Istanbul start from $973.73. Zorlu Centre, Koru-Sokagı, Besiktas, Istanbul. Ph +90 212 924 02 00. See raffles.com/Istanbul
RIDE Buy an Istanbulkart (Istanbul Card) which provides access to all of the forms of transport in Istanbul. Load the card with sufficient credit at the yellow machines from which it is purchased. See istanbultouristpass.com
Anthony Dennis travelled as a guest of Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Raffles Istanbul.
See also: Crossing 55km of water: Taking the world's longest sea bridge
See also: The world's 20 coolest public transport rides
* I've been on all of those in Istanbul: fun and interesting, but not warranting the headline 'greatest'. There is no such thing. Half the fun of travelling is finding variety. Everywhere has its own character.
The other five listed are also fun. So are Oslo, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, Porto, Wien, the whole Ruhr set, Moskva, Bilbao, Roma, Luzern, Toronto, New York, Pittsburgh, Buenos Aires, Bangkok, Kolkata, Seattle, San Diego and more.
[There is no such thing as 'greatest' or 'best'.  Public transport has to be measured by convenience, efficiency and value.  Sightseeing might be fun, but doesn't make a system 'great'.]
* If you're going to mention Australia, how about Perth's great rail system, or Melbourne's famous trams (world's largest network)?

Chapel St: VCAT approves nine-storey hotel over train line near Windsor station Kiel Egging August 24, 2021 Stonnington Leader
A developer has triumphed in its bid to build a high-rise hotel over an inner Melbourne railway line, but not everyone is impressed with the unique project.
A developer has won a long battle to build what could be Melbourne’s first hotel over part of a railway line on the edge of the CBD.
VCAT members approved SMA Projects’ plans for a 10-storey, 111-room hotel near Windsor railway station after the development was initially rejected by Stonnington Council in December.
The council received 115 objections to the proposed hotel at 24-26 and 28 Chapel St with concerns about traffic, a lack of pick up and drop off space, and its presence on the area’s streetscape.
But the tribunal overturned the council’s decision after a week-long hearing in July, provided the hotel’s height was cut by one storey to nine storeys.
A nine-storey hotel will be built over part of the railway line near Windsor railway station. Picture: David Crosling
SMA Projects originally pitched a 20-storey mixed-use development at the same location in 2017, which was also rejected by the council and later refused by the tribunal.
Members Joel Templar and Gary Chase said the hotel was “a very different proposal than that considered in the previous decision”.
They agreed with the council’s view that the hotel was too high, but felt only a small reduction was necessary.
“We have not been persuaded that the height needs to be substantially lower than what is proposed, and certainly not to the extent the council says,” they said.
“We find that the proposal only needs to be reduced by one level to achieve an acceptable outcome.
Mr Templar and Mr Chase dismissed concerns about the hotel’s presence among heritage-styled buildings in the area, saying it would “clearly read as a contemporary insertion into this southern end of Chapel St”.
They also felt a lack of on-site parking and no pick up or drop off space at the hotel was “not an ideal scenario … but is not so concerning as to warrant outright refusal of the proposal”.
Stonnington councillor Mike Scott expressed his disappointment over the decision through his Facebook page.
“No one is interested in a ‘bookend’ similar to what’s happened to the South Yarra end of Chapel St,” he wrote.
Cr Scott’s followers were also unhappy with the outcome with Kim Lawliotis writing: “We’ll be a Docklands style, shaded wind tunnel in no time”.
Mayor Kate Hely said the tribunal had “ignored the Stonnington community’s clear opposition to the development”.
“Not only is the proposed hotel excessively high for the location, the negative traffic and amenity impacts on the surrounding businesses and community will be substantial,” she said.
“VCAT’s requirement to lower the building by one level falls short of the community’s reasonable expectations that its voice is heard at the state level”.
As part of its works, SMA Projects will demolish existing buildings on the site and also add retail space on the ground level.
In issuing the permit, the tribunal ordered the developer to begin construction within three years and to be finished by 2026.
More Coverage
Guests evacuated after hotel floods
The tough sell for flash inner city apartment
* "Mr Templar and Mr Chase dismissed concerns about the hotel’s presence among heritage-styled buildings in the area," I guess that is what Liverpool also thought before its World Heritage status was cancelled.
* I would have thought an Australian team would have more 'feel' for the area.
* At the next State election, the candidates and/or parties who commit to removing the excessive powers of this unelected and disconnected star chamber deserves your/our vote.
* Danny Andrews and the CFMEU are destroying Melbourne. Ugly high rise and railway overpasses will be their legacy.
* The artist impression is far from appealing. 
* That is one truly ugly development. Rubber stamping yet another blight on the landscape and on the local community seems to be VCAT's only skill.

Building blitz for rail and roads. TESS IKONOMOU
COMMUTERS are being warned of travel delays as works increase in a road and rail construction blitz.
Six railway stations will open, and eight level crossings will be removed by November — for a total of 55 crossings re- moved across Melbourne.
In the city’s west, the Ferguson St, Williamstown, level crossing will be gone by lowering rail under the road, and buses will trains until mid November. Major works will be undertaken on 12 lines.
Extra lanes will be added and ramps upgraded on West Gate Freeway over 30 days starting next month.
Transport Infrastructure Minister Allan said the projects helped create thousands of jobs. “By the end of the year, a number of dangerous death traps will be gone for good, new stations will be open and some of our busiest suburban roads will have the upgrades they need to get you home safer and sooner,” she said.
The Edgars Rd westbound entry ramp on the M80 Ring Road will be closed for six weeks from late September — the M80 will connect to the North East Link and Eastern Freeway, where travel time is expected to be reduced by up to 35 minutes.
Construction of the Bulleen Park and Ride — Melbourne’s first dedicated busway — will also start, and upgrades will be completed for O’Herns Rd and Plenty Rd, and the new Mordialloc Freeway is expected to open by the end of this year.

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