Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 5 Number 1 Contents 80 futurebuilding Volume 5 Number 1
outlying section from Deer Park to West
Werribee Junction Work Package, as well as
the small work package at Werribee Junction,
a Leighton-Downer joint venture, which built
the rail-over-road flyover to join the existing
Melbourne--Geelong regional passenger line.
From surveying the vast, open landscape,
including the junction, Tarneit and Wyndham
Vale, Summers was now working within an
existing rail corridor in an urban area.
'It was quite a challenge to build a new
station, while preserving a heritage station,
and also keeping the trains running,' Summers
reflects on Footscray's latest landmark.
'You're trying to keep a heritage building
intact, build new weather canopies, match an
existing station structure, do all new ramps,
stairs, lifts -- and keep people moving through
a construction site to get to their trains.'
That lovely heritage-listed building, and
its sister originals, are reliving their glory days.
'All of the roof tiles are original slate tiles
from Wales,' Summers says. 'So, to replace
them, we had to get genuine Welsh slate out
of the mines in Wales.'
Footscray's major works extended
beyond its impressive new station. Road
bridges on Nicholson, Albert, Hopkins and
Victoria Streets had to be replaced.
Nicholson Street's original bridge
had, unusually, carried a row of narrow
shops along one side. The bridge links the
communities of Little Ethiopia and African
Town and is well-travelled by students from
the nearby Victoria University Footscray
Engineering Director Brendan Driscoll
recognised that this, and the nearby Albert
Street Bridge, deserved a new landmark.
And so, the new Nicholson Street bridge, a
handsome white tubular arch, has conjured
an inviting combination of width and
weather protection. Albert Street's new
crossing is almost as striking, with its blue
'Both bridges were constructed largely
off site, and their main beams craned
into position -- a time-efficient technique
that benefited both the project and the
community,' says Driscoll.
Footscray's transformation is already
visible in the new 1 McNab Avenue office
tower that brings hundreds of people daily to
work in the community. The new Café Cui,
on Leeds Street, could be anywhere in trendy
inner Melbourne; yet, it's only metres from
the Footscray Markets, whose colour and
noise still recalls the 1960s.
But here's Footscray in one, delicious
bite: sometime in 1979, Nick Tsiligiris
parked a caravan at the train station and
began serving his Olympic Doughnuts. The
sugar-dusted treats were jam-filled from
a ceramic dolphin dispenser, destined to
become a Footscray icon itself.
In the station's transformation, the RRLA
replaced the dilapidated caravan with a
purpose-built kiosk. Tsiligiris, now edging
into his 80s, is delighted with his new kiosk,
and with the changes he's seeing daily in
Footscray. 'It's nicer now; different people
coming, younger people,' he smiles. 'I'm
A little way up the track, the elegance
of the new West Footscray station belies the
fact that it has been relocated 160 metres
to the west. It, too, tells a local story, with
'picture-perforated' steel panels on the
overbridge -- a 24-hour crossing, enhanced
with CCTV and night security staff -- featuring
historic photographs overlaid with the faces
of local children. Parkiteer bicycle parking is
likewise a feature of the new stations.
Footscray's rebirth is being mirrored in
Sunshine, now truly poised to take advantage
of its position as the western gateway to
Melbourne. Here, preservation has taken on
an eternal dimension.
The Sunshine diuris orchid is a critically
endangered plant. Examples are being
cultivated in a nursery at Laverton, hopefully
to ensure the species' survival, but it grows
wild only in a grassy little area among the
tracks in Sunshine.
Consolidating all the tracks to
accommodate the new RRL lines,
maintaining the trains' original distance
from the reserve, was not the matter of a
moment. But then, neither is the extinction
of a species.
Nearby, the brand-new H V McKay
footbridge commemorates the industrialist
Hugh McKay, whose vast combine-harvester
enterprise was established on the adjacent
land in 1906. The 66-metre bridge, hoisted
into position with one extraordinary lift in
January 2014, has its supports decorated
with murals, which are helping to reveal
Sunshine's rich history to its modern residents.
Pre-dating even H V McKay's tractor
works were the level crossings on Anderson
Road. The branching of train lines beyond
Sunshine -- continuing west for Ballarat,
turning north for Bendigo -- had blighted this
major north-south thoroughfare with a pair
of level crossings just 450 metres apart.
The southernmost line now runs beneath
a new, longer road bridge. Like many in the
RRL project, it's been built wide enough
to accommodate future, additional lines
beneath it. (The line to Melton is said to
be a strong candidate for electrified metro
services in the future.)
Just to the north, the Bendigo line
crossing lent itself to a rail-over-road
separation. Innovation again attended the
construction of this new rail bridge, built 'off-
line' in an adjoining worksite. Train services
were interrupted for just one weekend, while
the completed bridge was literally slid across
into place. The road underpass was then dug
The RRL has been characterised by an
atmosphere of innovation, best practice
and one of competing for excellence --
and all have contributed to the project's
extraordinary safety record. Safety is built
into the RRL's foundations.
Garner says: 'Alliancing has driven a big
shift; safety performance isn't incentivised, it's
penalised -- so that drove a whole mind shift for
teams to go the extra yard. Before we went to
market, we drove a campaign to get our team
into a different safety paradigm. It empowers
everyone to enforce that responsibility.
'The rail sector traditionally hasn't had
a good safety record, compared with other
sectors. There were many work practices
that have "always been done that way"...
When you challenge it, it turns out you don't
necessarily have to do it that way.'
Safety awareness across the project was
maintained in the reporting of every incident,
no matter how minor, and workshops
to challenge and refine procedures. The
workforce was trained, respected and
nurtured, and began joining the push to
make things better.
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