After some initial misgivings I think that my current stance is that I’m in favour of the product, but definitely unimpressed with, and almost completely against, the process. The entire near-farce of all affected residents learning of the project through newspaper articles pretty much sums it up. The “community consultation” sessions that we attended seemed all to be presentations of what’s already been decided, together with a vague and frustrating “not yet known” for any questions raised. All the consultation surveys were explicitly not sent to anyone who lives within 400m of the rail line, which rules out a huge proportion of affected residents.
I’ve decided to keep a little log of the comings and going at our little part of the world, supposedly not included in the raised section, but being used by contractors as an access point and staging area.
- : a truckload of cement has been poured on the ground inside the rail gate, I guess that’s a sure sign that the end of our street will be used for more than just the usual infrequent trackworks.
- : angle grinders, sledgehammers against rails, reversing trucks and shouting workmen, the usual sounds of trackwork at night.
- : Walked home today to find the dead end of Paddington street barricaded off and a pumper truck backed up onto the footpath at the rail crossing with a crew busy doing something on the signals. No problem getting through on foot. I’m hardly surprised that the signals on the lines fail when I see the amount of “non-hazardous material” that gets pumped out every time they have to work on the lines!
- : the pumper truck is around on our side of the line this morning, half of the end of Richardson street is closed off, much to the annoyance of the all the mums dropping the kids off for Oakleigh Grammar. A sure sign of a long night’s work is the pile of coffee cups and burger papers dumped by the crew under the bushes. Yes, once again I picked them up and put them in our recycling bin.
- : forklifts and trucks up and down the bike path all weekend, the temporary fencing has been installed, closing off the line from the path. I wonder if the LXRA will repair the damage that their trucks will do to the new concrete footpath, given that it’s only just been repaired by Monash Council?
- - : day one of a week of nightworks; “medium to high level noise” according to the leaflet dropped through the letterbox. There’s a backhoe lifting rails, voices shouting to be heard over the grinders, there are utes and trucks reversing about – with either a beep-beep-beep or a bzzt-bzzt-bzzt depending on their annoyance level. Perhaps this is just normal maintenance, but it all seems to be coinciding with the long black duct of signals that have been laid down from Hughesdale station.
- : Signalling works from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. – another night of crap sleep.