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Bell Street Level Crossing

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Council has adopted an evidence based approach to maximise community, transport and economic benefits from the removal of the Bell Street level crossing in Preston.

One Integrated Project: Four Level Crossing Removals

In January 2016, the Victorian Government announced it would remove 50 level crossings from Victoria's metropolitan rail system, including three crossings in Darebin at Grange Road, Alphington; High Street, Reservoir; and Bell Street, Preston.

Council recognises level crossings are problematic for our community. They cause traffic congestion, vehicle accidents, personal injury and limit how frequently rail services can run.

Evidence-based Study: Planning ahead for a growing population

The boom gates at Bell Street are currently closed about 50 per cent of the time during the morning and evening peak.

With Public Transport Victoria predicting train services will double during the next 20 years, this level crossing must be removed or you can see a point in the future when the boom gates will never open.

The population is predicted to continue to grow and local congestion is expected to increase 80 per cent during the next 20 years. Keeping people moving will require significant investment in pedestrian, bus and cycling infrastructure.

We believe the Victorian Government's project presents a once in a lifetime opportunity to address these problems by also removing three level crossings located adjacent to Bell Street at Murray Road, Cramer Street and Oakover Road. This approach would make a serious dent in local traffic congestion and enable greater urban renewal and better community outcomes.

Doing our homework:

Council's role on these projects is as a stakeholder, not a decision maker. That's why we asked experts to undertake an evidence-based study to identify potential community benefits and how they could be maximised.

The study examined the community and economic benefits and consequences of each engineering solution to remove the Bell Street crossing, and what additional benefits would be achieved by expanding the Bell Street project to remove three level additional crossings in Preston.

Key Findings: Realistic options for removing four crossings, not just one

The key findings of the study present a compelling argument for removing four crossings at once using an elevated rail solution. We will use this information as part of Council's own submission to the Victorian Government and we hope you find it useful to inform your own views.

The study initially looked at local topography which constrains how grade separations can be achieved from an engineering perspective.

It found the cost of tunnelling (sometimes referred to as 'cut and cover') is not financially viable. This means the Government will only consider either an elevated or open trench solution.

The evidence presented in the study clearly shows that an elevated rail bridge by far produces the best outcomes for the local community. It is the only feasible way to remove four crossings as one integrated project. And it's the only way to future-proof Preston's rail corridor.

Figure 1 - Section view showing Bell Street Preston level crossing removed through elevated rail.

Connecting Preston - Figure 1 - Section view showing Bell Street Preston level crossing removed through elevated rail

The Evidence: What convinced Council that elevated rail is the best solution?

A rail under solution does not mean a tunnel. It means a wide trench protected by a wire fence. It will divide our city in half, making it harder to get from one side of the city to the other.

It also means the level crossings at Murray and Cramer Road can never feasibly be removed, which in time will effectively turn them into dead ends.

An elevated rail solution, however, enables the removal of four level crossings, not just one. This could create a new linear green heart for Preston estimated to be the equivalent to two MCG's in size. Council has put its hand up to manage this space, which could be transformed into parks with pedestrian and cycling paths.

Figure 2 - Section diagram of rail under solution showing large area of open trenching and fencing that would be required

Connecting Preston - Figure 2 - Section diagram of rail under solution showing large area of open trenching and fencing that would be required

Open Up New Space: An area about two MCGs in size could be reclaimed for open space

Elevated rail compared to a trench has many benefits. It:

  • Frees up two MCG's worth of new open space.
  • Makes space for improved public transport connections between bus and rail services.
  • Enables people to travel in all directions more safely and quickly.
  • Improves safety.
  • Reduces noise, making it quieter for people nearby
  • Minimises construction disruption
  • Is more cost effective
  • Will result in two brand new rail stations
  • Removes Preston's east/west divide.
Figure 3 - Imagine the possibilities

Connecting Preston - Figure 3 - Imagine the possibilities

A trench does not enable these benefits and would leave Preston with:

  • A kilometre long, eight metre deep trench dividing the community forever
  • Limited footbridges restricting east west travel
  • A 2.2 metre high safety fence
  • Level crossings at Murray Road and Cramer Street unable to be feasibly removed in future.
Figure 4 - By comparison, an open trench achieves none of this

Connecting Preston - Figure 4 - By comparison, an open trench achieves none of this

Have Your Say: We're Having Our Say And Encourage You To Have Yours

We have asked the Victorian Government to expand their project to remove the Bell Street level crossing to include the removal of three additional level crossings at Oakover Road, Cramer Street and Murray Road.

Our Council Report and feasibility study is available on our website at 3 April Meeting Agenda and Feasibility study or by calling customer service on 8470 8888.

Level Crossing Removal Authority
Make sure you get involved in the Victorian Government's consultation activities to make your preference clear to them. Register your details at or call 1800 762 667. For languages other than English, please call 131 450.

The Victorian Government's Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA) has already asked local people what they felt was most important about the Bell Street level crossing project in Preston. That initial round of consultation ended on 18 November, 2016. The LXRA is now reviewing the feedback. If you would like to see what the community told the LXRA, visit

The next opportunity to have your say is coming up

The LXRA will present concept designs for the feasible level crossing removal options to the community and invite feedback on those options through:

  • community drop-in sessions
  • pop-ups at local train stations
  • online information
  • visits to local businesses.

A printable version of this document is available here, Connecting Preston.

Nominations for Young Business Achiever Awards

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Nominate a local young person under 25 years who has made a significant contribution to their company for the Northern Business Achievement Awards Young Business Achiever Awards.

Criteria for Young Achiever Nomination:

- must be 25 years or younger

- must have been with the organisation for more than 12 months

- demonstrated outstanding achievement in their particular field

- has clear career aspirations

- has an outstanding attitude to their work and fellow employees

- has made a significant contribution to their company


The Young Achiever must be available to attend and present at the NBAA Business Breakfast on Thursday, 7 September 2017.


Please complete the online Nomination Form by 4pm, Friday 28 July 2017.

Darebin Kite Festival Photo Competition

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Share your Darebin Community & Kite Festival photos on social media to win one of three $100 vouchers!


Share your Darebin Community & Kite Festival photos and WIN one of three $100 Darebin vouchers!

Share your photos on social media with #darebinkites to go into the running to win one of three $100 vouchers to spend at a Darebin business of your choice!

How to enter:

a. Access and log in to your personal Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account

b. Capture an image of your experience at the Darebin Community & Kite festival 2017, and post the image from your account

c. Ensure the post privacy setting is open to public (not set to private), Instagram entrants will need to make their profile public.

d. Use the hashtag #darebinkites in the same post


There are three $100 vouchers for a local Darebin business up for grabs!

Entries close 11:59pm (AEST) Sunday 2 April, 2017.

For full details, see terms and conditions

Darebin Pet Expo Competition

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Our competition has been extended to 28 April 2017. Share a favourite photo of your pet with us and go into the draw to win one of three great pet hampers. Upload an image of your pet with your pet’s name with hashtag #darebinpetexpo


  • 1st Prize - Pet hamper worth $100
  • 2nd Prize - Pet hamper worth $75
  • 3rd Prize - Pet hamper worth $50

How to enter:

Post a picture of your pet on Facebook or Instagram with the #darebinpetexpo hashtag. Further details below.

1. Facebook -
Log into your Facebook account and upload an image of your pet. Check the privacy setting for the post is set to 'Public' and add the #darebinpetexpo hashtag to your post.

2. Instagram –
Login to your Instagram account and take a photo of your pet. Post the photo on Instagram with the hashtag #darebinpetexpo.

3. Twitter–
Login to your Twitter account and take a photo of your pet. Post the photo on Instagram with the hashtag #darebinpetexpo.


Remember to like us on Facebook  Instagram  or Twitter and visit the Darebin Pet Expo at the Community & Kite Festival on Sunday, 26 March 2017.

Entries commence 18 March 2017 and close 5pm, Friday 28 April 2017. All winners will be announced on Wednesday 3 May 2017.

Full details of entry are in the Competition Terms and Conditions.

Draft Council Plan and Action Plan

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Are you interested in our community consultation about the Council budget?

Setting the budget is one of the most challenging things we do as a Council, and with your help and feedback we’ll work hard to get the balance right. Cazaly Ward residents are invited to attend the final of our Community Budget Consultations with Darebin Councillors

Closure of Merri Creek Bridge at Walker Street

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The bridge over the Merri Creek between Walker Street and Rushall Train Station, will be temporarily closed due to bank reconstruction works.

These are essential safety works to manage the subsiding creek bank and involve the removal of road pavement and associated road drainage, excavation works, construction of retention systems, and reconstruction of road pavement and footpaths.

The works will begin in early February and are expected to take approximately 3 months. During the works there will be no through access from Walker Street to McLachlan Street. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Pedestrians and bike riders: Please take an alternative route via Koonda Lat Bridge or High Street Bridge. See Alternative Route Map for details.

Train users: Merri, Westgarth and Clifton Hill Train Stations are an easy walking distance.

Further Information
Project Manager
Phone: 8470 8888

M40 Water Main Renewal Project

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Melbourne Water is renewing two sections of the M40 water main, from the Preston reservoirs to Merri Creek. Sections of St Georges Road and Robinson Road will be impacted by these works.

The St Georges Road bike path and surrounding vegetation will be restored by Melbourne Water once the pipeline work has been completed.

For more information and regular updates please visit the Melbourne Water website or phone 1800 754 077.

For more information on what we are doing to plan for the future of this corridor visit Advocacy in Darebin / Key Projects.


Messages to Myself

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Be inspired by the wisdom of people of all ages through their postcard messages to their younger, older of present selves. Messages to Myself has been part of Council's Lifelong Learning for Wellbeing program, which affirmed and celebrated the idea that learning is a lifelong experience and part of our individual and collective journeys.

People shared things they wish they knew when they were younger, affirmations and things they have learnt and want to remember. Many Darebin people across six Council and community events participated - here are some of their messages to all of us.

Explore the Messages to Myself Booklet.

Latest News

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Keep up to date with the latest news and changes in the City.

Free Public WiFi

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Free public WiFi is now available in our major shopping strips. Next time you’re out and about you will be able to browse social media, webpages, search for local businesses and read your emails.

Free Wi-Fi is now fully operational in the following shopping centres:

  • High Street, Preston
  • Station Street, Fairfield
  • Broadway, Reservoir
  • High Street, Northcote and Westgarth
  • Edwardes Street, Reservoir
  • Spring Street, Reservoir

For more detail on coverage areas please see Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

How do I access the Free Wi-Fi service?

  • Turn on Wi-Fi
  • Select “Free Darebin Wi-Fi” (in Preston, Fairfield and Reservoir) or “Darebin Free Wi-Fi” (in Northcote and Westgarth) and connect
  • Click on your internet browser from your menu page and select “sign in to Wi-Fi” when prompted
  • Accept the terms and conditions
  • Enjoy free Wi-Fi!


If you have problems accessing the service and need help, there are service technicians available, at or by calling:

  • Ph: 1300 765 543 for Preston, Reservoir, Fairfield
  • Ph: 1300 135 249 for Northcote and Westgarth

This free Wi-Fi service has been made available to you by Darebin City Council with the assistance of business owners and operators in the coverage areas and with the assistance of our industry partners Infrastructure Logic and Easyweb Digital.

Opportunities for Business

Businesses in Preston, Reservoir and Fairfield will be able to list and promote their businesses on a marketing portal (coming soon), this is already available in Northcote and Westgarth. 

If you would like to know how you can use the services to market your business products and services, please contact us.

Business Development

Ph: 8470 8344