Blackburn railway station, Melbourne

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Blackburn is a railway station on the Lilydale and Belgrave railway lines in Melbourne, Australia. It is located between Railway Road and South Parade in Blackburn, about 250 metres (820 ft) west of Blackburn Road. The station is 17.4 kilometres by rail from Flinders Street Station. Blackburn is classed as a Premium Station, and is in Zone 2 of the Metlink system.

Facilities
Blackburn station has three platforms, numbered from south to north. Platforms 1 and 2 form an island platform, while platform 3 backs on to a carpark (with 120 spaces) to the north of the station. There was originally a goods siding where the carpark now stands. The island platform has a large brick building housing a waiting area, ticket facilities and toilets, while platform 3 has a brick building of similar size. A large Metcard ticket vending machine is located at the entrance to platform 1 & 2, which is able to dispense most ticketing options available and also accept notes and coins. A small coin-only Metcard ticket vending machine is located at the entrance to platform 3, as well as at the entrance to the island platform. Blackburn station is also an important bus interchange. Route 286 depart from Railway Road, and routes 703, 736 and 765 depart from South Parade. Blackburn station has twelve bicycle lockers.

Platforms/Services & Connecting bus services
Platforms 1 & 2:
  • Lilydale and Belgrave lines - all stations and limited stops services to Flinders Street
Platform 3:
  • Lilydale and Belgrave lines - all stations and limited stops services to Ringwood, Lilydale, Upper Ferntree Gully and Belgrave


History
In 1882, the railway from Melbourne to Camberwell was extended to Lilydale, to form the Lilydale railway line. This line was opened on December 1, 1882. Blackburn station, then known as Blackburn Creek station, was opened on December 25 of that year. At this time, the Lilydale line had only a single track, and used a token-based system of signalling. On August 12, 1889, Blackburn was designated a 'crossing station', meaning that it had a loop line to allow trains to pass each other. In December 1891, a second track was added to the section of the Lilydale line between Box Hill and Ringwood stations. At this time, Blackburn had two platforms. Services terminating at Blackburn began in the late 1890s, due to the large number of passengers visiting the Blackburn Lake Sanctuary. However, there were relatively few trains passing through Blackburn - around two trains per hour in 1901. The Lilydale line was electrified as far as Box Hill station on December 17, 1922. By the end of January 1923, electrification had proceeded past Blackburn as far as Ringwood. Automatic signalling, which had reached Box Hill in 1929, was finally extended to Blackburn on July 13, 1958. However, automatic signalling was not installed between Blackburn and Mitcham stations until November 13, 1960. Boom barriers replaced hand gates at Blackburn Road in 1970. In 1980, the goods siding was removed and the old station was demolished (although part of the south platform building remains). It was replaced with a three-platform station so trains could terminate there while Box Hill station was being rebuilt. A new ramp from the old tunnel now provides pedestrian access to the central island platforms. Vic Rail's plan in the late 1970s was to add the third track to the south, but Nunawading Council objected because it would destroy the park there. By 2001, all services that formerly terminated at Box Hill had been extended to Blackburn. Blackburn was upgraded to a Premium Station in 1996. In late 2006 and early 2007, grade separation works at the nearby Middleborough Road level crossing led to the closure of the line between Box Hill and Blackburn, and the construction of a temporary bus interchange at Blackburn for the bus services which replaced the trains. The carpark immediately to the north of platform 3 was converted into the interchange, and a walkway was constructed to allow passengers to cross from the central platforms to the interchange. Blackburn again was on that role in early 2010 as grade separation was undertaken near Nunawading station at Springvale road. Setup was similar to the Middleborough Road but without the Temporary walkway.

Congestion
The station and its level crossing is the site of one of Melbourne's more notorious traffic bottlenecks: Metropolitan route 13 (Blackburn and Surrey Roads) has several turns through the central Blackburn area, leading to slow traffic which is then in turn held up by peak hour trains. There is no obvious solution to the problem; grade separation is difficult compared to other recent projects due to the surrounding shops.

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