Laburnum railway station, Melbourne

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Laburnum is an unmanned railway station on the Lilydale and Belgrave railway lines, in the eastern Melbourne suburb of Blackburn, Victoria, Australia. It was named after the abundance of laburnum bushes in the area.

Facilities

Laburnum is made mostly from steel, built upon stilts either side of the track which is on an embankment. It has minimal facilities including a pair of side platforms with a small undercover shelter on each. It has steel ramps and steps leading from each platform, with access via Hillside Crescent, Thiele Court and Laburnum Street. There is a small gravel carpark off Thiele Court, which is normally full on weekdays. Laburnum has four bicycle lockers near Laburnum Street.

Both platforms extend over Laburnum Street, and parts of the platforms are held up by concrete blocks. The station has a rail bridge over Laburnum Street which used to bend sharply, making it a very slow, narrow and dangerous corner. The bend has since been widened and the curve smoothed as part of the re-construction of Laburnum.

Room has been left between the platforms for a future third track, which will allow the running of regular express services through to Blackburn and beyond. However, no room has been left for a platform to serve this track.

Platforms and services

Platform 1:

  • Lilydale and Belgrave lines - limited stops services to Flinders Street

Platform 2:

  • Lilydale and Belgrave lines - all stations services to Blackburn, Ringwood, Lilydale, Upper Ferntree Gully and Belgrave
History

Laburnum was opened in 1958 when residential development came to the area.

The original Laburnum station had two platforms with a substantial brick building on the citybound platform, and a small brick shelter on the outbound platform. It had four bicycle lockers on the city-bound platform. A Telstra payphone was located on the outbound platform, however this was removed after repeated vandalism well before the station was closed for the grade separation project (see below). The station was fully wheelchair accessible, as access to both platforms was primarily by ramps. Like most suburban stations in Melbourne during the late 1980s, the station was a target for graffiti. It has not been staffed since the 1990s.

Grade separation

The Middleborough Road Grade Separation Project involved lowering the Belgrave/Lilydale line eight metres below Middleborough Road. A side effect was the rebuilding of Laburnum station, and the removal of the bend in Laburnum Street beneath it. The station buildings were demolished starting from 28 October 2006. Part of Laburnum Street was closed from mid December, temporary undercover areas were installed and the platforms themselves remained until the start of the four week shut down from January 1 to 29 2007. Laburnum Street was reopened in mid February 2007.

During the shut down period (finalised on 28 January 2007), buses replaced trains from Box Hill to Blackburn. Travellers wanting to travel from the vicinity of Laburnum Station to the city needed to catch a bus from Laburnum to Blackburn, and then change to the Box Hill bus and vice versa. The grade separation project was completed at a total cost of $72.5 million - 30% above the original estimate.

Toot Toot - Drive Slowly sign

Laburnum Station was once known for having a sign reading 'Toot Toot - drive slowly' under the railway bridge, which crosses Laburnum Street. Locals would often toot their horns in acknowledgement of the sign as a warning to oncoming traffic approaching the narrow underpass. Infuriated neighbours would frequently attempt to remove this sign by spraying over it- but to no avail; the local council would restore this sign every time.

This was until early 2007 when the rail-line was rebuilt, the road underpass substantially widened and the sign finally removed. Locals to this day are at war over the sign, with acts of spray-painting and painting on the area once home to the sign a common occurrence. The only official remnant of the sign is a small informational plaque erected at the former site.

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