• John

Case Study: The Caulfield to Dandenong Rail Project

The Victorian Government’s significant undertaking to remove nine dangerous and congested level crossings and rebuild five stations along Melbourne’s busiest train line –the Cranbourne Packenham line– saw us take on one of the largest projects in Smart history.

image : Level Crossing Removal Authority


So we can truly unpack the work we did on the 12-month project, we need to paint a picture. The Caulfield to Dandenong rail project was an exercise in separating the road and rail network through three sections of elevated rail; achieved through modern design, architectural nous, and transformed community landscaping. With a vision to remove the barrier between communities by creating 225,000m² of linear park, improve safety, and reduce transportation congestion – our work was cut out for us. Ambitious, yes. Unachievable, no. They had us at hello.


A mix of functional painting and inspiring design starts somewhere. For us, it was mapping out the work that involved painting over 200 piers, several fences and abutments across 20,000m². That included forming the highly-skilled team to deliver on our client’s aesthetic – unsurpassed quality in painting, both commercially (the functional surfaces, columns and new stations) and artistically (the decorative columns, visible from the park and public spaces).


It all starts with a clean slate, literally. In order to provide a clean substrate and remove any grime, dirt, toxins, and ensure maximum adhesion of coatings, we blasted the expanse with a high-powered wash. From there it was all systems go for the paint application. And we’re talking tonnes of it … over months. We work with the best products on the market – for this project we used an anti-graffiti paint which also protects against atmospheric dirt and grime. We painted around the clock –including on weekends– while the rail kept running during the intensely condensed program. It was the only way to achieve the perfect outcome: a stunning result with minimal impact to the community during the works.  


With all industries operating at full-throttle, timing was key. Every day was an exercise in evaluating progress and managing multiple facets of the work to deliver on the specs of the project, on time and within budget. It included collaborating with experts in building, landscaping, artwork, and urban planning. Of course, all trades needed to be safety and rail compliant, working with approved vehicles; it’s our standard, for every job. So basically, just another day at the office for us … we mean the outdoors.

In 2018, the elevated rail was fully open to the public. The design and subsequent trade work to support it have helped reduce the overall noise from trains, deliver a more reliable service, and offer the community expansive spaces to enjoy life. It’s a fresh perspective, both functionally and aesthetically.


54 views0 comments