CONCERNS over the safety of several notorious level crossings on the Lilydale-Belgrave line were renewed last week following the recent fatal collision of a truck and train in the state's south-east.
One man was killed and 13 people injured in the November 3 crash at the Abbotts Road level crossing in Dandenong South.
The crossing is ranked 144th on the Australian Level Crossing Assessment Model's list of Victorian crossings most in need of upgrading.
Meanwhile, level crossings at Scoresby Road, Bayswater, and Maroondah Highway, Lilydale, sit within the top 60 of the same list.
The study ranks every level crossing from one to 3132. However, the state government does not exclusively use this list to decide which crossings will be upgraded first.
The Bayswater level crossing has been allocated funding by the Baillieu government in previous budgets as part of a $16.5 million commitment to remove five metropolitan crossings. But it is not known when the project will begin and whether it is subject to the allocation of project funding in future budgets.
The Lilydale level crossing has not yet been earmarked for removal.
The ALCAM study, finalised in 2008, also includes four crossings on the Lilydale-Belgrave line between Ringwood and Richmond stations that fall in the top 20 crossings in greatest need of an upgrade.
Since the list was published, the No. 1 priority crossing — Springvale Road, Nunawading — has been upgraded to include a bridge for over-passing cars. Two others — Mitcham Road, Mitcham at No. 3 and Blackburn Road, Blackburn, No. 17 — have been allocated funding for upgrades.
Number 14 on the list — Union Road, Surrey Hills — has not been earmarked for removal.
A spokesman for Warrandyte MP Ryan Smith said these funding allocations showed the government was committed to eliminating as many crossings as possible.
"These works are examples of the government delivering on its election commitments," he said.
Neither the Mitcham nor Blackburn road removals will be finished before the end of 2014. The government has said each crossing will cost up to $200 million to remove — a figure the Public Transport Users Association rejected last week.
"This idea spread by the government that grade separations have to cost $150 or $200 million each is simply nonsense," PTUA president Tony Morton said.
The PTUA's benchmark for a level crossing removal was still the Boronia station project in 1998.
This project lowered the Belgrave train line beneath the intersection of two major roads in Knox and rebuilt the entire station in four weeks at a cost of $28 million.