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Train at Flinders Street Station
Photograph: Visit Victoria

Plan your detour – a prolonged shut down of the City Loop is imminent

Safety upgrades to Parliament, Flagstaff and Melbourne Central stations are now a decade overdue

Written by
Eliza Campbell

The entire City Loop is about to be shut down for an "undefined period" to fix safety faults identified more than a decade ago. The impending disruption will occur in the coming months, with upgrades being done at Parliament, Flagstaff and Melbourne Central stations to overhaul the existing smoke extraction and sprinkler systems.

The shutdown comes as a result of an investigation by The Age performed in 2011, which shed light on a number of fire and safety issues requiring a $43 million upgrade – a budget that has now increased eight-fold in the ensuing decade.

“It is essentially a very major event and when we do that work we will have to close the [City Loop] for a period of time and that is a significant disruption," said Kevin Devlin, chief executive of the Level Crossing Removal Project. Devlin did not specify when or how long the closure would be.

Steph Ryan, the opposition public transport spokesperson, said that Melbourne's COVID-19 lockdowns were a missed opportunity for the works to be completed, with disruptions coming at a time when the CBD is in a state of recovery. "It is absolutely shocking that it has taken the government this long to do a critical safety upgrade," she said.

The first stage of upgrades to the system included fire detection systems, fire hydrants, CCTV and an intruder-detection system – all of which have now been completed. The second stage, due to take effect mid next year, will install a smoke-extraction system on the platforms and upgrade the existing sprinkler system.

At this stage, the large-scale works are expected to be completed by 2023. Stay up to date with the latest service disruptions here.

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