Mernda trains on track six months ahead of schedule
A train will arrive in Mernda for the first time in nearly 60 years next month, with the first test train on track in preparation for passenger trains running later this year.
Construction crews are installing the final section of track in the Plenty Road area, allowing the first test train to arrive in Mernda in July – six months ahead of schedule – collecting data to inform the new timetable as it travels up the line.
Mernda Rail construction crews have made better than expected progress in the last few months as they have worked around the clock to remove rock, install tracks and build signaling and power infrastructure to get the job done sooner, reducing the overall length of disruption to the community.
More than 25,000 cubic metres of rock underneath Plenty Road has been removed, and more than 700 workers are currently on site helping to complete critical works ahead of testing and commissioning the new line.
As part of the project, more than 100 young apprentices, cadets and trainees have worked on site, many for whom this has been their first role in the industry. The eight-kilometre new Mernda Rail will deliver better transport and facilities for locals – with three new stations, community and open spaces, better connections for pedestrians and cyclists and improved access.
The three new stations are expected to cater for up to 8000 commuters a day, helping to ease congestion along Plenty Road. An additional 40 car spaces are being built at the new Hawkstowe Station, increasing the number of car parks at this station to 397, and the total number of car spaces to 2,000.
To get ready for test trains to safely run on the new line, buses will replace trains between Clifton Hill and South Morang from the evening of Friday 29 June to the last service on Sunday 1 July.
When the Mernda Rail Extension opens later this year passengers will have access to 982 services every week, with details of dates and timetables to be finalised in coming months.