The new McKinnon Station in Melbourne has been opened after it was constructed during a 37 day closure of the Frankston rail line, the longest since the city’s city loop was built.

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In just over five weeks, more than 1,000 people worked around the clock excavating 250,000 cubic metres of soil – enough to fill the MCG –  to lower the line so trains can run safely under Centre, McKinnon and North Roads.

VIC Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said, “The new station is the heart of the transformation that has occurred here over the past 37 days, which has made McKinnon safer and less congested.

“I thank the local residents and businesses near these works, the passengers affected by them, and the workers – whose skill and hard work has removed this crossing, built this station and improved this community.”

These level crossings were some of Melbourne’s worst, with boom gates down for up to 45 minutes in the two-hour morning peak, causing frustration, distress and delay for tens of thousands of motorists.

The new McKinnon Station is designed to be safer, more user friendly and fully accessible, with lifts, ramps  and stairs down to platforms below ground level in the new rail cutting.

Ormond and Bentleigh Stations were also built during the closure and will open later in August 2016. Carpark and landscaping works at all three new stations will continue over the coming months.

To enable these works to occur, the Frankston line was closed between Caulfield and Moorabbin for more than five weeks, and replacement buses moved thousands of passengers every day.

This is the first time in Victoria’s history that three level crossings have been removed concurrently and means the Victorian government has now removed four level crossings in less than 18 months.

Construction has started at a further 15 crossing removals, and by the end of 2018 work will be underway or complete on the removal of 35 of Victoria’s worst crossings, with 50 level crossings to be removed by 2022.

VIC Member for Bentleigh, Nick Staikos, said, “My community has fought to have these level crossings removed, and I am proud to be part of the Government that has listened and delivered.

“The new station is safer, easier to use and fully accessible – and there are two more that will open in the coming weeks. They will make it quicker and easier for locals to catch the train, and get home safer and sooner.”

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