Construction has begun on Melbourne’s newest rail line, the Mernda rail line, which will carry train services to one of Victoria’s fastest growing areas.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan joined Member for Yan Yean Danielle Green in Mernda to mark the start of works on the Andrews Labor Government’s extension of the South Morang line to Mernda.
The Mernda Rail Extension is being delivered by the Level Crossing Removal Authority. Construction crews will establish work areas, remove vegetation and prepare the rail corridor for major construction to ramp up later in 2017.
The $600 million Mernda Rail Extension will build eight kilometres of new, duplicated track and three state-of-the-art stations at Mernda, Hawkstowe and near Marymede Catholic College.
The stations are expected to be used by around 8,000 passengers every day when they open in early 2019.
The last time a train line was extended by more than two stations was in 1930, when the East Malvern line was extended to Glen Waverley.
The project will create up to 3,000 jobs – 1,200 directly during construction and as many as 1,800 indirectly in local businesses and industries supported by the project. It is also expected to support more than 70 ongoing jobs once trains are up and running.
The Mernda Rail Extension will also provide employment for young workers and people reskilling from other industries, with at least 10 per cent of work carried out by trainees, apprentices and engineering cadets.
Minister for Public Transport Jacinta Allan said, “This massive project will change people’s lives for the better – creating thousands of jobs and connecting one of Victoria’s fastest growing areas to the public transport they deserve.”
“The project is fully funded, construction is underway and we’re not wasting a moment getting on with it.”
Australian Logistics Council (ALC) has welcomed the announcement.
“This announcement is further evidence that we are making progress in the construction of Inland Rail,” said ALC Managing Director Michael Kilgariff.
“Confirmation that two new bridges are to be constructed between Parkes and Narromine shows that the Federal Government is essentially future-proofing sections of existing rail track to accommodate the larger trains the Inland Rail line will facilitate.”
The project includes new walking and cycling paths, better bus connections, and train stabling in Mernda. There will also be extensive bike storage and up to 2,000 new car spaces across the three new stations.