Sections of the Frankston and Cranbourne/Pakenham lines will undergo power, signalling and communications upgrades to prepare the network for high-tech new trains and to remove nine of Melbourne’s worst level crossings.

To prepare for High Capacity Metro Trains (HCMT), both lines will close for a period in January 2018. Ongoing work to remove the nine level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong will also be undertaken.

Preparation for HCMT and level crossing removals are two separate projects being delivered as part of the one contract to minimise disruption to passengers.

Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, said crews will be working around the clock to prepare the network for bigger, better trains and get rid of nine dangerous level crossings on Melbourne’s busiest rail corridor.

“It’s the biggest investment in better trains services for Melbourne’s south east in a generation, and will also reduce congestion and boost safety on our roads.”

The upgrade is the biggest restoration of the overhead and power system on the Cranbourne/Pakenham Line in more than 20 years and the first rail systems upgrade in history to span the entire length of an existing metropolitan line.

The Cranbourne/Pakenham Line is Melbourne’s busiest with more than 90,000 passengers every weekday. As part of the upgrade, platforms at 13 stations will also be extended to accommodate the new seven-carriage trains.

Following the Caulfield Junction shutdown, specialist crews will move in to carry out works further down the line as part of the broader level crossing removal works.

By the end of 2018, all nine level crossings between Caulfield and Dandenong will be gone and the first HCMT will have arrived and be in testing, ahead of its introduction to the network in early 2019.

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